LG's Best Phone in a Few Years, But...
After using the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and seeing how fragile that phone is, I was hoping the LG G6 would be a standout contender that would go toe-to-toe with Samsung’s best. Unfortunately, while the G6 is a solid smartphone and one of LG’s best, it falls behind in too many areas to take out the 'best smartphone' crown.
One area where LG strongly succeeds is the design. The sealed metal-glass chassis is well built and far more premium than anything LG has made previously. The display is one of the G6's best features. It’s taller and therefore larger than before, occupying more space of the front panel while shrinking the bezels. Like with the Galaxy S8, this makes the G6 look futuristic, while providing excellent brightness and an extremely crisp 1440p-class image.
The G6 packs a decent array of features, including water resistance for the first time, a USB-C port, an ultra-fast fingerprint sensor, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The microSD card slot has also been retained, while ditching the removable battery has allowed LG to include a significantly larger battery than the G5, leading to improved battery life.
One of the major downsides to the G6 is a collection of last-generation hardware. LG missed out on the Snapdragon 835, while other phones that shipped weeks later like the Galaxy S8+, Xiaomi Mi 6 and Huawei P10, all use newer silicon.
The cameras have also received a downgrade for the most part. Laser autofocus is gone, the color spectrum sensor is gone, and the selfie camera is not as good as on the G5. The inclusion of a secondary wide-angle camera, now with a resolution that matches the main camera, is decent and certainly the best part of this camera package. However image quality hasn’t progressed much from last year, and in some cases (particularly indoors) I feel the G6 camera has regressed.
The camera is still pretty good, though it can’t match the top dogs in the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8.
LG’s software also needs a lot of work. You’re still getting all the benefits of Android, but some of LG’s additions – particularly duplicate apps and bloatware – are not exactly user-friendly. The interface looks dated in comparison to vanilla Android and some other top skins, which doesn’t suit the new design all that well.
When you combine these features, what you’re left with is a good phone. Not a great phone, not the best phone on the market, but a good phone. It’s LG’s best phone in a few years, and that’s something to commend them on.
For those who purchase phones outright, it’s also nice to see the LG G6 currently retailing on Amazon for around $150 less than the Galaxy S8. I feel the asking price of $550 is about right for the LG G6 and its position in the market. Were it more expensive, in the traditional $650 range, I’d be questioning why LG had priced it so high.
Pros: Expansive, high-quality display. LG’s best phone design yet. Water resistant. Dual camera solution is handy. Gimmicky modular system is gone, leading to better battery life.
Cons: Hardware and performance straight out of last year. LG’s software needs a lot of polish. Camera is good, but can’t match the best and is missing features included in the G5.