LG G6 review: Can it beat the Galaxy S8?
The LG G6 is the flagship device that got everyone talking at MWC 2017. Its 18:9 aspect ratio left me in awe and with it now in my hands, I found myself questioning every other phone in existence with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Simply put, when you go 18:9 you’ll never want to go back. Why? Because the LG G6 adds that extra bit of display you’ve been longing for while keeping similar dimensions to conventional phones, such as the Huawei P9 I use day to day. By elongating the screen and reducing the bezels, LG has struck gold with a flagship phone that’s perfect for viewing videos, reading the news and multitasking.
The LG G6 comes with 32GB of internal storage, with up to 2TB of expandable storage through a microSD card. You’ll find it in the UK in Astro Black, Ice Platinum and Mystic White. I received the Ice Platinum for review.
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LG G6 review: Price and competition
LG hasn’t confirmed the price with us, but LG’s UK website links out to Argos, which has it at £650, and other retailers are also selling it at this price (Clove and MobileFun), so it’s safe to say this is as official as it’s going to get. In the US, Verizon has the LG G6 listed at $672.
LG had initially promised us a “very competitive” price, but it isn’t that much cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S8 at £689, and it’s more expensive than both the iPhone 7 at £579 and Google Pixel at £600.
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LG G6 review: Build quality and design
The LG G6 looks great and it oozes premium quality with its stylish metal frame and glass back. The latter is made with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5, which gives it much-needed drop protection and scratch resistance, but it isn’t particularly fingerprint-resistant. Interestingly, LG says the corners of the display panel inside are angled in such a way, that if you were to drop the phone on its side, it won’t break the screen; at least, that’s the theory. The phone is also IP68-rated, meaning you can submerge it at a depth of 1.5m for 30 minutes, so it’s as tough as flagship smartphones get.
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The 5.7in front display is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 and, due to its 18:9 aspect ratio, the LG G6 screen-to-body ratio is an impressive 78.6%. The phone isn’t too heavy, at 163g, and despite the size of the screen, it’s still usable one-handed.
LG has opted to keep the power button around the back of the phone, sitting under the dual-lens camera with dual-LED flash. The button doubles up as a fingerprint reader but unfortunately doesn’t give you any swipe features or additional shortcuts.
The volume rocker sits on the left side, with a dual-SIM and microSD card tray on the right. To charge and transfer files, you have a USB Type-C port on the bottom edge, and to listen to music, a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top.
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As for colours, the LG G6 comes in Astro Black, Ice Platinum and Mystic White. The Ice Platinum is the best looking of the bunch, but I’d avoid Astro Black: its rear glass and colour make the G6 look like a cheap smartphone, and fingerprints are painfully obvious.
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LG G6 review: Display
The LG G6’s display is the main attraction here, and it completely changes the way you look at a smartphone. Holding the 5.2in Huawei P9 and the 5.7in LG G6 side by side with the screens off, you’d be forgiven for wondering what the fuss was all about. It’s only when you power them on that the differences become immediately apparent.
Its 18:9 aspect ratio is a refreshing step forward for smartphone technology. The extra bit of screen isn’t just an “add-on”, either, it’s a genuine improvement. It makes reading the news, watching movies, taking pictures, multitasking and gaming more enjoyable and practical than before.
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The LG G6’s greatness doesn’t stop there, though: there’s also Dolby Vision and HDR 10 support. Previously only available on high-end TVs, HDR widens the colour range, producing blinding white and seriously deep black. Obviously, your content will have to be HDR as well, but you should be able to watch both Netflix and Amazon HDR content as soon as the mobile apps have been enabled for the technology.
However, there is some day-to-day benefit, too: to meet these standards, LG has clearly worked on the screen’s contrast and brightness. I measured the screen’s contrast at a frankly astonishing 1,678:1 and 2,112:1 depending on screen content, which is the best we’ve seen on a phone, ever.
With a maximum 492cd/m2 brightness, the IPS screen is readable in all but the very brightest of conditions – I had no problem viewing the phone outside – and it also delivers stunning black level response. Dark scenes in movies are actually closer to the black colour you’d expect from a high-end monitor or an AMOLED screen, instead of looking slightly grey. At a measured 0.23cd/m2, it isn’t as impressive as the LG G5’s 0.19cd/m2 screen, but it is still up there with the very best IPS phone screens.
The only thing I was disappointed by was the colours the screen produced in day-to-day use. It could only cover 93.2% of the sRGB, gamut while other smartphones – particularly those with AMOLED displays – can do better.