The LG G6 is perhaps the most “boring” flagship we’ve seen from the manufacturer in some time but that isn’t a bad thing considering last years, erm experiment.
The G5 was a quest to make a modular smartphone, and it didn’t pay off. Those that bought into LG’s marketing are surely kicking themselves as the firm decided IP68 water resistance and dust proofing was of more use than Friends.
So when the G6 was announced at MWC earlier this year and after reading the spec sheet I was as excited about the smartphone as a child who was about to sit through an hour-long presentation on quantity surveying.
After spending some time with the handset however, I am impressed.
LG G6 review: Pro-formance
Let’s start this review off with what I thought would be the G6’s biggest failing, its chipset.
The G6 houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset, which at launch I was a bit confused about. The reason for my confusion was that Qualcomm recently launched the Snapdragon 835 chipset which is being used in the S8 and is by all accounts the better of the two.
The 835 has some benefits such as 1Gbps download speeds, a better LTE modem, and better carrier aggregation. I asked LG why it opted for the “older” 821 processor and its response was, “we prefer using tried and tested technology rather than take a leap on something new.”
A perfectly reasonable response, I’m sure you’ll agree.
At the launch Qualcomm also said that the 821 chipset in the G6 has been tweaked to give the CPU and RAM a bit more headroom in terms of performance.
As you can see from the graph above, those tweaks paid off and the G6 is now the top of the charts in terms of performance. The PC Mark score is lower than it was in the G5 but the G6’s does exhibit steady performance numbers whether you are gaming or working.
It may not remain top of our charts for long though as we’ve seen reports of the Samsung Galaxy S8 hitting 150 000+ in Antutu. For now though, the LG is doing well.
This high-performance can be felt simply by just using the handset. Super Mario Run plays like a dream and even crunching through a massive spreadsheet is not a hard ask for the handset.
There are no faults in performance that we can find.
LG G6 review – Dual-lens are just better
At the back of the G6 you’ll find not one but two 13MP snappers. This allows you to take pictures with a wide angle allowing you to get a lot more of the subject into the shot.
The camera quality is rather good, given the right light. Sadly images do appear to be a bit fuzzy in low light.
Those with a bit of camera knowledge will likely appreciate the ability to adjust settings such as ISO, white balance and shutter speed.
The rear snapper is also able to record UHD footage (3840 x 2160) at 30 frames per second with 24-bit/192kHz audio.
Truth be told the entire camera package is rather good and likely the best we’ve seen in a smartphone since the Huawei P9 and Mate 9.
You can judge the quality of the snapper for yourself below.
LG G6 – A day and a half in your life
Using the G6 to browse the web, stream video and music, play games and make calls has given us roughly a day and a half of battery life. This is of course entirely dependent on your usage.
Charging the handset with the included fast charging wall wart will bring the phone up from empty to full in just over an hour but if you’re in a rush you can the battery charged up to 50% in 30 minutes.
The downfall of the battery is how long it lasts on the trot. After charging the handset up to full I spent the next few hours streaming video from YouTube with audio being sent to a Bluetooth speaker.
The G6 clocked in a reasonable nine hours of life before shutting down, not bad but certainly not the best I’ve seen.
LG G6 reviews – Extras I like and loath
There are a number of features in the G6 that don’t fall into our usual testing criteria but deserve a mention nonetheless.
One of these is LG’s new user interface. While it isn’t a massive shift away from the UI we’ve come to know and love but it’s a much easier to navigate through and a lot easier on the eyes.
Sadly LG also bundles a number of apps that we would likely never utilise such as LG World and Smart Doctor.
The G6 also boasts a rather proficient fingerprint scanner. As in the G5 it’s located at the back of the handset perfectly placed for your digit to slide onto when holding it. There is one oddity I have noticed. When the G6 is warm (when it’s in your pocket whilst you’re driving for instance) the fingerprint scanner doesn’t detect my finger. It’s rather strange and disappears once the handset has cooled a bit but it’s worth mentioning.
And of course no premium phone would be complete without 802.11ac WiFi support. It’s fast enough to stream YouTube videos at Full HD (1920 x 1080) and that’s good enough for me.
LG G6 review: Conclusion
Let’s face facts. After the G5 missed the mark last year LG really needed the G6 to be a phone that re-established it as a name to be respected when it comes to smartphones and for the most part that’s what it did.
The curved corners of the display are a nice touch, the camera is fantastic and the performance feels worthy of the R14 000+ asking price.
I also feel as if LG has struck a nice balance between a big display and a manageable handset. If you don’t believe me here is the G6 alongside the Mi 5.
Of course we can’t tell you it’s good without addressing that big blue elephant in the room named Samsung.
The Galaxy S8 looks to be a jaw droppingly good handset with the performance and features to boot. The question we should be answering then is, should you wait for the S8?
The G6 is cheaper than the S8 but you could be taking a performance knock. The S8 has a whack of cool features like curved display and advanced biometrics. My trouble there is that unless those are features you’re looking for and more important want – chances are you might not end up using them.
In my time with the G6 it has proven itself time and time again. The performance is fantastic, the camera is wonderful and while the battery isn’t as good as we’ve seen from the likes of Huawei it is good and charges quickly enough that I’ll forgive LG for the short life of the battery.
Is it worth it then? Definitely, and Samsung better bring its A-game.