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LG G6 review: a new way of looking at things

Update: Pre-order the LG G6 for $649 and get an LG Watch Style for free

The modular concept from last year's LG G5 was definitely innovative, but it didn't have much success on the market, to put it lightly. Now, the South Korean company is starting out fresh in the hopes of a more successful year with the all-new flagship, the LG G6. The company says it checked off the wish list of things that users want to see in a smartphone, bringing us the largest display in the most compact device - and it seems to be paying off in South Korea, where 20,000 units were sold on the first day (the LG G5 sold 15,000 on its launch day). You'll find a special deal for the G6 which includes a free LG Watch Style in the release date and price section below. Here is our full review.

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Rating

Good

  • Wide angle camera
  • Performance
  • Display

Bad

  • Small internal memory (32 GB)
  • No Daydream
  • Large price tag

LG G6 release date and price

The LG G6 was first presented at the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona. The device is available now for between $672 to $729 in the US, and in two color variants: Black and Ice Platinum. All major carriers have the G6, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and U.S. Cellular. The unlocked version isn't yet available from LG.

There's a special deal going on at B&H right now if you pre-order. You can get the LG G6 unlocked for $649.99, with a free LG Watch Style included! The LG Watch Style usually retails for $279, so this is a great deal. Check out our hands-on review of the trendy Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch, as well.

LG G6 design and build quality

The G5 was a big change in the style and design of what had been up to that point quite a successful smartphone generation. With the G6, LG is reinventing itself by specifically targeting user priorities and preferences. As a result, the LG G6 has a large screen in a rather small body, and is the first flagship of the brand that is waterproof thanks to IP68 certification. The dimensions of the device are 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm and it weighs 163 g.

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The LG G6, with its rounded edges and display corners, has its own look, but nevertheless reminds us of the Samsung Galaxy S6. / © AndroidPIT

What is striking about its appearance is its novel design, which is more elongated and narrower than what the rest of the industry has made us become accustomed to. Its frame is metallic with curved corners. In contact with the screen and the back, the metal has a small bevel to improve the change of curvature. In some respects, the frame reminds us quite a lot of the Samsung Galaxy S6. The back of the device is brushed metal covered in glass, and it's a fingerprint magnet.

The LG G6 says goodbye to the friends of the G5, its famous modules, and has focused instead on developing a well-rounded device without any external features. The frames are quite thin, just as they were on the LG G4, and take up almost the entire screen.

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The three color variants of the LG G6. / © AndroidPIT

The bottom of the frame is very similar to the one we see on the V20, especially the slots for the main speaker. In the center, there is a USB Type-C jack and on the other side, a microphone. At the top of the frame we find, thankfully, the mini-jack for headphones and a second microphone for noise cancellation. 

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The stylish designs continues on the back of the LG G6. / © AndroidPIT

On the back, we find the manufacturer logo and the power button is still on the back under the fingerprint sensor. On top of this, there is the camera module which has two lenses, one on each side and in the center, the flash and a laser focus sensor.

The build quality of the LG G6 is excellent, but the whole surface of the device is a fingerprint magnet, especially the black model. On the white and silver models, it isn't as bad.

LG G6 display

The display is one of the most unique points on the LG G6. It has a very special format that we have never seen before. Specifically, its IPS LCD screen has a diagonal of 5.7-inches, resolution of 2,880 x 1,440 ppi QHD+, which is somewhat longer than a normal QHD. This means that the format is 18:9, which provides two perfect 1:1 squares when viewing two apps in multi-window mode side-by-side.

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A bright screen with a new format. / © AndroidPIT

The G6 is the first smartphone on Earth to have the Dolby Vision color standard, which improves the viewing experience by improving sharpness and enriching colors. This technology is already found in many movies and videos; and, both Amazon and Netflix have already begun distributing videos in Dolby Vision for smartphones. 

