We received our LG G6 a little over a day ago and while that is nowhere near enough time for any kind of review, we do have some opinions on the LG G6 already. While we are keeping an open mind for our full review, the LG G6 has impressed us in some areas and disappointed in others so far.
To be honest, a lot of people are going to overlook this device. The Samsung Galaxy S8 was just announced and the screen is bigger, the processor is newer and potentially faster, and the base storage is twice that of the LG G6. Those are all valid reasons to choose the S8 over the G6, but that doesn’t mean the G6 is a bad phone when looked at in a vacuum. It still has a very powerful processor, more than enough RAM and storage, and quality of life features like water resistance and quick charging.
Here are some of the things we’ve noticed right off the bat. We’ll continue to test the LG G6 for a few weeks and bring you our full review soon.
I’ve owned the LG G2, G3, G4 and I had the G5 for three weeks while I reviewed it (full review here). To say I’m familiar with LG’s design language would be an understatement. That’s why I’m so blown away by the LG G6’s construction and build quality.
A few years ago, starting the Galaxy S6, Samsung redesigned its flagship phones and started using higher quality materials like metal and glass to make the devices feel more premium. LG didn’t follow that track and stuck to plastics, leather, and painted metal on its devices. Premium, they were not.
But LG changed that with the G6.
If you like how glass feels, you’re going to love this device. The front and back are almost entirely covered with glass with aircraft-grade aluminum on the sides. There aren’t any curved edges like the S8 and S8 Plus, but the back is slightly curved to help you pick it up when it’s laying flat. The G6 feels as well-built as any phone on the market right now besides maybe the iPhone and OnePlus 3T. I am extremely impressed by what LG was able to design in just one cycle.
The downside of all that glass are the fingerprints. Our black version looks gorgeous when it’s clean, but once you pick it up all that grease from your fingers is instantly transferred to your G6. It’s an easy wipe to get rid of it, but it doesn’t look great.
I’m actually kind of surprised at how many fingerprints the front glass is picking up. I’ve gone through several devices recently and none have held fingerprints on the display like the G6. I don’t know if LG used a different kind of oleophobic coating on the display of the device, but it’s very obviously different from other devices. I’ll probably keep a microfiber cloth with me just to keep the G6 fresh.
Smaller is better
The smaller bezels make a huge difference. There is almost no space between the 5.7″ display and the side of the phone. When viewing apps, pictures, or video with a dark background you can’t tell where the screen ends and the rest of the phone begins. It’s an awesome effect that almost no phone out there can emulate right now.
LG, in its wisdom, didn’t curve the edges of the G6. The phone feels more like an old school Apple iPhone 5 than the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and that is a huge plus. With the flat edges, you actually have somewhere to hold your phone. Yes, in the world of disappearing bezels and thinner phones, we do need somewhere to grip the device.
Due to the smaller bezels, the screen size was increased. Yes, the screen was stretched out 5.7″, but it was also given a different aspect ratio. Most phones follow the 16:9 ratio to match televisions. The LG G6 (and Samsung Galaxy S8) moved to a new 18:9 ratio to increase screen size without making the devices any wider.
The issue with this new display ratio is how the phone interacts with apps. Apps have generally been made to fit into 16:9 screens but now have to either stretch to fit the 18:9 screen or be shown with black bars on the top and bottom fo the app.
LG gives you options in the software to choose how you’d like your apps displayed. I’ve only played around with the ratio on a few apps because most of my apps have (so far) played nice. One of my most used apps, Ishtar Commander, had a menu at the bottom covered up but a quick hop into the settings menu to change how the app is displayed and I was back in business.
This will be a problem for some apps but LG has done a good job in the software to make everything work correctly until app developers update their apps to work in a native 18:9 environment.
Here are some other thoughts that we’ll touch on more in a full review.
Auto brightness: LG still struggles with auto brightness. Putting it on automatic keeps it too low in most cases. LG has had issues with this on every device I’ve ever owned or used made by them.
Quick charging: A lot of users on Reddit are complaining that included charger doesn’t charge all that fast. The G6 should have Quick Charge 2.0 enabled but we’ll test exactly how fast the included charger can refill the embedded battery in our full review.
Cameras: Everyone is doing a dual-camera setup these days. LG was one of the first and continues to be one of the best. We’ve only taken a few snaps so far but the pictures look excellent, especially in low light.
Fingerprint scanner: It’s blazingly fast. I’ve yet to have a misread (but keep mind, it has only been one day). The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, always on display, and knock-on are a perfect combination to stay on top of whats going on your device.
Software: Many of my friends know how much I absolutely hate LG’s skin. I admit that the first thing I did when setting up the phone was switch the to preloaded dark theme and install Nova launcher. Obviously, for our full review we’ll use the phone’s stock launcher so you can know what to expect when the phone comes out of the box, but the fact that there are 5 pre-installed themes is promising.
Like we said above, we’re keeping an open mind until the full review is complete, but color us impressed. LG has put together a very solid, if unspectacular device. I think if Samsung wasn’t releasing the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus at the same time, people would be all over the G6. The build quality is very good, the software seems to have taken steps forward, and there are a lot of other little improvements.
While we’re impressed with what we see so far, there are some definite weaknesses too. The fingerprints are a big one, but we’re also seeing a weak bottom firing speaker, some slight sluggishness in the software under load, and charging speeds.
Is the LG G6 worth your $650? We’re inclined to say yes at this point, especially if you can score some of the awesome preorder bonuses. If you’re interested in picking one up, check out our post on when and where you can buy the LG G6 and the bonuses you may entitled to.