In a world of glass and steel, tweets and technology, we may often miss the Human Touch. How does a high tech manufacturer stand out when perfection in Glass, Steel, and high tech, is all about? LG seems to have though this through and their answer is the very Human LG G4 Smartphone. Steven Ambrose gets close and shares his feelings….
LG Mobile have followed a less travelled path, the recent release of the LG G4 smartphone broke a few rules set by the two big gorillas in the room. Apple and its arch rival Samsung have perfected the art of steel and glass. Apple were first out of the blocks with the iPhone 6 and Samsung followed soon on with the Galaxy S6, both outstanding engineering marvels.
The defining characteristic of these two devices, operating system apart, is the brilliant build quality and solid metal and glass construction. Technically Samsung have thrown the kitchen sink and then some at the Galaxy S6 and Apple have taken the iPhone 6 to integrated perfection with the combination of iOS and hardware so tightly integrated that it offers a seamless user experience.
LG needed to find another path. The new LG G4 focused on what we do with our devices and added a tactile advantage that is very human and very smart. LG did not ignore the technology but carefully avoided the spec war. Where it counts, notably the camera and the screen, they may have out gunned their rivals, and in the construction neatly sidestepped the rivalry.
Leather and curved glass with a wrapping of smooth plastic. This does not sound like a winning recipe but LG have pulled it off. The new LG G4 has a solid well executed feel. The overall body of the LG G4 is slightly thicker than its rivals but this is completely hidden in the actual execution of the G4. The back curves along with the screen ever so slightly and the weighting is perfect and feels smooth and natural in your hand.
The key differentiator is the real leather back. This may sound anachronistic but it actually works extremely well. LG have uses very high quality leather and formed it in a way that adds little bulk and tons of character. Various interchangeable colours are available along with a textured plastic back, should you prefer. I like the leather back as it adds a tactile dimension lacking from many of today’s tech gadgets.
The curved 5.5inch screen is an IPS , read good viewing angles and natural colour, screen which using some new tech called Quantum dot, offers excellent colour brightness and contrast. Pictures really look natural and video is a pleasure to watch. This is an Ultra HD screen with extremely high resolution and sharpness. In actual use it is definitely one of the very best screens I have seen on a mobile device yet
The curve of the screen is mirrored by the body and the removable back plate and removable battery feel solid, well-engineered, and well made. There are no side buttons just like the LG G2 and G3 Models. The controls are carefully placed on the rear of the device below the camera, once your fingers learn to go there it is an arrangement that is intuitive and easy to use.
The processor and memory is right at the top of current technology. A Qualcomm snapdragon 808 is used along with 3 GB of ram, translated to smooth and fast performance, no matter what you try to do. I never experienced lag or slowdown in normal use. The removable battery and expandable memory are two features increasingly rare in today’s crop of top end devices.
LG have given the cameras on the G4 lots of attention. The rear camera is simply outstanding and may be the best camera on a smartphone to date. The tech specs are good with a 16 Mega Pixel sensor at the rear and an 8 Mega Pixel front selfie camera. The pixels tell little of the story. LG have added advance stabilisation to the rear camera along with a bigger sensor and lenses with an aperture of F1.8. Add to this the laser focusing system introduced on the LG G3 and you have a winning combination of ease of use and accuracy.
LG have also refined the software on the LG G4 and offer camera buffs the ability to manipulate the settings to their heart’s content. For those who just want to take good pictures the LG G4 make this effortless. The colour, sharpness, and low light ability, make the LG G4 worth buying it if just for the camera alone. The Selfie camera is also excellent and the beauty mode and ability to take selfies by just saying “LG” or “Kimchi” out loud to the phone, was fun and very effective.
The LG G4 runs Android 5. LG have made this version on the G4 even simpler and closer to stock Android. Overall the built in LG apps are good and usable out of the box. All the standard Android apps for mail calendar and mail are right there. In addition a few useful LG apps are preinstalled. I found the Qmemo app which allowed weather and location to be added to your notes very useful. The Qremote caused havoc around the family TV, but allowing me to control the channel from my phone so no more fighting over the remote. The smart settings app allowed scenarios to be set such as which app to open when I connected my running Bluetooth headphones, which is clever and useful. Google Now is also available giving all sorts of information based on location and upcoming events.
In the time I have used the LG G4 it has simply become a smart integrated companion to my daily activities. Choosing a phone is always personal, but every now and then along comes a combination of attributes, from build, software, and hardware, that just works, and does the job right. The LG G4 is one of those devices. The camera and screen are standout brilliant. Both set new standards for mobile phones and add to the overall pleasure of using the G4. It is however the human touch that makes the G4 outstanding, from the moment you hold the G4 in your hand and begin to interact with it, the G4 feel intuitive and comfortable.
The G4 is available from all operators in various colours and finishes and also is very well priced. It undercuts the Apple iPhone 6 and the Samsung S6 by a fair margin and offers an experience and technology that is extremely competitive, and in some respects superior to those two models.
As always it’s best to go and try before you buy, but if you just go for the LG G4 you will not be disappointed. The LG G4 is my pick of the top Android phones for now.
Steven Ambrose @ambio