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The first G-branded phone was the LG G2 released in 2013. It wasn't until the LG G4 and the awesome leather back appeared that I seriously considered carrying one as my daily driver. LG stumbled last year with the modularity of the G5, but I'm happy to report that LG came back strong with the LG G6.
I'll be posting my biannual best 10 smartphones article next week and the LG G6 is a contender for the top spot, thanks in large part to the big screen in a small form factor, water resistance, stunning dual rear camera, wireless charging, and more. The LG G6 is also priced from $650 to $720, which is $100 to $200 less than comparable flagships.
Display: 5.7 inch 18:9 aspect ratio 2880 x 1440 pixels resolution FullVision, 564 ppi
Operating system: Android 7.0 Nougat
RAM: 4GB LPDDR4
Storage: 32GB internal with microSD expansion card slot
Cameras: Dual 13 megapixel rear f/2.4 wide angle 125 degree and f/1.8 standard OIS cameras. 5 megapixel wide-angle 100 degress f/2.2 front-facing camera
Water resistance: IP68 water and dust rating
Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 BLE, GPS, NFC, FM radio
Battery: 3,300 mAh non-removable with Quick Charge 3.0 and wireless charging
Dimensions: 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm and 163 grams
Colors: Ice Platinum and Astro Black
LG was the first to launch a device in 2017 with an 18:9 aspect ratio, with strong rumors indicating Samsung will include a similar aspect ratio in the Galaxy S8. Apple may even roll out a new aspect ratio later this year. Many users may be pleased with LG's implementation of minimal bezels, but without the display rolling over to either side like we see on Samsung Edge devices.
While I love the new display ratio, it's great to see LG include a high level of dust and water resistance, wireless charging, a sizable battery, and improved dual cameras. Given the investment of a flagship smartphone today, water resistance should be a standard requirement for enterprise customers looking for a device that can withstand some inclement weather or conditions.
For the G6, LG didn't try to go crazy with a super thin form factor, curved glass display, or other design schemes that sacrifice features important to those who need their phones to work reliably. You get a bit thicker phone -- 7.9 mm is still pretty thin -- that is narrower than most others so it fits extremely well in your hand and pocket.
There is a very slight angle of the sides from front to back that makes the phone just slightly wider on the back than on the front. This never impacted my ability to hold it or anything, but is a bit unique when we usually see manufacturers curving the back of the device to form to your hand.
The 80 percent body-to-screen ratio is fantastic; if you look at photos of the LG G6, you can see there is minimal space on the top and bottom of the screen devoted to a speaker, camera, and other parts. You won't find a more compact 5.7-inch device available.
The LG G6 has a unique internal aluminum plate that extends out to an aluminum frame, but the front and back are glass. This allows the LG G6 to include wireless charging functionality and the corner, the metal frame and internal design help disperse the shock from a drop impact and provide some structural reliability to the device. The LG G6 passed 14 different MIL-STD 810G drop tests for durability conducted by an independent laboratory that conforms to US military standards.
The internal metal plate also helps LG to disperse heat to keep the device cool while operating. An internal heat pipe is integrated into the device as well. I never noticed an increase in device temperature while playing games or watching movies.
LG G6 review: in pictures
The front-facing camera is only five megapixel, but it has a 100 degree view to capture so you can take photos of you and your friends.
The rear dual cameras pair well with solid camera software that is optimized for the 18:9 display ratio. LG's implementation of dual cameras is different than others, with a focus on standard and wide angle lenses. The 125 degree wide angle camera on the LG G6 does a better job at the edges than the V20 and works well for different businesses. Real estate brokers can capture full room content, surveyors and inspectors can capture more as they conduct walk-throughs, and other content creators will appreciate the quality of the cameras. The LG G6 has powerful manual modes for both audio and video producers who appreciate and understand ways to make the world they capture even better.
Thankfully, we still get a standard 3.5mm headset jack on top and a microSD card for inexpensive storage expansion capability. A USB Type-C port is centered on the bottom for fast charging, but you can also just set the phone down on a wireless charger and conveniently charge without messing with any cables.
