Thursday , May 25 2017

LG G6 — Australian first impressions


2016 was not a great year for LG. Their G5 was not well received by consumers and their “Friends” ecosystem was a flop. They did partially hit back towards the end of the year releasing the first phone that shipped with Nougat out of the box — the V20.

Enter 2017 and LG have built up the hype surrounding the LG, promising so much with this new, innovative display. After a couple of days using the LG 2017 flagship here are my initial thoughts on it — remember I have only had the phone for two days so my thoughts may change but first impressions are often fairly accurate.

Design

Display, display, display. This phone is all about the display. LG have managed to pack a 5.7in display into a body that is smaller than the body of the 5.5in display Pixel XL (HTC — take note, this is one reason why you are failing, we hate bezels). The phone is only 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm.

The phone itself is a metallic body with a Gorilla Glass 5 back panel. The Gorilla Glass back panel is an interesting choice and to me makes the back seem plastic, but it does give the phone a bit of “bling”.

The best thing about the build is how comfortable it feels in the hand. The 18:9 aspect ratio of the display combined with some of the smallest bezels we have seen in Australia make it thin and easy to hold.

Hardware

LG wanted to get their phone out this quarter, before Samsung and hence had to opt for the Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821, a slightly faster version of the processor that is in the Pixel XL. Combined with 4GB of RAM it is no slouch although it does not have the speed of the Pixel XL. The phone has only 32GB of internal storage but does have microSD capabilities.

The display is a 1440 x 2880 pixel (564 ppi) IPS LCD protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The display does not have to vibrant colours of an AMOLED display but seems a lot more natural. Powered by a 3300mAh battery it does seem to struggle to last a full day, unlike the larger batteried Pixel XL.

There is a headphone jack, USB 3.1 Type-C connector and fingerprint sensor on the back. Just like I found with the V20, the sensor sits fairly flat on the back panel and I often have trouble locating it. Hopefully this improves the more I use it.

Camera

The rear camera is the feature here, being a dual 13MP camera. One camera is f/1.8 aperture with OIS and 3-axis phase detection autofocus. The second camera has an aperture size of f/2.4 and does not have autofocus. There is a dual-LED flash and face detection.

I have not had much of chance to take many photos so have grabbed them from the piece Chris did when he compared the cameras of the LG G6 and the Huawei P10 to the Google Pixel.

For me, from all those photos the G6 came out as the best overall, better in more photos than what the Pixel was. In 2017, with high end cameras I feel that we are splitting hairs. They all take high quality images photos — anyone remember back to the Galaxy Nexus and the woefully inept camera that had?

The camera app is fantastic and offers a lot of manual control over your images than any other stock app I have used. I do not see a need for a manual camera app that I normally have to install to get the fine grain control that I occasionally like when pretending I know what I am doing with a camera. I am really looking forward to sinking my teeth into the app a lot more over the coming week to see what I can do with it.

While the manual controls are great I feel that LG have missed the boat a little bit. Huawei included a lot of cool features such as bokeh effect, altering focus length post image capture and a monochromatic capture effect in their recent dual camera phones. LG have a few colour filters and that is about it. I feel that they have sold their camera short. They have put some great camera hardware in the phone but missed the chance to fully utilise the dual cameras in anything other than widescreen.

Software

The G6 runs 7.0 out of the box but unfortunately LG have removed some of the cool Nougat designs and functions in preference to their software skin. While their skin is less offensive than in previous incarnations it still is not a pleasure to use.

The settings menu has items is strange places and often takes me quite a while to find what I am looking for. That is something I will have to pay attention to to see if it is actually intuitive — maybe I’ve become too ingrained in Google’s Android. The LG launcher is average at best. Their keyboard is incredibly inaccurate and even worse than the AOSP keyboard.

There is no SystemUI tuner to turn off some of the things displayed in the status bar and as such the entire bar is nearly filled at stages. I feel that LG really need to hire some decent designers that have their origins in Material Design where less is more and colours are classy.

LG have limited add ons to the software of Android which I feel ripped off with. If I am going to go for an ugly software skin the upsides of a manufacturers skin had better be worth it. At this stage it seems they are not, although I do like the always on display.

One final word on the software, and I blame LG’s skin — Android Auto does NOT work at all. It worked sporadically with the LG G5 and intermittently with the LG V20 (with many hang ups). In the past week Android Auto has worked perfectly with Nexus 6P (Android O), Huawei P9 (stock software), Pixel XL, Samsung GS6 Edge (stock software), ZTE Blade V7, and the LG G4 (AOSP Nougat ROM). Anyone see the pattern here? I have reached out to LG and hopefully they can provide me a fix, and soon. I will continue to find a workaround for it.

