LG G4 review

evan kypreos

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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

What is the LG G4?

Update: It might be 'old' now, but the G4 is still a great phone – especially as it's currently going for under £300/$250 at select retailers. There still isn't much else in that price bracket to worry it at the moment.

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 as little as £250/$200, the LG G4 is now even better value for money and still presents a compelling case.

Watch: LG G4 video review

LG G4 – Design

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

This phone has been replaced: Read our LG G5 and LG G6 reviews

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.

Related: 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.

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.

Related: 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.

Related: 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).

Related: 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.

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/...

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/mobil... 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

Paul Rogers

September 9, 2016, 8:00 am

Be aware if anything goes wrong with your cheaply made, highly priced LG equipment (and it probably will! ) customer service is practically non existent. Check out LG customer service on the internet. My G4 has been in for repair twice for the same issue. They have had the phone over 9 weeks in 7 months and I am still waiting to get it back now. I am certainly not on my own with this type of problem with LG. Terrible customer service.

Lbheav85

September 24, 2016, 2:42 am

This is the worst phone I have ever owned in my entire life and I have been through tons of phones. I am now going into my FOURTH replacement phone due to the crappy board on this phone. It is overpriced junk. I was sold because of the camera quality and how light it was to carry around. It's sad that it's been 13 months and I have already went through three replacement devices. What a shame, LG. You usually have great qorking electronics and you really tripped and literally FAILED on this one. Can't wait to get this phone out of my hair.

wasif

October 28, 2016, 2:30 pm

there are lot of problems with this phone though bad experience

Jackie

October 30, 2016, 6:30 pm

YOU WILL BE VERY SORRY IF YOU WASTE GOOD MONEY ON THIS PIECE OF CRAP!

your friend..

November 8, 2016, 3:41 am

Just wait, it gets worse. Starts out freezing and won't charge correctly, before you know it, reboot loop. Customer service is THE worse, just look on lg mobile on Facebook, you'll see all the horror stories how they will not help you. Phone is 9 months old, problems since day one. Total nightmare.

Usman

November 8, 2016, 10:42 am

I love my LG 4G and i enjoyed using. However, i had a bad experience some couple of days ago. It was working perfectly alright then suddenly it shot itself up, since then i couldn't start it up again. Can somone advice me on what to do please

Tee

January 8, 2017, 11:18 pm

Love the phone but the battery is crap. I constantly charge it and keep a spare...tragic

I teach in Philly

February 8, 2017, 12:53 am

If you are a person who likes fiddling with filters, aperature, ISO, light balance and all that -- you will like this camera. If you are someone who wants to take good casual photos with easy touch-icon mode selection (action, low-light etc,) this camera is NOT for you. Taking a picture is FAR too complicated on this phone and takes too much time to set up for just a casual shot. I'm taking my phone back tomorrow. I've owned it less than 8 hours and can't stand this interface. It will cost me $50 restocking fee but so what.
Too many shots will be missed while I fiddle around telling people "hold it, hold it" while I try to get things "just right." Forget it.

Shelley Owens

March 2, 2017, 4:58 pm

I am experiencing the same thing; according to hacker forums, it's a common problem caused by a defect. From what I've seen on supposedly leaked documents on forums, LG calls this an “Infinite loop Auto power off” which requires the motherboard to be replaced. Sorry for the italics, can't shut it off after cut and paste. I put mine in the freezer overnight and was able to get it to boot up, hoping to at least recover my data. But the LG Suite software which I downloaded from LG could not discover the device to make a backup. This was not a cheap phone. I am very disappointed and will look for more a reliable phone.

neil

April 11, 2017, 6:03 am

What i have noticed is there are millions of people dead happy with this phone and you wont see their comments on here, only the bad ones. I have had this phone for about 18 months now. Still no problems aside from a weakening battery life. But still getting through a complete work day. Im extremely happy with this handset and the camera is just amazing. Look forward to making my next handset an LG as well. Best phone i have owned.

Tom Gardiner

June 26, 2017, 4:56 pm

Two words: Boot Loop

Your argument, and review, is invalid.

Disagree? Then I have three words for you: Class Action Lawsuit

There is one in progress, started in March (Google it, I'm not holding your hand), over LG's failure to do anything about a defect they knew about. I'm sending mine in for the 3rd time for the same issue. Will never buy another LG product again in my life.

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