LG has finally taken the wraps off its G4 flagship smartphone, and it's a stunner.
The new leather back, smarter camera and beautiful Quantum Display all make this impressive on paper. But with a slightly lower spec hexa-core processor does it keep up with its competition?
We've had some hands-on time with the G4 to see exactly what LG has to offer with its pack-leading smartphone.
The rumour mill showed off a leather back before the G4 was even released but worries were it would be faux. It is not. The leather rear is beautifully crafted from real leather right down to genuine stitching. It feels gorgeous – not only is it super grippy but it's also soft to the touch and even a nice temperature. It sounds odd but it really is a more "real" feeling handset than anything we've held before.
The plastic back model is slightly cheaper which is apparent from the feel. It's pretty much like any other LG handset – although that curved edge does leave it sat comfortably in the hand.
The volume rocker and power buttons are located on the back as was the case with the G3. This is still easy to use and feature power sticking out with volume in so they're easy to find without looking.
We worry about the handset overheating because of that leather but in our short time with it didn't notice it being an issue.
The Quantum Display on the G4 is the same size and resolution as the G3 with a 5.5-inch QHD 1,440 x 2,560 resolution screen that means 538ppi. But LG has been hard at work making it better in other ways, namely colour and brightness.
LG says the new G4 display features 20 per cent greater colour gamut, 25 per cent more brightness and 50 per cent greater contrast than the competition. The result is a screen that is dazzling. Colours are crisp, lights and darks are well defined and the brightness seems good enough for outdoor reading. Although we weren't given a chance to test it in light brighter than the indoor offerings.
The G4 camera feature s 16-megapixel sensor making it larger than the 13-megapixel G3. But it goes way beyond just more pixels.
LG has redefined the camera module to feature an f/1.8 aperture lens. This is coupled with a super slim 0.11mm blue glass IR filter. The combination of these makes for photos with enhanced colours and 80 per cent more light than the G3. Even photos taken indoors are better than on the G3 with more light getting in and less blur on moving objects.
The front-facing selfie camera is an 8-megapixel model that's also had that ultra thin IR filter installed to give more lifelike colours. This works nicely on things like skin and eye colour definition when taking a selfie.
Power and performance
The LG G4 doesn't have the top-of-the-line octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 but rather the hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor backed by 3GB of RAM. In all honesty we couldn't find a way to slow it down – there was no lag in our hands-on.
We've reached a point where power is no longer an issue but rather power consumption is the problem. LG says this is super efficient and with the 3,000mAh battery should get your through two days easily. There are also a host of power options including cards that notify you when apps are using a lot of power.
We weren't able to test battery life much in the hands-on. But with LG's experience of running a QHD display for a while now in the G3 we'd hope its managed to fine tune power consumption to offer maximum life.
OS and UX
On the software front the G4 is sporting Android 5 Lollipop skinned over with LG's new UX 4.0.
While the setup doesn't look massively different to the G3 there are plenty of extras that might be useful.
Quick Shot is a camera feature that allows you to snap a photo just by double tapping the lower volume rocker. Although we found this needed two hands to be lined up, especially since there is no way to check what you're about to take with the screen off.
Notifications are now more personalised thanks to the Smart Notice feature. Things like weather and travel are updated automatically to suit the user. You can also pick and choose how the phone works based on your movements so it'll automatically turn on Wi-Fi when you get home, for example.
The gallery has had an updated that allows for greater customization with event-specific albums based on location and time. Nokia did this a few years back so perhaps there's something in this. We'd have to use it for a while to decide. We like the Event Pocket ability to drag and drop items like photos into the calendar to have them associated with the event from that day.
It's now possible to edit ringtones and create your own for certain people so that you will know who is calling just from hearing that tone that's set to them.
LG has pushed the limits of design with its new G4, not only by adding real leather, but also be enhancing both the camera and the display.
The screen is visibly better than its predecessor and offers a brightness that must be great outdoors, but we imagine will also chew through battery.
The camera extras like Quick Shot, manual controls and shooting in RAW are likely to be of use both for casual users and more wannabe photographers alike.
The handset itself is a little larger which might be an issue for some.
Despite packing a weaker processor than the HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 we didn't notice any lag so can't see it being an issue. Even when shooting in RAW it was just as quick as snapping in JPEG alone.
The LG G4 is a beautifully designed handset with a display that is visibly better than its predecessor. If this is more affordable than the competition it'll be a very difficult offering to ignore.