Welcome the LG G6, a phone with Google Assistant built-in

Big screen, hand-sized phone. There isn’t any reinventing the wheel here. Instead, LG is working on perfecting its formula to create something that works for everyone. Extensive research was carried out to compose the ultimate wish list for a phone. Now we have the final product.

The LG G6 is official following an announcement at MWC 2017 in Barcelona.

The G6 is the natural evolution of last year’s G5 that underwhelmed consumers. It largely improves upon what wasn’t liked then by either removing features or tweaking them. One thing you’ll notice right away is that this phone actually looks premium. The G5, despite what LG says, lacked a look and feel matching its price tag. Now, with the modular design gone, LG is embracing a metal and glass body that boasts IP68 certification to resist dust and water.

LG managed to include a bigger display on its latest flagship while keeping the footprint smaller than the predecessor. The G6 is slightly thicker than the G5, but it’s providing space for a larger battery. Seriously though, you won’t notice the difference in thickness. The G6 is thin and light.

This accomplishment can be rewarded to LG’s engineers who maximized the screen-to-body ratio by slimming the bezels around the display. The G6’s 5.7-inch screen is barely surrounded by anything on the sides. And the vertical bezels are small because LG is utilizing 18:9 aspect ratio, which has to be a first or at least a milestone of sorts. LG’s G6 has a screen that truly does take up a huge amount of the front. It’s not bezel-free yet, but LG might be the first to sell a major phone in the U.S. without any bezels.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the G6 is its display’s rounded corners. LG says, after countless drop simulations, a display with rounded corners is leaps and bounds ahead of conventional sharp display corners in durability. The rounded corners allow force to be spread, applying less pressure on any single area.

The left side of the phone has volume buttons and the right side is bare since LG continues to put its power button on the rear. And, of course, there isn’t a home button because on-screen buttons are integrated into the software. The only ports on the G6 are the USB-C port for charging and the auxiliary port for audio.

You’ll be able to choose from Astro Black, Mystic White, and Ice Platinum for color options. Both Astro Black and Mystic White appear to be primarily glass while Ice Platinum has a brushed aluminum finish.

The G6 features a 5.7-inch Quad HD+ (2880×1440) FullVision display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 13MP + 13MP rear camera, a 5MP front camera, a 3300mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 and wireless charging support, and Android 7.0 Nougat.

Not every area needs to be details, but there are a couple of interesting nuggets within the phone’s specifications.

First, Qualcomm’s latest and greatest processor is not inside the G6. The Snapdragon 821, which powered the last round of high-end phones, is the processor rather than the Snapdragon 835. Who’s to blame for this? Samsung. LG’s biggest competitor scooped up all of the inventory for Qualcomm’s Snadragon 835 to use in the upcoming Galaxy S8. It’s certainly disappointing that the latest Snapdragon 800 series processor is missing. We’re just hoping enough consumers have faith in the Snapdragon 821 being a worthy component for a flagship even in 2017.

Samsung, though, isn’t getting off easy on stealing the most wanted processor from everyone else. A straight-up jab is being delivered by LG. The target? Batteries. Because of the Galaxy Note 7 scandal at the center of the mobile industry for months, the G6’s battery’s quality is championed in more ways than one. LG pre-briefed us with a presentation showing the level of internal standards its batteries must meet in order to be used. They go far beyond industry standards, and LG even shared its charging algorithm.

If LG plans on getting new customers who would normally buy from Samsung, it’ll emphasize battery quality in promotional campaigns.

Last, regarding the display, 4K and HDR content on mobile devices hasn’t quite been popular. But LG worked with Dolby Vision to give G6 owners access to enhanced entertainment. The display is brighter and sharper than the competition, enabling better contrast with highly accurate colors. So you’ll get benefits whether you’re reading a book, liking posts on Instagram, or watching 4K and HDR-ready movies on Netflix.

If you’ve used an LG phone at any point in the last eighteen months, the G6 won’t feel very new. However, that’s not to say LG UX is old and awful. It’s refreshing, and LG’s software developers have kept advancing their software overlay for Android. LG points out that, courtesy of the spacious display with 18:9 aspect ratio, you can do way more. The Camera app, for example shows previews of recently taken pictures while you’re still shooting new ones.

There seems to be a long-term agreement between Google and LG. Last year, the V20 was the world’s first non-Google phone to ship with Android 7.0 Nougat. Then, earlier this month, the Watch Sport and Watch Style became the world’s first smartwatches powered by Android Wear 2.0. Today, the G6 takes its place as the world’s first non-Google phone to ship with Google Assistant built-in.

We will admit, as is the case with any non-Google phone, that LG’s software is a somewhat of an acquired taste. It’s not very heavy, but it’s a clear departure from stock Android and still carries things that just aren’t necessary or get in the way. Still, LG UX shouldn’t be a deter anyone from buying a very capable phone.

When can you buy the G6? It depends on where you live. First to get it will be LG’s home country South Korea. Then you should expect the footprint to expand with North America getting the phone sometime in April. Overall, the 2017 flagship from LG is labeled as having release date this spring. When there are official details, we’ll let you know when the LG G6 is going to be available.

Click here for our MWC 2017 coverage

About the Author: Justin Herrick

Born and raised in New Jersey, Justin is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University where he studied marketing with a focus on digital marketing. He's very talkative and enjoys discussing anything from technology and sports to video games and television. As for Justin's current device rotation, he carries around the Google Pixel and Nexus 9. In the rare case that his phone or tablet is not in his hand, he is either flicking through cards on his Moto 360 (2015) or typing away on the Microsoft Surface Book. Justin is patiently waiting for the day that Google replicates the Galaxy Nexus with modern day specifications.