LG G6

LG G6: Full phone Specifications, Price and Description

Released 2017, April 07 163g, 7.9mm thickness
Android 7.0, up to Android 9.0; LG UX 8 UI  32GB/64GB/128GB storage, microSDXC
 5.7″ 1440×2880 pixels 13MP 2160p
 4GB RAM Snapdragon 821 3300mAh Li-Po

LG G6 Specifications

ALL VERSIONS
H870
H870DS
G6+
H871
H872
H873
H870K
VS998
LS993
US997

Versions: LG G6+ with 128 GB storage; H870 (Europe); H871 (AT&T); H872 (T-Mobile); H873 (Canada); H870K (Australia); LS993 (Sprint); US997 (U.S. Cellular); VS988 (Verizon Wireless)

NETWORK Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
2G bands GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2 (dual-SIM model only)
3G bands HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100
4G bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, 28, 38, 40
Speed HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE-A (3CA) Cat12 600/150 Mbps
LAUNCH Announced 2017, February 26
Status Available. Released 2017, April 07
BODY Dimensions 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm (5.86 x 2.83 x 0.31 in)
Weight 163 g (5.75 oz)
Build Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminum frame
SIM Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)
MIL-STD-810G compliant
DISPLAY Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.7 inches, 84.1 cm2 (~78.6% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1440 x 2880 pixels, 18:9 ratio (~564 ppi density)
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Dolby Vision
HDR10
Always-on display
PLATFORM OS Android 7.0 (Nougat), upgradable to Android 9.0 (Pie); LG UX 8 UI
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821 (14 nm)
CPU Quad-core (2×2.35 GHz Kryo & 2×1.6 GHz Kryo)
GPU Adreno 530
MEMORY Card slot microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot) – dual SIM model only
Internal 32GB 4GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM
UFS 2.0
MAIN CAMERA Dual 13 MP, f/1.8, 30mm (standard), 1/3.1″, 1.12µm, PDAF, 3-axis OIS
13 MP, f/2.4, 12mm (ultrawide), no AF
Features Dual-LED flash, HDR, panorama
Video [email protected], [email protected]/60fps, HDR, 24-bit/192kHz stereo sound rec.
SELFIE CAMERA Single 5 MP, f/2.2, 18mm
Video [email protected]
SOUND Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
32-bit/192kHz audio
COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
NFC Yes
Radio FM radio (market dependent)
USB 3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go
FEATURES Sensors Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Po 3300 mAh battery
Charging Fast charging 18W, 50% in 30 min (advertised)
Quick Charge 3.0
WPC&PMA wireless charging US version only
MISC Colors Astro Black, Ice Platinum, Terra Gold, Marine Blue, Mystic White, Raspberry Rose, Moroccan Blue, Lavender Violet
Models H870, H870DS, H873, H870S, LGM-G600L, H872, H871, LS993, US997, vs988, VS988, LGM-G600K, LGM-G600S, AS993, LGUS997, H870AR, H872PR, H871S
SAR 0.65 W/kg (head)     1.23 W/kg (body)
SAR EU 0.23 W/kg (head)     0.15 W/kg (body)
Price $ 85.88 / £ 96.00 / € 199.99
TESTS Performance AnTuTu: 158785 (v7)
GeekBench: 4175 (v4.4)
GFXBench: 8.5fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)
Display Contrast ratio: 2053 (nominal), 3.556 (sunlight)
Camera Photo / Video
Loudspeaker Voice 66dB / Noise 68dB / Ring 74dB
Audio quality Noise -93.3dB / Crosstalk -94.4dB
Battery life
Endurance rating 72h

LG G6 Brief Description

1. Introduction

Introduction

Cutting corners – it’s the story of LG G6’s life. And we mean this both literally and figuratively. Literally, because its display doesn’t have right angles, it’s soft arcs instead. And figuratively because the G6 doesn’t come with the screaming hardware on the market, but makes do with a few-months-old chipset and ‘just’ 4GB of RAM. What happened to ‘flagship’?

What happened is that LG is taking a different spin on the term. The G6 is the one that will sell the most, so they’ve redefined flagship to mean that. So while LG held back on equipping the phone with the latest hardware, they’ve focused on usability. Many will think (a few of us here as well) that’s just downplaying the fact that Samsung won’t let anyone use the Snapdragon 835 before the Galaxy S8 comes out, but let’s face it – LG’s marketing team did have to maneuver around the issue somehow.

As for the ultimate in specs, LG says we should look for them in the V-series from now on. How convenient it is that the V20 is due for a refresh in the fall when the S8 will be in the rearview mirror.

Read on, however, and you’ll find out that LG can build a remarkably strong case for the decisions it’s made (or the ones being forced upon it) for the G6. Sure, it’s only the Snapdragon 821 chipset that’s driving the G6 and not the upcoming S835, but it’s not exactly a slouch, the S821. Also, let’s not forget that it is, after all, Qualcomm’s still-current top model.

Another eyebrow-raiser is the choice of the Sony IMX258 camera sensor, the imager of choice for a few dozen smartphones, going as far as two years back. This includes prominent smartphone models as well as models you’ve likely never heard of. They span across a price range of $150-$350, which is less than half of the LG G6’s asking price. It’s obviously not a flagship cameraphone sensor but remembers – the term’s been redefined. Also, the G6 does have two of those IMX258s, so that should count for something.

It’s also still the same concept – a crazy ultra-wide-angle camera accompanies the regular one. True, the coverage has been shrunk a little on both, but you now get the same 13MP resolution on each of them, so the wide-angle shooter doesn’t feel like it’s getting neglected.

LG G6 1

But best of all – that display. We all want larger displays, but no one is particularly fond of the extra bulk that goes with one. That’s what LG’s surveys showed too, so its designers went out and stretched the screen to cover most of the device’s front – the 5.7-inch 18:9 aspect panel fits in the same body footprint as the G5’s (admittedly, the G5 is not a screen-to-body ratio contest winner, but still). Oh, and the corners here are cut for a reason beyond appearance, but more on that later.

Pricing

32GB 4GB RAM $ 164.99
64GB 4GB RAM $ 399.99
128GB 4GB RAM $ 599.00

 

LG G6 key features

  • Body: Aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 3 front, GG5 back; chamfered LCD for impact resistance; IP68 certified for water and dust resistance.
  • Display: 5.7″ IPS LCD, 2,880x1440px resolution, 18:9 (2:1) aspect ratio, 565ppi; HDR 10 and Dolby Vision compliant.
  • Rear camera: 13MP f/1.8 primary camera with 71° field of view, OIS. Additional 13MP f/2.4 wide-angle camera with 125° FOV, no OIS. 1.12µm pixel size on both. 2160p/30fps video recording on both.
  • Front camera: 5MP, 100° FOV; 1080p/30fps video recording.
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821; quad-core CPU ([email protected] + [email protected]), Adreno 530 GPU.
  • Memory: 4GB of RAM; 32GB/64GB storage (region dependent); microSD slot for cards up to 2TB (practically up to 256GB).
  • Battery: 3,300mAh Li-Po (sealed); QuickCharge 3.0 fast charging; WPC&PMA wireless charging (US version only).
  • Connectivity: Single-SIM, Dual-SIM available in certain markets (mostly Asia); LTE-A, 3-Band carrier aggregation, Cat.12/13 (600/150Mbps); USB Type-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS; Bluetooth 4.2; FM Radio (outside South Korea, US and Canada).
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader; Hi-Fi Quad DAC (South Korea exclusive); 2 mics, single speaker on the bottom; 3.5mm jack.

