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LG G4 review: A fine, but not exceptional, phone

JR Raphael | June 16, 2015
The G4 checks off all the right boxes but is that enough to make the G4 worth buying?

Speaking of the back panel, the G4 comes in a choice of two different styles. The first is a matte plastic material with a patterned brushed-metal finish. The faux-metal doesn't stand up to the premium feel of a real metal phone like the One M9, but it does look attractive.

In a new twist for LG, you can also opt to get the G4 with actual leather on its back. The leather is heavily treated and quite thin, however, to the point where it almost looks fake. It also has a prominent seam down its center — something that strikes me as a slightly strange and not entirely appealing flourish but that definitely makes for a distinctive design.

Display and speakers

The G4's Quad-HD LCD display is right up there with the best of them — bright and crisp, with brilliant colors, dark blacks and pure-looking whites. Manufacturers love to rattle off numbers and terms about their display technology, but even resolution is arguably more about bragging rights than anything else on high-end phones these days. All you really need to know is that the G4's screen looks fantastic and won't disappoint.

It's also where the phone's size pays off: At 5.5 in., the G4's display is meaningfully larger than the screens on most standard-sized phones, which tend to range from 5 in. to 5.2 in. The extra surface area makes the device feel especially spacious, though you don't actually end up seeing more content in most cases; rather, elements on the screen generally appear a little bit larger.

The G4 has a single small speaker grille on the lower-left of its back. Its audio quality is surprisingly decent — loud, clear and relatively full-sounding. It's a noticeable step up from the lackluster single rear speaker on the Galaxy S6 but still a letdown compared to the dual front-facing speaker configurations other manufacturers are now putting on their flagship phones.

Performance, storage and photography

There's not a heck of a lot to say about the G4's performance — and trust me, that's a good thing. LG finally seems to have worked out the kinks that caused its previous flagship phones to be laden with lag. At last, we have an LG device that's smooth, snappy and responsive — just like a modern flagship should be.

The G4 does respectably well with stamina, too: Even with moderate to heavy use, I've had no problem making it from morning to night on a single charge (with as much as three to four hours of mixed-use screen-on time — though I have sometimes cut it close on the higher end of that spectrum).

 

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