WHEN you talk about premium smartphones, LG is not always at the top of the list.
This doesn’t mean the South Korean manufacturer makes poor quality devices, it just can’t manage to build the same hype as the likes of Samsung or Apple.
However, if any of its devices are to leave an impression, it will likely be LG’s latest flagship offering: The G6.
Not only is the phone the company’s most stylish to date, but it is the first in the world to include Dolby Vision HDR imaging — High Dynamic Range transforms your viewing experience with astonishing brightness, ultravivid colours, deep darks and amazing contrasts usually only seen at the cinema or on high-end televisions.
Much like Jennifer Aniston or George Clooney, LG’s smartphones are getting sexier with age.
The South Korean manufacturer has moved away from the dual screen of the V20, with the G6 stripped down to the bare minimum.
It might not match the very sexy curved display of Samsung’s S8, but the G6 managed to eliminate a large chunk of the bezel that would usually detract from the 5.7-inch screen of the device.
An aluminium frame surrounds the phone, with Gorillas Glass 3 and Gorillas Glass 5 protecting the front and rear of the device, respectively.
Although, one has to wonder why the much more durable Gorillas Glass 5 wasn’t used for both the front and back of the device.
The rear of the phone has no protruding camera bump and is also home to the fingerprint sensor, which doubles as the power button.
Unlike other devices, the scanner actually depresses instead of just using haptic feedback to give the illusion of a button — not necessary, but fun.
Fortunately, the scanner is easy to find as it is clearly located away from other components — the S8 was rightly criticised for putting the button next to the device’s camera.
The bottom of the device is home to a single speaker and USB-C connector, with the headphone jack located at the top of the phone.
LG has also opted to increase the battery size from 2,800mAh to 3,300mAh which offers longer life, although unlike previous models from the company, the battery can’t be removed.
As the king of televisions, it comes as no surprise that LG has managed to deliver a smartphone screen worthy of praise.
Despite being created by LG’s own screen division, the display surprisingly uses LCD technology rather than OLED.
This doesn’t mean the display lacks quality, with LG including Dolby Vision/HDR 10 to support High Dynamic Range content — this provides incredible colour and offers an increased detail from contrast between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks.
While being Dolby Vision/HDR 10 enabled is impressive on paper, it will only work with content encoded in this format, which is extremely limited for mobile at this point in time.
However, streaming services like Netflix and Amazon will be working to increase offerings in the near future.
Like the S8, the G6 has moved away from the 16:9 aspect ration seen on most phones, with the device offering 18:9 instead.
While this allows for a phenomenal viewing experience for things filmed in 18:9, those shot in 16:9 will result in black bars on the screen.
I don’t see this as a negative, rather LG just being ahead of the curve.
LG has always had impressive cameras on its smartphones and the G6 is no exception.
On the rear of the device are two 13MP camera lenses — one normal and one wide-angle.
The main image sensor comes with optical image stabilisation and offers a fast f/1.8 aperture, while the wide-angle sensor lacks the same stabiliser and has a f/2.4 aperture.
This means images taken on the wide-angle are less sharp, but the 125-degree lens is capable of capturing an image view greater than the iPhone 7 Plus, which maxes out at 75.4 degrees.
The forward facing 5 MP camera has also been given a wide-angle lens capable of shooting 100 degrees.
While the results of the camera are decent, I don’t really see any of these features being a stand-alone selling point of the device.
Like most smartphones on the market, the G6 offers a water resistance rating of IP68, which means it can be submerged up to approximately 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.
Dual Acoustic Overload Point mics mean the phone is able to capture full, rich, high quality sound.
Despite only coming with 32GB of on-board storage, a microSD allows this to be increased up to 256GB.
The G6’s operating system is Android 7.0 Nougat, with LG’s own skin overlaid.
SHOULD I BUY THE DEVICE?
Overall, LG has upped its game with a solid offering free from gimmicks.
My inner-nerd can’t help but to be excited for the inclusion of Dolby Vision/HDR 10 on a smartphone, but that alone is not really a deal breaker.
I have enjoyed using the device and would have no problems recommending for anyone looking to get a new Android — Telstra’s $1008 price makes it reasonably affordable.
In saying that, I would be more inclined to push people toward Samsung’s Galaxy S8 or suggest they wait until September to see what Apple has to offer with the iPhone 8.
Offering dramatically expanded brightness, contrast, and color gamut, Dolby Vision technology delivers the most true-to-life viewing experience ever seen on a display. Only Dolby Vision can reveal onscreen the rich detail and vivid colors that we see in nature.