Main shortcomings

  • Regional limitations on nice-to-have features
  • No stereo speakers
  • No Daydream VR support
  • Priced well into flagship territory despite ‘value proposition’ claims

If you did a little more than briefly skim the list of key features, you can’t have missed the numerous region-specific bits. Why LG, why does the world not get wireless charging (US only) and the Hi-Fi Quad DAC (South Korea only)? And does either of the two make up for the lack of an FM radio receiver, which those particular markets won’t be getting?

    

LG G6 press images

We’re also still trying to figure out what to make of the ‘value proposition’ phrase LG used to describe the G6 when we were first introduced to it. The $700 price that’s been floating around is very much flagship-grade, and in the classic, pre-redefinition (some word that is) sense of the term. But by the looks of it, the Galaxy S8 will be even pricier, and the Pixel and the iPhone already are too (some versions on some markets, at least) – so LG might have a point there.

You can’t, however, judge a product’s value for money before establishing its real-world merits first. That’s exactly what we intend to do on the following pages, starting with an overview of the hardware.

2. Unboxing, hardware overview

Unboxing

The LG G6 comes in a much understated black box that at least doesn’t make promises it can’t keep. Inside it, you’ll find a charger rated at 9V/1.8A that should be QuickCharge 3.0 compliant. It’s got a regular Type-A USB port, and the bundle contains a Type-A to Type-C cable – in other words, LG isn’t yet switching to USB-C on both ends of the cable, which we appreciate.

LG G6 8
Just the bare minimum inside our G6 box

There was no headset in our box, but we can’t be certain if that’s going to be the case in all markets – there’s plenty of region-dependent bits about the G6, so why not that. There’s certainly an empty space right by the charger that could fit a pair of earbuds.

The G6 measures 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm, which means it’s actually smaller in every direction compared to the G5. It’s also more than a centimeter shorter than the V20 and 6.2mm narrower than the current V-series phablet, itself with a 5.7-inch display.

Not all 5.7-inch displays are created equal, however. The G6’s 18:9 aspect ratio means the panel is actually narrower than not only a 16:9 5.5-inch display (like the one on the Galaxy S7 edge), but also the 5.3-inch G5. So while it is technically true that the G6 packs a 5.7-inch display in a smaller body than the 5.3-inch G5, you have got to keep in mind where that comes from – there’s no magic here.

The G6 weighs 163g, 4g heavier than the G5, and 11g lighter than the V20. The Galaxy S7 edge is 6g lighter than the G6, but you’ll hardly notice the difference.

Hardware overview

The G5 had a removable chin that gave access to the user-replaceable battery and could be swapped out for one of a few modules called Friends. The G5’s take on modularity didn’t catch on, and LG decided not to pursue it, not now at least.

The G5 had a metal back, which however was covered by plastic or primer (whatever you like to call it) and it also had an unsightly camera hump on the rear, which LG tried to turn into a design accent.

What we’re trying to say is that the G5’s design just didn’t click.

  

LG G6 next to the LG G5

Not so with the G6. The G6’s more orthodox build with a solid aluminum frame sandwiched between two pieces of the glass looks much better even if it has no friends to hang out with. Now, that would be a sad, miserable, narcissistic life if it was a person, but it’s a phone, the G6, and it’s a good thing.

And while having glass front and back is an often exploited design approach, the G6 wears it like no other and manages to look unique.

A lot of that novelty comes from the display. It’s certainly an eye-catcher but the order of noticing that things aren’t quite the way you’re used to. It goes something like this: (1) ‘Ooh, nice, slim bezels!’ and then (2) ‘No way, the corners are rounded!’ to finally, (3) ‘Hmm, that’s one tall screen’! And that’s before you even pick the phone up.

 

The display is unusual in several ways

The bezels are, indeed, impressively slim. LG’s research has shown that users still prefer to have some chin at the base of the phone so the bottom bezel is more generous than the top one. It has to do with handling, they say, and we’re inclined to agree. But could it also be related to the placement of other components like the USB-C port and the loudspeaker? It might, but who cares – we tried flipping the phone upside down and it’s a bit of a pain to use – so LG has got it right.

LG G6 8

Moving on to the curved screen corners. You see, with such a slim frame around the display, the precious LCD is perilously close to the physical corners of the phone. And it just so happens that in half of all drops a phone lands on its corner (LG’s statistics, the precise number they quote is 48%).

A panel that ends in right angles will suffer from stress concentration upon impact and will be more likely to fail. On the other hand, a panel that’s chamfered (because it’s really chamfered, 1.7×1.7mm, and not actually rounded – apparently software takes care of that) will better disperse the energy of the impact and thus be more likely to survive.

LG G6 8
Corner cutting… under a microscope

All of this is, of course, applicable to every other phone, it’s just that on the G6 the issue is made worse by the close proximity of the display to the physical extremities. LG had a few competitors’ phones with cracked screens in its presentation slides to prove their point but you didn’t hear this from us.

And then we get to the fact that the display is taller than the conventional 16:9 aspect ratio. It is, in fact, 18:9 and the reason why it’s not being called a 2:1 ratio is so that its name immediately makes it obvious that it’s been extended vertically compared to what you may be used to.

LG G6 8

As the story goes, LG asked a bunch of people how they feel about display size and every one replied they want more, but generally no one was thrilled about the extra bulk the bigger screen brings. It seems plausible – if they had asked us, that’s pretty much the response they would have gotten. So LG went ahead and stretched the display taller, and made it so that would cover almost the entire front of the phone – with that chin provision, of course.


In the hand

The thing is, a 5.7-inch display in 18:9 ratio is actually smaller in area than a 5.7-inch display in 16:9 ratio – 83.8sq.cm vs. 89.6sq.cm if you want specifics. In fact, the LG G6 total screen area equals that of a conventional 5.5-inch 16:9 screen. However, the G6’s panel is 64.7mm wide, while that same standard-issue 5.5-inches would be 68.5mm wide, and a 5.7-inch 16:9 screen would be 71.0mm wide.

We all know how it is really the width that makes a large phone difficult to use with one hand. So the G6’s approach to offering the most display in the easiest to handle package makes perfect sense. It’s just all too easy to overlook the fact that it’s a different 5.7 inches you’re getting here, so we’d just like to point this out. Splitting hairs – maybe, being thorough – always.

Let’s move to the G6’s back now. It’s a slab of Gorilla Glass 5, which should be more shatter-resistant if a little easier to scratch than previous generations. This particular Ice Titanium color version we have here might fool you from a distance into thinking it’s brushed steel – it isn’t. It’s glass, alright.

LG G6 8

There’s a cutout for the camera duo, but the setup now sits flush with the cover as opposed to the G5’s camera bulge. It’s a design choice we love.

Underneath the cameras, you’ll find the fingerprint sensor, easily accessible with either forefinger.


Ice Platinum looks like brushed steel but isn’t

By the way, the frame is great. It’s a pretty thick one, as recent frames go so you touch more metal leading to a distinctly high-end feel. It also allows for a more secure purchase on the device, especially helpful when picking it up from a table – an exercise that sucks with the Galaxy S7 edge, for instance.

