LG Singapore has announced that that the LG G6 will retail from 14 April 2017 at S$988. Prior to the launch event, they have passed me a Korea Telecom (KT) retail unit (LGM-G600K) for an extensive first-look review. The pressure is great across the mobile industry as every manufacturer looks to capture a bit more of the mobile market from Samsung. This article offers a preview of my experience with the LG G6. Hopefully this helps you set some expectations of whether the LG G6 is worth buying. Leave comments below if you have any questions.
The actual Singapore retail unit might vary, but hopefully not, because the KT unit is pretty neat. LG has simplified the box to basic black outlook, a vast departure from the previous G5 and even the V20.
Apart from the usual charging accessories, the G6 comes with USB Type-C to micro USB adapter as well as USB Type-C to USB Type-A full-size OTG adapter. LG G6, like V20, supports USB 3.0 super speed charging (read here for the transfer speed test). The earphones is LG-labelled with braided cable until the Y-section where it is silicone leading up to the earbuds. Audio character is bright treble, prominent vocal frequency (lower-highs), moderate bass with a tinge of sub-woofer feel.
Like G5 and V20, the G6 front display has pre-applied screen protector. And like all LG flagship smartphones, G6 is made in Korea.
The LG G6 feels excitedly premium, with 2.5D curved glass back with no camera protrusion, and metal frame supporting the structure. The choice of material is identical to recent Samsung S-series, for obvious reasons.
The front display is flat, in contrast to its Korean competitor, Samsung. Curved display looks beautiful and unique but many users – myself included – finds it cumbersome.
The G6 is thick compared to other latest flagship phones. Its screen to body ratio is one of the highest, only to be bested by Samsung Galaxy S8. Although the use of glass and metal is not entirely original, the LG G6 is definitely one of the more striking smartphone designs compared to the other recent flagships from Huawei, Samsung, Sony. In fact, all the LG flagship smartphones from previous years are different every year. The stretched front display with dual camera and fingerprint sensor flushed on the back are instantly recognisable.
LG is proud that the G6 earns high marks for ergonomic design. Indeed, Samsung Galaxy S8 is visually stunning, but I have to admit, the LG G6 feels more secure and practical for me to use it without casing.
Benefits of 18:9 Screen Ratio
Among the smartphones announced in 2017, I am most excited about the LG G6. This is because they have optimised the UX to leverage the new wider 18:9 (2:1) screen ratio. Here are the features I find that make use of the increased display space and certain improvements provided:
The dual cameras are now both 13MP in resolution. The standard camera is f/1.8, and the wide angle camera, in f/2.4, has reduced its field of view to 125 degrees to manage the distortion. Zoom transition between the 2 cameras are a lot smoother with identical perspectives. In addition to the common aspect ratios (4:3, 16:9), the camera also supports 18:9 and 21:9 (video only), which I thought are interesting to shoot with, especially when the G6 come with wide angle lens. Once again, this smartphone is going to be the new favourite for wide-angle photographers. I will share more photos for comparison in upcoming reviews, but you can already see them on my Instagram account.
The camera UI is most radically improved to support the larger display on the LG G6. When choosing the highest shooting resolution of 4:3, there are blank spaces on the display. So, LG, provided a carousel of photos from the gallery for the user to preview their previous shots conveniently. I continue to be pampered by the ease of shooting photos or videos immediately just by tapping the respective icons: on most smartphones, there is a need to toggle between still and video mode before capturing.
Then there is the new Square Camera mode that lets you capture square images with 4 creative ways:
Match Shot: app displays an existing photo in your gallery as a reference image for your next shot, which will form a new image of the 2 photos side by side. I tried this function and posted my instagram photos by matching the corner objects. I will need more practice to perfect it, but this makes creative Instagramming easier.
Guide Shot: app displays an existing photo as an overlay on the camera live view for you to take the next shot. This is the superb feature that many Instagrammers would want to instantly achieve photos with identical shape and form.
Same but different. It’s easy to create this video using #LGG6 square camera shooting mode #guideshot. #lgmobilesingapore Can you see which phones are featured? – – – – – – – – – – The live view has an overlay image to guide my framing before capturing. Then I generate GIF using the built-in gallery app. Instagram does not support GIF so I converted to video using another app. #review #techblogger #sgblogger #smartphone #instavideo #instasg
Snap Shot: app lets you capture using both front and rear cameras at the same time, or one after another.
Grid Shot: app lets you capture 4 still images or 3-second videos in a square grid format. Here’s one creative way to capture:
Playing magic with my breakfast. It’s a new square camera shooting mode on the #LGG6 called #gridshot. Each quadrant can capture photo or video and I can redo the shots until I get it right. #instavideo #sgbreakfast #sgfood #sgfoodies #foodporn #toastboxsg #sgcafe #lifesgoodwhenyouplaymore #lgmobilesingapore #musicphotolife #sgblogger #techblogger #review #smartphone
To edit the content I capture, LG G6 comes with editing features that helps me publish faster.