The rear fingerprint scanner works reliably and quickly to unlock the phone or turn off the display.
The front and back of the LG G6 is made of glass with reports indicating Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and Gorilla Glass 5 on the back. The superior drop protection of Gorilla Glass 5 on the back makes sense, but I'm not sure why Gorilla Glass 3 is used on the front. The LG G6 is priced less than other flagships so this may have been a way to save some cost.
I had the chance to test out both the Astro Black and Ice Platinum color variations of the LG G6. While I usually prefer black fronts, the back of the black model is also a serious fingerprint magnet. The Ice Platinum color has a brushed metal appearance under the glass panel and looks light blue in some lighting conditions. Fingerprints are far less obvious on the silver model too. Ice Platinum give the LG G6 a unique look and if I had to choose, Ice Platinum would be my preference.
The LG G6 has a 3,300 mAh non-removable battery. LG has been one of the holdouts when it comes to removable batteries, and you will find it sealed on the G6. After a month of use, I can confirm that I am able to go a full 16-18 hour day with the LG G6 and battery life has been fine.
LG's user interface has been a bit overwhelming in the past, but it, just like Samsung, has been working to lighten the influence of the interface and only providing optimizations for certain functions. The LG G6 launches with Android 7 Nougat and LG Ux 6.0. The retail unit I was sent to test arrived with the March 1 Android security update as well.
While the LG G6 has Nougat, I am still not a fan of the way that LG implements the notification shade. It is all black text on white background and when you swipe down the spacing between the quick controls, it's just too much for my tastes. It is similar to what Samsung has on its Nougat devices, but I much prefer what Huawei and Motorola provide.
LG G6 camera app: Powerful software pairs well with outstanding results
The LG G6 was the first non-Pixel phone to announce Google Assistant for the LG G6, but then right after that announcement Google announced that Assistant was coming to Android 7.0 and 6.0 devices so that took a bit of thunder away from LG. Needless to say, Google Assistant on the LG G6 is fantastic and I am using it more than I have ever used an assistant.
LG provides several optimizations in regards to the 18:9 FullVision display. You will find a camera app with a square option so you can see a preview of images right next to your viewfinder, a useful calendar month view that has become my preferred way to manage my appointments daily, and a cool way to view multiple apps at once. Other apps that are designed to work with this new aspect ratio include Phone, Contacts, Clock, and Gallery.
LG has provided an enhanced software experience that feels like it was intended to improve productivity and efficiency, rather than just overwhelming us with options and features that will never be used.
Price and competition
Verizon's price was the first to leak at $672 for the LG G6. Others shortly followed with prices ranging from $650 (T-Mobile) to $720 (AT&T). The comparable iPhone 7 Plus is $769 to $969 with the Google Pixel XL and Samsung Galaxy S series similarly priced.
You can pre-order the LG G6 from all US carriers now with T-Mobile delivering devices to customers now. If you haven't seen the LG G6 yet, I recommend you visit your local carrier store or Best Buy soon.
Daily usage experiences and conclusion
It's been nearly a month since I started using a LG G6 non-final device. LG sent along a T-Mobile retail unit late last week so that I could confirm the final hardware and finish up this review.
The large 5.7 inch display with rounded corners that match the rounded design of the hardware is unique, but you will appreciate all the screen space available to you with the 18:9 aspect ratio. I honestly have not used the Android multi-window that much, but with the LG G6 providing two squares for your apps I am finding myself using it for efficiency. There is not much HDR 10 content out to test the Dolby Vision display, but it's nice to know the LG G6 is a bit ahead of its time here.
LG set the bar a couple of years ago when it came to camera technology and then Samsung caught up. Today, we see the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S7 as the standard for excellence. The LG G6 matches the Google Pixel in performance, with a secondary wide angle camera for more utility and much more advanced software for even more creativity. If a great camera is high on your list, then you should consider the LG G6. You can see some samples in this Flickr album.
The LG G6 is a great phone for the enterprise with solid battery life, removable storage, big screen and small body, reasonable price, durability and water resistance, and all the great security features of Android Nougat.