One less thrilling aspect of the G6’s design (and/or craftsmanship) is the volume buttons. They tend to wobble and have quite limited travel – overall far from what you’d call a positive click action.

  

Generous frame • Mushy volume buttons on the left • Card slot on the right

Speaking of the frame, there’s some clever engineering that’s gone into it as well, again from the perspective of durability. The plastic slits that you’ll find in the vicinity of the corners have actually been moved as far away from them as possible to reduce the stress on them in the event of an impact. That keeps the slits from cracking as cracked slits are how you ruin the phone’s waterproofing in time, something we honestly haven’t thought about until LG pointed it out.

Oh, we’re only now mentioning this? Yes, the LG G6 is IP68-certified for water and dust protection. And the best bit about it is that it will also survive dips in seawater, which LG representatives explicitly stated at the press event we went to, and yet we can’t find it written anywhere on specs pages. It’s probably a warranty nightmare, so they’re staying on the safe side by not listing it. In any case, and we can’t stress this enough, it’s a good idea to never get your phone wet in the first place.

LG G6

If you do get it wet and want to charge it, and you have the US version, you’re in luck – wireless charging will save the day. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait for the USB Type-C port to dry up before plugging.

 

USB Type-C on the bottom • 3.5mm jack on top

The port is located on the bottom of the phone, in the center – it doesn’t get more convenient than that. To its right is the single loudspeaker – no stereo action on the G6. On the other side is the primary mic. Up top, you’ll find the 3.5mm jack and the secondary mic pinhole.

3. Display, connectivity, battery life

18:9 is the new 16:9, here in a 5.7-inch size

One of the LG G6’s most distinctive features, its 18:9 aspect Full Vision display is a true beauty. The 5.7-inch panel with a novel aspect ratio offers virtually the same area as a 5.5-inch conventional 16:9 display, and is, in fact, as wide as a 5.2-inch 16:9 screen, only taller.

The 2,880×1,440px resolution on this diagonal results in a 564ppi density, which beats the Galaxy S7 edge’s 534ppi, but is slightly less than the S7’s 577ppi. However, the G6’s subpixel arrangement is a classic RGB with equal number of subpixels for each primary color, making it even sharper per pixel than the Super AMOLEDs’ Diamond Pentile subpixel layout. Not that it matters all that much at these densities for naked-eye viewing, and the G6 won’t support Google’s Daydream VR, sadly.

lg g6

It’s all good on the other fronts, though. For starters, the G6 boasts spectacular contrast for an LCD – upwards of 2000:1. The G5 before it wasn’t too shabby either with its high 1800s, but man, was that display dim.

Not the G6, though – 468nits in manual mode and a hundred more when you’re in auto and the environment is bright. The Huawei P10 and Xperia XZ (the original one, not the recent Premium) can put out a few dozen more, and the iPhone 7 Plus goes to 681nits in auto, but none of those can match the G6’s contrast, not by a long stretch.

The minimum brightness is 4.1nits, so it’ll be easy on the eyes if you’re using it in a dark setting.

 

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
LG G6 0.228 468 2053
LG G6 max auto 0.277 564 2036
LG G5 0.17 306 1855
LG G5 max auto 0.20 378 1881
LG V20 0.43 475 1097
LG V20 Max auto 0.59 628 1064
Google Pixel XL 0 432
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 0.00 392
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge max auto 0.00 610
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 0.41 573 1398
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (max auto) 0.50 681 1362
Huawei P10 0.416 592 1423
OnePlus 3T 0 447
Sony Xperia XZ 0.37 502 1349
Sony Xperia XZ (max auto) 0.46 608 1336
HTC 10 0.29 428 1543

Sunlight legibility is excellent as well. One of the best LCDs in this respect, the G6’s display is on par with the iPhone 7 Plus, but the Xperia XZ and LG’s own V20 are still somewhat superior. The G6 is way better than the G5, so there’s that too.

Sunlight contrast ratio

LG G6

The G6’s color reproduction is reasonably accurate, posting an average DeltaE of 4. Whites and grays exhibit a pronounced shift towards blue, and grayscale DeltaE is the highest at around 9. It’s a marked improvement in accuracy compared to the G5, where average DeltaE was 5.6 and the maximum was 12.7. Next to the V20’s 5.1 and 9.5, the G6 still wins.

On the subject of colors, the G6 is compliant with both Dolby Vision and HDR10 standards. Among other things, the former means the G6 is capable of displaying 12-bit color (or 68 billion colors), while HDR limits that to measly 10 bits and 1 billion colors, give or take.

In practice (and that’s LG’s data, so if they had more to work with, we’re sure they’d mention it), the total available content at the moment is 10 original series and 5 Marvel series on Netflix that adhere to both standards, while on Amazon Video you’re looking at 1 original series and 10 movies in Dolby Vision, and 16 original series and 23 movies in HDR10. So while it’s great that the display supports both standards, the feature is not exactly a gamechanger. And also last time we checked on Netflix, the G6 was not among the supported devices for HDR video so we hope they change that by the time the phone hits the market or the feature won’t be worth much.

Connectivity

The LG G6 supports Cat.12 LTE, courtesy of Qualcomm’s modem, with 3-carrier aggregation for theoretical download speeds up to 600Mbps and uploads up to 150Mbps. Ours is a single-SIM version, but some markets will get dual-SIM too.

There’s, of course, Wi-Fi ac with Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA, and wireless screen sharing is supported to both Miracast and Chromecast devices. Bluetooth is the latest available version 4.2, and there’s GPS, GLONASS, and BDS for positioning. You also get NFC.

Our unit also has an FM radio receiver, which G6s bound for the US, Canada, and South Korea won’t be getting. Also, we’ve probably gotten the reviewer’s bonus as we have both the FM radio and the wireless charging, which shouldn’t theoretically be present in the same unit.

The G6 charges via a USB-C port, but it also adheres to the USB 3.1 spec for fast data transfer – all too often manufacturers just use the symmetrical port for its convenience but miss making use of the faster speed transfers it offers and only comply to USB 2.0 spec. Well, not LG anyway.

MirrorLink is supported too, for connection to your car’s infotainment system via USB.

There’s a good ol’ 3.5mm analog audio jack on board too.

LG G6 battery life test

The LG G6 is powered by a 3,300mAh battery – a significant upgrade over last year’s G5 and its 2,800mAh. The G6 has a larger display, you’ll counter, but the battery capacity has been upped by 18% while the screen area is just 8% more now. In fact, the G6 packs more juice than the V20 (3,000mAh), which has a larger display to light up – 5.7″ in 16:9 is more area than 5.7″ in 18:9, plus the V20 has that ticker screen on top. The G6’s battery, however, is sealed in, unlike both the G5 and the V20.

LG G6

Anyway, all this is to preface that we expected better battery life from the G6 than what we got out of the G5 and V20, neither of which was particularly impressive in this respect. And indeed, that turned out to be the case.

With that in mind, the G6 is good for 22 and a half hours of voice calls on a single charge in our testing environment – 5h more than the G5, and 3h more than the V20. In both comparisons the endurance is actually better on the G6 than the proportional increase in capacity – so great, then.