The screen's corners are curved just like the corners of the device, which is a unique touch. This serves three purposes: to improve the aesthetics, to avoid unnecessary touching of the screen when picking the device up by the corners and to provide better drop protection. The funny thing is that the corners aren't perfectly round, as you can see below.

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The corners of the screen on the LG G6 aren't perfectly round. / © AndroidPIT

To better see this detail, we used the app Cornerfly, which is able to highlight extra pixels in red. These show a deviation of 20 pixels from a perfectly round shape. At first glance, this isn't very visible anyway, but Cornerfly can color the pixels black to perfect the shape so it doesn't get on your nerves as much over time.

Cornerfly Install on Google Play

Otherwise, the display is great. The viewing angles are good, and the colors are true to life and well balanced. It closes the distance in quality between IPS and AMOLED displays. The new HDR mode, however, isn't that noticeable, and more providers need to offer movies and other content in the format anyway.

In comfort mode, the screen is more enjoyable at night since it eliminates blue light. The mode can be adjusted from three levels of intensity to black and white. There is no way to set the mode to turn itself on or off automatically, but you can turn it on or off from the quick settings. 

LG G6 special features

18:9 display (2:1)

Without a doubt, the screen of the LG G6 is something special. It has an aspect ratio of 18:9, which is equivalent to 2:1. It has a resolution of 1,440 x 2,880, and so its longest side has a few more pixels than the standard 16:9 (1,440 x 2650). In film, this format is known as Univisium, which is hailed by some as the future of cinema.

LG has given the device a 5.7-inch display, but the device's body is narrow and tight thanks to this unique ratio. When browsing and messaging with the smartphone, the display offers a superior experience, as there is more space to display content. To enjoy it to the fullest, I suggest reducing the font size and icon size so you can fit even more content on the screen.

In landscape format, more is displayed than usual thanks to the unique ratio. You can adjust the size of apps between full screen, 16.7:9 or 16:9 - leaving unfortunate black borders, but allowing apps to not lose parts of the screen, which is necessary for gaming.

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18:9 doesn't show the whole screen, but 16:9 leaves black borders. / © Screenshots: ANDROIDPIT

LG G6 software

The LG G6 on Android 7.0 Nougat brings a new layer of customization with LG UX 6.0, which is smooth and minimalist. With this new version of the interface, the screen with this special 18:9 format and the versatility of Nougat, the LG G6 is an ideal multitasking tool. This means square camera modules and more room for split screen apps. The rounded display corners match the rounded corners of the UI icons, which looks neat.

For pre-installed apps, we find the Play Store, 13 Google apps, and a few basic apps from LG: FM radio, an app to switch from your old phone to your new one, LG SmartWorld (for wallpapers, themes and apps) and an app for managing memory and battery usage. In addition, there are some third-party apps: Evernote, Instagram and Facebook.

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No app drawer, on the LG G6 but it's possible to get one. / © AndroidPIT

In total, the system occupies 11 GB of the internal storage, leaving about 20 GB free for your apps and data. Luckily, it has a slot for a microSD card. LG disabled the option to format it as internal memory, but surprisingly, it's still possible to store and launch apps from it, though it's a little slower.

By default, there's no app drawer but that can be changed in the Settings under the home screen section. You can select from the default, "Home", "Easy Home" and "Home and app drawer".

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Move apps to the microSD, share internet connection and scale apps.  / © AndroidPIT

The navigation buttons are on-screen and holding down the center home button will call up Google Assistant. There are some other interesting features like: tethering, scaling apps to take advantage of the full screen, adjusting the DPI, the always-on display and an app bin where deleted apps are held for 24 hours in case we regret getting rid of them.

LG G6 performance

The processor that was finally chosen for the LG G6 is the Snapdragon 821. We don't know if Samsung had something to do with this decision, as apparently it had dibs on the production of the new Snapdragon 835 until at least spring. LG hasn't always brought the latest processor for its flagship devices, as we saw with the LG G4, which included Snapdragon 808 instead of 810 (due to its temperature problems) and proved to be an excellent performer.

