Phones

LG makes smart move with the G6

LG continues its dual-camera trend on the G6, slapping two 13-megapixel cameras on the new smartphone's rear. One lens is used for a standard viewing angle and the other is for a 125-degree wide-angle view
LG continues its dual-camera trend on the G6, slapping two 13-megapixel cameras on the new smartphone's rear. One lens is used for a standard viewing angle and the other is for a 125-degree wide-angle viewPHOTO: LG

Subtle change with new screen while keeping to tradition gives the S. Korean firm a winner

Sometimes, sticking to the tried- and-tested is the best move, and the LG G6 is a great example of how innovating within traditional design schemes can lead to a winning product.

The G6 smartphone fits a 5.7-inch screen within a brand-new 18:9 screen ratio, but into a traditional unibody design. So, while the body of the phone doesn't look too ground-breaking, the new screen is a subtle change which makes a world of difference.

At its core, the G6 is last year's LG V20 condensed into a smaller, prettier body, with a better screen and slight upgrades to some already-impressive baseline specs.

The G6's Snapdragon 821 processor is only a marginal upgrade over the V20's Snapdragon 820. The difference in performance probably wouldn't be noticeable to all but the most intensive of users, as the G6 runs apps with a comfortable ease and multitasks smoothly, even with larger apps like the digital card game Hearthstone.

The most radical change on the G6 is its new 18:9 aspect ratio, compared with the traditional 16:9 ratio found on most phones. This makes for a larger screen real estate that's just excellent to look at, with vivid, saturated colours and great clarity.

  • TECH SPECS


  • PRICE:

    $988

    PROCESSOR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Processor (Dual-core 2.35 GHz, dual-core 1.6 GHz

    DISPLAY: 5.7-inch, QHD+, 2,880 x 1,440 564 ppi pixel density

    OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 7.0 Nougat

    CAMERAS: 13MP wide, f/2.4 (rear); 13MP standard, f/1.8 (rear); 5MP wide, f/2.2 (front)

    MEMORY: 64GB (microSD expandable up to 2TB), 4GB RAM

    BATTERY: Non-removable 3,300 mAh


    RATING

    FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5

    OVERALL: 5/5

The unusual aspect ratio presents no problems for apps, as they scale to fit the screen, but it's quite noticeable when watching videos, such as those on YouTube, as there will be black bars at both ends.

Going along with the fancy new screen is High Dynamic Range (HDR) support for HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, so Amazon Video subscribers can watch HDR content straight on their phones the way they are meant to.

At 7.9mm, it is actually not much thicker than other flagships in the market like the Samsung S8 or Huawei P10. However, the G6's traditional angular design, with its more defined corners, makes it feel thicker than it really is.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I actually appreciate the chunkier body because it provides a good grip and a comforting heft, especially since it's just the right size for using with one hand .

LG continues its dual-camera trend on the G6, slapping two 13-megapixel cameras on the smartphone's rear. One lens is used for a standard viewing angle and the other is for a 125-degree wide-angle view that's pretty decent at packing more things into a photo, and with a less visible fish- eye effect than that on the V20.

The camera is capable of great shots in strong natural lighting, with a slight propensity towards warmer tones.

But its performance falters when under low light or artificial lighting, even bright fluorescent ones, as it struggles to pick out finer details.

The G6 relies very heavily on post-processing in this instance to make photos look good, but can end up making shots a bit unnatural at times. Zooming into photos reveals a surprising loss of detail, with grainy, fuzzy backgrounds.

However, the camera is feature-packed to the gills, allowing you to do many fun things straight from the default camera app. Food mode turns a blah-looking dish into a culinary masterpiece, although I sometimes felt the potent reds and overzealous warm tones made some food look a little unnatural and, hence, unappetising.

The square camera feature is clearly tailored with Instagrammers in mind, as users will find it more convenient to shoot in the square format that the popular photo-sharing app is known for. You can also preview shots on the bottom half of the screen.

The giant fingerprint sensor on the back that doubles as a power button is a joy to use, being responsive and easy to locate.

Its bottom-firing speaker is not great, producing muffled sound that won't work too well in public areas.

But plug in some headphones, turn on the hi-fi quad digital-to-audio converter, and all your personal audio gets a boost, sounding rich and powerful even on power-hungry and higher-end cans.

• Verdict: The LG G6 sticks to what works and is a solid all-round performer, with a host of features befitting a modern flagship.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2017, with the headline 'LG makes smart move with the G6'. Print Edition | Subscribe