LG G6 Review: Simply the best

Alex Kidman 4 April 2017 NEWS

Quick Verdict
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Strengths

  • Premium performance
  • Dual lens works well
  • Water resistant
  • Improved battery life
  • Integrated Google Assistant
  • Quick fingerprint sensor
  • Great display screen
  • Attractive price point

Could be better

  • Odd launcher choices
  • Big and bulky
  • No dual SIM option for Australia
  • No more removable battery
  • Evolutionary, not revolutionary


LG’s G6 takes a simple approach to delivering premium value that works exceptionally well.

LG’s hopes were very high indeed for the modular LG G5. LG took big risks with the G5, opting for a modular approach that it saw as one potential future for the smartphone business. Sadly for LG, consumers didn’t come along for the ride, unimpressed with a phone that was difficult to use and felt poor in the hand for a device that was priced at a premium level.

So for the LG G6, the company went back to basics, designing a premium smartphone that looks the part while delivering some cutting edge features. It’s not the most innovative approach, but it’s one that firmly sees it back on a path that should appeal to a much wider range of consumers.

LG G6: Design

Nowhere is the shift from the LG G5 to the G6 more apparent than in the design. The LG G6 is absolutely dominated by its monster 5.7 inch 18:9 display. Side bezels are at a minimum, with LG claiming an 80% screen ratio for the device. We would quite honestly believe it’s much higher than that, but the overall visual effect is attractive, with the one slight downside that it’s easier than ever to get fingerprints all over the screen.

In many ways the LG G6’s design is quite conservative, with a solid metal body that hides most of its important controls at the rear. The left hand side houses volume controls while the right houses the nano SIM and microSD card slot. At the rear you’ll find the combined power button and fingerprint scanner, marked out by a circular ridge to make finding it even when you’re not looking at it relatively simple. One big plus here is that it is located well away from the rear camera lens, so you’re not likely to smudge the lens with your fingers while trying to unlock it.

At 148.9x71.9x7.9mm and 163g the LG G6 has considerable heft in the hand, and that’s a plus for a phone that is trying to sell its premium status. Hand grip is decent for a metal phone, although predictably for a larger screened device if you have smaller hands you may find the learning curve a little rough.

The LG G6’s style isn’t flashy in the way that, say, some of the brighter Huawei P10 colours are, but instead more subtle and refined. To borrow car analogies, this is more of a Rolls Royce phone than a Lamborghini, although it’s also quite a fast contender when you push it hard.

LG G6: Why you’d want one

  • Premium performance: LG packs in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 and 4GB of RAM into the LG G6, with results that line up pretty much exactly where you’d expect those kinds of specifications. The LG G6 acquitted itself well in benchmarks, although not quite at the top of the pack as LG might hope.
    HandsetGeekbench 4 CPU Single Core (higher is better)Geekbench 4 CPU Multi Core (higher is better)
    Huawei Mate 919256068
    Apple iPhone 7 Plus33745649
    Apple iPhone 734525599
    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge13595333
    Samsung Galaxy S713784718
    Oppo R9s Plus14664415
    LG G618104228
    Google Pixel XL16294051
    Apple iPhone SE24494171
    HTC U Ultra16483848
    Sony Xperia XZ16363604

    What’s arguably significant here is that amongst the phones that sport the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, the LG G6 is top of the straight line performance pile. Certainly from an anecdotal testing sense, we never hit any significant performance bottlenecks, even when using demanding applications in multi-tasking modes.

Click for LG G6

Click for LG G6 from DWI (Digital World International)

Clicks more photos and videos with LG G6's large full vision display and dual 13MP rear-facing camera from DWI.

