LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!

Last year, to be honest, the LG G3 Beat didn't meet my expectation as a worthy baby brother of the LG G3. This 2015, the Korean consumer electronic giant is up to the task in making a more value packed smaller and more affordable variant of their LG G4 flagship by forming the G4 Beat. The question is were they able to nail it this time?
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
LG G4 Beat review

LG G4 Beat LTE Specs

Display: 5.2 Inch FHD IPS LCD 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ Gorilla Glass 3 protection at 424 ppi
CPU: 1.5 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 615 octa core processor
GPU: Adreno 405
RAM: 1.5 GB
ROM: 8 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 32 GB
Back Camera: 8 MP f/2.4 aperture color spectrum sensor w/ AF, gesture interval shot and dual LED flash
Selfie Camera: 5 MP f/2.8
Battery: 2,300 mAh
OS: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, HSPA+, LTE Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, A GPS, GLONASS, NFC USB 2.0
Sensors: Accelerometer, compass, rotation
Dimensions: 142.7 x 72.6 x 9.85 mm
Weight: 140 g
Price: 12,990 Pesos

Unboxing / Accessories

LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Simple small box of LG G4 Beat
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
The inclusions inside the box

Upon opening the package, you'll be greeted with the standard package you normally see from a smartphone. There's a 1A wall charger adapter, quick thick and durable looking micro USB data / charging cables and a standard earphones with microphone that doesn't actually sound bad. I would just love it better if LG included even just the excellent sounding Quadbeat 2 which is several times better than most above 2,000 Pesos in ear monitors.

Build Quality / Design

LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
The some sort of textured liked brushed stylish back cover of the phone

In a world where everybody is going metal in their midrange to flagship phones, LG is one of those who's left at making plastic and chrome painted handsets. That will lead to some criticizing them and will say that "hey it's made out of plastic, it sucks". However, that's not the case with LG G4 Beat. Just like the G4 even is a smaller package, the "plastic with some sort of metal mixed" materials they used here doesn't feel cheap and easy to break at all.
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Visible here is LG's innovative back design showing the power button, volume rocker, LED flash, rear camera and laser autofocus sensor

LG made it sure that with the G4 Beat, you get a well crafted handset that's comfortable and not heavy to hold at all weighing at just 140 grams. Aside from that I also loved the dimensions of this device as it feels just right in my hands. Thanks to its rounded corners and semi curved back design.
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
This is how slim the LG G4 Beat looks in person

The LG G4 Beat's display is also protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 that prevents hairline scratches and even cracks when dropped sometimes.
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
It goes with removable battery and has a micro SD card slot! :)

LG is also one of the mainstream brands left that's still adapting a removable battery option and have micro SD card slot. And why not? I personally love that one and it works for most people. Please don't change that one LG.

So far the only thing that I didn't liked with its design and build is the "chrome painted" sides even if it looks better than most it still doesn't have that "premium feel" at all. There's also a good chance that the paint chipping soon. In general, LG did an "okay" job here that could still be improved in their next releases.

Display Quality

LG managed to make the G4 Beat one of the midrange handsets with the loveliest display around. That is clearly one of the stronger points of this phone. It comes with a 5.2 Inch Full HD IPS Panel with 71.88 % screen to body ratio, outstanding color accuracy and white balance! It's warmer than the Honor 6 Plus, but not as warm against the ZenFone 2. Definitely just right for me.
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
LG G4 Beat's display showing the on screen keys

Due to the smaller screen size at 5.2 inches it blows away most handsets with 5.5 inch with Full HD screen and 401 ppi in terms of details as this one is denser at 424 ppi. Having said that, pixel detail freaks will surely like this phone. 

Brightness is also on point as LG made it possible not to make this phone overly bright or lacking in brightness. Also comes with a night brightness function that sets the brightness at super dim automatically between 00:00 to 06:00pm. That makes this friendlier to the eyes when you're using your phone at night especially with lights turned off. Viewing angles is also great and never really had a problem with it. It also has 10 points of multi touch to give you great overall accurate touch experience.

Lastly, this device is meant to please you with your viewing experience that makes it great for watching movies, viewing photos and etc.

Audio Quality

LG knows music very well that's why they're one of my most trusted mainstream brands when it comes to audio quality.  As one of the first to adapt in the HiFi scene they managed to continue that trend even with their midrange devices. That's impressive!

Moving forward, the speakers of the LG G4 Beat delivered what I expected to hear. It has above average loudness, clear mids and punchy bass at times. To nitpick, the grass isn't always green as there are times that you'll hear noticeable distortion with some bassy or rock tracks on max volume. On the lighter note, it you'll only need 60-80% of volume to experience satisfying loudness.

It's a totally different story when we talk about the quality via headphone out. It sounds superb! Everything was ultra clean across the spectrum, distortion is hardly noticeable even if you have trained ears and it very friendly to most genres.

In line with my above mentioned statements: details, clarity, highs and mids is also on point here. It actually reminds me of the surprisingly fantastic sounding Flare 4 on a slightly more balanced tone.

That doesn't mean that it's bass shy, the G4 Beat indeed can deliver the beat especially when needed. Take note, this is not the regular type of low-end bass tune that's usually bloated and dirty. The G4 Beat has fast, tight and controlled bass with unleashes great amount of sub-bass when needed specially with slow tracks.

Overall, listening with G4 Beat  a pleasurable experience and I'm glad to say that it's one of the best in this price range.

