The G3 is great, but it could easily be improved!
Latest update: LG has revealed additional camera and interface features, which will give you more control over your phone and photos. Plus we now have an idea of what the G4 will cost and it’s not cheap.
The LG G4 missed MWC 2015 but we will see it on April 28, so the wait is almost over.
It should be worth the wait too, with talk of a premium new leather design, a super-sharp display and a whole lot of power. Plus this is the company which brought us the LG G Flex 2, so a curved screen is never entirely off the table.
With the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 out the way LG G4 rumors are heating up and flooding in and we’re hopeful that it can stand up to such tough competition.
Cut to the chase
What is it? LG’s next flagship smartphone
When is it out? Announced April 28, available from April 29
What will it cost? Probably at least £550 / $825 / AU$1066
LG G4 release date
We’ve received an invite for an LG announcement on April 28 and it doesn’t mess around with what we can expect, stating “LG invites you to the official unveiling of LG G4.” You’re not going to get clearer than that.
Of course it could be a few weeks or more after that before the LG G4 actually lands in shops, but LG has confirmed it will go on sale on April 29 in Korea – the rest of the world will have to wait until the launch event to find out when they’ll get it.
If you can’t wait that long you could always apply to take one for a 30 day test drive.
LG G4 design
There have been a number of potential sightings of the LG G4 – and now with the invite to its launch event confirming the camera and sensor setup on the rear it looks like a lot of the following leaks are pretty close to the mark.
The big news on the design is that it appears to have a leather back, as not only does the event invite suggest as much but leaked photos show it with one, though there appears to be a plastic version too.
We’ve also seen several press renders, supposedly showing a non-final version of the handset, with a curved back, a large camera lens (check) and dimensions of 148.9 x 76.5 x 9.9mm, which oddly would make it bigger than the LG G3. It also seems to have the same metal-effect casing. If these are accurate then they’re probably showing the plastic version.
LG’s mobile chief Juno Cho has stated that the G4 will be “radically different” to anything that’s come before. Those changes were originally said to include a metal casing rather than a polycarbonate one, but there’s no sign of metal in most of the leaks we’ve seen so that’s looking unlikely now. Still, a leather back is quite a departure too.
LG G4 screen
LG has teased the G4’s screen in a video, revealing that it has a QHD IPS Quantum Display, which is 25% brighter and has a 20% wider color range than the display on the LG G3.
That screen had already been revealed by LG Display before it was confirmed that the LG G4 would use it. So we know it’s a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 display.
It also looks like the LG G4 will have an ever so slightly curved screen, as @OnLeaks attempted to prove with the drawing of a very straight line over a leaked press image.
LG G4 rivals
As a flagship Android phone the LG G4 will have the Samsung Galaxy S6 as a major rival and in the very unlikely event that it ends up being curved then it could also have some direct competition from the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.
Of course the HTC One M9 will give it a run for its money too with its stylish build and similar specs to those the G4 is rumored to pack.
Then there’s always the iPhone 6 and the looming threat of the iPhone 6s for anyone not married to Android. In short the LG G4 is going to have some serious competition.
LG G4 camera
An official teaser video reveals some of the G4’s camera features, such as Quick Shot, which lets you take a snap by double-tapping the rear key, even if the phone is locked. There’s also a Gesture Interval Shot mode, which takes four photos in a row, allowing you to choose the best to keep. Plus the camera features powerful manual controls.
As for the hardware, a brand new camera module has been created that features an aperture of f/1.8, which according to LG makes it the “widest aperture camera developed for a smartphone”.
In plain English this means the LG G4 should be excellent at taking photographs in low light conditions, allowing 80% more light in than the LG G3, as well as less blur when taking photos of fast moving objects. You can see the results for yourself in LG’s teaser video below.
The LG G4’s camera has also been boosted from the 13MP resolution of the LG G3 to 16MP on the back and from 2.1MP to 8MP on the front. The rear camera has a six-layer lens that is twice the size of the one found in the LG G3. An ultra-thin 0.1mm blue IR filter will also be included, to help give photos a natural look with accurate colours by blocking out infrared interference.
LG G4 OS and power
LG has unveiled a number of features from its new UX 4.0 interface, which the LG G4 will run. Among these are ‘Ringtone ID’, which automatically composes a custom ringtone for each contact and ‘Quick Memo+’, which lets you collect snippets from the web without the adverts.
Other features of the newly announced UX 4.0 include a Smart Alert, which makes activity suggestions based on the weather forecast and a Smart Board, which combines information from multiple apps into a single widget.
The LG G4 is also bound to run Android 5.0 Lollipop straight out of the box, which is good news if you want a handset that comes with Google’s latest mobile operating system.
Surprisingly the LG G4 might pass on the Snapdragon 810 and use the weaker Snapdragon 808 instead, if a benchmark believed to be from the LG G4 is to be believed. It could be true, as the 810 reportedly suffers from overheating issues. Though it contradicts earlier rumors, which suggested that the LG G4 would sport a Snapdragon 810 chip. Either way, it’s likely to have a meaty 3GB of RAM.