The G6 also manages to outlast its two siblings by an hour in Wi-Fi web browsing – 8:31h for the new G vs. 7:35h for both the G5 and the V20. It’s not a tiny improvement, but it’s not amazing either – the Pixel XL can keep reloading web pages for another hour after the G6 has quit, and the Galaxy S7 edge’s time in this test is 10:35h (though, for rather obvious reasons, we don’t have the numbers for the S8). The OnePlus 3T is close to the G6 in this test – 8:43h.

In video playback, the G6 will last a whopping 6 minutes more than the G5. Seriously, though, 10 and half hours is a pretty good number, especially when you put it up next to the V20’s 8 hours. The Pixel XL can do 11:09h, which is like an extra TV episode or so, so it’s not that big of a deal. The OnePlus 3T’s 13:23h time does mean significantly better binge-watching capabilities, but the champ remains the Galaxy S7 edge, which lasted over 15 hours of looping videos, and that’s after Nougat sliced a large chunk off its surreal Marshmallow stamina.

Dialing in those numbers in our formula produces a 72h overall Endurance rating with the always-on display turned off. Switch on the feature and you’re looking at a lower number because stand-by consumption gets higher (duh) and it is included in the calcs even if it doesn’t get a field in the scorecard.

lg g6

However, and we’ve always tried to point that out, the effect of the always-on display consumption can vary wildly depending on usage – it’s one thing if the phone is held in your pocket (where it will eventually turn off the AOD on its own), it’s completely different if it stays on the table in front of you and the ambient lighting is strong enough that it needs to crank up the brightness higher. That, as it turns out, is also a setting in the always-on display menu – you can actually tell the phone to keep them always-on feature brighter unlike with the G5. Whatever you decide on that, the overall effect of the AOD on your battery life is probably not that big of an issue as it may appear so just deal with it and enjoy the extra functionality. Okay, we got that out of our system.

LG states that the G6 is Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 compatible and bundles a charger to go do the job. It’s rated at 9V/1.8A and a 30min charging session gets the G6 from flat to 47%. LG has also optimized its charging algorithms to fine-tune the charging process depending on the battery’s age and current temperature thus improving the battery’s long-term life. We get the feeling it might be something along the lines of Qnovo tech implemented in Sony Xperia phones.

Our unit also happens to be the US version, so we’re blessed to have wireless charging support built-in. Since there’s no wireless charging pad bundled, we tried a few we have lying around and it’s a painfully slow process best suited to overnight charging. We don’t have a Samsung fast wireless charger handy, and even then we’re not really sure if the two devices would communicate that higher speed charging Samsung can deliver to its own phones. So until LG comes out with a fast wireless charger of its own, just assume that wireless charging is not for those of you who may be in a hurry.

4. User interface

User interface

The G6 runs on Android 7.0 Nougat with an LG custom layer on top. LG calls it Full-screen UX to further emphasize the uniqueness of the display. It’s leaning towards the use of two squares one on top of the other (or side by side when held in landscape) where that makes sense for the particular app. A few stock apps benefit from the squares – the Music app, the Calendar, and here and there in the contacts.

LG G6  

Squares, squares everywhere. More like ‘here and there’, though

First things first, though. While the V20 phablet has a secondary display to show the time and notifications, the G6 relies on an always-on display to do the same. You can have one of three designs for the always-on display and we’d gladly sacrifice the signature for a date. Notifications from all apps can be shown. You can also set up a time period when the feature will be turned off.

LG G6    

Always-on display

The G6’s lock screen is nigh identical to the one of the V20. You get two shortcuts in the bottom corners by default – to the dialer and the camera. You can, however, have up to 5 shortcuts there, to apps of your own choosing. The lock screen will also give you a weather update by a live wallpaper with raindrops or snowflakes falling down (that pretty much sums up the weather we’ve been having lately).

Nougat’s interactive bundled notifications are here too – one of the great additions to the OS this generation. You won’t be able to act upon them without unlocking the phone, though.

LG G6   

Lockscreen • …and its settings • Pick your own shortcuts • You may want to wipe off those raindrops

Which you’re most likely to do with the fingerprint reader on the back. It’s just the way we like it – it only needs a light touch of your finger (you don’t even need to press it). It unlocks instantly and bypasses the lock screen. Up to 5 fingers can be set up.

When you set up the fingerprint, you are required to select an alternative to unlocking method – like a PIN. The Content lock feature also uses the fingerprint to secure Gallery and QuickMemo+ items.

LG G6   

Fingerprint setup • Content lock

Past the lock screen is the home screen which LG insists should be done the Apple way – without an app drawer. That’s the default setting though, and you do get an option to do it the Android way. Oddly, the folder view is different between the two.

LG G6    

Homescreen without an app drawer • Folder view • App drawer is back • Different folder view

Native split-screen multitasking has arrived with Nougat. Some phone makers have their custom versions (including LG itself), but with this one coming straight from Google, we can finally start talking about wider adoption and app support.

Many (but not all) apps can work in split-screen mode. You can use it in either portrait and landscape, but note that the dividing line has very limited adjustment range – in portrait, it can be in one of three positions (50/50, 60/40-ish, and 40/60), and in a landscape, it’s just half-half. When an app needs a keyboard, the other app is squished into a small space to give room to the keyboard.

Note: from the Developers options, you can force Android to enable split-screen multitasking for all apps. There are no guarantees they will work properly, though. Also from here, you can make all apps movable to the microSD card.

In a split-screen view, the Home button shows your home screen but does not dismiss the apps – the app switcher button shows the split screen icon and double-tapping it brings back the two. This is great since normally you can only pick apps from the app switcher Rolodex for split-screen use, but in this state, any app you launch from the home screen goes straight into split-screen mode.

LG G6 LG G6  

Launching split-screen • Two apps at a time • Navi bar in the black when you’re in multi-view • Forcing compatibility

Anyway, some apps have a natural interaction with the split-screen view. In Chrome, for example, selecting the “Open in another window” option on a shortcut opens the new page on the other half of the screen. However, if you go back to a single app view, all Chrome tabs go into one place and you can’t view the two side by side anymore.

 LG G6
Multi-window in landscape • Open in other window is the only way to have two Chromes side by side

QSlide, LG’s floating app implementation, is still available in some places – the Phone, and the video player. But those are the exception rather than the rule.

LG G6
QSlide works for some apps – it creates a resizable, floating (optionally translucent) window)

Another cool, valuable feature is the Quick switch – double-tap the app switcher button to alt+tab to the first background app. This works with split-screen mode too, so you can easily juggle more than two apps. That’s Nougat though, not LG.

The notification area followed what custom skins have been doing for ages and put some quick toggles on the top row. LG added to that a brightness slider with an Auto checkbox. The Edit button lets you re-arrange toggles and hide the ones you don’t need.

The notifications have Quick actions. A quick reply is perhaps the most common of those, letting you reply to a message from the notification. Other actions like share, archive, delete, and so on are available too.

  LG G6
The notification area • Expanded notification • Quick toggles galore

One issue with the taller display is that the notification shade is further up than usual and requires an extra stretch to reach. It can’t be evoked with a swipe on the fingerprint sensor like some makers do it, and you can pull it by swiping down on an empty area of the home screen – that brings up the In-app search screen.

There is a solution to that, if not the most elegant one. LG lets you customize the navigation strip by rearranging the default Back/Home/Task switcher trio any way you like, plus it gives you the option to add shortcuts to the notification shade (the one we’re after), the Qslide mini-apps, and the Capture+ screenshot utility. While we do appreciate the customizability, having more than the three standard buttons just feels unnatural and will require getting used to if you take that approach.