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  • It’s not quite as clear a story on the graphics front, where the LG G6 sat at the near bottom of the currently available premium pack:
    Handset3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited Result
    Apple iPhone 7 Plus37956
    Apple iPhone 737717
    HTC U Ultra29968
    Apple iPhone SE29276
    Samsung Galaxy S728903
    Google Pixel XL28458
    Huawei Mate 928457
    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge28402
    LG G628344
    Sony Xperia XZ26279

    Again, though, the benchmarks don’t tell the entire story. We suspect those rates are pushed down slightly by the demands of the LG’s higher resolution display, because in real world use we were able to run quite demanding games with nary a hint of frame rate drop or sluggishness. A premium phone should deliver premium performance, and this the LG G6 manages well.

  • Dual lens works well: Like the G5, the LG G6 sports a dual lens array, with one 13MP standard lens and one 13MP wide angle lens on the back of the phone. Dual lenses are very much a feature that most premium phones are pushing as a differentiating factor, although your preferences will most likely lie with your preferred photographic shot type. Where contenders such as the iPhone 7 Plus or the Huawei Mate 9 have more of a portrait photography focus, the wide angle on the LG G6 makes it a better fit for landscape photography. Here’s a quick sample shot to show how the regular camera looks for a landscape shot:LGG6_Park_NormalAnd then the same scene shot with the wide angle lensLGG6_Park_WideThe LG G6’s camera, including the "Square Camera" app that allows you to take quick instagram-style shots and instantly review them works quickly and well in most situations you’re likely to want to take photos. LG includes a specific "food" mode for all those meals you can’t help but socially share that slightly tweaks the colour intensity for a mostly pleasing HDR-style effect. One nice upgrade from last year’s LG G5 (which also featured a wide lens) is that the shift between the two lenses when zooming is almost imperceptible. With the LG G5 we worried about missing shots, but with the LG G6, it’s significantly less likely.
    LG G6Sample photos
    LG_G6_sampleshot1LG_G6_sampleshot2
    LG_G6_sampleshot4aLG_G6_sampleshot4
  • Water resistant: LG’s pitch for the LG G6 revolves around it having the features most wanted by everyday users, so water resistance was a bit of a must. Like its competitors, there are limits to how far you can push the G6’s IP68 rating, but for everyday accidental immersions it should sail through life without a problem. We experimentally dunked our review LG G6 a number of times without issue, but you shouldn’t really use it, say, as a bright shiny fishing lure for any length of time.
  • Improved battery life: The LG G5’s battery was a distinct downer, and this was an area that LG had to address with the LG G6. For the most part this is managed well, with anecdotal testing pegging battery life at around a day and a half, or more if you’re a relatively light phone user.
    Testing against Geekbench 3’s older battery test confirmed those results, with the LG G6 measuring up near-identically to the relatively similar Google Pixel XL handset in terms of overall battery life:

    HandsetGeekbench 3 Battery Test DurationGeekbench 3 Battery Score
    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge11:55:007150
    Apple iPhone 7 Plus11:11:206713
    Samsung Galaxy Note711:02:206623
    Samsung Galaxy S710:01:206013
    Samsung Galaxy Note 59:18:005580
    Google Pixel XL9:14:205543
    LG G69:09:305495
    Huawei Mate 99:00:305330
    Huawei P98:26:304948
    Sony Xperia XZ8:24:205042
    ZTE Axon 77:56:204763
    Apple iPhone 77:50:104701
    LG G57:36:104561
    HTC U Ultra7:25:404456
  • Integrated Google Assistant: Integrated AI is gearing up to be another premium phone differentiator, and LG has claimed pole position as the first non-Google phone to include its Google Assistant AI. It’s an obvious tradeoff between your personal information and convenience (and it’s rather explicit about this, which is a good thing) but if you like this kind of feature it’s well implemented here.
  • Quick fingerprint sensor: Rear mounted fingerprint readers need to impress, because you’re typically not looking at them when you’re unlocking your phone. LG’s sensor doesn’t disappoint, but if it’s not to your taste you can alternatively use LG’s own "knock code" unlock sequence to keep your phone’s data secure.
  • Great display screen: The LG G6’s 5.7 inch 1,440×2,880 display is bright and above all large. That’s thanks to its 18:9 screen ratio, which LG claims is ideal for multi-tasking. Not every Android app is happy in this shape, and LG does provide onboard tools to pick resolutions to suit your taste. Either way, we can’t fault the general quality of the G6’s display screen, especially for video watching.
  • Attractive price point: LG pitched the G5 at the same kinds of price points as its competitors last year, making it tough to recommend. For the LG G6, while the price remains in premium territory, it’s attractively at the lower tier of pricing, alongside phones such as the Huawei Mate 9. That makes it cheaper to pick up outright and lower cost on phone plans too.

