LG G4 review

evan kypreos

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Updated:

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Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Phablet size screen in a phone size body
  • Outstanding camera
  • Great screen
  • microSD slot and removable battery

Cons

  • Lacks the quality feel of metal competitors
  • Average battery life

Key Features

  • 5.5-inch IPS Quantum display
  • 16-megapixel OIS-enhanced camera
  • 8-megapixel selfie shooter
  • Stunning leather-clad design
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Manufacturer: LG
  • Review Price: £450.00

First reviewed: May 2015

This phone has been replaced: LG G5

What is the LG G4?

The LG G4 has a lot to live up to since its predecessor, the LG G3, was crowned TrustedReviews’ Phone of the Year in 2014. It largely succeeds, too. The LG G4 has taken all the best bits from the LG G3 and rolled them into a new and improved package.The LG G4 is to the LG G3 what the iPhone 5S is to the iPhone 5. That’s to say its alterations are more evolutionary than revolutionary.

Don’t let that deceive you, though – it’s brought with it changes that hit nearly all the right notes. This is another all-round excellent flagship from LG and it costs considerably less than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6, while matching, or surpassing, those competitors in nearly every respect. It provides speedy performance, a great screen and arguably the best smartphone camera around. If you don’t mind the hard plastic that LG seems intent on persisting with, then this could well be the handset for you. Down from £450/ $550 at launch to £355/$500 SIM-free, the LG G4 is now even better value for money.

Watch our LG G4 video review:

LG G4 – Design

148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm, 155g, Plastic edge, Removable back, Rear button

The LG G4 looks and feels a lot like the G3 and in most ways this is a good thing. In most ways.

A 5.5-inch screen can make a phone unwieldy – just try handling the mammoth iPhone 6 Plus or Galaxy Note 4, or worst of all the Nexus 6. Not so the LG G4. This is a phablet screen in a smartphone’s body. That means that you can use the G4 one-handed as easily as you’d use a 5-inch phone.

SEE ALSO: LG G4 tips and tricks

LG G4 9

Using the LG G4 is even easier than handling a smaller handset, in some respects. The rear button design that’s been around since the LG G2 has had a little fine tuning and works better than ever. In fact it’s so clever that we’re shocked other companies haven’t copied it yet. It gives you easy access to all the buttons you need with your index finger, by touch alone. This means both left- and right-handed people will have the same experience.

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It takes a bit of getting used to if you haven't used a phone like it before, but within a few days you’ll be handling the LG G4 like a pro, and loving those rear buttons.

SEE ALSO: Best Cheap Smartphones

LG G4

The only problem with their location is taking photos using a button, rather than tapping the screen. You can do this on the G4 using the volume-down button, but it requires you to awkwardly stretch a finger behind the phone.

In spite of this one small issue, ease of use is the major benefit of the rear buttons, but clean design is another. All the edges of the G4 are smooth, save the bottom which is home to the Micro USB port and headphone jack. Nothing interferes with holding the phone comfortably.

The key difference between the LG G4 and the G3 is a faint curve to the screen. And when I say faint, I mean faint. This is nothing like the steeply curved sides on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and doesn’t give the phone anywhere near the sex appeal of Samsung's far more expensive curio.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Android Phones

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The curve makes the phone ever so slightly banana shaped, so the mouth-piece rests nearer your yapper when you’re on a call. Unlike the bendy LG G Flex 2 or famously curved Nokia 8110 (of Matrix fame), the curve here is so faint that it makes hardly any difference at all. OK, it does fit a little better than straight phones do when pocketed in tight jeans, and it does feel nice in your hand, but that’s about it.

LG claims the curve makes the phone “20% tougher” – 20% tougher than what, we’re not sure, although the little bit of flex it has could, potentially, spread the force of an impact better than more rigid handsets. Like the Galaxy S6 Edge all signs point to a classic case of something that’s been done because it can be done, not because it offers any benefits you'll really care about.

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It’s not just the curve we’re dubious about. The edge of the G4 is glossy plastic made to look, a little, like metal. We’d hoped this was a trait consigned to the smartphone graveyard along with the chromed-plastic edge on the Galaxy S5. The LG G4’s is nowhere near as bad as that, but it’s not a material that stands up to the likes of the metal iPhone 6, HTC One M9 or Galaxy S6 in terms of cachet.

Still the LG G4 is a phone that is put together well. It has good heft without being too heavy, and it doesn’t creak when put under stress. Splash out a little more and you can get a rear made from a thin layer of genuine leather, as opposed to the plastic back (although if you opt for leather you also get a plastic back bundled in the box).

