LG G6 hands-on: Goodbye bezels, hello Google Assistant
The LG G6 has broken cover at Mobile World Congress, and New Atlas was one of the first to get its hands on the new 2017 flagship on the ground in Barcelona. Here are our first impressions of the handset that's out to get the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy.
The G6 that LG lent to us is a "non-final, non-review" unit: That means there's still some under-the-hood tweaking to do before it goes on sale, and so we can't talk about the performance or give you any benchmarks.
What we can talk about is the look and feel of the G6, and we think LG could have a winner on its hands. This is a fine-looking phone that abandons the modular approach of the LG G5 to focus getting the basics right, with a few notable twists.
Immediately noticeable is the 5.7-inch, 18:9 ratio screen, dominating the front of the phone and pushing out the bezels to the very fringes. LG might not be the only smartphone maker looking to banish bezels this year but it's certainly set a high bar for the others to follow.
To put it another way, it's crammed as much screen real estate as the iPhone 7 Plus inside a phone that's narrower and shorter (albeit a bit thicker too). It's a great-looking screen too, bright and sharp and vibrant. If this full-screen front approach is the way phones are going, we're definitely on board.
That 2,880 x 1,440 pixel, 564 PPI display also supports Dolby Vision and HDR10, two standards rolling out across TVs and cinema screens as well as phones this year that guarantee a certain level of quality when it comes to color, contrast and brightness. The screen certainly pops and should show off your Netflix content very well indeed.
The lack of a chunky bezel at the top and bottom means no physical home button, as with many recent Android phones. The power button is around the back, doubling as a fingerprint scanner, which (like other recent flagships) means no buttons on the right-hand side of the device.
Made from aluminum and glass with a metal frame around the edges, the phone doesn't feel quite as eminently premium as an iPhone or Galaxy model, but it's comfortable to hold and isn't in any danger of slipping out of your hand.
Like the LG G5 and V20, the G6 has a dual-lens camera, with both wide and standard angle lenses that you can toggle between with a touch on the screen. The megapixel rating is lower than last year (13 MP vs 16 MP) but LG is promising photos that are better than ever. We certainly noticed no issues based on some shots we quickly snapped in Barcelona, and the 18:9 aspect ratio is put to good use with an extra column showing your most recent pictures down the side.
Google Assistant is also on board, the LG G6 becoming the first non-Pixel phone to get the honor. Although it's not much of an upgrade on Google Now just at the moment, we expect Google to continually improve its virtual assistant technology.
We've only spent a few hours with the LG G6 but we like what we see: It doesn't break any records for thinness or lightness but the screen is superb to use and the camera and software look promising. We'll bring you a more detailed review in the coming weeks when we get a final review unit from LG.
Powering everything behind the scenes is a Snapdragon 821 CPU, 4 GB of RAM and a 3,300 mAh battery. There's 32 GB of room on board, expandable via microSD card. On top of all that, the phone is IP68-rated, so it's dustproof and waterproof too, at least up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 meters. The phone ships with Android Nougat, and if our test unit is any indication, we don't expect LG's software additions to detract too much from the pure Android experience.
Several other 2017 phones are likely to come with the slightly faster Snapdragon 835 chip inside, so it'll be interesting to see how well LG can optimize the older processor. Pricing and availability are still to be confirmed.
There's plenty more to come from Mobile World Congress – check back soon for new devices from Huawei, Motorola, Samsung, Sony and others.
Product page: LG