The modular concept from last year's LG G5 was definitely innovative, but it did not have much success on the markets, 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). Buyers who pre-order from a special page will get a Google Home for free as an added bonus too. We got our hands on the device at the MWC 2017 press conference, here are our first impressions.
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LG G6 release date and price
The LG G6 was first presented at the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona. According to Media Markt, one of Europe's biggest electronic retailers, the LG G6 will be sold in Europe at the price of €749, which is equivalent to $797.
Evan Blass suggests there may only be two color variants, black and grey, with the white variant not being made available in the US. There will one option for internal storage, 32 GB expandable up to 2 TB with microSD. Those who buy the G6 will get $200 in Google Play credit for particular games on the Google Play Store.
Blass also suggests that it'll be on sale in the US on April 7, ahead of the anticipated Galaxy S8 launch date. Availability will vary according to country and carrier though.
US and Canada availability
Verizon and T-Mobile are both specifying Spring arrival for the G6, but there's no set date to reveal as yet. It's a similar story for AT&T, Sprint and US Cellular too - all have said they'll be ranging the device, but haven't given more specific information yet.
In Canada, Videotron is the only network to confirm it'll be offering the device so far, but again, hasn't spilled the beans with a date.
Vodafone has confirmed that it'll offer the device, but has not said when or in which countries. Others haven't been so quick to offer up information at this stage, but we'd expect to see it offered widely across major networks.
Rest of world
Meanwhile, it seems that LG Australia is getting a jump on the rest of the world, and will have the phone from March 28, according to some reports.
Meanwhile, TechnoBuffalo reports that anyone that buys an LG G6 from this special pre-order page between midday today (Eastern Time) and April 30 will get a Google Home smart assistant device for free. You'll need to redeem the offer for the free Home before May 15 this year to qualify too.
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 an IP68 certificate. The dimensions of the device are 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm, and it weighs 163 g.
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 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 any external features. The frames are quite thin, just as they were on the LG G4, and occupy almost the entire screen.
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 we have the camera module which has two lenses, one on each side and in the center the flash and a laser focus sensor.
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 we have 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.
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.
The screen's corners are curved just like the corners of the device, which is a unique touch. The G6 is the first smartphone on Earth to have the Dolby Vision color standard, for which more content is under development. In our hands-on, the colors looked great. At 50 percent screen brightness, it wasn't quite as bright next to the Huawei P9.
LG G6 software
The LG G6 on Android 7.0 Nougat brings a new layer of customization with LG UX 6.0, which is fluid and minimalistic. 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.
The G6 has been optimized for Google Assistant as well, just say "Ok Google" or long press the home button. The pre-installed apps leave 21.63 GB left available to use on the device we got our hands on.
LG G6 performance
The processor that was finally chosen for the LG G6 is the Snapdragon 821. We do not know if Samsung has had something to do with this decision, as apparently it has 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 we have 4 GB, and the device comes equipped with 32 GB of internal memory which can also be extended with a microSD card.
LG G6 audio
Only the Korean model of the G6 will have a Hi-Fi Quad DAC, which is disappointing for those of us in the US, since we will miss out on the elevated audio quality it offers. 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.
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 capture an angle of up to 125 degrees. Square camera snap shots will work perfectly for Instagram, and the special "grid shot" will contain multiple squares to show off more photos at once. There is also 360 degree panorama functionality.
For the front camera is 5 MP and it enjoys an angle of up to 100 degrees, making it perfect for group selfies.
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. A quite successful step, seeing as the battery life is what most concerns the users. Battery saver and game battery saver modes are available.
GSMArena have run a battery test on the G6, ranking it the best battery compared to the LG V20 and the LG G5 when looking at talk time, web browsing and video playback time. At 8 hours 31 minutes, the G6 has a similar web browsing time as the OnePlus 3T, while talk time comes in at 22.5 hours, putting it a few hours behind the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (which has a bit over 26 hours) but still ahead of the LG V20. As for video playback, the G6 can last just under 10.5 hours, putting it a few minutes ahead of the LG G5.
Additionally, the G6 also includes a fast charge mode. The US version of the device also gets wireless charging capability.
LG G6 technical specifications
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 G6 has a few key points that you can boast about, such as its screen, the audio and its battery. The design and water resistance make it a even more attractive choice. And as for the removable battery, that was an extra that relatively few users felt was really very important.
Do you think LG needs to pull out all the stops to win back user confidence in its devices? Will the LG G6 live up to such high expectations? Let us know in the comments below.