Google IO 2017 Coverage

LG G6 review: One step forward, two steps back

Much of the world has been anticipating the LG G6, especially after the company promised to ditch modules and create something truly innovative. Despite all the hype LG has been building around the G6, it still doesn’t quite feel up to par. Aside from a design refresh, it’s much of the same we’ve been seeing for years from the company. It’s unfortunate but true. Though, that doesn’t make the G6 a ‘bad’ choice.

So, what’s the LG G6 all about? Find out below.

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In the mobile industry, competition is fierce. There’s so many companies and brands all fighting to get into consumers’ hands. LG is, of course, one of those companies and was doing great ever since they really got competitive with the LG G2. But, with the G4, innovation slowed and got even worse with the G5. Since then, the company has been missing sales goals and facing internal struggles. The LG G5 was a good phone, but the modularity didn’t catch on with consumers.

Now, LG is back with the G6, focusing on a premium design and usability. They really are focusing on making this a premium phone, too. It’s got a glass body, aluminum frame and curved edges. Putting all that together, the LG G6 is a looker.  The hope is that this will catch on much better with consumers than the G5 did, and with launching before the Galaxy S8, the company was hoping to beat Samsung to the game with a head start.

Let’s see how the LG G6 fairs, shall we?

Design

It goes without saying, the LG G6 is one of the most beautiful devices you’ll ever hold. The company did something extremely right here. The review unit we received came in a platinum color. It really stands out, and the glass back truly makes it shine. LG is actually using Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 for it’s glass back, which makes some seriously bold claims:

“Corning Gorilla Glass 5 raises the bar for protection against drops higher than ever, surviving 1.6-meter drops onto rough surfaces up to 80% of the time. Plus, even though it’s our toughest cover glass yet, it still delivers the damage resistance, optical clarity, and touch sensitivity Gorilla® Glass is famous for.”

It might be some seriously tough glass, but there’s a huge downside to this glass design, and that’s all the imperfections it’s going to receive. Let me tell you: it’s very easily scratched. Even with just laying the phone on its back on a desk, the phone has quite a few little imperfections on the back. And really, that’s just the nature of glass — it looks beautiful, it’s a solid material, but it scratches easily. They’re probably less noticeable on the black variant of the phone but most noticeable with the white.

Beside that, the LG G6 sports an aluminum frame as well as curved corners. Cosmetically, they look great on the phone, but they serve a practical use, too — better protection against drops. Normally, when you have a sharp edge, when you drop the device, all that force is focused on that point, thus increasing your chances of breaking the screen. But, with the curved edges, when you drop the phone, the force is spread across a larger area, reducing your chances of breaking and damaging the display.

Around the back of the device, there’s a fingerprint scanner, which also doubles as the power button. Directly above that is your dual-camera setup with the LED flash.  At the bottom of the phone, you have your speaker and USB-C port. And, despite the trend of getting rid of the 3.5mm audio jack, the LG G6 retains it; however, it’s sitting at the very top of the phone.

On the sides of the device, all you have is your SIM card tray and up/down volume buttons.

The LG G6 actually feels good in the hand. It is slippery, but still comfortable. Comfort in the hand was a worry for some, since the device is a lot taller than most; however, it feels perfect, even with one-handed use. It’s not the lightest device you’ll hold either, and that’s a good thing — it’s a very quality construction, it doesn’t feel cheap at all. As for button placement, it all feels very natural. You have your usual volume buttons on the side, which are easy to access without too much work. The fingerprint scanner/power button is also in a nice spot, as that’s the area where your index finger rests when holding the phone, so that’s also easy to access as well — it’s all a very comfortable experience.

