The LG G4 is the third first-tier Android flagship of 2015, following the HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 (and S6 edge). Before we run our full review, we have some thoughts on the leather-clad version of the LG G4.

The LG G4 is a very solid phone, as we expected it to be. The leather backing is a nice touch (though it isn't the first company to try this, with Motorola offering a leather Moto X as well), and the phone's display looks very good. LG managed to make an IPS screen that could be mistaken for an AMOLED one – meaning its contrast, deep blacks and richness of colors are all in very good shape.

We find its plastic sides, though, to be a big negative. Your fingertips are typically more sensitive than the rest of your hand, and when you hold the G4 your fingertips rest against those cheap-feeling plastic edges. Technically this leather version of the G4 does have a mostly premium build, but because your fingers go straight to that plastic, it doesn't feel like it in hand.

Performance is mostly good, but LG just can't seem to make a flagship that has 100 percent silky-smooth performance. We aren't yet sure if its slight and occasional lag is coming from the launcher or from the LG UI in general, but the phone doesn't feel nearly as snappy to us as the Galaxy S6 does – and it also feels a bit less zippy than the stock Android-running Nexus 6.

So far the G4's camera is in very good shape: it brings back LG's laser autofocus, and its ƒ/1.8 aperture does a great job in low-lit conditions. But the camera still doesn't launch as quickly or easily as the GS6's does.

Battery life appears to be (at least) pretty good so far, but we'll have more on that in our full review. Its lack of (built-in) wireless charging tech is another area, though, where it lags behind its best competition.

Stay tuned for more on the LG G4, but from where we stand now it looks like a decent upgrade over last year's G3 – though it might also have too many holes to be considered a true peer of the Galaxy S6's. The G4's bigger 5.5-inch screen is about the only clear-cut advantage we're seeing so far over the Samsung flagship.

Product page: LG

Correction 6/7: The original version stated that the G4 doesn't support quick charging, but it was indeed added in a pre-US launch update.

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