LG G6   

Navigation bar customization

In-app search does what it says – sifts through your apps, contacts, and settings for the search term you input. You can specify where exactly it looks into, so it doesn’t have access to sensitive apps like instant messengers (or whatever it is that you have to hide).

   LG G6
In-app search

The task switcher has a ‘clear all’ button, plus a pin you can tap on each app if you want it to remain after you’ve killed the rest. That’s different from screen pinning (needs to be enabled in settings), where you can, um, pin a single app to stay on the display regardless of the user’s attempts to tap away from it. Not really, though – you go out of this with a simple press-and-hold of the back button, so it can’t serve as a privacy measure.

LG G6    

Task switcher • Screen pinning

Some people are heavy app users and will try out multiple ones before settling on the right app. LG G6 and Nougat change the way you uninstall apps. Uninstalling an app doesn’t remove it immediately. Instead, it just gets disabled and is only removed after 24 hours in case you change your mind and want it back.

 LG G6
Re-installing apps you uninstalled recently is now much quicker

Google Assistant is now available on every Nougat-running smartphone and that includes the G6. We found it to be a little more conversational than Siri, but that’s not to say that we’re too inclined to use it. Still, there are probably scenarios where it’s the better option instead of typing – while driving, for example.

LG G6  

Google Assistant

LG acknowledges that not all apps may be willing to play nice with the 18:9 display, so it’s included a compatibility mode for those that don’t. This makes the navigation bar taller (2:9, instead of the usual 1.3:9), so the apps can treat the screen like a 16:9 one with no navigation bar.

LG G6
Compatibility mode

5. Performance

Synthetic benchmarks

Yes, yes, the G6 is powered by the Snapdragon 821, a slightly beefed-up version of the 820 that was all the rage last year. The Snapdragon 835 is right around the corner, but Samsung has dibs on it for the Galaxy S8, allegedly, and LG couldn’t have any.

LG G6

LG is trying to spin this predicament into an advantage by saying user experience ranks higher than raw power, and we understand the logic behind such an approach. They’ve had plenty of time to optimize for the S821, LG says, so the G6 should be just fine with a chipset that’s not exactly cutting edge.

And in our experience, that’s indeed the case, though we haven’t seen the S835 in a production device to know just how much we’re missing with the S821.

LG does indeed have some tangible improvements to show off on the G6. Tangible, if you take the phone apart, that is, to reveal its Advanced heat pipe (capital A – it’s a name, sort of). LG’s advanced touch is a copper plate that sits on top of the SoC, thus providing more contact area for the heat pipe to take away… heat from the chip. LG’s internal testing has shown it to bring a 10% reduction in temperature under sustained gaming load, and in our testing, the G6 never got uncomfortably hot.

Anyway, moving on to the benchmarks. As usual, we kick off with GeekBench for some CPU performance comparisons. In the single-core test the G6 outperforms key rivals Galaxy S7 edge and HTC U Ultra, both running on the original S820, and Google Pixel XL with a slightly underperforming S821 implementation. The OnePlus 3T makes the best case for the S821, scoring on par with the Exynos 8890 inside the (other) S7 edge and the Kirin 960s in the Huawei Mate 9 and P10.

GeekBench 4 (single-core)

Higher is better

LG G6

In the multi-core test, the Kirin 960 claims what rightfully belongs to it. Only the Exynos-equipped S7 edge tries to keep up, but the Snapdragons are way behind. Still, the G6 posts one of the better scores here for team Qualcomm.

GeekBench 4 (multi-core)

Higher is better

LG G6

The G6 storms through Antutu, losing only to the OnePlus 3T and the Moto Z Force, of this select group. The V20 is close by as is the Pixel XL, but the G5 and assorted Galaxy S7 edges are lower down the Antutu chart.

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

LG G6

Basemark OS II 2.0 isn’t as favorable to the G6 though. In this compound benchmark that assesses overall performance (like Antutu), LG’s latest isn’t LG’s greatest, losing to the V20, but beating the G5. Minimal margins both ways, but what’s worth pointing out is that the three LGs place last among these top-class competitors.

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

LG G6

Switching to graphics-only exercises, the G6 isn’t quite living up to potential in Basemark ES 3.1. It inches ahead of the V20 (S820), but the G5 (S820) does better in this test while other Snapdragons 821 like the Pixel XL and OnePlus 3T post even higher numbers.

Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal

Higher is better

LG G6

Another one of Basemark’s suite, the X isn’t too flattering for the G6 either. At least it’s ahead of stablemates G5 and V20, and pretty much on par with the Pixel XL, there are a lot more successful Snapdragons around and the Kirin 960 snatches top prize here inside the Huawei P10.

Basemark X

Higher is better

LG G6

All in all, the G6 does very well in CPU-intensive tasks and is below average in graphics-specific tests. Depending on who you ask, it’s either a top performer overall (Antutu) or just hanging in there with the others (Basemark OS II 2.0). In any case, we didn’t experience any hiccups in our interaction with the phone, which, honestly, is weird to say about a top-class chip like the S821.

6. Telephony, loudspeaker, text input

Telephony

The LG G6 will be available in both single-SIM and dual-SIM versions, only not in all markets. Ours is the single-SIM one.

Nougat offers native number blocking and call screening. You can block numbers based on their initial or final digits or just specific numbers. Third-party apps can ask Android which numbers are blocked, so apps that use them to identify users (like WhatsApp and Viber) can also reject calls and messages from those numbers.

LG G6   

The Dialer with smart dial • Blocking calls • call settings

Loudspeaker

The G6 scored a Good mark in our loudspeaker test. This puts it on par with the G5 and V20, as well as the iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy S7 edge, and OnePlus 3T. The Pixel XL can pump out more decibels, though. The output quality is good all the way to the max setting, but the bass isn’t particularly boomy.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
HTC 10 (Theater mode) 61.9 66.0 62.1 Below Average
Sony Xperia XZ 61.6 65.5 67.6 Below Average
Sony Xperia X Performance 63.4 65.8 67.8 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) 65.5 72.2 65.2 Average
HTC 10 (Music mode) 63.1 66.7 74.3 Average
Samsung Galaxy Note5 66.9 67.1 71.8 Average
OnePlus 3T 61.0 69.3 78.3 Good
LG G6 66.8 68.8 74.5 Good
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 70.0 69.1 71.8 Good
LG G5 68.7 70.9 73.5 Good
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 68.3 72.2 72.9 Good
Lenovo Moto Z Force Droid 69.5 68.0 77.6 Good
LG V20 68.2 68.6 80.9 Good
Huawei Mate 9 Pro 67.2 72.4 79.5 Very Good
HTC U Ultra (Theater) 67.3 73.1 80.6 Very Good
Huawei P10 67.7 70.0 83.6 Very Good
HTC U Ultra (Music) 61.7 73.1 86.7 Very Good
Google Pixel XL 73.4 72.1 84.1 Excellent
Huawei Mate 9 83.1 74.5 85.0 Excellent

Text input

The LG keyboard offers extensive customizations. You can change its size, hide/show the number row, add/remove some buttons and more.