Hardware

 LG G6
AnnouncedFebruary 26, 2017
ReleaseSpring 2017
Display5.7-inch (2880x1440) FullVision
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM4GB
Storage32GB
Rear Camera13MP + 13MP w/ wide-angle lens
Front Camera5MP
Battery3300mAh (non-removable)
ChargingUSB-C with Quick Charge 3.0 and wireless charging
SoundBottom-facing speakers
SoftwareAndroid 7.0 Nougat with LG UX
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC
SensorsAmbient, proximity, accelerometer, gyro, compass, barometer, fingerprint
Measurements148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
Weight163g
ColorsAstro Black, Mysitc White, Ice Platinum

Performance

The LG G6 has a 5.7-inch Quad HD+ (2880×1440) IPS LCD display with 564 pixels per inch. It does have an interesting aspect ratio — 18:9. It’s something we haven’t seen on a device like this before. Obviously it makes the device a little taller, but as we already mentioned, it still feels comfortable in the hand. The design is actually quite incredible — there’s a lot of screen on this already fairly slim and low profile device. It’s not nearly as much as the Samsung Galaxy S8, but you still get an impressive 78.6% screen-to-body ratio.

The LG G6’s display is one of the best in the industry right now. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Viewing angles are great on the phone, and with adjusting brightness levels, you can see and use the phone just fine in direct sunlight. Text is sharp and easy-to-read and media looks as crisp as can be. It’d be a challenge to go back to a lesser quality display after using the LG G6.

The LG G6’s performance package is fairly impressive as far as performance goes. You get a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM and storage options of either 32GB or 64GB. If you need more storage, there’s a microSD card to expand the stock storage up to 256GB. The phone works well with multitasking. It’s able to handle anything you throw at it. You’re getting more than enough power out of the Snapdragon 821.

The performance package is kind of disappointing from an expectation standpoint. For a flagship, you’d expect to see the latest and greatest hardware packed inside. Instead of using the latest Snapdragon 835 processor for the phone, the LG G6 uses last year’s technology. It’s not too much of a complaint — the Snapdagon 821 performs just fine — but when you consider that the Galaxy S8, a phone the LG G6 is directly competing against, has the latest Snapdragon 825, it’s a little disappointing and might be a deciding factor for some consumers.

There’s plenty of sensors and accessories that come with the phone, too — Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 (not Bluetooth 5.0, mind you), GPS, NFC, and then your accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass and barometer sensors.

One of the more unfortunate areas of the LG G6 is the sound. In the US, you don’t get the higher quality quad-DAC setup — that’s an exclusive to LG’s home country, Korea. We didn’t have a Korean model to test, but supposedly, it’s leagues better than the sound packed in the LG G6 in the US; however, the sound in the US model isn’t too bad, but the primary complaint is that it doesn’t get very loud, so it can be a struggle to hear certain dialog or lyrics, depending on what type of media you’re watching or listening to.

Battery

The battery is pretty standard. You get a 3300mAh non-removable battery and, just like any other phone, you’ll get about a day’s use out of it. But, when it comes down to it, depends on how much you use the phone. During my personal use, I still had a substantial amount of battery life left in the evening, but I’m no power user. Battery is always one of those things where your mileage may vary.

On a WiFi connection, I left it playing video at 720p until it died. It lasted about four hours, so you can expect to get around that with straight media, although it still depends on your media quality and other things going on in the background of your phone. There is a number of battery saving features that will help keep your phone going until you can put it on the wire.

Software

I’ve always felt that LG has nailed their software. There’s always been some parts where they could’ve improved, but for the most part, LG UX is a great interface. With the LG G6, there’s some serious improvement with the interface, although you may not notice if you’ve used the LG G5 or even the LG V20. The company has also made some good improvements to bloatware — many of the apps actually feel useful now. One app LG has added to the G6 is an app that lets you adjust how other apps fit and scale with the 18:9 display — there’s quite a bit you can adjust to get the most natural looking experience; however, I didn’t feel a need to use it at all. Apps already look great on the screen, and that might be because Google has already been encouraging developers to offer support for 18:9 displays.

It’s worth noting that, depending on whether you get a carrier model or not, there’s going to be a lot of carrier bloatware included. So, there is that to think of when deciding to buy from a carrier or somewhere else. Still, the software itself is extremely fast and responsive. There’s little to no sluggishness here.

