The launch of LG’s newest flagship signified the company’s return to the traditional approach to smartphone design compared to its modular predecessor. This time, they went for a complete redesign, starting with the metal body, and added a few touches of industry-firsts, such as the almost bezel-less display with an 18:9 ratio. It’s also IP68 certified for water and dust resistance, which is a huge plus.

They didn’t skip on internals either, as the G6 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, the familiar and trending dual rear camera setup, and other new features that make it a powerful media consumption-focused device.

So the question remains: Were they able to surpass themselves? Did they get it right this time? Or should they have stuck with the former approach? Let’s find out in this full review.

Design

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The LG G6 utilizes a combination of a metal build with soft curves for a premium look and feel. There’s no hint of it being flimsy and is very comfortable to hold with one hand, despite the huge screen size. The antenna lines are visible all over the phone, which adds a certain accent to the overall the design. They’ve also done away with the protruding camera lens, which is a nice touch.

The left side hosts the volume rockers, while the right side houses the hybrid SIM Card slot, which can accommodate 2 Nano SIM cards, or a combination of a MicroSD card and 1 SIM card. Most people would probably have no issues with this, but it would’ve been nice to have a triple slot here for convenience.

At the back, you’ll find the dual camera setup, along with the fingerprint sensor which now also acts as the power button. It’s unusual, but having used the device for a while, I didn’t have any issues with it, more of just something that you’ll get used to.

The G6 uses a USB Type-C port at the bottom, along with single speaker and microphone, while the headphone jack is located up top.

Display

More to See, Less to Hold. That is just one of the slogans that LG uses to describe the G6. And just by looking at it, you’ll realize that this actually makes sense. The 5.7-inch QHD FullVision display basically occupies almost the entire front of the phone, with bezels that are as thin as ever, which looks absolutely gorgeous especially when the screen is on.

The G6 is the world’s first device to sport a display with an 18:9 ratio, which they claim, provides a more cinematic viewing experience. I know they’re trying to be unique here, but the amount of content that can take advantage of this feature is limited at the time being, so for now, I’ll take this as a nice to have.

Nevertheless, text and images look sharp, and videos are much smoother and more fluid when compared to a Full HD display.

There are a couple of things to point out. The display isn’t as bright as I expected it to be. It’s okay for most situations but a few nits more would’ve made it even better. It also falls short of the vibrancy that past LG displays are known for. Colors look a bit pale and less lively.

Performance

LG G6 Specs:

  • 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Quad-Core Processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 32 GB of Internal Storage Expandable up to 2TB via MicroSD Card
  • 5.7-inch 18:9 QHD FullVision Display (2880 x 1440) with Gorilla Glass 3 Protection
  • 13MP, f/2.4, 125° Wide Angle + 13MP, f/1.8, OIS 2.0, 71°
  • 5MP Front Camera, f/2.2
  • LTE
  • LG UX 6.0 on top of Android Nougat
  • 3300mAh Battery
  • Quick Charge 3.0 Support
  • USB Type-C
  • NFC
  • IP68 Certification for Water and Dust Resistance
  • Sensors: Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Barometer

The LG G6 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, which is disappointing given that the SD835 is already out. Not the latest, but still a very capable flagship-level chip. Regardless, performance was top notch in daily tasks. Switching between several apps is also a breeze, thanks to 4GB of RAM.

Gaming performance was good albeit inconsistent on some games. I tested it with DJ Max Technika Q, Asphalt 8, Mobile Legends, and all ran smoothly at max settings (when applicable). NBA 2K17 was a different story. With all settings except crowd cranked up to high, gameplay was still generally smooth, but there were occasional stutters, which was a letdown.  

The device gets very warm even just after a few minutes of normal use and feels a bit uncomfortable at times, and we can only hope that this is a software issue that LG can quickly patch up.

I encountered an issue with the fingerprint sensor as well, as there were times when it just didn’t work no matter what I did. This usually happens when I take my phone out of my pocket.

