LG has a long history in mobile devices. The 2016 G5 broke some new ground with replaceable modules, but it was a gamble that did not work for LG. The 2017 LG G6 goes back to basics and emerges a solid, sophisticated, waterproof and accomplished performer. In the current state of slick new mobile phones from many manufacturers, the question remains, have LG done enough to stand out? Steven Ambrose finds out.

The Hardware

The LG G6 is instantly recognisable for one key feature. The screen is taller than almost any other on the market for its given size. LG G6 has adopted a ratio of 18×9, compared the now standard 16×9, for its quad HD display. The Display itself is a massive 5.7” IPS panel, large yet manageable, due to minimal bezels. This translates into an edge to edge screen, the LG G6 is smaller than most competitive large screen devices.

The screen itself is brilliant both accurate and sharp. The LG G6 works well in direct sunlight, and the auto brightness is smooth and fast. The screen offers HDR and Dolby Vision 10 for video, videos streamed from Netflix and Amazon look fantastic.

The LG G6 build quality is first rate. Hewn from solid aluminium with an all-screen front and a glass back the look overall is slightly blocky, but solidly high quality. The on off button and fingerprint reader is just below the dual camera setup and is ideally placed for fast operation, with one exception, when the LG G6 is flat on your desk. There are no other buttons on the sides apart from a volume rocker. This leads to a sleek, clean feel for the G6.

The LG G6 is now also water resistant, IP68 in fact, which means that 30 minutes resting in a bathtub, toilet, or pool, will not damage the G6. It’s not for swimming, either in the sea or pool, but life’s little accidents will no longer spell the end of this new LG.

The camera setup is also innovative. A dual camera setup graces the rear of the G6. A 13 megapixel optically image stabilised 1.8 aperture primary camera and a secondary, also 13 Megapixel, wide angle camera is included. Using and switching between the two cameras which don’t work simultaneously is entirely fluid and unnoticeable.

Picture quality is excellent both close and far, and exceptional levels of detail and accuracy are easy to get. The LG G6 camera is not quite as good as the reference Samsung S8, but the differences are subtle, and overall the speed, ease of use, and quality of the pictures is amongst the best available today.The front Selfie camera was also not forgotten, and a wide angle five-megapixel camera is included. The low light and flash ability is excellent, and pros can use the Pro mode to adjust any features and create some unique effects.

The LG G6 includes a Qualcomm 821 processor which is one step below the current state of the art. In actual use, this does not slow the LG G6 down at all. Ample memory is provided with 4 Gig of Ram and 32Gig of memory are standard. The G6 plays games fluidly, switches between apps and loads pictures flawlessly and fast, at no point did it overheat or feel like it was taking strain, even with some of the latest highest resolution apps loaded simultaneously.

The software

The LG G6 includes Androids latest version 7, with a slick light overlay from LG. The LG UI has improved significantly over the LG G5. LG has moved its take on Android closer to stock Android and the enhancements built into Android 7 shows throughout the interface.

All the standard Android apps are there along with a few from LG which vary from useful to ignorable should you wish. Android still feels a little like work in progress with far too many choices and selectable options. The selection of standard apps from Android and LG which substantially duplicate functionality always feels confusing. The G6 overall always feels mature, and reliable in actual use. Apps rarely if ever crash and the interface feels fluid and smooth.

The conclusion

Choosing a new smartphone can be challenging, you need to keep the new phone for an average of 18 months, and in that time, you will probably use it more than any other piece of technology you have. Using the LG G6 for over a month and travelling with it highlighted that this is a solid well thought out phone. It operated flawlessly did everything I needed from quick updates to maps, googling, apps, navigating, and of course great pictures.

The interface becomes predictable and forgettable, in a good way, and the battery life is as good as most other high-end devices. I could get a full day of heavy work with minimal top ups.

The look of the LG G6 is a little bland and blocky. This is soon forgotten as the huge screen, and solid construction dominates.

LG has priced the G6 very well, and it comes in below the other flagships it competes so effectively with. Feature for feature the LG G6 competes head on with all the other flagship devices out there now and does so in a stable and unassuming manner.

LG devices have always aged well, often looking new after years of hard use. In this case, though the LG G6’s glass and aluminium build, calls out for a decent case, as spills may not affect it but drops certainly will.

The LG G6 will not disappoint. It has a distinct character and outstanding quality and would make an excellent two-year companion. Available from all the operators or for around R 11 999-00 cash.