LG G6 vs LG G5: What’s the difference?

LG G6 vs LG G5: What’s the difference between LG’s new flagship and its 2016 equivalent? Here’s a full breakdown.

After weeks of teasing, LG has finally revealed all the details about the new LG G6 smartphone. It’s an attractive flagship smartphone with suitably high-end specs, running on Google’s latest Nougat operating system.

But how is it different from last year’s LG G5? The good news is that on paper, it looks much better – the LG G5 landed to a tepid reception after all, scoring a respectable (but not outstanding) 4/5 in our review.

The LG G6 goes on sale in South Korea in the next few weeks, followed by a US launch tentatively pinned for the week beginning April 3. And Europeans will be getting the LG G6 at some point after the US launch. So what do you need to know before then?

In this article, I’ll be answering the following questions:

  • What’s different about the design?
  • How do the LG G6 and G5 specs compare?
  • What’s new with the phone software?
  • Which phone is better value for money?
  • Is the LG G6 the phone for you?

Alternatively, scroll down to the bottom of this article for a summarised version of this article.

Related: LG G6 vs iPhone 7

LG G6 vs LG G5 Design: What’s the difference?

If you’re a stickler for design, you’ll be glad to hear that the LG G6 is much more attractive than the LG G5.

If you remember, the LG G5’s design was the cause of several controversies. For a start, LG used the phone to introduce a new modular system where parts of the phone could be detached and swapped out for other features. But there were very few “modules” available, and this detachability made the phone feel less solid.

There was also controversy over the material that the LG G5 was actually made of. When the phone launched, LG insisted that the phone sported a metal unibody design. But many users complained that the phone appeared to be made of plastic instead, with one YouTube video even demonstrating an apparent plastic layer being scratched off. The truth was that although the LG G5 was made from an aluminium alloy, it was coated with a pigment layer, followed by a primer coating – which was mistaken for plastic.

Related: Best Android Smartphones 2017

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By comparison, the LG G6 sees a transition to a much more refined (and more traditional) smartphone design.

The new metal and glass build looks much more premium than the plasticky coating on the LG G5. There’s also a much higher screen-to-body ratio, making the phone look more elegant and visually arresting. That said, in moving away from the LG G5’s aesthetic, LG has released a new flagship phone that looks much more conventional, which some customers might find a little boring.

Here’s our Mobile Editor Max Parker’s take on the new design:

“The G6 is undoubtedly a lot nicer to look at than the G5. It’s metal and glass for one, rather than a weird fake metal and plastic combo. But, it feels a bit same-y – it looks like any number of other phones from the sides and back. Screen aside, it lacks a really interesting design trait and that could harm it when the Samsung Galaxy S8 comes out.”

Related: Best Android Apps 2017

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LG G6 vs LG G5 Specs: How much more powerful is the LG G6?

A new year, a new flagship – and plenty of new high-end hardware to go with it. The LG G6 is more powerful than the LG G5 by virtue of the fact that it’s more recent. But what are the key spec differences?

The most immediate difference you’ll notice is the bigger screen; LG has moved from a 5.3-inch screen to a much larger 5.7-inch display. The resolution has jumped from 1,440 x 2,560 pixels (554ppi) to 1,440 x 2,880 pixels (564ppi), improving the pixel density too. And LG has also changed to an 18:9 (read: 2:1) aspect ratio, which I’ll talk about in more detail in the software section below.

In terms of raw performance, the LG G6 will benefit from a more powerful Snapdragon 821 processor. According to Qualcomm (who designs Snapdragon chips), the Snapdragon 821 is 10% faster than the Snapdragon 820 chip used in last year’s LG G5.

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Some fans will be disappointed that the LG G6 doesn’t utilise Qualcomm’s even more powerful Snapdragon 835 chip, but Samsung has apparently scooped the early supply of those for the upcoming Galaxy S8. Still, LG has at least borrowed the Snapdragon 835’s dual-camera tech for the LG G6 – but there won’t be any of the 835’s general phone performance improvements.

Other notable changes include using double 13-megapixel sensors on the back of the phone (in contrast to a 16-megapixel/8-megapixel pairing), the addition of wireless charging (US-only), and a battery size boost of 500mAh (from 2,800mAh to 3,300mAh).

And perhaps one of the most useful changes is waterproofing; unlike the LG G5, the new LG G6 is IP68 certified water-resistant, which means it can be dunked to a depth of 1.5 metres for 30 minutes. That’s a guideline mind, so I wouldn’t suggest testing the phone to its aquatic limits – but handy if you regularly drop your blower down the loo.