Camera

The G6 sports two 13MP rear cameras, one with a 125° wide-angle lens. In daylight, photos came out with good color reproduction, sharpness, and detail. Using the wide-angle lens was also very effective for capturing larger scenes. Focusing and shutter speed was fast, which allowed me to take continuous shots without any issues.

Unfortunately, it only allows you to shoot 13MP photos at 4:3 aspect ratio. If you want to go for 16:9 or 18:9, you’ll have settle with 9.7MP and 8.7MP respectively. Nevertheless, this issue is significant if you’re not into having your photos printed for commercial purposes.

In less than ideal conditions, the G6’s dual rear cameras still managed to perform well as photos came out sharp, and with adequate details with minimal noise buildup. 

The 5MP selfie camera does well in good lighting, but struggles in low light. Photos looked slightly over processed in some areas, and sharpness needs a lot of work. On the other hand, colors were still accurate and brightness was just right.

The camera app offers a number of modes for you to play with, including Pro mode for those who prefer more control over their shots.

A lot of people like to share their precious moments online, and the G6 has a new Square Camera app, which can organize your photos in ways that would look great on your social media page. 

For example, there’s a grid shot mode, which lets you take four 3-second videos, photos, or a combination of both, and combines them into one photo/video, which you can then share online. There’s also Match Shot, which lets you take two photos and place them side by side. You can use the front camera for the first photo, and the rear camera on the second, and vice versa.

Audio

The speaker on the G6 can go really loud with no distortion at high volume. The sound is bright, but not piercing, and treble is just enough.

It also has a quad DAC for better audio quality when using headphones. The sound signature is generally balanced with clarity becoming evident especially in vocal and acoustic tracks, bass is present but not overpowering. Of course, this may vary with different headphones.

The default music app has a minimal look and offers presets and a custom equalizer that you can tweak to your preference.

Software

I’ve used a couple of LG smartphones in the past, and I’ve always liked how they do their UI. And it’s the same with the G6. UX 6.0 does a good job of keeping things organized, while not losing the playful aesthetic touch. Navigating the UI was very smooth, despite looking as a heavy skin.

Icons look lovely and casual, and you’re given a slew of settings which are actually very useful. Things like being able to switch between tabular view and list view, the knock code, or double tap to wake and sleep. It even lets you set which buttons will appear at the bottom of the screen, which is very useful if for example, you’re used to the back button being on the left side.

There’s also smart settings, which are a set of settings that automatically activate based on a given condition such as when you leave your house, or when you plug in a pair of headphones. At the meantime, the options are very limited, but i can see the potential if they work on it.

Battery  

The G6 was able to yield around 8 hours of battery life in our test. Given the Quad HD display, this is actually a decent result. Using a Quick Charge 3.0 compatible wall charger, the device was able to achieve zero to full charge in an impressive time of 1.5 hours.

Verdict

There are a number of things to like about the LG G6: The design looks gorgeous, the build quality is superb, UX 6.0 is smooth and brings a ton of customization to the table, audio quality makes for a great listening experience, and the rear camera takes good quality photos even in less than ideal conditions.

There are things that can be improved. The choice of a Snapdragon 821 is questionable, the inconsistent gaming performance, the less than stellar display, the fingerprint sensor that sometimes doesn’t work, the front camera that’s underwhelming in low light, and the heating issues.

If LG can manage to fix some of these things, then the G6 would be a great choice for people who are looking for a phone for heavy mult-tasking, gaming, and photography.

The Good

  • Design
  • Build Quality
  • General Performance
  • Rear Camera Performance
  • Audio Quality
  • UX 6.0 Offers Ample Room for Customization
  • Decent Battery Life

The Not So Good

  • Display
  • Front Camera Performance in Low Light
  • Heating Issues
  • Inconsistent Gaming Performance
  • Fingerprint Sensor is a hit and miss
Emman Tortoza
Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.
Emman Tortoza

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