By Gerard Ramos / Lifestyle & Entertainment Editor
A REPORT filed recently by Strategy Analytics regarding the top 3 brands dominating the global smartphone market revealed that names long well-established in the consumer electronics space failed to make the top of the list. Among those that failed to make the cut is South Korean giant LG Electronics, whose mobile division has been among the most aggressive and more daring players in the race for smartphone supremacy.
And it was with such daring that LG last year raced to be the first to issue a modular smartphone, which the tech media then touted would be the next big thing in this particular consumer electronics space. Beating Motorola and its Moto Z, LG released the G5 and an ecosystem of add-ons—unfortunately dubbed by the company as “Friends”—designed to extend the utility of the smartphone.
Alas, not only was the ecosystem limited and the “Friends” expensive, but LG’s implementation of the modular model required the user to power off and dismember the G5 every time a “Friend” was attached. Hello, cumbersome—and that’s putting it kindly. Compared to LG, Motorola’s approach to modularity for its Moto Z flagship was genius and totally fuss-free: just magnetically snap your Moto Mod add-on on the back and you’re good to go, no powering off and on necessary.
A year later, LG now wants everybody to forget its modular folly with the release of the G6, the company’s newest flagship, which made its debut—to great acclaim—at the 2017 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year, and which the local LG office launched recently with a massive event at the SM Mega Fashion in SM Megamall. Gone are the gimmicky “Friends”, and none of the pricier—but ultimately useless (for now at least)—gimmick of a curved screen being touted by its competitor; instead, LG offers a subdued but very solid return to the basics—to the things that really, truly matter to the consumer—and the G6 is a strong comeback, if you will, for the company.
The LG G6 measures 5.86×2.83×0.31 inches and weighs 163 grams, crafted in metal that frames the body, and glass (scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass of course) that sandwiches the front and back, the materials coming together in a unibody design with the corners rounded for an elegant finish. Embedded in the top center of the back is LG’s dual 13 megapixel camera setup and below it is the power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor, which is very responsive and very accurate, one of the best to be found in a flagship smartphone. On the right side of the device can be found the hybrid dual SIM/microSD slot, while on the left are the volume keys. The bottom side plays host to a USB Type-C connector and a single speaker, and on the top you will find—mercifully!—a 3.5mm headphone jack, which suggests that LG isn’t going to render obsolete anytime soon those pricey hi-def earbuds you charged on your credit card not too long ago.
All these make for a very sleek and very modern-looking device with IP68 water- and dust-proof certification, and one that chugs along quite smoothly, powered as it is by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 2.35Ghz quad core processor plus 4 gigabyte of LPDDR4 RAM and an Adreno 530 GPU, with 64GB of user memory available right out of the box. True, the G6’s hardware can also be found in the Google Pixel XL, which was released year, but that configuration made for an exceptionally good user experience and the same is true for this new smartphone.
And so, how does the LG G6 differentiate itself from the flagship smartphones now available in the market and those yet to be released?
If you’re good in math, from the dimensions provided earlier you already would’ve guessed the LG G6 offers a new visual delight, one very close to phablet territory while still keeping the user experience in one-handed realm. The IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen is in an 18:9 2:1-aspect ratio, measuring 5.7 inches with a 1440×2880 resolution. The screen real estate is considerable, indeed, and LG managed to squeeze all that in a compact frame by shaving millimeters off the bezels and making the phone taller but not wider. Pushing 16 million colors with ~564 ppi pixel density, with support for both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, the G6 renders still and moving images in dazzlingly brilliant detail. It’s almost a religious experience, really, to watch Netflix’s The Crown on this, and multitasking on a smartphone edges closer to usability as the G6 can split up the 18:9 screen real estate into two side-by-side windows that allow a better view of two apps.
The G6’s display aspect ratio does give rise to a few issues, particularly when consuming 16:9 video or using applications that don’t scale properly. In these instances, black bars appear on both sides of the display. Thoughtfully enough, LG has included an app that can force apps into the 18:9 aspect ratio, but use this judiciously as it can cut off displayed content.
Meanwhile, LG with the G6 can continue to boast having one of the best rear dual camera setups in a smartphone, with both lens now serving as the main camera. One is an f/1.8 lens with OIS, 3-axis and phase detection AF, the other is an f/2.4 with no AF, and it’s entirely up to the user to choose which camera to deploy in capturing a subject. Either lens takes excellent pictures, while the camera app has been improved to offer a full range of shooting options, including full manual control—which, by the way, is also available when shooting video, something that not all flagships offer. Meanwhile, the front-facing 5MP camera yields solid selfies and can also capture videos in 1080p Full HD mode.
All told, the G6 is an exceptional flagship from LG, a definite rebound from the issues that bedeviled its predecessor. There is plenty that’s fantastic about this top-tier smartphone, and plenty to love. To know more, visit www.lg.com/ph/mobile-phones.