Monday, July 17, 2017

LG G6 Full Review: LG's Come Back King



Slim bezels, waterproofing, a metal chassis, and a headphone jack. LG decided to drop the modular failure of last year and instead bring forward a brand new display to review.

The Bezel Shrinking wars are in full force, and LG has brought a brand new weapon into the arena. Instead of the traditional aspect ratio of 16:9 which is on 98% of all the smartphones you’re used to today, The LG G6 sports a 5.7” Quad HD screen with a taller, but not much wider, 18:9 aspect ratio.  



Arguably this modification allows the G6 to be easier to hold in just one hand while still being able to be productive. One drawback however, is the reintroduction of the letter-boxing effect. Do you remember those black bars on your TV when widescreens were starting to hit the market? Well, love’em or hate’em, they're back.

Unfortunately, most apps aren’t ready to support this new screen ratio. Without special settings, most apps are left with unused screen real-estate across the top or bottom. Thankfully, LG provided those special “App-Scaling” settings but you have to manually pick and choose which apps need the extra help to fit the screen properly.

I can’t forget to mention that LG has worked some crazy magic to shrink the bezels. The screen takes up a delightful 78.6% of the front of the phone, which is something Apple or even Google cannot brag about. 

The LCD display has the “Always On” functionality which reminds you of the time, date, and missed messages even when the screen is off, and LG has considerably reduced the amount of light bleed that escapes on the sides of its LCD display. By comparison, the Google Pixel or Galaxy S8 AMOLED display has absolutely zero light bleed. This is a personal preference though when shopping for phones, and should be taken into consideration.

Let’s not forget the additive design of the rounded corners on the display. This is merely a design decision. The rounded corners do not pose any new functionality what so ever, but in a world of critics who state you can only build a smartphone in so many ways, I personally welcome this innovative motif.

Build

This is the first time that I can recall that LG has ditched the option of a removable battery. I’m sure this decision was made in an effort to provide a more premium looking device, and I'd say that has been achieved. The front is a single pane of glass with only one break in design for the earpiece. The glass back feels better and harder than previous plastic backs on a G series phone. However, this black version collects more fingerprints then the local police department from a downtown brawl on a late Saturday night. they are everywhere. it got a bit disgusting. If you get the black version, keep a microfiber cloth on you at all times. you’re going to need it.


The true aluminum sides provide a clean aesthetic. The volume buttons on the sides are well placed and easy to reach as well as maneuver. the placement of the fingerprint sensor in the middle of the back falls right in line with where your finger naturally rests. And the fingerprint scanner doubles as a power button. which sounds fine in theory. Let’s say all you're attempting to do is log in to an app using the bio-metric security.  several times I ended up accidentally pressing the power button and turning the screen off rather than simply logging into that app. 

Cameras

The back of the G6 sports their dual camera setup which they first implemented in Oct 2015 with the LG V10. This time around, they’ve upped the ante by installing two 13MP cameras, as opposed to 1 bigger and 1 smaller. One of the cameras is a standard lens with Optical image stabilization (or OIS) and the second is a wide angle lens, but lacks OIS, and both are supported with a dual LED flash.  



These two rear cameras give you very different perspectives in your photos. The standard lens is what we expect. you see this view on all your major flagship phones. The wide angle lens however, allows a much broader perspective on life. But it’s the colors that make the pictures pop. The hint of blue to make whites softer on your eyes, the extra saturation of color, and the 2k resolution is what really brings the subjects to life. These are just a few examples.

If you need more personal tweaking for your photos, the manual settings allow you to control the individual aspects of the camera such as the shutter, ISO, and white balance. LG removed the option to put multiple pictures in 1 shot. I specifically looked for this b/c the V20 had a difficult time taking clear pictures with each lens and pasting them into the same photo. It appears as though LG decided to just remove that option all together.