GIF Creator: under Gallery app, I can create GIF with still photos or on videos (15 seconds max). The editing options are few, but it will let you publish animated content quickly.
Quick Video Editor: this is an existing feature since G5, where you can quickly generate video highlights (up to 60 seconds) out of a single long video.
Collage: no longer require a separate app to generate quite collages, albeit limited customisation options.
HDR Content Display
LG G6 supports 2 HDR standards for enjoying video content – HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. Probably not that critical for most consumers, because the smartphone screen is relatively small for the viewers to actually pay attention to the HDR details anyway.
App Scaling Compatibility
LG G6 seems to have little issues with app scaling, based on the apps I use. In any case, there is option to force the phone to display in the compatible ratio.
LG G6 is one of the few smartphones that are certified IP68. Having a water-resistant smartphone gives the assurance that I can wash the phone if it gets soiled, or when I want to use the phone in the presence of water.
Compared to LG G5
The G6 is quite a leap in design and functionality. Water resistant, premium body, larger display, better battery management, built-in Quad DAC, to name a few. If you are currently unhappy with the G5 look and feel but still likes the LG UI – and specially the dual camera – then G6 is a must-buy upgrade. Or, get V20 if you prefer metal body, removable battery, and not concerned about the size.
Compared to LG V20
Suddenly the V20 feels huge. Size aside, I find the V20 UI is more fluid and battery life is better optimised with more effective background app management. Under normal use, the G6 can confidently last an entire 16-hour work day, and I probably can get more mileage if I had turned off the Always-On display. Despite, the 3300 mAh battery is still not sufficient for power users, and during heavy days I find myself requiring to charge the phone again in the early evening. Still, it is better than the V20 where it drops to 30% by mid-afternoon.
The 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC also sounds different for both smartphones, read here for the analysis.
The V20 is more durable thanks to its military-grade exterior, but ironically the G6 is water resistant, so both is rugged in their own ways.
Between the two, I prefer G6 because it has larger battery which lasts longer, physically more manageable with one hand, useful camera modes for social network content creation, and is water resistant. The glass body can be overcome with external casing.
Compared to Huawei P10+
I had the perfect opportunity to give both of them a close comparison since I have both of them on hand. Generally, the P10+ UI feels slightly smoother, and the wide aperture mode of the dual camera achieves shallow depth of field effect. But it lacks water resistance and no Always-On display which is helpful to check the phone for missed notifications without waking up the phone.
As for the image quality, the P10+ delivers more contrasty images at the expense of noise and details. Its various shooting modes like Night Mode are very useful for creating stunning night photography without technical know-how. The LG G6 however is a more fun camera and Instagram-friendly in many aspects. Hence, whichever phone you like depends on how you want to use the camera functions.
Compared to Samsung Galaxy S8
I only got a brief hands-on with the S8 during the launch event. From the front, the Galaxy S8 is better-looking, while the back retains the uninspiring S6/S7 look. The S8 also has several more advanced features, so if that’s what you are looking for, then S8 would be of interest. For now, I would favour the LG G6 for its ease of handling and unique camera modes, but would update my opinions after getting a more extensive hands-on with the Galaxy S8. Given my positive experience on the S7 edge, I have high expectations.
The LG G6 will be available in Singapore from 14 April 2017 at S$988, in 3 colours – Astro Black, Ice Platinum, Mystic White. Each purchase of the G6 comes with a free flip case worth S$58, while stocks last. The warranty period is also extended to 2 years. Visit the official product website for more info.
Specifications (LG G6 Singapore retail)
- Chipset: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 821 Processor
- Display: 5.7-inch 18:9 QHD+ FullVision Display (2880 x 1440 / 564ppi)
- SIM: Dual-SIM (4G/3G)
- Memory: 4GB LPDDR4 RAM / 64GB UFS 2.0 ROM / MicroSD (up to 2TB)
- Camera: Front 5MP Wide (F2.2 / 100°); Rear Dual: 13MP Wide (F2.4 / 125°) / 13MP Standard OIS 2.0 (F1.8 / 71°)
- Battery: 3,300mAh (embedded)
- Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
- Size: 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
- Weight: 163g
- Network: LTE-A 3 Band CA
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 4.2 BLE / NFC / USB Type-C 2.0 (3.1 compatible)
- Colors: Astro Black / Ice Platinum / Mystic White
- Others: 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC / Water and Dust Resistant / Fingerprint Sensor / UX 6.0 / Dolby Vision™ / HDR10