What's the difference between the LG G4 and the LG G3? We take a look at some of the new features and specs
LG has announced its new flagship phone, the LG G4, another Quad HD phone, squarely aimed at taking on the Galaxy S6.
Packing some seriously attractive specs and features, the G4 seems to be building on the solid ground laid by last year's flagship, but plagued by leaks, there weren't many surprises during the announcement.
For those of you who want to know how it stacks up against Trusted Reviews Phone of The Year 2014, the LG G3, we've compared some of the headline features.
LG G4 has a range of removable covers that includes leather
LG G4: Removable leather back
LG G3: 149g, 8.9mm thick
The look of the LG G4 phone is probably be one of the most divisive aspects of it. We've debated here at TR about whether or not we love or hate the leather back options, but the team are split right down the middle. Thankfully it's removable, but as a first impression, it's a bit off-putting for some -- at least it's genuine leather.
If you do decide to take the cover off, there are other options, including up to six different coloured leather backs at launch and some non-leather alternatives, featuring some modern textured plastic/metal/ceramic surfaces. We especially like the look of the diamond-patterned rear cover.
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The most obvious difference between this year's and last year's model is that the G4 has a Slim Arc design, giving it a subtle curve for greater ergonomics, and LG argues that the curve provides the added benefit of greater durability.
Last year the G3 had a similarly mixed reception with its brushed metal back. Some people wanted actual metal, like the HTC One M8, while others were happy because the lack of metal kept the large phone relatively light.
Still with no water proofing though, there isn't much to choose between these two on looks. Both carry a certain sense of style and refinement, but we prefer the curves newer model.
The LG G4 has a brighter, more colourful Quantum LCD
LG G4: 5.5-inch Quad HD IPS Quantum LCD
LG G3: 5.5-inch Quad HD True HD-IPS LCD
After striking out ahead of the pack and bringing us the first globally released smartphone with a Quad HD display, LG has stuck to its guns instead of dropping resolution for the sake of battery life.
So once again we have a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 (QHD) display, but this year's model has an improved colour gamut. According to LG, the colour reproduction of the screen has been increased by 20%, by using a new type of liquid crystal. The new process the company is using has also supposedly boosted brightness, sharpness and contrast. We look forward to putting this to the test.
But with all of that said, last year's flagship wasn't exactly crap, in fact it's one of the best screens we've ever seen -- it made my £2000 TV look standard definition.
G4 gets a 64-bit hexa-core processor
LG G4: 1.8GHz Snapdragon 808 hexa-core, 64-bit, 3GB RAM
LG G3: 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core, 32-bit, 3GB RAM
Surprisingly, LG has opted for the slightly underpowered Snapdragon 808 SoC in its latest flagship, compared to Qualcomm's top spec 810 unit that's used in the HTC One M9.
But it's still an improvement over the LG G3, which used the 2GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor. The 808's hexa-core chip brings battery performance improvements, better support for 3D gaming and should deliver faster performance overall compared to the 801 used previously.
The six cores of the LG G4 are arranged in a big.LITTLE configuration, using the same 20nm process used to make the top spec Snapdragon 810 SoC. This means that even though it may not be quite as powerful or efficient, it is a definite step up from what LG did with the G3 last year, and that phone was no slouch.
Compared to the G3, the G4 should win out in the power steaks, but it may have a tougher battle against the other 2015 flagships.
LG G4 gets a much faster f/1.8 lens and larger sensor
LG G4: 16MP rear, 1/2.6-inch; f/1.8 lens; 8MP front
LG G3: 13MP rear, 1/3-inch, f/2.4 lens; 2.1MP front
Last year LG set a standard with its fantastic 13-megapixel camera, optical image stabilisation and "laser-autofocus". It was fast and produced high quality images. It even managed to squeeze in UHD video recording at 30 frames per second.
That sensor in that camera, created by Sony, has become a staple for many cameras that have followed in the LG G3's wake. So this year, the Korean tech giants have decided to raise the bar a little higher. This time opting for a 16-megapixel unit, likely the same sensor used in the Samsung Galaxy S6, so it should be highly capable.
The new UX 4.0 has made the camera operation faster too. With new Quick Shot mode, the camera can be launched and take a picture in as quick as 0.6 seconds. But the biggest deal is that the LG G4 can shoot in RAW format and offers full manual control.
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The LG G4 also has improved optical image stabilisation (OIS 2.0), laser autofocus (as quick as 0.276 seconds) and UHD video recording, so we would expect it to be great for video, as well as in low light thanks to the larger sensor and f/1.8 lens. The front-facing camera has had an even more significant overhaul, now up to fabulous 8-megapixels from a pitiful 2.1-megapixels.
The G4 has an improved gesture shot function that will take pictures without you needing to press the shutter button. Selfie lovers will definitely prefer the LG G4 over the G3.
You still get a microSD card
LG G4: 32GB, microSD
LG G3: 16GB, microSD
This year LG has doubled the leading phone's internal storage, now up to 32GB from 16GB. This seems to be a trend among flagships these days, so it's great to see LG keeping up.
But better still, LG has kept the memory expansion slot - take that Samsung and Apple. This means that the LG G4 not only has more in-built memory than last year's model, but it can also be expanded up to 128GB using a micro SD card.
Android Lollipop and a new UX
LG G4: Android 5.1, LG UX 4.0
LG G3: Android 4.4 upgradeable to Android 5.0
The new LG G4 is running Android 5.1 out of the box infused with LG's own UX 4.0. The new user interface has been developed following a global consumer trial and should offer a range of solutions that make the phone easier to use and more useful on the whole.
But the LG G3 also has Android Lollipop now, so not too much difference here. We'll have to wait until we get our full review sample before we can comment on whether or not the new UX 4.0 represents an improvement or not.
The new G4 does apparently have the most accurate navigation capabilities of any smartphone right now, thanks to Qualcomm's IZat location service. This means it should be able to deliver improved tracking whilst inside buildings. Retailers will love this, but will also be great for providing G4 owners with more accurate location based notifications.
SEE ALSO: Android 5.0 Lollipop tips and tricks
Same battery as last year
LG G4: Removable 3000mAh battery
LG G3: Removable 3000mAh battery
Despite being the same capacity, the new LG G4 should be able to get more than a day's use on a single charge, thanks in part to the Snapdragon 808's more efficient processor.
The LG G3 has a large battery, but its power hungry screen went through it at a fast rate, meaning the phone would often need a top up charge at least once a day. For that reason, a few people speculated that LG would ditch the QHD display. But instead, the company has decided to stick with it and go for greater power efficiency.
The new intelligent battery saving features, such as the new Graphic RAM that can put the phone's CPU to sleep when still images are on screen. Other power saving functions that give you greater control over power hungry applications are also included, but these functions at least are becoming standard on phones these days. The LG G3 handles power draining apps in a similar function, although the Graphic RAM feature of the G4 looks like a great addition.
The real story here is the camera and the battery. The LG G4 has some impressive specifications and although it isn't running on a top spec processor, it seems some great work has been done to make this phone very power efficient.
Last year's LG G3 was an incredible phone, so there wasn't too much room for improvement, at least not so soon. The pricing of the LG G3 also makes it a very strong contender, considering it's still flagship quality for less than £400. The improved camera functions, along with an better Quad HD display and enhanced battery performance are all welcome improvements.
All things considered, this isn't a huge update, but LG seems to have done a good job of making a great phone a fair bit better.