Mobile Technology

LG G6 hands-on: Goodbye bezels, hello Google Assistant

LG G6 hands-on: Goodbye bezels...
New Atlas has been checking out the new LG G6 in Barcelona
New Atlas has been checking out the new LG G6 in Barcelona
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The 5.7-inch phone adopts an usual 18:9 aspect ratio for its screen
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The 5.7-inch phone adopts an usual 18:9 aspect ratio for its screen
Around the back there's a 13 MP dual-lens camera
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Around the back there's a 13 MP dual-lens camera
Google Assistant is on board, a first for a non-Pixel phone
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Google Assistant is on board, a first for a non-Pixel phone
The fingerprint and wake button is around the back too
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The fingerprint and wake button is around the back too
Last year's modular approach has been ditched for a more classic look
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Last year's modular approach has been ditched for a more classic look
The LG G6 measures 148.9 mm x 71.9 mm x 7.9 mm (that's 5.7 inches x 2.8 inches x 0.3 inches)
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The LG G6 measures 148.9 mm x 71.9 mm x 7.9 mm (that's 5.7 inches x 2.8 inches x 0.3 inches)
The phone tips the scales at 163 grams (5.7 oz)
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The phone tips the scales at 163 grams (5.7 oz)
Unlike Apple, LG has kept the 3.5 mm audio port, so your old headphones are still going to work
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Unlike Apple, LG has kept the 3.5 mm audio port, so your old headphones are still going to work
Black, platinum and white colors have been shown off, though availability and pricing is yet to be announced
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Black, platinum and white colors have been shown off, though availability and pricing is yet to be announced
Android 7.0 Nougat is on board with LG's own skin on top
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Android 7.0 Nougat is on board with LG's own skin on top
Also of note is the Dolby Vision and HDR10 support in the display
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Also of note is the Dolby Vision and HDR10 support in the display
Finally the phone is also water and dust resistant, with an IP68 rating
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Finally the phone is also water and dust resistant, with an IP68 rating
New Atlas has been checking out the new LG G6 in Barcelona
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New Atlas has been checking out the new LG G6 in Barcelona

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.

Google Assistant is on board, a first for a non-Pixel phone
Google Assistant is on board, a first for a non-Pixel phone

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 fingerprint and wake button is around the back too
The fingerprint and wake button is around the back too

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.

Finally the phone is also water and dust resistant, with an IP68 rating
Finally the phone is also water and dust resistant, with an IP68 rating

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

7 comments
navmed
The bezel-less design is good, but why another phablet, they already have the v20.
LarryWolf
They ruined it. Now when the battery dies they phone dies like the other stupid ones from Applie, Samsung, etc. Jeeze you can't buy a decent phone anymore that has the ability to swap batteries--something essential when your in the hospital, deaf, can't talk to get nurses to plug in your charger, etc. You need the ability to swap out batteries!
ChrisCameron
Isn't 18:9 the same as 2:1? 2,880 x 1,440 pixels Simpler to state, but doesn't sound as impressive!
RalphL.Seifer
I completely concur with Mr. Wolf. One of the beautiful aspects of my LG G4 is the removable back cover, which facilitates the removal of the battery and/or the installation of a wireless charger coil. All the new changes are welcome, and perhaps even of some value, but the whole thing runs on the battery, and it all goes hors de combat when the power dies. One can always jerry-rig a wireless charger coil, as can also be done outside the case on Apple phones, but that still necessitates an additional cover to protect the phone and the external coil. Really mystifying why the phone manufacturers can't hear what the users have to say. Ralph L. Seifer, Long Beach, California
Aeromot
Thin bezels are ridiculous. I'm going to put an armored cover on it anyway, so the look will be hidden.
Mr0Yallow
I agree with the comments about the battery I think it is a "planned obsolescence" thing, battery dead, time to BUY a new phone. I am an iPhone junkie but I also have an Oppo piece of crap Android 4GB of RAM is totally inadequate, I cannot install any apps on my phone with the Color OS as the OS takes 2.21 GB RAM and the Factory Installed Google Apps (that cannot be removed or transferred to the 32 GB SD Card) take another 640 MB RAM thats about 3/4 of the available memory the only app I can Install is my PIA VPN app taking a whopping 18.87 MB memory. It seems (I really hate to say it) Samsung is the only android with adequate RAM. A manufacturer will really have a hot item to make a device with expandable RAM like a desktop or laptop.
ED Ortiz
After getting burned with 2 different model LG phones (v10 & G4) and their stupid bootloop defects, I will never buy a crappy LG brand phone ever again.