For the RAM, there is 4 GB and the device comes equipped with 32 GB of internal memory, which can also be extended with a microSD card up to 2 GB. There is a 64 GB version, but it's only available in South Korea for now. 

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A slot for nano SIM and microSD cards on the LG G6. / © AndroidPIT

So, the LG G6 is arriving as a high-end device in 2017, with 2016 specs. Despite this, performance is great in everyday use and with games. Don't forget: Snapdragon 821 has great performance. Everything works smoothly and quickly. The animations to open apps and unlock the device are a bit slow, but that seems to be caused by the animation design, not a lack of power. 

The G6 doesn't support Daydream, so you're limited to Cardboard for VR.

Despite how the screen format complicates gaming, there's not much to complain about. The processor and GPU pack enough power to run the most demanding games. LG gives the option to adjust the maximum frame rate and resolution for games. To be honest, if you play a game in Full HD resolution instead, the difference isn't that noticeable and the performance is improved. You can achieve this optimization in the Battery section of the Settings.

In some benchmarks, the LG G6 meets our expectations of the Snapdragon 821. Apparently, the software was optimized by LG to make the most of the processor.

Should the G6 have had the Snapdragon 835? It could have, but it might not have added much improvement over the benefits the 821 brings anyway.

LG G6 benchmark results

  3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.1 3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.0 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0 Geekbench CPU - single core Geekbench CPU - multicore PC Mark Work Performance 2.0 PC Mark Storage 2.0 Google Octane 2.0
Huawei Mate 9 2093 2308 25392 1930 5604 7675 7106 10935
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 1977 2362 30310 2018 6248 5077 4607 10292
Google Pixel 2559 3329 27702 1574 3980 5263 5076 8791
LG G6 (US version) 2175 3080 28830 1794 4174 5104 3843 9408

LG G6 audio

At the time of launch, LG said that only the Korean model of the G6 would have a Hi-Fi 32-bit Sabre32 Quad DAC ES9018S chip, which was disappointing for those of us in other countries since we would miss out on the elevated audio quality it offers. But, there's a glimmer of hope now, as LG has confirmed that Australia will be getting Quad DAC next. The device will come with Dual SIM, 64 GB of storage and the Quad DAC - which justifiably bumps the price up to $1,199 AUD, $191 AUD more than the price of the normal device.

Even without the Quad DAC, the audio quality of both the US and European models of the LG G6 are acceptable.

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The LG G6 has a speaker that's easy to cover. / © AndroidPIT

The main speaker is a mono speaker, but nevertheless has good sound quality. At high volume, not much clarity is lost and there isn't much metallic noise to be heard. The position of the speaker is its worst attribute, since it can too easily be covered by the hand - especially when in landscape mode to play games or watch video, for example. Covering the speaker almost completely cancels out the sound, as it doesn't travel through the other holes in the device due to its impermeability.

The call quality is clear and has good volume, and the noise cancelling is very good.

Contrary to the global market trend, it's nice to see that the G6 still has a standard headphone jack, which is located at the top of the device. Through the native music app, the sound can be equalized manually or through 5 preset profiles.

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The equalizer in the music app on the LG G6. / © AndroidPIT

LG G6 camera

The main camera of the G6 is dual, just like the G5 and V20. In this case, the two 13 MP sensors have a pixel size of 1.12 μm and phase detection autofocus (PDAF), giving a maximum resolution in a 4:3 photo format. They are also capable of recording video in 4K. The dual camera has two lenses: a wide angle lens capable of capturing 125° with a f / 2.4 aperture, and a 71° lens with f / 1.8 aperture plus optical and electronic image stabilization.

The front camera is 5 MP with an aperture of f / 2.2, 1.12 μm pixel size and electronic stabilization. It enjoys an angle of up to 100°, making it perfect for group selfies.

