The LG G4 has been a standout this year: it has one of the best cameras we've ever seen on a phone along with a striking appearance. LG also took the debatable step of opting for a "lesser" processor compared to the ''best'' available. The iPhone 6 has also been rocking the world, in part for its larger screen, new metal finish and the best iOS has to offer. So which device gets it right? Find out in our LG G4 vs iPhone 6 comparison.
Design and build quality
These two phones couldn't look less alike. LG has been rocking various forms of plastic for a while now, with refinements on each successive device. The LG G4 comes in two versions: one with a patterned plastic cover and another of leather with vertical stitching right up the center. On the leather variant, this seam intersects the signature rear-key setup the G-series has become known for.
The iPhone 6 on the other hand is a cool, smooth and quite slippery block of metal and curved glass. It looks fantastic but is the slipperiest iPhone ever made. It's almost as if Apple made it deliberately slippery (whereas LG put a reverse angle on the sides to make the G4 more grippable). The iPhone 6 is significantly thinner than the G4.
The iPhone 6 is also the biggest iPhone (if you don't count its larger twin the iPhone 6 Plus), but it's still much smaller than the G4. The size of the iPhone 6 takes a little getting used to, but for anyone familiar with Android phones the increase in size is a welcome one. The familiar single button which houses a fingerprint scanner is in its rightful position and works a treat.
It's hard to say one of these devices is ''better'' in terms of design or build quality because they are both very nicely crafted phones. The decision is going to be purely down to whether you like your phone to be cool to the touch and flat with rounded edges or a curved design that sits nicely in the hand. Do you prefer buttons on the edges and a physical button on the front or all buttons located on the back or on-screen?
Another thing to consider is the fact that the G4 battery cover is removable and switchable (the leather version comes with a plastic cover as well). The G4 also has a removable battery and microSD card slot, whereas the iPhone 6 battery is fixed and your only storage options are to pay for the handset with the larger capacity, or use the cloud.
Both phones utilize the same display technology: IPS LCD. Apple attaches the rather meaningless ''Retina'' moniker to its display, which simply means any display with a pixel density over 300 pixels per inch. While that may sound great, the iPhone 6 pixel density is 326 ppi compared to the LG G4 with 538 ppi. For reference, the iPhone 6 Plus also has a 5.5-inch screen but only 401 ppi.
The G4's 5.5-inch display makes use of QHD resolution (2,560x1,440 pixels) to achieve this sharpness whereas the iPhone 6 is just a smidgeon above HD resolution (1,334x750 pixels). Apple fans will side with Steve Jobs and claim that the human eye cannot perceive pixels at above around 330 ppi, which may be technically true but any reasonable person looking at these two phones side-by-side is going to recognize the G4 has the superior display.
The G4 display is super sharp and the more muted colors we grew used to on the LG G3 have been beefed up, making the G4 vibrant, more saturated and with higher contrast. Whether you like poppy colors of a more subdued and realistic palette is a matter of personal taste, but the LCD on the G4 seems to straddle the divide quite well: bright without going overboard and realistic without tending to over-saturation.
The iPhone 6 display is still very good and it must be noted that the numbers game isn't for everyone, especially when it comes to battery-sucking displays. For a company as obsessed with perfection as Apple there must be more reasons for sticking with lower resolution displays than just because Steve said so.
But in reality Retina displays just can't compete with QHD. Your average on-screen image might be passable to the naked eye, but as soon as you get anything with 2K detail, the G4 blows the iPhone out of the water.
When it comes to touch-screen response though the iPhone 6 surges ahead. It is much more fluid and reliable than the LG G4, which is stuttery and irregular in comparison. Colors on the iPhone 6 are not as contrasty or rich as on the G4, but I do prefer the whiteness of the iPhone 6 to the G4, which seems a little magenta.
I won't go into too much detail on this front as the differences between iOS 9 and Android Lollipop are too vast to cram in here. You can check out our detailed Android Lollipop vs iOS 8 comparison or our latest Android M vs iOS 9 comparison to see more of the similarities and differences.
Suffice to say that iOS looks a lot like it always has an LG's UI is bright and poppy with lots of Google's new Material Design thrown in for good measure.
The LG G4 made the interesting choice to avoid a top-shelf CPU and opt for the ''safer'' Snapdragon 808, a hexa-core chip, rather than the problematic 810 which has created all kinds of havoc with the 2015 flagships making use of it. So perhaps the G4 could be accused of being ''weaker'' than other Android flagships right now, but it is more reliable.