LG_G6_2_738

LG G6: Why you might not want one

  • Odd launcher choices: LG provides three different launcher styles, labelled as "Home", "EasyHome" and "Home & App Drawer". The former two present an iOS-style continuous array of home screens, while the latter uses a more traditional Android style approach. For some weird reason (at least on our review phone) some apps such as the square camera simply vanish if you opt for Home & App Drawer. I’ve no idea why, but it seems like a bad idea to limit your phone’s exclusive apps depending on the launcher style you prefer!
  • Big and bulky: It’s inevitable that a larger screened phone will command a fair amount of hand space, and to its credit the G6 does so with minimal bezels. Still, you’ll feel it in the hand, and may struggle to hit every point on the screen if you have smaller hands or shorter fingers.
  • No dual SIM option for Australia: LG does produce a dual SIM version of the LG G6, but the official Australian variant is, for now, via Telstra only. Carriers don’t like dual SIM phones, so it’s limited to a single SIM instead.
  • No more removable battery: One hallmark of LG’s G series phones has been the manufacturer’s use of removable batteries. They’re a godsend if you travel a lot, or simply if you worry about the long-term life of your battery. The tradeoff for the waterproofing rugged design of the LG G6 is that you can’t remove the 3300mAh battery at all.
  • Evolutionary, not revolutionary: The competition in the premium phone space is particularly fierce this year, simply because so many mid-range phones are exceptional performers. It’s a natural evolution of the smartphone market, but it means that by playing it safe, LG hasn’t presented a phone that stretches the premium definition in the way that some other makers have.

LG_G6_4_738

Who is it best suited for? What are my alternatives?

LG needed to come out swinging with the LG G6, and for the most part it has done so, combining a solid design with an attractive set of mostly premium features in an appealing way. If you’re a long-time LG G series user who was disappointed with the G5, the G6 represents a real return to form. It’s especially appealing if you rather liked the Google Pixel XL due to the similarity in feature sets and that identical Snapdragon 821 processor, because it’s essentially the Pixel XL with the rough edges smoothed out. Within the Snapdragon 821 family the HTC U Ultra is still the real looker of the bunch, but it doesn’t have it where it counts in performance and especially battery terms.

LG faces some stiff competition in the premium Android space, however, with the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S8 due in Australia in just a few weeks, most likely closely followed by the similarly powerful Sony Xperia XZ Premium. If the low-scale premium price point of the LG G6 appeals to you, the Huawei Mate 9 should also be on your radar.
LG_G6_6_738

Where can I get it?

At launch, Telstra holds the exclusive for contract sales of the LG G6, but it’s also the only place you can buy an LG G6 outright with a list price of $1,008.

On contract if you order an LG G6 before 9 May 2017 through Telstra, you’ll also receive a bonus 43" Full HD TV from LG’s 2017 range. That’s an exceptional deal if you’re already keen on the LG G6, but only applies to contract sales. Buying the LG G6 outright won’t score you a free telly, in other words.

Here’s Telstra’s current plan pricing for the LG G6:


LG_G6_7_738

LG G6 Specifications

LGG6
Display5.7in
Resolution1,440×2,880
ppi564
SoftwareAndroid 7.0
Storage32GB
RAM4GB
Battery3300mAh
Front Camera5MP
Rear Camera13MP/13MP
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 821
Size148.9x71.9x7.9mm
Weight163g

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