LG G6 preview: the no-nonsense phone the G5 should have been
Enter the LG G6.
LG’s latest high-end phone is a product shaped by experience, feedback, and a healthy dose of market reality. It aims to be an approachable, no-nonsense device with mass appeal and practical design. True, some sacrifices have been made along the way, but the trade-offs may have been worth it. Allow me to elaborate.
Design: less modular, more reliable
Speaking of ruggedness, the LG G6 is designed to withstand abuse. It isn’t bullet-proof, of course, and that Gorilla Glass 5 back will surely shatter if subjected to enough force, but LG has put effort in minimizing the risk of the G6 breaking when dropped, sat on, or in any way handled without the care it deserves. In fact, LG is so confident in its new phone that it let us take a look inside its product testing laboratory, where we saw the G6 being mistreated in all kinds of ways. I witnessed multiple units tumbling in chambers without cracking or sustaining critical damage. Then I saw a metal nail puncturing the battery without that causing fire or smoke. Honestly, I was impressed.
The level of toughness the LG G6 is built to meet is anything but evident from its glass and metal construction. At the end of the day, it is still an okay-looking handset, but I'm afraid some may write it off as too ordinary, as lacking any design cues that draw the attention. Yet it does stand out with things like ultra-slim bezels, high screen-to-body ratio (around 80%), and the fact that the display’s curved corners complement the handset’s shape. And if you think that this phone doesn’t possess enough of that special sauce that makes it an LG, be aware that quirks like the power key positioned on the back are still present.
Display: larger size, smaller phone
The screen itself is of the LCD variety and has the biggest diagonal size of any G-series phone so far – 5.7 inches. The pixel density is typical for a contemporary flagship (2880x1440 pixels, 564 ppi), meaning that graphics look nice and sharp. LG also boasts that it has improved the brightness of the panel compared to the G5. Under normal conditions, the display can reach 500 nits of brightness, and up to 600 nits can be achieved under bright sunlight. Outdoor visibility shouldn’t be an issue given these figures, and it wasn’t as I took a stroll down La Rambla here in Barcelona.
Interface: updated UI fits the new proportions
Does this boost my productivity in any way? That’s not a question I can answer at this time, but I should be answer to do so once I’ve spent a sufficient amount of time in the G6’s company. Still, it is nice to see that effort is put in making software and hardware work in unison.
On the topic of software, I was curious to see whether third-party apps would get along well with the 18:9 screen proportions, and the situation appears to be pretty stable. All of the apps I’ve tried adapt to the screen’s unorthodox aspect ratio without issues. Games, however, do require some involvement on the user’s side. When one is launched, you have the option to choose the aspect ratio for it to run in. Some games do run fine by default, while with others you have to experiment until you find the setting that works best. It’s a hassle, but at least it’s something you have to do only once for every game that you install.
One thing making the G6 special is that it the first non-Pixel phone to come with Google’s Assistant built in. For those not familiar, that is a voice-controlled feature accessible from any screen with a long press of the home button. Think of it as an evolution of Google Now, but with a friendlier, more natural flow of interaction. Whether you feel comfortable having a conversation with your phone is a whole different story.
This story is part of:LG at MWC 2017 (17 updates)
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