LG G6    

The keyboard • Settings • Customizing the keys • Changing the keyboard’s height • Emoji

In landscape you get two possible layouts – either spread across the whole width of the screen, or condensed in the middle. The third, and most logical split option is a separate setting that needs to be enabled. Once you do, swiping out from the center of the display with both thumbs brings the keys closer to the edges.

LG G6  

Landscape keyboard

Other apps

The G6 may not have the V20’s three mics, but two of them are obviously enough for the HD Audio Recorder app. It adjusts the source mic depending on orientation, so when you hold it in portrait it’s the top one only, while in a landscape both mics work.

Concert mode optimizes the mics’ response for extremely loud environments, while in Studio mode you can record voice over an audio file (say, a vocal track for your new song) and you can use headphones to monitor the sound.

The quality is top notch – uncompressed WAV and compressed FLAC are available at up to 24-bit and 192kHz. Going to Custom gives you manual control over Gain, Low cut filter (75Hz/150Hz) and Limiter (prevents clipping of low-frequency sounds).

LG G6    

HD Audio recorder: Welcome screen • Walkthrough • Normal mode • Concert • Saved recordings • Custom mode

LG’s backup app is now part of LG Mobile Switch. It has two main functions – backup and transfer. Using the latter, you can copy most data off your old phone onto the G6, simplifying the upgrade process. Backups store personal data and settings, data from the internal storage and downloaded apps. There’s no cloud backup solution, though – you have to manually upload the backup file to your cloud storage provider of choice.

LG G6  

LG Mobile Switch

Smart cleaning takes care of your storage and battery. It can free up both RAM and internal storage. It also serves as a portal to Android’s battery-saving features. Diagnose goes a bit further and will look for issues with apps, network connectivity, storage and battery and point you to the right section of the online Help documents.

LG G6   

A quick glance at your phone’s health • Optimization in progress • Sensor check-up • Battery stats

7. Multimedia apps, audio quality

Gallery

LG G6’s Gallery app supports Albums and Timeline views. In both, you can pinch-zoom to change the size of thumbnails and in Timeline view, this has the added effect of moving between photos grouped by day, month or year.

You can easily bring in more photos on the device – the G6 supports DLNA (so you can view photos stored on computers on your network) and cloud support. It’s pleasingly comprehensive – Drive, Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive are supported (with most phones you get just one of those or not even that much).

LG G6    

Albums • Camera reel • Timeline view • Image options • Cloud sync

The Memories screen takes photos and videos and creates a short video out of them (the content is grouped by time and location). Collages and slideshows take just a few taps to create and then the Play on other device option will use Miracast to send your media to your TV.

The image editor is a very basic one. You get filters, cropping, and rotation, but the image parameters you can alter are limited to Light, Color and Pop.

LG G6  

Viewing an image • Image details • Basic editor

Music player

South Korea gets a QuadDAC in the G6, the world gets a DAC. The music player is just the same though. With DLNA and cloud support (same as the Gallery: Drive, Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive), accessing your music library is a breeze.

LG G6  

DLNA and Cloud access make maintaining your library a breeze • Library • Album view

The Now playing interface makes use of the squares concept with the album art on top (couldn’t find any for our Sting album, though), and controls on the bottom. Go into the landscape and a playlist shows up in the right square.

LG G6  

The Now playing interface: In portrait • In landscape • On the lock screen

For lossy music formats, you have access to the equalizer (it’s disabled for FLAC/ALAC). It can subjectively improve the sound. It has a QuadBeat setting for LG’s own headsets, Bass, Treble and Vocal boosters too. A 5-band equalizer is on hand for those who want manual control. For those who’d like to fool around, there’s pitch and speed control too.

LG G6  

Equalizer presets • Custom EQ • Pitch and speed control, because why not

The music player itself is easy to use and has niceties like Folder view and automatic search on YouTube for the song’s music video. Play on another device is available too, for DLNA-enabled players and speakers.

FM radio

In a weird turn of events, our otherwise US version of the G6 (as evidenced by the wireless charging support) has an FM radio receiver as well. We don’t know the implications of that and we won’t be pondering too much on it.

The fact is, the app is one of the slickest-looking we’ve seen. It supports RDS so it will pull the current station’s name along with whatever gibberish it’s broadcasting. It only does it for the current station and not for the entire list of stations. You can name 6 favorite stations, there’s an option to output through the speaker (headphones still needed for reception), and there’s a sleep timer as well. No recording though.

LG G6   

FM Radio player

Video player and editor

There’s no dedicated video player, you launch videos from the Gallery or the File Browser, which is fine by us. Both apps have cloud support. You get thumbnails for seeking preview, a screenshot shortcut in the interface, and a GIF maker (5, 10, or 15 seconds length).

LG G6  

Video player • Seeking preview • GIF maker

The video player supports QSlide if you want to view the video in a small, floating window. You can also manually load a subtitle file and change the font.

LG G6  

QSlide • Player settings • Subtitle settings

There’s a video editor that lets you cut out parts of the video (the Auto option picks the best 15/30/60 seconds of video). It can also change the playback speed for parts of the video to create a dramatic effect.

Solid audio output

The LG G6 doesn’t have the impressive loudness of the V20 either with headphones or with an active external amplifier, but it’s still above average in both parts of our test.

The clarity, however, was top-notch – perfect with no resistance applied to its line-out and excellent with our standard headphones set. The only affected reading was stereo crosstalk and even that didn’t suffer too much.

Keep in mind that LG will supply the G6 with a Quad DAC in the South Korean Market so this model might get even better results but we’re perfectly happy with what we’ve got on this one anyway.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
LG G6 +0.01, -0.02 -93.3 93.3 0.0059 0.0095 -94.4
LG G6 (headphones attached) +0.01, -0.02 -93.4 93.4 0.0067 0.020 -56.3
LG G5 +0.01, -0.04 -92.6 92.6 0.0051 0.0096 -93.3
LG G5 (headphones) +0.05, -0.01 -92.2 92.3 0.0029 0.037 -50.7
Huawei P10 +0.01, -0.04 -93.0 94.8 0.0019 0.0080 -93.5
Huawei P10 (headphones attached) +0.25, -0.02 -92.7 93.0 0.192 0.175 -59.5
Google Pixel +0.02, -0.03 -93.0 93.0 0.0045 0.0086 -92.6
Google Pixel (headphones attached) +0.22, -0.03 -92.7 92.7 0.0054 0.129 -50.9
Apple iPhone 7 +0.06, -0.10 -92.4 92.3 0.0015 0.0093 -80.9
Apple iPhone 7 (headphones attached) +0.03, -0.11 -92.3 92.3 0.0011 0.012 -77.0
Samsung Galaxy S7 +0.01, -0.04 -92.5 92.6 0.0027 0.0078 -92.7
Samsung Galaxy S7 (headphones) +0.05, -0.05 -91.9 92.1 0.0044 0.063 -73.4

LG G6
LG G6 frequency response

8. Camera

2x13MP cameras, utra wide-angle gets equal treatment (almost)

The LG G6 is equipped with a couple of 13MP cameras on its back. Compare and contrast to the previously used setup on both the G5 and V20, where the primary one was a 16MP unit, while the wide-angle only got half as many pixels.

LG G6

On the G6 both cameras actually use the same exact sensor – the Sony IMX258. There’s nothing striking about it – it’s a Type 1/3.06″ imager with 1.12µm pixels and phase detection autofocus. In fact, it’s typically used in midrangers from Chinese makers. That said, we’ve seen it perform admirably on the Xiaomi Mi 4c, for instance, so we avoided jumping to conclusions. That sensor is in a native 4:3 ratio – a principal difference from the older setups with 16:9 aspects.

