“Boring” is not a word you can use when describing the competitive mobile world. Just when you think you there is nothing more that you can squeeze into these mobile power houses, a manufacturer comes up with yet another powerful features or a serious upgrade on its predecessor. Which is exactly what LG has done with its newest LG G4 mobile phone.
Following on from the LG G3, LG’s G4 is under a lot of pressure to be better than an already great device. After using the device for a while, I am glad to report that it not only matches the G3 but exceeds it.
There are several areas that the G4 stands out:
The G4 has a 5.5-inch IPS Quantum display measuring at 2560×1440-pixel resolution at 534 ppi. What this means is that display is clear, bright and sharp. Even in direct sunlight you never tend to squint your eyes trying to read text on the screen. The sharpness of the display, the size of the device and the slight curve of the G4 makes for an excellent movie viewing experience allowing you to get lost in the film forgetting you are watching on a phone.
The reason for this immersive experience is due to the fact that LG has focused on getting its colours closer to real-life. According to LG, the LG G4 Display has a “20% greater colour reproduction, 25% improvement in brightness and 50% greater contrast…Using its first Quad HD display to employ Advanced In-Cell Touch (AIT) technology, which combines the LCD and touch sensor into a single layer to provide better colour reproduction and touch sensitivity. This new display is calibrated for DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) standards for colour expression, championed by top Hollywood studios”
This clearly works and is noticeable immediately as you handle the phone.
The LG G4 comes with a 3000 mAh battery and bucking the trend of the latest rounds of flagship phones, this is a removable battery. For those who work their phones hard, this is welcomed as carrying a little spare battery is more convenient than lugging a portable charger. That is not to say that the G4’s battery doesn’t last. Over the week of heavy usage, getting 10 hours of battery was common which means the low-battery warning was only visible towards the end of the work day and a quick top up charge was required before heading out into the night. Whilst the LG G4 doesn’t officially say it has a “quick charge” option it seems to have one as leaving the phone connected with the LG G4’s charger even for a short period of time, seemed to give it a real boost.
This is where LG has focused their attention. The LG G4 has a 16MP rear-facing camera and an 8MP front facing camera. There is a misconception that the larger the Megapixel the better the images will be. This is incorrect as there are several factors that make up a great shot: focus, light, shutter speed all need to come together. Good photographers know how to play with those combinations to get the best out of their subject and the LG G4 plays right into their hands.
Saying that, you don’t have to be a photographer to enjoy this camera as the camera has three shooting modes: Simple, Auto and Manual. Simple is just a that – point and shoot. Auto is similar with some configurations to play with. Manual is where all DSLR like features are at your fingertips.
It would seem that we snap loads of pictures where the light conditions aren’t great. This results in grainy unfocused images that we simply discard. The LG G4 has new added new tech to change that.
By offering a wide F1.8 aperture lens that allows 80 % more light to reach the sensor, LG has improved its low-light performance with OIS 2.0. This doubles the performance of the improved OIS+ by expanding the range of image stabilization from one degree to two degrees on the X- and Y-axis and adding a third axis for the first time. Essentially what this means is that when taking your shots when out-on-the town, the LG G4 is better designed to for those dark/ night shots where the lights from the restaurant/ club aren’t ideal.
The Manual Mode allows you to play with features that you get on a DSLR camera all by swiping your finger. You can control the focus, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation and white balance for every shot. You can also save the images in RAW format as well as JPEG which allows you to edit the images on your computer without losing any details.
Here are some sample shots (scaled down for the web) where I used the Auto and then the same shot with the Manual mode where I tweaked the settings. You will note the Manual allows for a defined lines and colours with less bleed :
Other close up shots:
Of course those selfie-obsessed are catered for with the 8MP front-facing camera. There is even a Gesture Interval Shot that allows you to take not only one pic but four pics 2 seconds apart so it gives everyone in your shot the chance to face forward, eyes open and smile. You trigger this option by simply opening and closing your hand twice in front of the camera.
So in summary:
Those who currently carry the G2, you will notice a remarkable difference and must upgrade immediately. If you are a G3 user then you have a dilemma as the G3 is still just a great phone but the G4 does offer more. What I like is the new interface which they call “human-centric UX 4.0” as it seems less cluttered and more intuitive than other Android skins. It feels nice and fresh without bloat ware however when looking for the “advance” features they are all there too. So its not a dumbed down interface but a more natural one.
Having that microSD slot is more than just having more storage, its about convenience of moving info between people and between laptop and phone. As a good camera is critical for me and my line of work, that manual control is impressive and having access to the RAW image is there when I need to post-it an image. Again having that micro SD allows me to change cards so storage is not a problem even with large RAW images stored.
Ultimately a hard working phone needs a powerful battery and the LG G4 has one. Even though its a 5.5 inch device with a stunning display, the battery handles itself well with the added bonus of being a removable battery for those long conference days when Candy Crush obsession kicks in.
The LG G4 will be available in South Africa mid-June across all cellular providers (Cell-C will have an exclusive back cover colour)