It's hard not to feel just a little bad for the LG G6, going up against the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ (Review). There was a brief window of time following the G6's launch announcement at MWC 2017 when it did get a bit of attention, but even then, everyone was more focused on Galaxy S8 leaks and Samsung's decision to launch later with a more powerful processor. LG was able to pull off an early launch because it decided to use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 from last year instead of waiting for the delayed Snapdragon 835 - a very interesting move.
However, it means that LG knows the G6 can't compete toe-to-toe with the flagships releasing over the next few weeks and months. Instead, it has to rely on its visual appeal, cameras, software, durability, and the idea that it can deliver a unique overall experience. Let's see what LG brings to the table, and how the G6 stacks up against its current and near-future competition.
The first thing you'll notice about the LG G6 is that it's quite chunky. It isn't actually all that big compared to current-day phones with 5.5-inch screens, especially the iPhone 7 Plus (Review), but it feels thick and bulky. That might be because of the dated styling, with flat sides and a slightly bulging rear. The front glass doesn't have any hint of a curve, and the shiny bevelled edges of the metal frame look very much like phones from many years ago which were inspired by the iPhone 5.
Comparisons with the new Galaxy S8 siblings are inevitable, but despite the timing of their launches, these phones couldn't be more different. While Samsung has pulled off a futuristic, slick look with shiny glass and organic lines everywhere, LG's offering looks plainer and subdued in comparison. That said, the LG G6 also feels like a workhorse rather than a showpiece, and we were much less worried about it shattering in case of a fall.
Two things come to the G6's rescue, aesthetically at least. One is the Platinum Ice colour of the front and rear panels - this phone is also available in black, but we found our review unit's unique look to be a breath of fresh air while still being neutral enough to work in any situation. The second is the screen itself, which takes up nearly the whole front of the phone.
LG calls this a 'FullVision' display, and it has an aspect ratio of 2:1 (18:9 relative to the usual 16:9). Having a screen that's taller but not wider makes the G6 easier to hold than an ordinary phablet. It also matches the ratio of the proposed Univisium standard, which some filmmakers want to adopt because it bridges the gap between wider cinematic formats and smaller commercial 16:9 screens. Some Netflix and Amazon content is already optimised for 2:1, so we might actually see this catch on as a standard. Moreover, you should be able to run two apps side by side more comfortably.
For some reason, LG insists on putting its phones' power buttons on the back. We've complained about this every generation starting with the G2, but while at least the volume buttons have moved back to one side, the power button is still in the last place anyone would think to look for it. It's integrated into the fingerprint sensor, so you can't even tell that it's a physical button till you try it for yourself. This is one brand differentiator that just needs to die.Read More...
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