The LG G4 is upon us, and it’s swinging for the fences. With features that rival many of its bleeding-edge competitors, LG’s newest state-of-the-art smartphone offers Android users—especially those who like to take a lot of pictures—a compelling package.
This much is clear: With the G4, LG is going up against top-of-the-line Samsung and Apple® smartphones in the camera department. The G4’s lens boasts improved optics, thanks to its f/1.8 aperture. This means that the G4 can capture more available light in a photo with an image sensor that’s 40 percent larger than its predecessor—so those candlelight dinner pictures have a better chance of showing up crisp instead of grainy. With its front-facing 8 MP camera, you’ll also be capturing selfies in full HD glory.
For more advanced photographers, an in-depth manual mode lets you dial in shutter speed, ISO and white balance levels. The device's three-axis optical image stabilization helps with low-light performance too.
Last, but surely not least, the camera launches quickly, meaning you’ll be able to capture the moment without waiting for your camera app to catch up.
Unlike many top-of-the-line, big screen smartphones, the LG G4 lets users swap out batteries at their leisure (more on that later). The phone has 32 GB of memory built in, but the integrated microSD slot supports cards up to 200 GB, joining the likes of the HTC One® M9 in terms of expandability.
If you’ve got a huge collection of digital audio files, enjoy shooting lots of HD videos or or have a tendency to download lots of apps, you’ll find the ability to easily expand your onboard space invaluable.
Spiffed up with curvy design sensibilities and a leather back panel that comes in metallic gray, ceramic white (a Verizon exclusive) and genuine leather black, the G4 isn’t your standard metallic-and-glass smartphone.
In use, the leather back and gently curved design provide better grip than the plastic back of its previous incarnation, the G3. That back panel is also removable, meaning that you can replace it with other options that LG (or third parties) chooses to release down the line.
In short, if you’re prone to spontaneous pavement drops, the G4 may be just the answer.
The LG G4's 3,000 mAh battery is the same size as the G3's-significantly larger than the batteries of the Samsung Galaxy S® 6 and Apple® iPhone® 6, which are rated at 2,550 mAh and 1,800 mAh, respectively. There's also less power consumption, thanks to the new Qualcomm chipset, which means it should last even longer with prolonged use.
Additionally, a host of power-saving features—such as pausing the processor when there’s a still image on the screen and notifying users when an app is drawing power while the display is off—should help provide the most bang for your charging buck.
The G4's screen continues along with the quad-HD technology of the G3. While it remains at the same resolution, this time around the 1,440 x 2,560 pixel, 5.5-inch screen comes with LG's new IPS Quantum Display technology. This means it's brighter, with more color-accurate image reproduction-LG says that brightness is up by 25 percent over the G3, while contrast jumps by 50 percent. This should help for visibility on those bright summer days.
Evan Shamoon has contributed to various print and web publications, including XLR8R, Men’s Journal, Polygon and Rolling Stone. You can follow him on Twitter at @giantmecha.