While everyone else was busy road testing the new iPhone 6S, I spent the last two months travelling the world with the recently released LG G4 phone. I wanted to give the much talked about device a run through on different networks, in different counties and test out the ins and outs through two months of labour. Here are my findings:
SIZE AND INTERFACE
There’s not much to dislike about this phone when it comes to its most basic features. It feels nice in your hands, the size – slightly smaller than the iPhone 6 Plus, though both with a 5.5 inch screen – is just right, and the screen (5.5-inch QHD 1440×2560 Quantum IPS, 534 ppi) looks great. I experienced some minor touch sensitivity issues but this was easily fixed in settings for the most part, and everything about the phone was simplified and intuitive.
Texts, calls and everything else you needed was at easy reach. And the Android’s customisable nature is going to be a plus to anyone. But the important thing to note is that, as an iPhone user, this was the first Android phone I’ve played with that felt like it was built for ex-iPhone users. It followed similar instincts and even improved upon them in some instances.
To say the least, it’s high. Whether using headphones, making calls through phone itself or using the speakers, they are among the best in the market. Playing a video has rarely sounded so good on a portable device.
This is where the device starts to let me down – albeit there is an easy solution. Operating on Telstra’s 4GX network on Australia, and in Canada on Fido (which jumped between 4G and 3G depending on where we were), the phone’s battery struggled under both scenarios. I still use an iPhone 4S as my main device, and honestly it wasn’t doing much better at times. If I was using the phone regularly, especially for data, I’d only get a half day out of it.
Comparing this to the Sony Xperia Z3, or the newer iPhone 6S Plus, out of which you can almost get two days out of if you try hard enough (for the Z3 at least), this is a fairly disappointing result. There are energy saving features built into the device, but they generally slant towards turning the screen brightness down – which isn’t always an option – or limiting you to calls and text – which also isn’t always what you need.
The saving grace is that the battery is easily replaced. It ships outside the unit to remind you of this. It also charges very quickly. So it makes up for the limitations in other ways.
There are so many extra features built into this phone, but there’s one that sticks out for me. An easy to use and terribly handy feature if you’re the sort who always loses your remote is that the phone can double as a Universal TV Remote. I tried it on both the TVs in our house and it worked perfectly. Though the device naturally doesn’t pull over every feature from the remote you would have been given with your TV, it gives you everything you need to operate your device. Sure beats having to buy a new one…
Though it’s not the best camera phone for low light photo opportunities, such as at concerts, the flash for close up photos is a high point of the camera’s features. Using the camera for these photos, for instance, sees the light come on until you take the photo – rather than as a traditional flash – improving the quality of the photo, making the lighting look more natural than the normal cosmetic effect that even some of the highest rated camera phones only manage to achieve.
There is also a “selfie smoother” mode, which is popular amongst models in the Asian market. This is where you take the photo and it immediately smoothens out your facial features to make you ready for that close up! It’s unnecessary for most, but will be a favourite feature for some.
For those who want to take photos with the phone without the phone in their hands, you can also operate the camera with intuitive hand signals which will allow you to take photos like this (of the author):
Look ma, no hands! Note the minor selfie smoother that has been applied to my face. Don’t I look wonderful?
The LG G4 is a well built, beautifully presented Android phone (that leather backing is a nice touch!) that provides you with everything you need and more. Indeed it has some minor issues, but they are minor asterisk’s for one of the most solid products on the market. Extras like the remote and the intuitive camera features only make it a more solid investment.
The LG G4 was tested on the Telstra 4GX network in Australia and on Fido in Canada. Telstra provided the phone.