LG smashed it out of the park with the G6. The new device (on sale for R14 630 from 7 April) is the brand’s seat at the main table, alongside design masters Apple and Samsung. It also fixes everything that was wrong with the much maligned G5 and gave me a reason to love Android again.
Flagship phones are tall now and this is the handset that kicked off the trend. The pseudo-cinematic 18:9 display was dreamt up by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor and Dick Tracy) in 2003 as a compromise between 16:9 and 70mm formats, much like 16:9 was a midway between 21:9 Cinemascope and the old 4:3 TV display. But the 2:1 screen ration does allow for the user interface to be split into two squares, which is great for multitasking.
Under the hood the G6 runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, supported by 4 GB of RAM and I have yet to experience any stutters or any tasks that the device doesn’t have the horsepower to accomplish. Last year’s premium chipset runs buttery smooth around the UI with apps opening instantly. Yes the Kirin 960 and the Snapdragon 835 are sizeable improvements in certain instances, but this is a proven winner of a hardware combination.
But that’s not the story here. Phones above the R10 000 mark are pretty comparative in specifications. The story is that the 5,7-inch QHD+ screen, which LG has annoyingly trademarked FullVision, is gorgeous. It’s an LCD, so it’s bright and does very well in sunlight, but it’s just so delightfully narrow. Narrow enough and with bezels tiny enough that you really can use it with one hand. A first for me since I downsized to the pint-sized powerhouse iPhone SE which has a minuscule 4-inch screen.
I can’t reach the notification shade without some finger gymnastics, but the entire useful part of the screen is within thumb reach. And LG was also sensible enough to stuff an ample 3 300 mAh battery inside which adds a reassuring chunkiness to the package.
That “fat” metal frame is also shaped like an I-beam, adding structural support all around the device. Try and bend it in store, just try. Then they tucked the display and glass in under the metal to ward off damage from corner drops. The G6 is a masterclass in engineering.
Round back is LG’s signature wide-angle (135˚) and standard dual camera array. Both sensors are 13 MP units this time, making it the undisputed king of usefulness because that wide angle lens is a lifesaver when shooting in cramped spaces, or when shooting large subjects. The front camera is a 5 MP unit with a 100˚ wide-angle mode for getting the whole squad in.
LG have done everything right on the G6, from the thoughtful design all the way to the cameras and toned down its previously heavy-handed approach to skinning Android. Lifestyle protection like IP68 dust and water resistance and the engineered structural strength are also welcome. The price is a little too close to the technologically superior Samsung Galaxy S8, but the approach is more measured and user-centric. The public spoke and LG listened, imagine the quality consumers can look forward to if this phone is a massive success? This is democracy and consumers hold the power. Choose wisely.