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LG G6 Review

LG G6
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Interface and Functionality

Split-screen app usage was absolutely made for 9:18 displays

LG G6 Review

LG's Android interface is one of clean design, powerful customization options, and sensible layout. Running atop Android 7.0 Nougat, the UI never feels heavy or that it's forcing you do something in a way you may not like. Don't dig having all your apps cluttering the home screen? Toggle back on a classic app drawer. Not a fan of having system settings broken up across tabs? You're just two taps away from switching back to the familiar all-in-one list view. LG gives you options upon options, and those efforts go a long way towards making the G6 – a phone that's at high risk of seeming “weird” or just different from every other Android you've ever held – feel more like your own.

The big questions most users are going to have about the interface aren't these sorts of general Android concerns, though; what's the deal with this new screen shape, and how does it impact usability?

Well, we've touched on some of issues already when covering the display, talking about the phone's software controls for changing app scaling and their aspect ratios in order to keep things functional and natural-looking on the G6's 18:9 screen. That's one big part of the equation, but we also see how existing Android functionality takes full advantage of this new screen geometry. Take multi-window for instance: while split-screen on phones always ran the risk of feeling more than a bit cramped, the shape of the G6's display helps two apps exist side-by-side in just a bit more comfort.

Other apps are specifically designed to tap into all this extra space. We're going to talk about the phone's camera (and its software) in-depth in just a moment, but that's a great example of an app evolving for this new 18:9 world. There, LG finds room to squeeze a camera roll of recently-shot thumbnails up against the side of the screen, while still having more than enough space for camera controls and your live viewfinder. We'd love to see even more apps with such ingenuity (and a sense for making the most of available space), but even this is helping us appreciate that, in the right hands, 18:9 can be more than just a gimmick.

All that said, the screen on this phone is tall, and there's a good chance you won't be able to reach it all at once in one-handed operation. That's made slightly more frustrating by the presence of only very sparse explicitly one-hand-enhancement UI tweaks. Admittedly, the screen isn't so wide as to cause many problems, but the height can be an issue; you may end up shifting the G6 around in your hand as you go from interacting with Android navigation buttons to pulling down your notification shade.

Processor and Memory

As we peer closer, LG's hardware sacrifices begin to reveal themselves

For 2017 Android flagships, there's one question on everyone's mind: is the phone running the hot new Snapdragon 835? While Sony can say “yes” to that with the Xperia XZ Premium, and all indications point to Samsung going with the chip for the Galaxy S8, LG isn't quite ready to hop on that same train when it comes to its own phones. Instead, the G6 runs the Snapdragon 821, a slightly faster version of the insanely popular Snapdragon 820. It's a very solid chip, but it's also decidedly a 2016 model, and in a market where image matters, and the perception of performance is nearly as critical as raw speed-test figures, that's a decision that could later come to haunt LG.

The company offers legitimate-sounding rationales for its choice of processor, talking about the lengthy development pipeline. And while that's a valid defense, we can't help but wonder just how much more attractive the G6 might be to shoppers if LG had waited to give it the same chip as the rest of this season's top-tier hardware.

LG G6 Review

Now, in full disclosure, we evaluated some early LG G6 handsets, and while we're looking at what sure appears to be final hardware, further software tweaking could have a pronounced impact on both qualitative and quantitative performance.

Using the phone, everything feels appropriately smooth, whether stretching an app to fill the G6's extra-tall screen, or running a pair of them side-by-side. While that's promising, we can't help but raise an eyebrow to certain benchmark tests that bring in lower framerates than we'd expect from this configuration of hardware. It's possible that some further tweaking may enable LG to squeeze some more performance out of the handset, but we wouldn't go into buying the phone with the expectation that there's going to be a drastic improvement right over the horizon.

LG gives the G6 the expected 4GB of RAM, but we're a little sad to see it stick with just 32GB storage (at least for the US model). While that's going to be good enough for many users, we love the wiggle room we get with 64GB, and that level's already becoming synonymous with really top-shelf, power-user phones – somewhere we're sure the G6 would like to be.

At least there's micro SD expansion, and like the G5, LG's back with another unusual side-by-side tray for the memory card and SIM. That tray's now protected by a prominent gasket, reminding us of the phone's water-resistant upgrades.

Connectivity

Slightly fewer whistles and bells than previous years, but nothing we'll really miss

There's nothing too surprising about the G6's connectivity options, supporting tri-band LTE-A Carrier Aggregation for its cellular radio, 802.11 a, b, g, n, and ac for Wi-Fi, as well as NFC and Bluetooth 4.2. We're not really sweating the lack of dual-SIM compatibility (though that may matter more to some users).

LG was already an early adopter of USB Type-C, and we see the reversible wired interface make an expected return here. Not every connectivity option has returned, though, and while the LG G5 could interact with your home electronics over its infrared link, the G6 lacks such a feature.

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LG G6

LG G6

OS: Android 7.0
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
8.7Excellent
Display5.7 inches, 1440 x 2880 pixels (561 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera13 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Quad-core, 2350 MHz, Kryo processor
4 GB RAM
Size5.86 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches
(148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm)
5.75 oz  (163 g)
Battery3300 mAh, 20.5 hours talk time

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