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A great dual camera on the LG G6. / © AndroidPIT

The LG G6 is conservative when it comes to noise reduction. This leaves noise in the image, but allows for a better representation of details, and especially in low light conditions, the colors are more true.

With the G6, there is visible noise at ISO 800 (the typical indoor or artificial light setting), even without magnifying the image. With ISO 400, images are fairly clear. The white balance left a good impression. Just after sunset, images have a bluish tone, but the overall quality is good.

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Better detail with the LG G6 than with the G5. / © AndroidPIT

The automatic HDR works well in high contrast situations. With the HDR mode disabled, you can see the typical problem of smartphone sensors with the dynamic range under-highlighting the details, though. The G6's automatic HDR does a good job of delivering brilliant, beautiful images.

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The LG G6 makes better use of the available light. / © AndroidPIT

In short, LG has chosen to keep a little noise in low-light pictures in favor of greater detail. As for selfies, the automatic mode does a good job adjusting the brightness so that the face is appropriately bright.

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Elements are recognizable though the noise increases with the LG G6 camera. / © AndroidPIT

Except for some details, the interface closely resembles that presented by the LG G5. We have four modes: Auto, Square, Manual Photo and Manual Video. In the Automatic mode, we can choose more options: Panorama, 360 Panorama, Food, Slo-mo, Time-lapse, Pop-out and Snap. In Square mode, we can make collages in 2:1 format. Square camera snapshots will work perfectly for Instagram, and the special "grid shot" will contain multiple squares to show off more photos at once.

In both Automatic and Manual mode, we can choose from eight color filters to add a creative touch to our shots. In Manual mode (both photo and video), we can adjust the white balance, focus, ISO, aperture and exposure.

With the front camera, we can apply a good amount of filters as well as adjust the brightness and skin tone. There is also a small drop down menu to quickly share a selfie on your social networks.

LG G6 battery

Since the release of the LG G2, we haven't seen an LG flagship without a removable battery. The extraction method for the G5 was quite ingenious, but the model didn't measure up in terms of its design when compared to its competitors. LG has finally decided to succumb to the market trend and has eliminated the removable battery, but extended its capacity to up to 3,300 mAh. Quite a successful step, seeing as the battery life is what seems concern users most.

Charging is done via a USB Type-C port that supports Quick Charge 3.0. Thanks to Type-C, the G6 can supply power to another smartphone. Only the US version of the LG G6 will enjoy wireless charging capability. We have been able to test it, and it charges faster with a cable.

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USB Type-C and fast charge. / © AndroidPIT

After trying both the US and European variants of the G6, we can say that they are both quite good and last through a demanding day of use easily. Like all high end smartphones, though, the powerful processor will cost you some battery life.

It is possible for the phone to last through two days of normal use, only needing to be charged by the second night. With a very demanding day, battery life will drop to between 6 to 10 hours with intense use - meaning, a morning of calls, emails and podcasts, followed by an afternoon of games and videos. In the end, we got 15 hours of use, with 5 hours of display time (as you can see below). The US version of the LG G6 scored five hours and 26 minutes on the PC Mark Battery Work 1.0 benchmark test.

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A decent enough battery life. / © AndroidPIT

LG G6 technical specifications

Dimensions: 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 163 g
Battery size: 3300 mAh
Screen size: 5.7 in
Display technology: LCD
Screen: 2880 x 1440 pixels (564 ppi)
Front camera: 5 megapixels
Rear camera: 13 megapixels
Flashlight: LED
Android version: 7.0 - Nougat
User interface: LG UX
RAM: 4 GB
Internal storage: 32 GB
Removable storage: microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Number of cores: 4
Max. clock speed: 2.4 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth

Early Verdict

LG has had to withstand two strong blows with its last flagships. As we know the LG G5 has been far from a success, ending the good reputation the company had come to rely on since releasing the G3 or the G4. With the LG G6, its plain to see that the South Korean manufacturer is seeking to regain user confidence, by hopefully delivering everything one would want in a smartphone.