That’s resulted in some changes in coverage too. The normal camera now sees a 71° field of view, as opposed to 75° before, while the ultra-wide angle’s FOV has been reduced from 135° to 125° – still very much ultra-wide.

The lens on the normal cam still has an f/1.8 aperture and is stabilized, while the f/2.4 lens of the wide-angle cam isn’t. The wide camera is fixed focus only, unlike the normal one that does actually use the phase-detection agents on the IMX258. Laser autofocus is gone this time around.

The camera app of the G6 has seen some changes as well, to make better use of the tall display. Or, rather, wide display, when you hold it in the landscape. The extra screen estate on the side is used as a film strip, showing you recently taken shots. You still get a shortcut to the gallery next to the shutter release button, too. A most welcome addition in the LG camera app is the exposure compensation slider that shows up on the right when you tap somewhere to focus – a handy tool that’s been missing so far.

LG G6  

Viewfinder • Shooting modes • Settings

It’s still the same shared viewfinder for stills and video, which means you can’t know your video framing before hitting the record button. On a more positive note, the G6 has gotten the manual mode from the V20 (minus the directional audio, for lack of mics). It’s better laid out than on the G5 and allows for tweaking white balance by color temperature, exposure compensation, ISO and shutter speed. One thing that’s missing on the G5 is focus peaking in manual focus, but the G6 adds that too.

LG G6  

Manual photo mode

From the mode selector, other than Auto, Manual photo, and Manual video, you now haw a Square option. Also available as a separate app icon on the home screen (Square Camera), it’s LG trying to come up with use cases for the 2:1 display.

LG G6   

Square camera modes

Square Camera has modes of its own, the usefulness ranges from… Well, we don’t find them particularly practical. Snapshot leaves half the screen as a viewfinder (for taking square photos, obviously) while the other half gives you a preview (technically, post-view) of the shot as soon as you take it. A convenient shortcut to Instagram pops up too If you were wondering where that 1:1 photo was meant for.

Grid shot is like a camera booth – it creates a 2×2 photo collage. Again, half the screen is the viewfinder, while the other half is the collage in the making. After you’re done capturing the shots, you can choose to re-take one or more if it turns out you made the wrong face.

Match shot is the oddest of the modes, we think. The idea is you take two square shots of objects that have little in common, and align them so that one flows into the other. Well, great, but why? It’s also super difficult to get the second shot to line up with the first, and while you do get to pinch-zoom and move the second image around, you can’t re-take it, so you need to start over from the first shot.

LG G6
Grid shot • Guide shot

The fourth mode is Guide shot, which displays an overlay of a template image over the viewfinder so you can recreate the same framing. You can fine-tune the opacity of the overlay. We can imagine this mode might actually be useful for something. Not exactly sure what, but something.

Image quality

First up, check out some shots we took with the G6 while still in mid-MWC. Tourist photography and some low-light shots to get us going, with the same scenes captured with both cameras for you to get a sense of the differences in coverage.

LG G6  

Normal camera samples, pt. 1

LG G6 

Wide-angle camera samples, pt. 1

Now, we liked the G6 on the spot, so we figured we won’t leave Barcelona without it, and took it with us to headquarters instead. The standardized set of samples will follow, of course, again in both 71° and 125° field of view.

LG G6
Normal camera samples, pt. 2

LG G6
Wide-angle camera samples, pt. 2

As you can tell from both sets of samples, the newest in the G-series still takes great photos, despite a move to a smaller sensor which we ourselves almost called midrange a few paragraphs earlier. It resolves a lot of detail but does have a rather heavy-handed approach to sharpening. Sure, you can see each and every tile and brick’s outline, but it’s a touch too much.

There’s more than the average amount of noise that we’re used to seeing – perhaps that’s one area where the small-ish sensor can only do so much. It’s no worse than Sony’s own Xperia in this respect, not even close, but it’s a little more telling where the sensor comes from than other phones.

Colors are vibrant, without being as warm as the G5’s – a better struck balance between reality and consumer appeal, if you ask us. If you don’t deliberately push it beyond its limits, dynamic range is quite good too, actually.

HDR

Inevitably, you run into high-contrast scenarios where only HDR mode would help. You can leave it to the phone to determine whether HDR is needed and set it to Auto, or you can engage it yourself. Our example below is, indeed, rather extreme, and no HDR mode can capture the entire dynamic range of the scene, but it is a good test.

And the G6 does a good job too. Midtones get a nice boost and a significant portion of the otherwise blown highlights gets salvaged. The effect isn’t over the top, but the HDR shot is a little more dramatic. Combine that with a 125° lens and now you have proper drama. With both cameras, however, we’re seeing a drop of fine detail in the HDR shots.

LG G6
Normal camera HDR: Off • On

LG G6
Wide-angle camera HDR: Off • On

Panorama

The G6 is capable of shooting good, high-res panoramas – it’s using the entire sensor height minus whatever pixels it needs to cancel out because your sweep wasn’t perfectly level, so you’re looking at images around 4,000px tall. Now they’re not as sharp as that resolution might suggest, but there’s a lot of detail. Stitching isn’t flawless though – look at the building behind the red post in the rightmost quarter of the frame.

LG G6
Panorama sample shot in portrait

Photo compare tool

Our Photo compare is the go-to place for comparing resolution, fine detail rendering and color reproduction in a standardized environment. We’ve pre-selected the G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, but you can choose your own set of phones to pit against the G6.

LG G6  

LG G6 against the LG G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge in our Photo compare tool

Selfies

The G6’s selfie shooter is listed as 5MP, but that’s half the story. Just like the rear cameras, it can shoot in both wide-angle (100°) and normal mode (unspecified coverage). Only it’s the one sensor that it’s got to do this.

We figure it’s a higher-res sensor behind a wide-angle lens, and a center crop of it gives you the ‘normal’ view, while the wide-angle view uses the full coverage of the lens, but downsamples the higher-res image to 5MP. Although looking at the photos, it could be a 5MP sensor, to begin with, center portion cropped and upsampled for the ‘normal’ mode.

All of this is to say that selfies aren’t spectacular, but are alright. They contain enough detail for their 5MP, and do a fine job of rendering colors.

Video quality

The G6 records video up to 4K resolution with both of its rear cams. There’s also 1080p recording in both 30fps and 60fps, the regular 16:9 kind. However, you also get 1080p in 18:9 ratio – 2,160×1,080px resolution, just what you wanted for that 18:9 TV you have at home. Not.

Anyway, the 4K videos are encoded with a 47Mbps bit rate, 1080p/30fps gets 17Mbps (in either aspect), and 1080p/60fps is treated to 24Mbps. Audio is recorded in stereo at 156Kbps in all video modes.

The video quality in 4K is superb. The captured detail is still among the best on the market (still, it can’t top the G5) and there’s very little noise. Colors are pleasing too – not over the top, but not dull either, and the G6 also handles changes in exposure well (thanks, weather).

1080p/30fps footage is less exciting, it’s not class-leading in resolved detail, but it’s also not looking like an afterthought, which seems to be the case with some phones. 1080p/60fps captures smoother action at the expense of fine detail – the output is noticeably softer.