LG G4 other features
One particularly spurious LG G4 rumor suggests we may see a fingerprint scanner on the back of the handset. This would seemingly be a last minute decision and LG officials have denied the rumor, but with Samsung and Apple both including them in their flagships there’s a possibility that LG could follow suit, though there’s no sign of it on the images we’ve seen.
There is also a suggestion that the LG G4 may pack a stylus in its body, but we’d be surprised if LG put this on its core flagship device. It’s probably something that will arrive with a variant, like the LG G3 Stylus.
LG G4 cost
While the LG G3 undercut rivals it looks like the same may not be true of the LG G4. South Korean carriers SK Telecom and T World Direct have it pegged at $825, which would be between the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge in the US.
Converting to pounds gives us £550 in the UK, but direct conversions rarely pan out and if anything it’s likely to be slightly more than that.
While we’re sadly coming to realise that most of the following won’t actually happen, the G4 could have been SO MUCH BETTER if LG had listened to us:
A metal chassis
The LG G3 sure does a good job of looking metallic, but that’s all it is, an effect, and as soon as you pick up the phone the illusion is broken, so much so in fact that it actually winds up feeling cheaper than the LG G2.
So we really hope the LG G4 will go the whole hog and have a shell crafted from actual metal. Even Samsung’s sticking metal in its phones now so LG really can’t afford not to.
We’d also appreciate it if they gave the G4 a unibody rather than having a removable back, as it’s likely to feel more solid and premium as a result.
Sadly metal is looking ever more unlikely, but at least we might see some leather.
Improved battery life
The LG G3 had good battery life, but it was actually slightly worse than the G2’s battery and that’s not a trend we like to see. There’s steeper competition here now too, with Sony in particular doing well with the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z3 Compact, both of which have a whole lot of juice.
A battery saving mode
Battery saving modes are all the rage these days, whether it’s Sony’s Stamina mode, HTC’s Extreme power saving mode or Samsung’s Ultra power saving mode, but the LG G3 doesn’t have one.
Now it already does a good job of conserving battery on the fly, by adapting the display and slowing down the processor when the extra horsepower isn’t needed, but it would be great if the LG G4 went even further and had additional options that could be toggled as needed, just to squeeze even more juice out.
More power is an obvious wish and an increasingly redundant one as most high end phones are levelling out and delivering near faultless performance. But the LG G3 actually did noticeably lag at times.
Maybe that’s down to the QHD display, maybe it’s just down to poor optimisation, but whatever the reason we really hope LG sorts it out and gives us a faster phone in the LG G4.
A slicker interface
LG could also afford to do some more work on its interface. The G2’s was a cluttered nightmare and the G3’s was a big step in the right direction, but still not as slick as it could be.
In particular we’d like to see improvements made to Smart Notice. This sits below the weather widget on the home screen and gives you tailored advice and suggestions, for example it might give you more details on the weather or suggest you add someone to your contacts if you call them a lot.
The problem is it just doesn’t work that well, often providing irrelevant advice, so LG should make it smarter or ditch it, we already have Google Now after all.
A better camera
On the whole the LG G3 has a pretty great camera, complete with optical image stabilisation and a laser autofocus. But while it performs well in bright light it’s not so good in low light, relying on software to unconvincingly smooth over noisy shots, rather than taking good photos to begin with. So hopefully the LG G4 will improve in that area.
The good news is that we should be getting what we wished for, with the LG G4 now confirmed to be coming with a 16MP snapper.
We’d also like to be given more manual control. The LG G3 is great if you just want to point and shoot, but there aren’t many options for those who want to adjust the exposure or ISO for example. This too looks like a wish which will be coming true, as LG has revealed a full manual mode.
A superior screen
This one might seem strange, after all the LG G3 is already QHD, but we’re not talking about more pixels. Rather we’d like to see improved performance from the pixels that are already there. In particular the LG G3 suffers from a noticeable loss in brightness when not viewed square on, so if LG can sort that for the G4 we’d be pretty happy.
Thankfully it seems that might be happening, as a brighter display has been promised by the firm.
Water and dust resistance
While not exactly a headline feature, water and dust resistance are undeniably nice things to have. We have to wonder how many people ever actively make use of the fact that they can submerge their smartphone, but knowing that it can survive a little water gives us some peace of mind.
Here in England it rains all the time and sometimes we’d actually like to be able to use our phone while outside, without first crafting a makeshift shield from whatever else we happen to be carrying / wearing at the time.
Knock Code improvements
We love Knock On – the ability to wake up your phone with a tap, but Knock Code, which takes things further by letting you also unlock your phone with a series of taps, just doesn’t work all that well.
The main problem is that if you touch the screen when picking the G3 up it registers that touch as the first tap and causes the pattern to be interpreted incorrectly. We’re not quite sure how LG can get around that so it’s a good thing we’re not designing the G4, but hopefully LG has a solution because a feature which doesn’t work is just an annoyance.
With support for high quality audio the LG G3 already does a great job when listening to music through a good pair of headphones, but its speaker isn’t so hot either in terms of positioning or quality.
For the LG G4 we’d like to see dual front-facing speakers, like those on the HTC One M8 and Sony Xperia Z3. It’s a much more logical place for them, especially when you’re watching something or playing a game. If LG can make the sound crisper and richer too then all the better.