Day 1: This is not a phone for vegetarians
I’ve kindly been furnished with one of the top models of the LG G4, the 64GB leather-backed version. And it’s that leather back cover that grabbed my attention when I unboxed the phone today.
The back’s really smooth and while it doesn’t feel like a normal phone, it doesn’t feel like leather either – well, not like a leather shoes or anything like that. It’s probably because the phone uses a thin layer of leather stretched over a plastic back, so there’s no give to it like there is in a leather phone case.
Once I was done admiring the unusual design I turned the phone on and went through the very simple setup process. As the LG G4 runs Android Lollipop, you can use Tap & Go to transfer all your stuff from another Android phone in seconds through NFC.
As soon as I got the G4 up and running, I started to get annoyed with it. Every time you press the screen there’s some new noise and vibration, so I headed straight to the settings and switched them all off, giving me some much-appreciated peace.
With everything made nice and quiet, I started arranging apps and menus how I like them and realised how good the G4 is. I’ll get into more detail throughout the week as I get the chance to properly test things out, but first impressions are that the whole phone works fantastically well.
Day 2: How’s that battery?
Yesterday I made sure the battery was full before setting the G4 up so I could test how long it would last between charges. This evening I got my answer as I plugged the phone in after 36 hours when it had just 7% battery left.
A day and a half of use from a charge isn’t bad, but I’d expected it to manage about two days with its big 3,000mAh battery. Having said that, when I tested the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge and its 2,600mAh battery recently, it only lasted 28 hours. So LG is ahead of its biggest competitor in the battery game.
Aside from the battery test, today was a pretty busy day at The Lowdown offices so I didn’t get much chance to test the specifics of the G4. But I can report it kept pace with me all day. The only time it lagged was when closing background apps. I’m not sure why, but when I hit ‘Close all’ it took a second or two to actually close the open apps.
Day 3: The king of camera phones
I don’t think there are enough superlatives to describe the camera on the LG G4, everything it does comes out in stunning quality. Today I took it out into the sun and was completely blown away.
Photos all look bright, sharp and colourful. And if you know your way around a camera, the manual mode lets you take astonishing shots that can rival professional photos. Just take a look at how the camera compares to the one on the Galaxy S6:
Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy S6
I also recorded some 4K video that’s even more impressive than the still photos I took. The new optical image stabilisation that LG uses in the G4 means it looks like I was using a tripod to record the video and the camera’s incredibly wide aperture makes everything really bright. I’ve recently got a 4K TV so could see all the detail the G4 captured, and that really showcased how awesome the camera is.
There’s one other thing I realised while I was out enjoying the good weather – you get used to the leather back really quickly. Since taking the G4 out of its box, I haven’t really paid any attention to its unusual use of materials, but everyone I’ve seen today has wanted to touch and feel it, and everyone really likes it.
Day 4: The quantum screen is a quantum leap for LCDs
So I’ve been using the phone for a few days now, and I’ve really grown to appreciate the quality of the new screen. LG invented some strange sounding technology, IPS Quantum Display, to make the G4’s screen stand out, and it worked.
The Quantum Display is an advanced type of LCD, the most common type of phone screen, that solves issues of low contrast and relatively dull colours. Colours are more vivid, contrast is much higher and everything’s brighter. All that means it can compete with the Super AMOLED screens that Samsung uses.
I had to put the new screen up against the best in the business, so I put the G4 next to the Galaxy S6 to see if it really was as good as I thought. At first glance, the G4 seemed a little washed out or pale by comparison, but flicking through different pictures I noticed that earthy colours, like wood, look a lot more natural. It really is a fantastic screen.
Day 5: I don’t want to give it back
Today my time with the LG G4 came to an end. It’s a phone I’m going to miss. The camera was especially brilliant, but everything from the leather back to the quantum screen was well thought out and nicely done. I can honestly say that LG has outdone itself with its flagship this year and the G4 is definitely going to be in the running when I come to upgrade my phone.