Hands-on with the LG G4

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LG's latest flagship marks some significant improvements over its predecessor, and it feels great in the hand (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)

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LG's latest flagship handset offers an optional leather back, improved display and new camera tech, but are those changes enough to make the G4 standout among some seriously stiff competition in 2015? Read on as Gizmag takes its first look at LG's brand new flagship.

The device might not be about to win any awards for being thin or light, but it feels comfortable in the hand. Like its predecessor, the G4 manages to be a big phone, without particularly feeling like one. As with other LG handsets, there aren't any physical buttons around the edge of the phone, with three keys placed around the back of the handset instead.

LG has opted for a choice of leather and plastic backs on the G4 (they call the plastic option "metallic craft" and "ceramic craft"). While the plastic options feels similarly solid like its predecessor, the leather variant unsurprisingly offers a more premium feel. It's soft and grippy to the touch, with a stitched aesthetic that LG claims will look better with age.

The design here isn't a million miles removed from the G3, but takes a step up in most regards. Putting aside the subtly curved display, the handset, and particularly the stitched leather variant, feels more refined than its predecessor. While it doesn't manage to reach the same design heights as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, it's closer than we were expecting.

The G4 packs an "IPS Quantum Display", which the company claims offers better contrast, color reproduction and brightness than the competition. The screen looked great during our testing, producing stunning, bright colors and deep blacks. With a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 and 538 pixels per inch, it's also impossible to pick out individual pixels.

The screen on the G4 is also subtly curved, like a far less pronounced version of the G Flex 2. The feature doesn't add anything to the viewing experience, but does perhaps make the smartphone feel slightly more comfortable in the hand.

LG didn't opt for the Snapdragon 810 processor we've seen in the HTC One M9, instead turning to the six-core Snapdragon 808. We didn't encounter a hint of sluggishness during out hands-on time, running the device through numerous applications and switching between them, everything was just as slick and responsive as you'd expect from a flagship device in 2015.

The treatment of Android Lollipop on the G4 is very similar to what we've seen on previous handsets from LG, with the design language and color palette altered to reflect the company's brand. It's a pleasant experience that isn't far from stock Android.

We took a few snaps with both the 8 MP front-facing camera and 16 MP rear cameras, and both produced great results. LG is making a lot of big claims about the quality of the G4's optics, and while the shots we took looks vibrant and sharp, we'll need significantly more testing before passing judgement.

It's early days, but we found a lot to like in the G4. We're certainly a fan of the premium feeling stitched leather back and stunning IPS display, and it offers the buttery smooth Android experience we've come to expect from flagship handsets.

There's nothing revolutionary on show here from LG, but rather a very solid evolution of an already very good flagship. Stay tuned to Gizmag for more on the G4 as we move closer to launch (April 29 in Korea, but undisclosed later dates everywhere else).

Product page: LG

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