Note 1: It effortlessly plays lossless tracks at 192 KHz / 24 Bit
Note 2: Not headphone picky and has great amount of loudness. (Normally 50-60% of volume is great enough for HiFi earphones and 70-100% of volume for bigger headphones with heavier power requirement
Note 3: Call quality and mic is decent, though there's nothing too special about it

Battery

LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Geek bench battery test

Under straight gaming and hard core usage, we may have a problem with the G4 Beat as the Full HD screen is a bit more power hungrier than expected on a 2,300 mAh battery. It only lasted a little over 3:15 based on our Geek Bench battery test.

Fortunately, when it comes to normal daily usage the G4 Beat performed actually okay when I used it as my main phone for several days. It was able to last an average of 10 hours with occasional calls, regular texting, social media thing, music on commutes and taking photos.

Standby time is also fantastic as I experienced an instance where I forgot to use the phone for two days and there's very minimal battery drop at just 5% to be exact.

Note: Charging time is around 2 hours

Camera

LG is widely acclaimed across the globe as one of the masters in mobile Photography. That's why I expected a lot from the 8 MP color spectrum sensor of this phone especially when I learned that it adapts most of the features found with the flagship G4 like the full manual controls here.

And I'm glad that I did! Even with just using an 8 MP camera, the G4 Beat performed exceptionally well for my usage. The color balance is amazing, there's little grains and it isn't saturated at all. Sharpness is decent, has one of the fastest shutter speed I tested and the focus speed is laser like. Macro photography lovers will also enjoy this as it can focus on close up subjects with ease. It also has an auto HDR feature that doesn't require you to manually put the phone on HDR mode when taking against the light shots.
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Manual cam controls of the G4 Beat

However just like most cameras especially for this that's spec'ed at only f/2.4 aperture, the G4 beat failed to handle low light very well even if you adjust brightness and contrast via manual mode as it won't be as clean looking.

Selfie camera also needs improvement even if it has great white balance and color reproduction. I find it too grainy at times also and under-performs in challenging conditions. The good thing with its selfie camera is it has a feature that turns the screen into front flash with pink glow for taking selfies in the dark.

Note 1: LG G4 Beat also performed nicely in terms of video performance both front and back cam
Note 2: By default the G4 Beat takes photos in full wide angle mode at 8 and 5 MP

Camera Samples

LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Sunny day, football field outdoor shot in manual mode (ISO 50)
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Auto HDR enabled in against the light shots, produces great results
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Great for macro shots
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Auto and manual comparison (ISO 150 and exposure 1/60 settings)
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Show how it struggles in low light, there are some blurs and it's not that detailed in general
Great rear camera flash that doesn't overexpose the subject
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Outdoor selfie sample showing some visible grains
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Sample selfie shot with beautify 4 on
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Selfie camera test in the dark with soft screen pink flash on
Not as good as regular selfie flashes, but good enough to make you visible



Performance

LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
The toned down LG UX UI of G4 Beat

LG used a capable SoC configuration here by using the 1.5 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 615 octa core processor and Adreno 405 GPU. That ensures good efficiency in terms of processing performance which is also one of the snappier and reliable Snapdragon chipset around. In terms of gaming performance the use of the 615 chip means that you get the Adreno 405 GPU which handles even graphic intensive games nicely most of the time.
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
The thermal management of the G4 Beat is also quite nice as I only recorded 36 degrees Celsius at max even when playing games

However, LG failed to add good amount of RAM here. At just 1.5 GB that falls short against most modern mid level handset configuration at either 2 or 3 GB. Even if the RAM management of the LG UX at Android 5.1 Lollipop is noticeably efficient and responsive most of the time, there will be times that you'll feel that lack of RAM. Then you also get a lowly 8 GB of internal storage which is disappointing nowadays as even under 5K phones have at least 16 GB of capacity. Even if this phone is expandable, having 8 GB of ROM isn't acceptable for a phone in this price range. Let's hope that LG will not cut corners in hardware performance against most modern midrange phones with their next releases.

Going back to the awesome things about this phone, the LG UX is almost bloat free and feels generally smooth in terms of performance. I also liked that it has a full double touch to wake function, easy wifi sharing features and great connectivity as a whole. I never had problems with WiFi, LTE and Bluetooth. Even if I rarely use NFC, it's great to know that this phone have it.

Benchmarks

LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Slightly lower than expected Antutu score
Great 10 point multi touch screen
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
Geek bench and quadrant scores
LG G4 Beat Review: A Worthy Midrange Companion With Manual Camera Controls!
GPU Bench

Pro's - Flagship like features, good design, great rear camera with best in class manual control, good audio quality, sharp screen, removable batteries, expandable storage
Con's - 1.5 GB of RAM and 8 GB ROM is disappointing for a midrange phone, didn't have much confidence with the chrome painted sides

Verdict

LG did a lot better this time, the LG G4 Beat is a worthier baby brother of their flagship compared last year. The LG G4 Beat is miles away better and lovelier than the G3 Beat that can also cope up with some mid level offering of other brands. It also goes with best in class display, great audio reproduction and full manual cam controls not commonly found in this price range. To sum it up, even with some flaws, the LG G4 Beat is an interesting handset that a lot of people will surely appreciate once they have it.

I recommended this for those who's into mobile photography, loves music on the go and wanted a baby G4 that doesn't lag so much in terms of features and looks.

GIZ Rating: 4/5 Stars
    Comments