  



Battery

If you need a phone that lasts you a full day and beyond, the 3300 mAh battery in the LG G6 could easily fit that demand. In my testing, the G6 lasted through the one day and well into the next before I needed to charge it again. This was tested under my normal daily usage of web surfing, social media, and games, as well as taking pictures and video. 

Also, the G6 supports quick charge 3.0 which allows it to charge up to 50% in just 30 minutes. 

Speaker

The speaker on the G6 isn’t something special to write home about. There’s only one of them and It’s in typical placement along the bottom, and easily muffled by your palm if you turn it in landscape mode to play games. Understandably with the increased screen on a small footprint, front facing speakers just weren’t in the stars for the G6. 

The good news is that there is still a headphone jack on the top of the phone. While many others are removing this option, LG has kept it and I’m sure it’s to make it easier for you to enjoy your headphones of choice. but I wish I could tell you that plugging in headphones would improve the sound quality, but I can’t. unlike the V20, LG omitted their Quad Hi-Fi DAC, which means no high definition sound. 



Internals

No matter the rhyme or reason, one downfall of the LG G6 is that it utilizes the Qualcomm SnapDragon 821 quad core processor. You need to realize that this chip was released in the first phone back in mid to late 2016. You also need to realize that the SnapDragon 835 was announced in early January of 2017 and will be found in the phones from other competitors such as Samsung and HTC and quite possibly Google's next Pixel.

I understand that this argument is merely based on the concept of competition and staying in the race for top tier smartphones of the year. When this processor was top of the class last year, it showed impressive marks on the scales. But when you need to stay future proof with your top of the line smartphone series, the processor could be the determining factor as to who pulls ahead. During my use of the G6, I only noticed hiccups when playing graphic intense games such as this one. 

The 4GB of RAM have no problem keeping up with my daily activity. Apps remained open in the background, they picked up where I left off. And they never had to be force closed or reloaded.
This unit has 32GB of internal storage, but there is a 64GB version as well. And if that’s not enough, you can use a micro SD card to add another 256GB. 

I really enjoyed that the G6 is IP68 rating which means it is dustproof and waterproof. Certified to be dunked as deep as 4 feet for as long as 30 minutes. 


Software

First deployed in October 2016, Android 7.0 Nougat is the base of LG’s operating system in the G6. Admittedly, I’ve never been the biggest fan of the custom tweaks that LG puts on their flavor of Android. The icon set has always appeared silly and “cartoony”. The settings are grouped and hidden away so well that it is almost mandatory to use the search option. 

If only they kept it a little resemblance to stock Android, the settings would be much easier to navigate. One of their most recent changes is to force a white background on any icon that isn’t already square, Google has several of these. This removes all visual uniqueness intended by the developers. Yes this change does make it look more uniform, but... no, just no.

Starting with the LG G5, they removed the iconic app drawer, a feature that is a major keystone to set Android apart from iOS on the iPhone. and there was an uproar that they could not ignore. because of it,  they pushed an update that allowed you to download a replacement launcher (from their app store mind you) that still has an app drawer, and with each phone after that, it’s a built in option. 

The stock app drawer allows you to tuck away any of the infrequently used apps and keep your home screens clean and clutter free of pesky unwanted system apps or games you don’t want but came on the phone. I can’t understand why LG has decided that the app drawer is a black sheep. Why must we be forced to clutter app icons into folders that take up more room than necessary. 

And with that, the folders are hideous too. Why must they take up the whole screen when you open them? but Most of the pet peeves about the software can easily be resolved by downloading another launcher or icon pack from the Google Play store.

To end the software tour on a high note, I’m delighted to say that the LG G6 on Verizon received each monthly security update and I believe that is something that will continue well into the first year of support.

Conclusion

LG has put last year’s G5 disaster behind them, and came back this year fully loaded with a great looking device. very sleek and stylish. minimal bezel and a beautiful LCD display. Pictures are a bit slow but do come out looking great.

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