Initial Conclusion

The phone promises so much with stunning hardware but fails to deliver in so many ways. I have only used the phone in full LG style and found the software incredible lacking and painful. I will now install Nova launcher and SwiftKey keyboard (among others) and see how I go for the next week.

I can really sum the whole phone up so far with four words: fantastic hardware, average software.

 

Scott Plowman   Senior Associate

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38 Comments on "LG G6 — Australian first impressions"

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ruggerd
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ruggerd

LG can never get it right. they made people in the USA choose between the DAC high fidelity or wireless charging. This company is run by morons.

mini militia hack
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Great Review.

Thanks buddy

Andrew Smith
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Andrew Smith

I picked one up last Friday and i must say I’m liking it. I have upgraded/sidegraded(?) From a Note 4. After reading about poor battery life i have found the opposite. I was getting around 4 hours sot with the note 4 since i first got it, with the g6 I’m getting close to 7 hrs sot (6hrs14mins @19% batt left). I was holding out for the note 8 but the 4 decided to die after 2 and a half years and after trying a few others i like the feel and look of the G6. My 2c 🙂

Sammy
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Sammy

With LG they include always on display in their sot

Andrew Smith
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Andrew Smith

I dont use always on display, I’ve never seen the benifit. Even today with screen brightness at 55%, 3 email accounts syncing, web browsing, youtube, google casting, facebook, several phonecalls/msgs, taking photos (those photos also syncing when on wifi), app updates etc. Ive still managed over 6 hrs with 25% batt leftcomment image

montalbert_scott
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montalbert_scott

thats amazing SOT. I am getting 3.5-4 hours which isnt as good as the pixel XL but still very acceptable

Member

Can someone with a G6 record a HD video bigger than 4GB to the SDCard. My G4 won’t exceed 4GB recording even though the card is formatted in exFAT. So wondering if the G6 is the same.

montalbert_scott
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montalbert_scott

i’ll check that out as part of the review

Member

Thank you, will be much appreciated! 🙂

aaricku
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aaricku

Haha.. This is so expected from LG.. They have no clue how to make a good phone and always compromise on so much.. 821 vs 835..32gb memory when everyone is now going 64gb on the flagship..retarded software..questionable built quality..and disastrous customer support/warranty..

Lurch
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Lurch

That’s kinda disappointing to read. The ‘edge’ screen on my S7e is just annoying now and with both the S8’s like this now, it cancelled them out. So it was coming down to the G6 and the XZ Prem. looks like I’ll be waiting for Sony….

Lurch
Guest
Lurch

Aaaand in the end I ate my own words and now have a LG G6

Member

No interest in the Pixel?

Lurch
Guest
Lurch

Normally, yes. But if I’m going to upgrade, then even the Pixel is more a step sideways.
Right now, on paper at least – the Sony is leading. I just wish there was some kind of ETA on it.

Member

Exactly what I was thinking. I got sucked in with the edge screen as well and while it looks sexy after a while it just got annoying and I’m looking forward to using a flat screen again to be honest. Just not sure where to go next. If the Pixel had a micro SD slot I’d be all over it so maybe the next version of that might be the go.

azag_thoth
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azag_thoth

really what about it don’t you like? I’ve had mine for little less than a year and still love it. actually at first I had an issue with touching the sides and it would not respond but after I got my spigen armor case I don’t have that issue at all.

Member
Pretty much just the way it feels in the hand I guess. Plus I’ve found the palm rejection a bit dodgy; in saying that I’m using it without a case which may help but I figure it’s the sort of phone you want to look at bare. The other thing I’m not a fan of is the capacitive buttons (and they’re backwards) but that’s a Samsung thing that has only recently changed with the S8. Everything else is really good though. The camera is great, I’m getting good battery life, there’s no noticeable lag and Nova makes all the bad… Read more »
Lurch
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Lurch

After reading this, I happened to pop into the local Telstra store this afternoon and figured I’d have a *very* quick poke the G6. And it did leave a bit ‘meh’. It would probably be a step sideways from my S7e, but certainly not an upgrade.

aaricku
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aaricku

I had both the note 7 and s7e loan device.. Both returned as we all know what happened. And I can say that samsung has improved the edge screen from the s7e to the note 7..it’s not as sharp and more rounded.. And unintended touches occurred less.. Basically.. I had no issue with the edge of the note 7 but hated the edge on the s7e..
So the s8 edge should should hopefully be better than s7e

Lurch
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Lurch

I hope so, but unlike my S7e, I wont be pre-ordering it. It’s certainly something I’d want to play with before I commit.

montalbert_scott
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montalbert_scott

So far with Nova, SwiftKey and dark material theme for g6 it is much better…

Lurch
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Lurch

Yeah, but you kinda shouldn’t *have* to. Its a ‘flagship’ phone that is ‘not cheap’; the average buyer or even enthusiast should get a great phone out of the box for the money.