A good portion of the changes come in design, primarily when it comes to wallpapers and icons. Some of the new wallpapers actually look gorgeous, as they’re designed to take advantage of the new 18:9 display on the LG G6.

What is nice is that the phone ships with Android 7.0 Nougat, the latest Android version. You won’t be waiting around to get Nougat like much of the phones out there still are. A huge benefit as well is that the LG G6 is one of the few phones to integrate Google Assistant as well. Google has rolled out Assistant to compatible devices, but it works like a dream on the LG G6.

Camera

The LG G6 comes with two 13MP cameras on the rear. If you’ve used the LG G5 or LG V20, it’s much of the same we’ve already seen. There is a megapixel difference between the LG G5 — it had a 16MP primary camera and an 8MP wide angle lens. The G6 has a 13MP primary camera and 13MP wide angle sensor, but quality wise, it’s the same situation.

Quality is extremely disappointing. Unless you have absolutely perfect lighting, photos look blurry/fuzzy and they almost have a grainy look to them. The front-facing camera is even worse. It’s a 5MP sensor, but it’s extremely fuzzy.

There’s many that say the camera is excellent — but my experience has been different. Photos do come out fuzzy and under exposed, even in perfect lighting. This is before and after trying to adjust settings to make the camera quality better, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t get any better.

There’s quite an array of Camera features that come with it — the usual that you’d expect: panorama, filter options, options for the wide-angle camera and so on.

All in all, for a flagship, it’s extremely disappointing and not acceptable. This phone should be absolutely perfect or close to it, but there’s still tons of room for improvement.

Closing

LG gets some things right with the G6 — you get an absolutely stunning display and a masterful design, but they drop the ball in many other areas. This is supposed to be LG’s flagship phone for the year, but it feels like it’s just LG playing catch up. We get the same low-quality camera setup that dates back all the way to the LG G5. There’s some serious quality problems with it, none of which LG has even addressed yet. You also don’t get the latest Snapdragon 835 processor or the latest Bluetooth version. Not only that, but the front-facing camera is just awful — there’s no excuse for it.

These might seem like small things to pick at, but when you look at the LG G6’s biggest competitor — the Galaxy S8 — LG dropped the ball in a lot of areas.. The Galaxy S8 gets all of these things right, even if it took them a little while longer to launch this year.

So, should you pick up an G6 this year? It’s totally up to your preferences, but there’s a lot of areas where the Galaxy S8 already bests the LG G6. You are getting one of the most beautiful displays on the market, but that’s the same story for the Galaxy S8.

All in all, LG took one step forward by getting rid of the modules but two steps back by not putting out the best it could. Once again, it’s a year of LG playing catch up.

Buy it now: Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Best Buy


About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.


  • LLcdPH

    Kind of an odd review since most of the mainstream Android review sites are putting the camera on par with the Pixel and S8. At least their daylight shots. And the images that have been posted online back that up. Maybe you should try cleaning the lens?

    • digical1

      No trust me. I also could not believe how bad the camera was. I have a pixel & s7 edge. The G6 is nowhere close to those 2 phones when it comes to photos.

      • Antoine Swans

        Who cares!
        Tell that to the people who are buying them because of the wide angle lens and the manual rich features! They know it’s​ not the absolute best, but it’s​ better than having only one point of view! So please stick with your Pixel and S7 and S8 and do us all a favor and enjoy it, as we will enjoy ours!

        • Victory4LSU

          you are so mad right now. LOL The camera on the G6 is garbage; and championing the cameras manual adjustments and wide angle lens is just polishing a turd when 99.99% of users will never use those features more than once.

          • Antoine Swans

            No, you are mad? And what in the fuck is wrong with you simple minded mother fuckers!
            I said, i make money with my G6 and V20, and its not in my pocket shaping pictures of flowers and shit! One man’s trash is a another man’s treasure. I’m sorry that you couldn’t even think to use your phone to make money for you and now you’re so bitter yet simple. Listen to all of you complaining about my shit being useless and I’m making money and paid my shit off! I’ll tell you what, buy your beautiful piece of hand held jewelry shove up in your ass and may it exploded! How about that one! You mother fuckers have some nerve trying to tell people what they have and don’t even have your mother fucken selves, you pathetic as pieces of shit! Now there’s your fucking turd, how about that one! LOL &SMMFH! ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK!!