The LG G6 has left a very good impression on us. It has a few key points that you can boast about, such as its display (with the unique ratio), audio quality (even without Quad DAC) and battery (with wireless charging in the US). The design and water resistance make it a even more attractive choice. It has some criticisms, though, like only 32 GB of internal storage and no removable battery.

Although it's a good smartphone, it doesn't have the latest processor and still carries a high-end price tag. In any case, the price of LG smartphones usually falls after a few months anyway, so that's when it will be the best value.

This review was also made possible by the contributions of Hans-Georg Kluge, Brittany McGhee and Stefan Möllenhoff.

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  • Karl E 3 months ago Link to comment

    Yesterday I was able to feel and touch the LG G6, because it is now in stores in Germany, and beside of all technical things, it feels great, for me much better than the S8 because it is not slippery, I get a very good grip on the LG L6 and in real it looks better than on pictures .... the price in the store was 699 €. So I tend to like tht LG G6 more than the S8.

    • Ah hell, I just wrote the best reply and while editing my silouqui, it disappeared. Suffice it to say, I agree, am returning the S8 as soon as I know that Carrier Unlocked means that Tracfone will unlock it (GSM is good here). Got it new for $550 last night. How are you liking it so far ? I've tried Sam. 7, Huawei Mate 9, Alcatel Pixi crap phone (free) got sold out of the HTC U11 bc I waited too long to make a decision...Won't buy an iAnything, on principal. But if this doesn't suit me, I give up & will go back to the el cheapo dumphone + landline & SLR camera. I need a good phone with a better & intuitive camera a hearty phone which can withstand being dropped , splashed, snowed & Nor'Easter'd, flash blizzard-ed in this awful, 2 seasoned Boston weather (hot & wet, cold & wet) unpredictable at best. I want to photo my extremely funny dog *outside* and and spontaneously w/out being afraid of a fragile phone. I'll buy a good case. It's the only reason I returned the Mate 9's (thrice, one didn't charge) was its lack of environmental-resistants ; that is unless I spent another small fortune on cover,cases & bags (oh, my!) turning it into a laptop-sized piece of equipment which wouldn't fit into a purse, let alone women's size 6 jeans pockets. Just another thing to lug around. BTW, Leica camera etc., I did not find the H.Mate 9 camera(s) to be as superlative as H. had marketed. So, call me a philistine, back to the "perfect" Samsungs I just didn't like the feel nor look of the "Gorgeous, perfect, Samsung flagship phones" In fact, to me they were hard to handle and kind of ugly. I'm hoping that after a week or two with the G6 I'll be sighing a nice "Finally" bc I've wanted this phone (or the Google Pi$el, but oh well) all along. Got this new ! last night for $550 w/tax incld. My one, big, concern wasw/terminology I was not familiar, "Carrier Unlocked"on Seller's site . GSM is good, but I know Factory Unlocked and when I looked up the difference, it was concerning. I have the SIM kit and the Nano card worked fine in the other phones which I had no trouble setting up with Tracfone - Factory UL phones. However, Carrier Unlocked is different and on the USA List , TracFone was not listed on Seller's site as one of the compatible Carriers , albeit the same towers used w/TF are listed. I hope this is it, I knew zero about Smartphones about 1 year ago & now I could sell about 10 brands, even iPhones. It's time to move on to other projects as it's taken up a lot of time as a minor obsession (is that a thing? a "minor" obsession? lol). It's baseball season, now that's important ! And Beach Season, gotta work on my melanoma !

  • Photos in artificial light and night shot are a disaster !