The 808 performs well but you do notice that the G4 doesn't provide the beastly performance you'd expect in a high-end smartphone. But this is not just the chip's fault, according to LG, the G4 was built from the ground up with the 808 in mind. LG seems to still suffer from stuttering and jagging in its interface, something that is as much an interface issue as a failure to perfectly match the hardware to the software.
This not a problem on the iPhone, which is just as fluid and stable as you'd expect it to be when the company controls every part of the software and hardware. This may give Apple an unfair advantage, but it is an advantage nonetheless. Android gets more and more stable every release, but it is still not quite there when you have to match manufacturers skins and optimizations to what Google puts out.
It's not so easy to technically compare Apple and Android performance because the benchmarking software tends to be different. It's impossible to do a simple side-by-side numbers game either, because Apple manages to do a lot with what in Android terms would be a paltry specs sheet (dual-core CPU, 1 GB of RAM etc).
In practical usage, the iPhone 6 is smoother and more reliable. The G4 is good but not in the same league as the iPhone 6 (or other high-end Android devices for that matter). The G4 does occasionally beat out the iPhone 6 in benchmarks in raw numbers but the real-world experience just doesn't match up.
This is where the fun begins. The iPhone has had the best smartphone camera for so long it started to become the expectation. Then the Galaxy S6 and LG G4 came along. Suddenly the gap between operating system cameras has shrunk to an almost invisible scale.
The LG G4 has a 16 MP shooter with great manual controls, RAW shooting modes (which allows comprehensive editing), a super-fast camera launch and shutter speed, laser auto-focus and color spectrum sensor. What all this means in practice is that the G4 shoots super-fast, clear pics with a degree of control you're unlikely to find anywhere else.
The iPhone 6 has a much less control-laden 8 MP camera, but, as with most things Apple, it ''just works''. The iPhone 6 reliably shoots great pictures and has the added bonus of 240 fps slow-motion shooting and time-lapse.
While the iPhone 6 shoots well all the time, the G4 has a little more variation in the quality of its shots (for example, the spectrum sensor overcompensates at night), but it does shoot better photos at its best. Both phones have incredible cameras though, the G4 simply offers more control to shoot even better photos if you know how.
The G4 is a little louder than the iPhone 6, and the speaker placement on the rear of the device creates a kind of echo chamber effect on a flat surface that amplifies it even further. It is louder but also has better high tones, crisper and clearer. That isn't to say they are perfect though, just better than the iPhone.
On the other hand, the iPhone 6 handles bass much better. It definitely lacks the peaks that the G4 has (which are, thankfully, nowhere near as tinny as you might expect), but the ''better'' speaker will come down to how loud you like your music and whether you listen to more bassy or high-pitched tunes.
As mentioned above, the G4 has a removable 3,000 mAh battery that also supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 technology. The iPhone's non-removable 1,810 mAh battery also supports fast charging but for reasons unknown (at least to me), Apple chose to ship the iPhone 6 with a standard charger.
The iPhone 6 battery may only be half the size of the G4, but it only has around half the pixels to push around a smaller screen. As noted above, the complete control of hardware and software also allows Apple to fine tune the battery optimizations in ways unknown to most Android manufacturers. The battery is small, but it performs better than it would be if it were on an Android.
LG, on the other hand, typically do exceptional batteries – just not in the case of the LG G4. We're still waiting on our replacement G4 from LG, which apparently has the final production battery in it, but you can read about our battery concerns in the full LG G4 review. We'll revisit that review and this comparison if our replacement performs better than the first one, but for now the G4 battery is just OK.
This is a tough one. Our G4 has a few touch-screen and battery issues that LG assures us are addressed in replacement unit on its way to us. The iPhone 6 we have, on the other hand, suffers from terrible reception and occasionally randomly reboots. So in this flawed landscape it's hard to pin a badge on either device.
It's such a close race in almost every category that it will ultimately come down to personal preference: which design appeals to you more? Do you like buttons mounted on the back an on-screen or on the sides with a single navigational button? Do you want a bigger screen with higher resolution or do you prefer the Retina approach?
Performance is a tough one to call too: the G4 has the numbers but the iPhone feels smoother. The cameras are both exceptional but the G4 has the edge on megapixel count and control. Both the batteries and speakers are acceptable, but nothing to write home about. The software is the biggest difference but I'm unlikely to convince you of the superiority of either platform.
I have to admit that the iPhone feels like the more polished device, for obvious reasons, but the G4 feels more adventurous and edgy. You may not like all the choices LG made with the G4, but there's something about it that appeals to me. I suppose this is symptomatic of preferring Android to iOS generally: do you want what you know is safe and reliable or do you want to test unknown waters?