SEE ALSO: LG G4 vs iPhone 6

LG G4

If you’ve not squeamish about leather, this is the version to go for. The seam helps guide you to the rear buttons, and is super-grippy. It makes the LG G4 look more classy, and closer in value to its illustrious competitors. It doesn't feel great, though. There's no warmth or softness to the the leather, so it doesn't give you the feel of slipping on your favourite, worn leather jacket.

It may not look as pricey as a metal phone, but when it comes to spot-on ergonomics and fitting a big screen into a small body, the LG G4 is as good as it gets.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

shnatiw

April 29, 2015, 12:23 pm

Hmm. The more I read about this phone, the more I really like it. I think the leather back is a great idea. Looks very classy. Huge battery that won't have to deal with the debilitating effects of the 810. Looks like it's screen and camera will be up there with the S6, or better. LG have hit the nail on the head with the design, build, and specs, and on the face of it will have the most balanced flagship smartphone of 2015. They certainly deserve to build on the success of the G3. HTC, Sony, and to a lesser extent Samsung, should all be taking notes. I love my S6 Edge, but it's battery life (while improving) is around a quarter down on the S5, with the same apps and usage.

shnatiw

May 13, 2015, 7:05 pm

Good review. Seems like a flagship that will (or should) improve on the G3's sales. Hopefully as software updates improve key functions such as power management, and screen settings, then your overall score for the G4 will be rectified. Because this phone should really be a 9/10 when its full potential is realised. I am not really sure of your reasoning in giving it a 7 for value. I presume you are basing it on the materials used. Why was a leather backed G4 not reviewed? And shouldn't the ability to access the battery and the inclusion of a microSD slot offset the lack of a metal edge and increase it's value mark?

bradavon

May 19, 2015, 12:53 pm

I imagine they review what they're given.

tedster11

May 20, 2015, 10:17 am

Any phone that has an average battery life won't sell, it's the biggest bugbear for most people who have shite battery life.

shnatiw

May 27, 2015, 3:11 pm

errr...every iteration of iPhone?

Mark Armitage

June 4, 2015, 6:45 am

I disagree that it's unlikely that you will carry a spare battery around with you. That's obviously true with phones whose batteries cannot be swapped, but it is much more convenient than carrying a battery pack if you can swap the battery as with the LG phones. It takes a few seconds and you will never need to connect your phone to a charger, a massive convenience. It also means that you don't really need to worry at all if you have a juice guzzling phone. So it's hats off to LG for retaining this highly useful feature.

lfsnz67

June 9, 2015, 10:41 pm

Why in the world would the reviewer prefer carrying around a bulky external battery to a tiny extra internal battery? Madness...

Suzy Frost

July 10, 2015, 6:49 pm

Just got this phone a week ago. Absolutely by far the worst phone I have ever owned. Constantly freezing up if I try to watch Netflix on my break all it does is buffer. Too many problems to list what a waste of money.

Rich

August 19, 2015, 1:21 pm

Got this phone for work use, like the screen, specs and the fact it has a microsd card slot and replaceable battery. The phone is swapped around 3 work members as its sort of our emergency phone. And with Lollipop the extra user accounts function was superb (which I tested on my Nexus 5 to make sure it could have 3 extra users, it did). So, got this delivered, works great until we started to add extra users !! Apart from the main user (owner) it only allows one extra account !! I checked on Google and others are having the same issue with this phone ! Why oh why would you completely ruin an excellent feature of Lollipop !!! You dont use this feature fine, but if you want to you cant ! Why on earth and who in their right mind decided to basically cripple this feature ! "I know guys, I had this great idea...lets take Android and make parts of it worse" **round of applause from rest of management team at LG...** If anyone can suggest a new similar phone that doesn't have this feature crippled, please let me know.

calmdownbro

September 5, 2015, 8:06 am

Check Xposed modules, those offered a great range of customizability for G2 and G3. Also check XDA if there is a Cyanogenmod for the G4. See: http://www.droidforums.net/thr...

Tony Fernandes

December 21, 2015, 11:02 pm

LG Phones are now on sale only below

Joseph Murdock

February 21, 2016, 9:56 am

Hi Evan Kypreos, Have tried posting my comment yesterday but not sure it really went through. First of all good comprehensive review.

I agree that the Camera in LG G4 is the best in the market at this price range have also seen it on fanreviews.co I liked the comparison of LG G4 & Galaxy S6 in a video review here.. https://fanreviews.co/mobiles/... gives lot of visual details. Though Arguably you can say Galaxy S6 Edge & iPhone 6s Plus are the best as of today.

Do you think it is still relevant among all the new launches late last year?

joanita

August 17, 2016, 11:05 am

LG G4 is now available at a discounted price only at AndroidSmartphoneDeals;com

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