LG Q6 review: The cut-price LG G6

Alex Kidman 21 September 2017

Quick verdict
If you like LG's design style but the asking price of the LG G6 is problematic, the Q6 makes for an excellent budget alternative.

The Good

  • Good camera for a budget phone
  • Great display for a mid-range phone
  • Dual SIM

The bad

  • Lacklustre app performance
  • Plastic body
  • Ordinary battery life


The LG Q6 is LG's budget homage to the LG G6, and it's a good option if you want a solid display and camera phone at an affordable price point.

LG Q6 32GB Dual sim from DWI (Digital World International)

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Most smartphone manufacturers tend to strictly differentiate their budget and premium lines, with only the most costly phones grabbing premium design and features. LG's pitch for the LG Q6 is that it's essentially a smaller LG G6 for the more cost-centric buyer who wants a full-screen Android handset.

LGQ6_1_738

Design

LG significantly shifted its design language with the LG G6, especially compared to the LG G5 that preceded it, and it's very clear looking at the LG Q6 that it's that design style that has carried across to the cheaper and smaller handset.

The LG Q6 measures in at 142.5x69.3x8.1mm with a carrying weight of just 149 grams, helped no doubt by the fact that where the G6 uses a full metal unibody design, the Q6 is undeniably sporting a sealed plastic body. This isn't as troublesome as it might sound, because while plastic is less durable and the Q6 isn't water resistant in any way, the use of plastic also serves to somewhat soften the G6's more industrial design notes.

The star of the show for the Q6 is its 5.5-inch 18:9 aspect ratio display. LG refers to it as "FullVision", as found in the G6, although it's also an aspect ratio Samsung has offered on its premium phones. However, finding it in a budget handset is a definite first, and an interesting play in the budget space.

Most budget phones tend to lean on just one or two factors to differentiate themselves, and it's clear that the Q6 sells itself on the entertainment potential of that display. The 18:9 ratio does give it the somewhat unusual resolution of 2,160 x 1,080, which is sometimes problematic for some Android games apps. Still, it's a bright and crisp display screen for a phone of this price.

One other factor to consider is that the Q6 is sold in Australia as a dual-SIM phone, so if you fancy some multi-SIM action, whether that's for global roaming or simply to keep your work and personal accounts separate, it could be a decent match to your needs.

LG_Q6_3_738

Camera

The Q6 has to cut corners somewhere to shave $700 off the asking price of the LG G6, and one area where it does so is with the camera, which dips down from the G6's generally great dual lens array to a single rear 13MP sensor, coupled with a wide angle front 5MP lens.

While it's not up to the class of its bigger sibling (and you shouldn't expect it to be), the LG Q6 is an entirely capable camera for a device at its price point. Like the G6, it can manage square Instagram-style shots, or combine them into collages for specific photographic styles.

What surprised me with the LG Q6 was how capable a camera it ultimately was, although this does have one significant caveat. The LG Q6 has very slow focus, so it's not well suited for action scenes. However, if you're happy to wait for it to focus, you can get some genuinely pleasant images. Low light is naturally not the LG Q6's friend, but in most situations with a little patience you can do quite well. Here are some sample shots direct from the LG Q6:

LGQ6_Sample6_738 LGQ6_Sample5_738 LGQ6_Sample4_738 LGQ6_Sample3_738 LGQ6_Sample2_738 LGQ6_Sample1_738

Performance

The other area where the Q6 cuts costs is in the internal construction of the phone. It uses Qualcomm's much cheaper Snapdragon 435 CPU with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of ROM. The Snapdragon 435 is built to a price, and it's a combination that we've only seen in the mainstream Australian market via the Oppo A57 so far.

Again, this is to be expected for a budget phone, and predictably, when benchmarked, the Q6 delivered distinctly budget results. This isn't a fast phone by any stretch of the imagination, and that's borne out by its lacklustre benchmark results. Here's how it compared against a range of more affordable handsets in Geekbench 4's CPU test:

HandsetGeekbench 4 CPU Single Core (higher is better)Geekbench 4 CPU Multi Core (higher is better)
Moto G5 Plus8424,180
Samsung Galaxy A77713,998
Huawei GR5 20178143,398
Huawei Nova Plus8432,985
Nokia 56622,833
Nokia 66642,832
Oppo A576622,810
Moto G56302,605
LG Q65362,005
Huawei Y56791,909
Nokia 35521,527
LG X Power5541,482
Motorola Moto G Play5221,334

The same story is true in 3D performance, where the LG Q6 isn't the worst performer we've seen, but only just:

Handset3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited Result
Huawei Nova Plus13,969
Moto G5 Plus13,753
Samsung Galaxy A713,629
Huawei GR5 201711,859
Moto G59,532
Oppo A579,516
Nokia 59,483
Nokia 69,435
LG Q67,779
Huawei Y55,921
LG X Power4,953
Motorola Moto G Play4,475
Nokia 33,676

The Q6 runs on Android 7.1.1, which means you do get features such as the Google Assistant built in. It's expected that the Q6 should also see Android 8.0 ("Oreo") in due course, which may help to slightly improve performance. It's never going to be a rocket of a handset, but it might get a little better with Google's more highly optimised operating system.

LG's own Android UX overlay is naturally present, as are a small number of preinstalled apps. While LG's take is hardly an essential one in the vast world of Android apps, there's little here that's particularly troublesome in terms of eating up space or totally taking over the core Android experience.

Ultimately, the LG Q6 isn't a fast Android device, and there are some that are a little more nimble at this price point, but it's very much just middle of the road for performance in its price bracket.

LGQ6_2_738

Battery life

The LG Q6 comes with a sealed 3,000mAh battery, which, once again, isn't exceptional for its class, but neither is it remarkably low. It's an exactly middle-of-the-road play that, rather predictably, gives middle-of-the-road battery life. Here's how the LG Q6 compared using Geekbench 3's older battery test:

HandsetGeekbench 3 Battery Test DurationGeekbench 3 Battery Score
LG X Power14:50:305,714
Huawei Nova Plus13:21:208,013
Samsung Galaxy A712:40:307,603
Huawei GR5 201711:33:506,938
Motorola Moto G5 Plus11:15:406,756
Motorola Moto G Play9:36:003,840
LG Q68:44:403,498
Nokia 58:42:305,044
Nokia 68:19:104,833
Huawei Y58:00:104,659
Nokia 37:34:103,028
Motorola Moto G56:32:503,833

Verdict

Testing the Q6 was an interesting experience, simply because it is so very much a boiled-down LG G6, and that's not an approach you see from every Android vendor. It's not entirely fair to compare it to its larger and pricier sibling, although we have seen some direct importers selling the G6 relatively cheaply of late, and the prospect of the incoming LG V30, if it launches in Australia, will probably push that price even lower.

Still, within the budget space, the standout feature of the Q6 has to be that FullVision display, a feature and style that you just don't find on any other phone in this price range. The camera won't knock you over with quality, but with a little patience it's feasible to get workable shots from it.

The combination of those features marks the LG Q6 as a phone worth consideration if you're in the budget space, alongside devices such as the Motorola G5 Plus, Nokia 5 or Oppo A57.

The LG Q6 is available in Australia now at an outright price of $399.

Specifications

Product name
LG Q6
Display
5.5in
Resolution
2,160 x 1,080 pixels
ppi
442ppi
Software
Android 7.1.1
Storage
32GB
RAM
3GB
Battery
3,000mAh
Front camera
5MP
Rear camera
13MP
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 435
Size
142.5x69.3x8.1mm
Weight
149g

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