            • ruggerd

              Fuck you trailer trash cocksucker. You don’t make shit you welfare grubbing sister marrying. You like making threats little girl.

            • Antoine Swans

              Suck dick bitch and die!

          • Antoine Swans

            Your funny!
            Did you wake up and have a bad day already?
            The day is just getting started and your panties are already in a bunch!
            Yet we have another insecure person in search of his identity through a cell phone.
            LG must be getting under your skin for you and your so called better smartphone camera to go out of your way to read an article about LG then complain about it like a girl who got ditched and left at the prom! Your just too fucking funny!

          • Antoine Swans

            No! You should be!

        • Justin_Herrick

          All of the extras (wide-angle lens, manual controls) are kinda useless if the pictures don’t look good.

          • Antoine Swans

            Like the ones that you posted on Facebook with the Snapchat filters! Nice try sir! What grown ass man uses a Snapchat filter then posts it on Facebook as a profile picture then tries to attack someone​. Where they do that at? I’m sorry, is that to let people know that you bought a Samsung Galaxy, and now you can get the attention you so badly want and need? And that’s why you are here! I always said that ugly people need pretty things.

            • ruggerd

              LOL. If your iq exceeds double digits I would be shocked. What an emotionally and intellectually immature person you are. I’m sure lots of people will be swayed by your “convincing” childish personal attacks.

            • Antoine Swans

              You mean like your mother’s!

        • ruggerd

          What a childish response!

          • Antoine Swans

            Yes it is, but it’s my opinion! I’m not fighting with you over a Mother Fucking Phone! Good day it!

    • Justin_Herrick

      It’s weird, man. Both Brad and I used the camera, and both of us felt disappointed. I had the Pixel. The G6 is not even in the conversation. Even the Galaxy S8 is way better. I’ve seen results from other sites in which it’s hit-or-miss. Overall, I think we can all agree LG has to improve.

      • LLcdPH

        Maybe you should try a different G6?

        • Justin_Herrick

          We went through two units.

  • Antoine Swans

    Who cares what you think, it’s already a big hit. Not as large of a hit like the S8 but great for LG. You think that your opinion of the G6 will matter, I’m sorry to tell you that it won’t! People love the wide angle lens on the G6 and as a photographer i do as well. No phone can touch it’s manual capabilities and yes, I make money with my camera phone. I don’t know why some of these reviewers think everyone wants a Samsung Galaxy S8. News flash…We don’t! I’m happy and proud to own the V20 and the G6 so your opinion doesn’t sway my purchase decision. And if you read most of the reviews, that feeling is mutual! Enough your S8 and we will enjoy our two steps back with a wide angle lens.
    LOL & SMMFH!

    • ruggerd

      Give it a rest buddy. The review is spot on. The removal of the dac is inexcusable. You can make all the fanboy rantings you want. The sound quality is imperative. LG continues on a losing streak for no good reason. It almost seems like they want to be last.

      • Antoine Swans

        And that’s how you feel!
        As I said before I’m not fighting over a phone!

  • Bidiminished

    IMO the design is not quite there yet – the noticibly different sized bezels look awkward and furthermore the bottom bezel serves no purpose.

  • Antoine Swans

    This site must be where all the bitter jaded and disgruntled people come to play and have fun!
    It’s kinda like an amusement park for the people who can’t get over it that are pissed, bitter and full of hate!
    Brought to you by…”You Tried It”

  • http://www.dukakeen.com/ Asma Harshi

    LG is chasing practicality. With the G6 it has achieved most of it. Without compromising on gimmicks

  • Carlos Andrade

    Fan boy post?…everyone knows why LG G6 has the 821…How can you say “We get the same low-quality camera setup that dates back all the way to the LG G5” when the LG G6 was considered one of the best cameras for android phones in 2017? Impressive…