Most of the above apply to the wide-angle camera as well. 4K ultra-wide footage is striking to watch, and this new camera can stand a lot better to pixel-level scrutiny than the old 8MP version in the V20 and G5. Stare from too close and you’ll notice it’s not as sharp as the primary cam, but you shouldn’t stare from that close.

1080p/30fps is fine, though unless you’re pressed for space, there’s no reason to go that way. 1080p/60fps with a wide-angle lens in an IP68-rated body puts the G6 into action cam territory, and it’s okay, but it would certainly benefit from a higher bit rate – the 24Mbps just don’t leave it enough room to record all that data.

In 1080p (both 18:9 and 16:9, but not in 60fps) there is also electronic stabilization. It works on both the normal and wide camera too. It is very effective at smoothing out both handshake and the shake induced from walking and doesn’t do blunders while trying to catch up when panning. Naturally, as all such systems, it limits the field of view.

Video compare tool

Last, but not least, check out how the LG G6’s footage compares to rivals in our Video compare tool. We’ve picked the G5 and Galaxy S7 edge, but changing those to any of the phones we’ve tested takes just a couple of clicks.

LG G6  

2160p: LG G6 against the LG G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge in our Video compare tool

LG G6  

1080p: LG G6 against the LG G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge in our Video compare tool

9. Conclusion

Final words

Cutting corners usually has bad implications. But hey, we’d take the G6’s chamfered display corners any day if they make the phone that extra bit more likely to live through a drop out of our clumsy hands. Because that display is one true gem, and we’d like to keep it crack-free and in working order.

LG G6 8

Now, the 18:9 ratio isn’t all that great if most of your viewing constitutes 16:9 YouTube videos. It’s not ideal for general purpose photo viewing either, particularly of 4:3 photos, which the G phone now makes natively. But elongated screens seems to be the direction in which all major players are headed, and LG is leading the way.

Those 4:3 photos are otherwise quite good, even if they only fill two-thirds of the screen. That Sony sensor isn’t pure perfection, but it’s been around long enough for engineers to make the most of it. Even if a little oversharpened and slightly noisy, the photos from the main cam are detailed and with pleasing rich colors. The coverage of the wide-angle cam makes pretty much any scene look dramatic, and with a proper sensor now you get more detail.

The main criticisms against the G6 concern the chipset. Well, Snapdragon 821 is just fine. Really. It’s the best chip Qualcomm has out at the moment, and it’s what LG used. It’s very likely the S835 will be slightly easier on the battery and a little more powerful, but the S821 isn’t remotely a dealbreaker.

Here’s the usual rundown of what we discovered about the G6 during our time with it.

LG G6 key test findings

  • Barebones retail bundle – just the charger and a USB cable
  • Excellent build quality, upmarket look, and feel. The water and dust protection are much appreciated, as well as the attention to durability, even if we can’t attest to the G6’s survival skills.
  • Battery life is a marked improvement compared to both the G5 and V20, and the G6 achieves a 72h Endurance rating. Still, the high-end competitors last as much or longer in most disciplines.
  • The user interface is a typical LG with heavy use of colors from the entire spectrum. There’s Google Assistant onboard, as well as any other Nougat smartphone now. Multi-window multitasking comes standard too and it benefits from the elongated screen, though it’s not as full-featured as Samsung’s implementation.
  • Performance is on par with the other Snapdragon 820/821 competition, with the slightly higher resolution of the G6 having a minor effect on onscreen graphics benchmarks. It’s a dependable performer in both synthetic tests and real-life use.
  • The single loudspeaker falls in the Good category for loudness, it’s clean all the way to maximum volume, but is missing punch in the low frequencies.
  • Impressively clean audio output through the 3.5mm jack, volume only above average.
  • The main camera (the normal one) produces sharp detailed images in both daylight and low light. Noise is present, but not to the point of being an issue, colors are vivid, and dynamic range is actually quite good for such a small sensor.
  • The ultra wide-angle camera is softer than the main one, but still vastly superior than the 135-degree shooters in the G5 and V20.
  • 4K video is super sharp with lots of fine detail – LG’s 2160p footage remains among our favorites. That counts for both cameras too, although again the optics rob the wide one from the tiniest of details.1080p video is good, but not class-leading in terms of resolved detail. The audio quality is usable too.
  • The selfie camera appears to be the same one from the V20 – wide and normal modes from the same sensor, not great but decent detail.

First up, if you insist on the ultra-wide-angle camera, there’s no one else other than LG that offers that. But LG itself has a couple more models with it – the V20 and G5. Neither matches the G6 in battery life, but on both, you can just swap in a freshly charged battery, unlike the G6. If you’re a sucker for add-ons, it’s G5 all the way. If you feel like the ticker display of the V20 can be useful, well then – V20. The V20 also has a more actual display area than the G6 in a more widely used 16:9 format. Neither the G5, nor the V20 is water and dust resistant, and the G6 is. The newest model is also arguably the best looking of this bunch. However, there’s one area where the G6 can’t compete with either one – for its asking price you can have up to two full G5s in some markets or a V20 and a substantial sum to spare.

LG G6
LG G5 • LG V20

If you’re willing to concede the wide-angle cam, an entire world of possibilities opens up to you. Starting with the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, it’s still one looker of a smartphone. You can use it for VR, albeit not Google’s Daydream, but Samsung’s own Oculus-powered GearVR platform – if you want VR, the G6 has nothing to offer. The S7 edge has longer battery life going for it, as well as a lower price – lower by up to 200€. And with the upcoming S8, the S7 can only get cheaper.

LG G6
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Speaking of, if you’re willing to wait a couple of months, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are two more options. Evidently also sporting unorthodox display proportions, Samsung’s future flagships don’t promise all that much novelty aside from a new 10nm chipset (though we’d love to be pleasantly surprised). They will, however, be pricier than the G6, if the rumor mill is any indication, and that does make a case for the LG phone as a ‘value proposition’.

LG G6
Samsung Galaxy S8 • Samsung Galaxy S8+

Already available, a no-waiting-needed alternative to the G6 – the Google Pixel XL. Okay, not really, the Phone by Google is facing the usual availability issues as previous phones by Google. It’s also more expensive, lacks a microSD slot and its IP rating is a lowly IP53, so don’t drop it in the sink (not that you should drop the G6 either, but it will live through it, most likely). The Pixel, however, has an incredibly good camera, and unlimited original-quality storage on Google Photos.

LG G6
Google Pixel XL

OnePlus 3T is in pretty much every comparison because it is that good value for money – call it the ‘value proposition’ killer. At $260/300€ less than an LG G6, you’re getting a full-featured top-end device. It is, however, leaving a few checkboxes empty, that the G6 ticks – IP rating, microSD slot, QHD resolution, these may be worth the premium to some.

LG G6
OnePlus 3T

Call it flagship, call it a bestseller, call it whatever you want, then go ahead and call it yours. The LG G6 is the full package with just the right corners carefully filed away pixel by pixel. We hear ‘value’ and we think it will cost peanuts – well, no. You get what you pay for here, and you get a lot.

Pricing

32GB 4GB RAM $ 164.99
64GB 4GB RAM $ 399.99
128GB 4GB RAM $ 599.00

LG G6 official images

 

LG G6

LG G6

LG G6

 

LG G6

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