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For a full spec comparison, check out the table below:

LG G5 LG G6
Screen 5.3-inches 5.7-inches
Display Resolution 1,440 x 2,560 (554ppi) 1,440 x 2,880 (564ppi)
Screen-to-body Ratio 70.1% 80%
Aspect Ratio 16:9 18:9
Dimensions 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage 32GB MicroSD 32GB MicroSD
Rear Camera Dual Camera (16MP OIS 8MP) f/1.8 f/2.4 Dual Camera (13MP OIS 13MP) f/1.8
Front Camera Single Camera (8MP) f/2.0 Wide Angle (5MP 100-degree) f/2.4
Battery 2,800mAh 3,300mAh
Charging Quick Charge 3.0, Wireless Quick Charge 3.0, Wireless
Headphone Jack Yes Yes
Waterproof N/A IP68-certified
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, USB-C Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, USB-C
Colours Silver, Titan, Gold, Pink Black, White, Platinum

Related: iPhone 7S

LG G6 vs LG G5 OS: What’s new with the phone software?

Both the LG G5 and LG G6 run on Google’s new Android 7.0 Nougat operating system, although the former originally launched with an older version of Android on board.

Still, the LG G5 and LG G6 are largely similar in terms of their software. The main difference is that LG has loaded the G6 with a modified version of its LG UX software that supports the new aspect ratio. With the LG G6, you’re getting a quirky 18:9 aspect ratio. The advantage of this is that the screen can show two apps at once, both of which will be perfect squares.

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The LG G6 also supports HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, for anyone keen on watching lots of media on their new large-screen LG flagship.

If you want to find out more about Google’s OS in general, check out our Android 7.0 Nougat guide.

LG G6 vs LG G5 Price: Which phone is better value for money?

Sorry folks, but we don’t have pricing for the LG G6 just yet. However, we’re probably going to get this information shortly, so stay tuned.

What we do know is that the LG G5 launched at £529 originally, and now retails on Amazon for around £450-460. I’d be surprised if the LG G6 retailed for anything less than £529, especially considering the UK’s Brexit woes.

In any case, if you can put up with the modular design and plasticky feel, the LG G5 is still a potentially good buy, especially considering the fact that it uses a similar software and processor to the LG G6.

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Should you upgrade?

Thinking about picking up an LG G6? Here’s our advice based on some possible scenarios.

If you already own an LG G5, it’s probably not worth upgrading. After all, the changes are largely aesthetic. You’re getting a marginally better processor and some nice new features, but really it’s all about improving the design faults with the LG G5. So unless you really hate your LG G5, the upgrade is one to skip.

If you’re using an older Android device, consider the alternatives as well as the LG G6. The first half of 2017 will be home to plenty of new phones, and 2016 had some great options too. For instance, last year’s Google Pixel was fantastic, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is nearly upon us. If you’re desperate for a new phone, try hanging around until the end of March and seeing what your options are.

If you’re on a budget then perhaps the LG G6 isn’t for you. It’s important not to forget that the LG G6 is a flagship phone, and that’s going to be overkill for many users. Mid-range and low-end smartphones can be very impressive, and will suit many users’ needs for half the price or less. Consider, for instance, a Motorola Moto G handset, or even the cheap-but-powerful OnePlus 3T.

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LG G6 vs LG G5 Summary: What’s the difference?

Here’s a quick overview of the differences between the LG G6 and LG G5.

Design: The LG G6 scraps the old modular design, and offers a refined metallic chassis with a high screen-to-body ratio and waterproofing.

Specs: You’re getting a 10% faster Snapdragon 821 processor, a better camera, wireless charging, and a bigger, more pixel-dense display with the LG G6.

Price: The price isn’t confirmed yet, unfortunately.

Value: The LG G6 will likely be competitively priced, but it will be interesting to see how it competes with Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8, which is tipped to feature a much more powerful chip. While the LG G6 will be more expensive than the LG G5 however, it’s important to remember that you can get the latter for £450 now – so it’s worth thinking about whether the aforementioned hardware improvements are worth potentially £100 to you.

Buy Now: LG G6 on EE (5GB) – £29.99 upfront, £27.99/month
Buy Now: LG G6 on ID (4GB) – £49 upfront, £31.99/month
Buy Now: LG G6 on O2 (30GB) – £49 upfront, £39/month

Related: MWC 2017

Watch: LG G6 – Everything you need to know

What do you think of the LG G6? Let us know in the comments.