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Thread: My Review of the LG G4

  1. #1
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    My Review of the LG G4

    After testing the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the HTC One M9, the next big-name flagship phone to test was the LG G4. Unlike the other two phones however, the G4 is decidedly bigger. The S6 and M9 try to keep the outside dimensions (especially the width) to within a few millimeters of what's been generally considered the maximum size for a smartphone (vs a Phablet like the Samsung Galaxy Note line or the iPhone 6 Plus). This extra width, as relatively small as it is, makes the G4 just that more difficult to put in pockets, and to be held by people with small hands. I have fairly large hands, so I don't have any difficulty holding it, but it still feels like it's too big.

    Over the last couple of years, I've stopped commenting on RF performance of the phones I test, because there is almost never anything to report. With just about everyone using Qualcomm chipsets on their devices, the RF sensitivity is exactly the same. I therefore was surprised to discover that the G4 has a problem with RF. When I tested the G4 for its ability to pull in a weak signal (compared to my Galaxy S4), it did very poorly. It wouldn't lock onto weak signals that my Samsung could, and once it had the signal, it lost it more easily and it provided poorer data speeds. This is surprising, since the G4 uses Qualcomm RF components just like my phone. I can only assume it's an antenna design issue. If the reported signal strength is anything to go by, the G4 is around 4 to 5 dB weaker than most other phones on the market, which is shockingly bad.

    The screen is a pleasant surprise after testing the M9. Like the HTC flagship model, the G4 has an LCD screen, but LG has done a fantastic job with this, as the black levels are incredibly good. It's the closest thing you'll get to an AMOLED screen in an LCD panel. Arguably then, the G4's screen is, for the most part, the best of both worlds. However, there must have been something wrong with the touch screen component, because I found the device MISSED a number of my taps. There doesn't appear to be any lack of sensitivity to touch on the part of the screen, but the unexplained failures to pick up on a tap here and there are a little off-putting. I don't appear to be the only person who's noticed this. I recently read a review of G4 in which the same odd behavior was noted.

    The G4 uses a Qualcomm processor, just like the M9, but instead of the 810, it uses the 808. The difference here is that the 808 has the same quad low-power cores, but just two high-powered cores. I didn't notice any obvious penalty in terms of phone performance day to day, though perhaps you'll see some difference in games. However, the payback for going with the Qualcomm 808 instead of the 810, is that the G4 runs cooler MOST OF THE TIME. The M9 (and to a slightly lesser extent, the S6) run incredibly hot, even when you aren't doing anything particularly heavy-duty with them. Once you really push the G4 however, it can get just as hot as the M9 or S6, especially on the FRONT GLASS (whereas the other two devices tend to get hot around back).

    When it comes to battery life, you'd have expected the G4 to trounce the M9, seeing as the M9 turns so much of its battery power into heat. However, I didn't seem to get anywhere near the battery life I'd been seeing with the M9. HTC seems to have done a remarkable job taming the power consumption of its flagship model, while the LG gets by with "just average" on the G4.

    The speaker on the G4 is definitely above average. It has a nicer and slightly deeper tone to it than the S6 (and my S4), plus it has plenty of clean volume. It doesn't sound quite as good as the stereo speakers on the M9 when playing multimedia audio, but in all honestly, it isn't that much worse. However, the G4 is markedly louder than the M9. When it comes to phone audio, it sounds at least as good as a Samsung, and definitely better than the M9. The microphone has a decent sound, but it's a little bit thinner-sounding that the microphones provided on Samsung devices. Again, it beats the pants off the M9, which has a very tinny-sounding microphone.

    The earpiece has a very pleasing quality to it, but the G4 seems to include a super-annoying NOISE GATE on phone and VoIP audio, which caused the audio to disappear as it became a bit faint. This particular facet of the incoming audio is hard to ignore, expect when listening to relatively loud callers, or with a large amount of background noise to keep the noise gate open.

    The G4 is also the big winner for those of you who still want a removable battery and a MicroSD card. The S6 has neither and the M9 has only a MicroSD card. The G4 sports both of these features, which are becoming rather rare in flagship models.

    When it comes to the GPS, I'm VERY DISAPPOINTED. In fact, I'm a little concerned about the quality of the GPS chips that seem to be finding their way into flagship phones of late. While everything else in the flagships seems to get better (faster processors, more powerful GPUs, more RAM, high-resolution screens, etc), the GPS chips have been getting worse. It started with my review of the Galaxy S6, where I expected a fantastic GPS chip, because Samsung already had a reputation of putting some of the most accurate GPS chipsets into their models. However, what I got was a decidedly poor excuse for a GPS experience compared to my Galaxy S4. Then came the M9, whose GPS was actually NOT BAD, but still not able to hold a candle to accuracy of my S4.

    My initial tests of the GPS in the G4 suggested I might have found an exception to the new rule, as the reported accuracy was quite good. However, when I took the G4 on cycling trips with me, the resulting tracks made by the phone highlighted all sorts of glaring weaknesses. The REPORTED accuracies were terrific (with over 90% of them reporting 3 meters), but the actual tracks that those supposedly-3-meter readings produced were sometimes mind-numbingly BAD. Not only were MANY of the recorded points WAY OFF, but there were many instances where the GPS did not even return a coordinate for 5 to 10 consecutive seconds (sometimes longer). That NEVER happens on my Galaxy S4, and I've rarely ever seen it in other makes of smartphones.

    But I've saved the best part for last; the camera. The photographs and videos that the G4 can take are most decidedly among the best in the industry. The low-light sensitivity of the camera is astonishing, and when it does start to show noise, it looks very much like film grain, which is actually not all that unpleasant. It seems pretty clear that LG doesn't attempt to over-process the images that way everyone does, and so low-light pictures are always full of amazing levels of detail and color. The optical image stabilization ensures blur-free shots, even in dimly-light conditions. It's really hard to take a bad picture with the G4. Without a doubt, the camera is the G4's single most endearing feature.

    In summary, the G4 is definitely the phone to get if your primary concern is photography. However, its poor RF sensitivity and sub-standard GPS might be deal-breakers for you. Assuming they aren't however, there's much to like about the G4, and is well worth your consideration.

    Pros:

    - One of the best cameras out there.
    - Runs cooler than most 2015 flagship phones.
    - Excellent LCD display.
    - Good quality multimedia speaker with lots of volume.
    - Removable battery.
    - MicroSD card support.

    Could be Better:

    - Off-angle dimming of the display.
    - Misses some screen taps.
    - Average battery life.

    Cons:

    - Poor RF performance.
    - Terrible GPS performance.
    - Still runs super-hot when you really put it to heavy use.

  2. #2
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    Quite opposite. My G4 is excellent on Gps. Instead my S4 is very poor on Gps. Battery life is great opposite to my S4 that sucks. Sound is way louder on my G4 than my S4. Not to mention that tgere is no heating issue on my G4. On S4 mostly of the time got lot of heat.

  3. #3
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    Any current or former G4 users care to add their experience? GPS and RF are high on my priority list, wondering how much of a problem they are here...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntonelaG View Post
    The housing integrates seamlessly with the design of the elements that are concentrated at the rear of the terminal. Both the controls such as the camera or the flash seem to be part of a one-piece design, although it is a case is evident in the union with the screen, which is made with a frame that gives the terminal visual elegance although to the touch it is appreciated that it is actually plastic.
    G4 is outdated. I have a P20. But quite a poorly built quality. I used for 14 month and at 6 months send to repairs. Same with G4. Only Chinese crap on the market. Where are the Fin Nokia built phones?

    Sent from my EML-L09 using HoFo mobile app

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