Really
Guest
Really

Have a look at the majority of reviews on youtube and other sites – they are really complementary of the phone, including the UI.

Personally an average review wouldn’t deter me especially when it’s against the majority consensus!!!

montalbert_scott
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montalbert_scott
In the end UI’s are not for everyone. It’s just such a shame what LG do with no real benefit to the user. That is my opinion. that is what a review is, an opinion. Since i have installed Dark material theme for G6 on it it’s much better, but their keyboard is terrible and launcher is too (as is every single other manufacturer including Google) you need to check out the sharing menus and the default apps menus to see how LG have tried to fix stuff that isnt broken. Same as Huawei but at least Huawei give us… Read more »
boy
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boy

Appreciate the opinion and that’s why I enjoy reading a variety of reviews, including this one. How are you finding the battery life?

montalbert_scott
Guest
montalbert_scott

its good but not great. 3.5-4hrs SOT. so, not as good as the pixel XL but enough to last a full day.

boy
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boy

appreciate the reply, a little disappointing but probably par for the course.

I bought an Oppo R9S to play with whilst I waited for this years flagships and I can not kill the battery through the course of a day, 5-6 hours screen on time, 14 hours unplugged no sweat!!

Will wait to see what the S8 has to offer with battery before deciding.

Joshua Hill
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Joshua Hill

The majority consensus in my anecdotal experience (compared to yours) is that LG’s skin has sucked for ever. The G6 makes improvements but still detracts from stock Android and adds little for that sacrifice.

The fact that you include YouTube reviews says a lot about your anecdote.

Member

Hi Scott, was disappointed to hear about Android Auto. I have a new Honda Civic with it built in to the car and it works fine with my S7 Edge. What do you reckon the chances are a G6 will work?

montalbert_scott
Guest
montalbert_scott

Not sure mate if it is an lg/pioneer thing or an lg/android auto thing. One thing I do know is that lg has never played well with Android auto.

It is weird because the phone gets the signal that AA is connected as the icon goes to the status bar but it won’t project app anywhere. It will only display AA on the phone when opened manually.

Do you live in Melbourne mate? Happy to catch up and test for you. I’d love to test it on other cars too

Member

Hey Scott, just letting you know that AA seems to work fine on my stock Telstra G6 plugged into the Civic. It took a couple of goes though, the first time it launched the phone only version but the 2nd time it worked straight up without needing to change any settings at all. Not sure if this helps you or not. Only had the phone for a couple of hours so if anything pops up I’ll let you know.

montalbert_scott
Guest
montalbert_scott

same. tested it on a friends VW and it worked, eventually (as above it took a few replugs) Tested it on Dan Goodes’ Pioneer and it worked. Tested in JB and it worked. BUT it only ever worked using the LG cable. weird.

If the connection isnt the best and i suspect mine isnt then this phone will struggle.

Member

Thanks for the reply mate. That is weird it’s not showing up on the head unit if it seems to work on the phone. Not real sure what it could be other than some obscure setting in a menu somewhere.
I’m in Brisbane so prob can’t catch up, but I might grab one from Telstra early next week and see if I can get it to work. If it doesn’t, I’ll take it back (I’m assuming they’ll let me). I’ll let you know how it goes.

hoboonthegogo
Guest
hoboonthegogo

Wondering what you think of display brightness on the g6 so far Scott? I was recently tossing up between an lg v20 and Huawei mate 9 after getting a refund on a warranted lg g4. Went with the mate 9 which am super happy with. The G4, G5, V20 all are lacking display brightness I think. Therefore am interested in how the G6 stacks up here as when it was first rumoured it sounded like it was going to be of a higher standard than lg’s previous lcd displays. Cheers

montalbert_scott
Guest
montalbert_scott

The audio brightness on the mate 9 was the best ever. Lg is slow to respond. It doesn’t go as bright as Huawei but it is still plenty bright enough

hoboonthegogo
Guest
hoboonthegogo

Cheers Scott. Yeah mate 9 auto brightness is great. Always had to run lux on my g4 as was so dim on auto. V20 seemed the same as g4 in that respect.

Just checked the gsmarena review for brightness stats on g6 and it seems much improved over g5. Keen to hear your full thoughts on g6 display in final review 🙂 Cheers

Silke Sholl
Guest
Silke Sholl

Using the new g6 with a new 2016 model kia sportage . android auto working 100% .
I’m impressed with build quality screen and camera so far great phone

montalbert_scott
Guest
montalbert_scott

ok. good. possibly it’s just a Pioneer issue but phones with finicky connections struggle with it it seems. I’ll test mine further this week. it’s a pity, i’m starting to think this could be my daily driver if AA worked for me (other option is to change my AA head unit but waiting for Google to release wireless AA)

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