LG G4 vs. LG G3
The LG G3 wasn't a perfect phone, but it still cracked our list of the top handsets of 2014. Can the company's 2015 flagship, the LG G4, do better? We can start by comparing the two phones' features and specs.
The LG G3 had an excellent ratio of screen size to phone size. Though the G4 is still doing well in that department, it actually takes a micro-step backward: it has the same screen size, but is 2 percent taller and 1 percent wider.
The G4 is also 10 percent thicker than its predecessor. But keep in mind these are rounded backs we're looking at, so they're naturally going to be thicker than uniformly thin phones like the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6.
The G4 is also 3 percent heavier than the G4.
The LG G4 isn't the first genuine leather phone we've seen (Motorola offers a leather-clad variant of the Moto X), but it's still nice to see some premium materials on an LG flagship.
The leather G4 is only one (likely more expensive) option, however. Other versions of the G4 will have plastic backs, coated with either metallic or ceramic finishes.
LG likes to make the fronts and sides of its phones completely buttonless, instead placing the volume and power keys in a vertical configuration on the phones' backsides.
The leather version of the G4 will ship in both brown and black variants. The "metallic craft" plastic model has a darker gray color, while the "ceramic craft" plastic G4 is a lighter cream color.
No differences here, as we still have an ample 5.5 inches of screen real estate on the new model.
The G3 was the first flagship with a Quad HD display, and the G4 sticks with that 1440p resolution. LG does say that its new screen has 20 percent more accurate colors, 50 percent better contrast (perhaps trying to make up some ground vs. AMOLED screens' biggest strength) and gets 25 percent brighter.
Both handsets use IPS panels, though LG is describing that upgraded display in the G4 as "IPS Quantum."
It isn't a pronounced curve like on the LG G Flex 2, but the G4's screen (along with the phone itself) has a slight curve to it.
There's no 16 GB version of the G4; it ships with 32 GB internal storage by default.
Both handsets let you expand that internal storage by popping in a microSD card.
The G3's RAM was either 2 GB or 3 GB, depending on which storage option you went with. The G4 comes standard with 3 GB.
LG stuck with the same size of battery in this year's flagship.
Samsung sealed the Galaxy S6's battery shut, but LG still lets you swap out its G-phones' batteries.
Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 – found in many recent Android flagships – isn't in either of these phones.
The non-US version of the G3 shipped by default with wireless charging tech built-in. The G4 doesn't appear to even give you that option (at least not without the help of a case).
Camera megapixels (rear)
The G4's rear camera jumps up to 16 MP, from the 13 MP found in the 2014 model.
The new model's camera also has a quick-launch shortcut. Instead of using a home button double-tap to launch the camera app, like on the Galaxy S6, the G4 lets you actually take a picture (without even turning the screen on, if you're so inclined) by double-tapping the volume down key.
Incidentally, LG says that the G4's camera app can fire up in 6/10 of a second. We'll need to test that ourselves, but if that holds up it will beat the GS6's less than two seconds record.
Camera megapixels (front)
The G4's front-facing camera gets an even bigger boost, climbing all the way to 8 MP.
Camera aperture (rear)
LG is touting the G4's wide ƒ/1.8 aperture as a selling feature. The company says that it lets in 80 percent more light than the G3's ƒ/2.4 camera.
LG's laser-based autofocus, which quickly measures the distance from sensor to subject, returns in the G4.
Both phones have Optical Image Stabilization in their rear cameras, but LG says the OIS in the G4 is improved over last year's version.
Perhaps due to overheating concerns, LG passed on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 in the G4, going instead with the slightly less powerful (but still 64-bit) Snapdragon 808.
The G3 is running Android 5.0 Lollipop, while the G4 will launch with Android 5.1 at its core. LG also has some tweaks to its custom UI in the new model (we'll have more on that when we review the G4).
LG hasn't announced exact US release info yet, but the G4 is already available for sale in the company's native South Korea. For what it's worth, the G3 launched in the US in July, around two months after its Korean debut.
Starting price (full retail)
We also don't know what the G4 will retail for when it launches stateside. That asterisk next to the G3's price is there because that price will vary a bit (you can find it for as little as US$375 on Amazon).
Starting price (on-contract)
Ditto for on-contract pricing: we'll have to wait and see.