LG G4 Review: Galaxy S6 Faces a Serious Android Contender

When it comes to flagship Android smartphones, the Samsung (SSNLF) Galaxy S6 pretty much owned the spotlight for the first half of 2015. But, the arrival of the LG G4 may rain on Samsung’s parade.

LG G4 review, intro

Source: LG Electronics

While Samsung went all in on premium design, switching to glass and metal, LG Display Co. (LPL) stayed conservative with its new flagship (although a premium leather cladding is available), but by doing so kept features like a removable battery that the Galaxy S6 lost.

The LG G4 is also bigger and packs a best-in-class camera.

Does this smartphone have what it takes to knock the Galaxy S6 off its pedestal? Read our LG G4 review to find out.

LG G4 Review: Big, Fast and Old School

The LG G4 is a big smartphone.

LG G4 review, still plastic

Source: LG Electronics

At 5.5-inches, it’s nearly the size of phablets like the Apple (AAPL) iPhone 6 Plus. Its display is quad HD resolution, but the bigger news is that it uses IPS Quantum technology. This results in extreme contrast and color range without the over-saturation that can affect OLED displays like that found on the Galaxy S6.

With concerns about the Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon 810 overheating, LG instead went with the Snapdragon 808, sacrificing performance. However, thanks to 3GB of RAM and some software optimization on LG’s part, the G4 doesn’t suffer from the move.

LG is making a move to target photographers with the G4, equipping it with a 16MP primary camera (capable of shooting RAW format images and 4K video) along with an 8MP “selfie” cam.

While the clear trend for flagship Android smartphones is to go upscale with premium design materials like glass and metal, the LG G4 takes an old school approach. It looks very similar to last year’s G3, including the plastic case (although the plastic is coated with a ceramic finish to keep it from looking cheap).

LG G4 Review: Plastic Has Its Advantages

When you look at complaints about the Galaxy S6, the two issues that come up most frequently are the loss of microSD card support and the lack of a user-replaceable battery.

LG G4 review, still axpandable

Source: LG Electronics

Those two features — the ability to load up on cheap storage with microSD cards and swap out batteries as needed — have been longtime Android advantages over the iPhone. However, in the quest to get thinner, seamless and more upscale-looking, Samsung was forced to ditch these on the Galaxy S6.

The LG G4 makes no attempt to be ultra-slim and the plastic back panel can be removed. In fact, it can be swapped out altogether for a spiffy-looking leather-covered version.

Unlike Samsung, LG was able to keep the microSD card slot, and by popping off the back panel, the battery can easily be switched.

To drive the advantage home, until the end of June, LG was even giving away a 32GB microSD card and an extra battery with the purchase of an LG G4.

LG G4 Review: Specs

  • 5.5-inch Quad HD IPS Quantum display at 538 ppi
LG G4 review, specs

Source: LG Electronics

  • Hexa-core 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 CPU with 3 GB RAM
  • 32 GB storage, expandable with microSD card (up to 2TB)
  • 16MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture, laser autofocus and RAW support
  • 8MP front camera with soft light
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, USB 2.0
  • Runs Android 5.1 (Lollipop)
  • 3,000 mAh removable battery rated at up to 23 hours talk time
  • 5.86 x 3.0 x 0.39-inches
  • Weighs 5.47 oz
  • Priced from $600 (unlocked)

LG G4 Review: Conclusion

LG Electronics took a number of risks with its new LG G4.

LG G4 review, conclusion

Source: LG Electronics

Keeping its new smartphone so similar in appearance to last year’s model, skipping the metal/glass trend to stick with plastic, and going with the less powerful Snapdragon 808 processor were all moves that could have backfired.

However, the company has done a good job mitigating those risks. For those who want a more upscale look, or something visibly different from the G3, snapping on a leather backplate helps. The phone also seems quite capable performance-wise, despite the cheaper CPU.

For those looking for a smartphone that still offers expandability, the LG G4 is one of the shrinking number of options out there, a key advantage over the Galaxy S6,

As is usually the case with smartphones that run Google’s (GOOG,GOOGL) Android operating system, the LG G4 is unlikely to convince iPhone owners to switch, despite a beautiful display and very impressive camera.

Our LG G4 review shows, though, that the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 now have some serious competition to contend with when it comes to shoppers comparing flagship Android phones.

As of this writing, Robert Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2015/07/lg-g4-review/.

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