  • I don't like the looking of the dual camera, no well-considered and armonious

  • Great looking device and a very impressive effort by LG.
    it's LG starting from scratch, with a completely new design and producing the best handling high screen to body ratio device so far.. i don't need to try it out to know I'd be impressed by how easy it is to use and how durable.
    same goes for the flagship camera.
    but too many compromises..
    a beautiful QHD panel, HDR and Dolby vision, with a single mono speaker..!? bottom firing and useless in landscape mode..
    at least the Nokia 6 (£200ish) comes with stereo speakers and Dolby atmos...
    that battery is not gonna last me a day of heavy use.
    not too bothered by the small ish available memory​ or the SD821.. until i get too it's UK spec and price, minus DAC and wireless charging but still an rrp of £650 in the UK.
    even at £500 I'd feel those compromises..

    i hope its successful for LG but it's not for me.

    • after writing the comment​ above,i visited androidpit.com, i use the androidpit App 90% of the time mostly to avoid the adds.... This time tho your showing an advert for eglobalcentral.co.uk, currently offering a 64gb G6 for £522.29. think I'm gonna start using androidpit.com a bit more...

      • Brittany McGhee
        • Admin
        • Staff
        3 months ago Link to comment

        Thanks for the comment, Paul. We're glad to hear you'll be checking out the website more often, too! :)

      • Brittney, why in the world would LG release this phone with 32gb's standard in the US? With competition stiff wouldn't 64gb's have been better. I think the regional restrictions will definitely hurt sales. I can purchase the s8 with the 835 processor & 64gb's for 720.00. Which do you prefer. My choice would be the s8 of course! Yikes!

    • Paul, I agree, it's not for me. The 821 is last year's processor & the regional restrictions is a serious blow! 32gb's standard sucks. For 720.00 I can buy the s8 which offers more. But I still say it's a decent purchase but not for my money!

  • After years of iphone use went with this lgg6 and first thing I notice is that the battery is not holding up to the iphone 6. it's dying way to soon. I turned everything off and using low display and it's not lasting as long as the iphone 6 did,,, very disappointed

    • OEM'S must realize these bigger displays 18.9 demand more power. 3300mamp sounds like a lot but in reality your lucky to get a completed day's worth! That's the knock I have on the s8 3000mamp. I use the s7edge and it does not last all day with heavy. So now I use a 5200mamp battery pack. Now it works fine but another added expense! In the end I still desire a larger battery like 4000mamp. That's just the way it is!

    • just remember with iphones you have 2 or more years old technology powering that device. It's old outdated processors iow. Thus of course it will use less power than the new more powerfull processors used by LG etc. With Android you get a much better gui that is customisable to your liking thus with such capabilities with such advantage comes more power consumption. If you are using a carrier version device carrier apps will drain your device as well. There's a lot of reasons why your LG device might need more charges than the iphone. But I will take a LG anyday before I use or purchase a iphone no question about it.

    • Robert, agreed the battery not so good with all the power it demands. I really don't want a phone where I'm searching for a plug at mid-day! 3200mamp sounds great until you actually use it. I for one would have liked a 4000mamp battery. It appears to me LG has failed again! So in return I won't be purchasing! What a shame it's a very good phone!

  • At last LG have something to show off to samsung

    •   16

      Pretty sure Samsung isn't worried about LG's 2015 designed wannabe S6 or Note5. LG is always behind the curve on the Android platform.

  • Just read a First review of the LG G6 on www.gsmarena.com and o.k the phone might look good,but with a company trying to improve it Status,LG seem to have really let the phone down,and seems to overpricing the phone too much,and can not see the Lg G6 being successful

  • Not a bad phone but the price is too high for me.In the review it seems like this quite a good phone but still the price is too high for my pocket!

    • I agree Koketso in South Africa mobile devices are expensive due to our exchange rate. Do you have a contract with cell c, vodacom, telkom or mtn? Atleast then you can pay off the device monthly?

      • Georg Seebode
        • Admin
        • Staff
        4 months ago Link to comment

        have some pity for the Brazilians - I believe they have one the highest import taxes making every device crazy expensive. The Moto G5 plus retails for about about $229 in the US, while it will cost at least $480 in Brazil. Its even worse for apple products - they tend to be at least 60% more expensive there than in the US

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