LG has been chasing in terms of smart phones compared to Samsung in the Android market for years. Each time Samsung makes a move, LG follows along a few months later and a little less impressively.
Although, Samsung this year decided to make some changes to the smartphone in the most dramatic way since 2011 by putting out new features and incorporating new designs and materials. LG, on the other hand, did not completely upend its design and approach. The new G4 is very similar to last year’s G3, in both appearance and features. It still has the features that Samsung dropped from its phones.
The G4 is not just a warm over G3, however it has some crucial upgrades that make for a much better experience. Looking at the G4 it is very similar to the G3, it is made of plastic, has a 5.5-inch display and has its power and volume buttons on the back. The placement of these buttons are to be different from the other smartphones and this does not feel natural to have them there when you want to use it.
The phone is not small as it has the 5.5-inch display. It is wider than the Galaxy S6 but not as massive as the iPhone 6 Plus. LG says the G4 is 20% less likely to shatter when dropped but it would be difficult to quantify something like that as it depends on other variables when the smartphone is dropped.
One thing that is new for the G4 is the optional leather back that looks and feel pretty nice. The standard one comes in a grey plastic back which makes the phone look cheap compared to the other glass and metal finishes of the iPhone, HTC or Galaxy S6. The phone is the same size and resolution of 5.5-inch, QHD, 2560 x 1440 as the G3’s screen. The new camera has a 16-megapixel unit behind a new super bright f/1.8 aperture lens. The lens is the brightest you can get on a smartphone and it lets in a lot of light especially when there is dim lighting and you want great pictures.
There is a new camera app that includes both automatic and manual exposure options while ignoring many of the gimmicky camera modes of years past. The manual camera is particularly fun to use, you can adjust white balance, ISO, focus and shutter speed all the way down to 30 seconds. The G4 still hunts for focus more than other phones and can even miss focus from time to time.
Also new to the G4 is a six-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor. It is coupled with 3GB of RAM and handles everything you might want to do with your phone with ease. It does not exhibit the lag or stutter animations compared to the S6 or One M9. The swappable 3,000mAh battery can last into a second day depending on how often you use the phone. It does not have the built-in wireless charging and rapid charging features like the convenient S6.
This smartphone runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop with LG’s customer interface on top. It does not feel any different to the G3 and it still has a lot of stuff most people are not likely to use. But it does not feel any different to the G3. The harsh reality is that LG is likely never going to move away from the shadow of Samsung or Apple. The company is not unaware of that with the president and CEO of its mobile division Juno Cho stating LG only expects to sell 8 million G4s by the end of the year compared to the tens of millions of units Apple sells each month.