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LG G6 Review - Underrated Flagship?

LG Electronics claims that the LG G6 is the phone that what people wants. It's a re-imagined handset equipped with big screen on small tank-like metal frame.
LG G6 Review - The Underrated Flagship
LG G6 review

It's a device that promises to be your all around smartphone that has IP68 water and dust resistance, HDR 10 and 
Dolby Vision compliant screen, great all around speed, decent battery life, can shoot nice photos and videos, play HiFi grade audio, and boot with the latest version of Android OS.

Now, it's time to check if we can back our claim that this best of LG can still beat or compete with the rest of the modern flagship smartphones out there. Read on.

For the review part 1: LG G6 Unboxing And First Impressions

Display Quality

The gorgeous 5.7 inch QHD+ screen of G6
The gorgeous 5.7 inch QHD+ screen of G6

Big screen, small size. LG did a masterful job in fitting the HUGE 5.7 Inch QHD+ on a frame of a 5.2 inch handset. YES, we find the LG G6 only slightly as Sony's XPeria XA with 5 inch display.

Big sharp high-end screen!

Going to the quality, LG is very proud of its screen. It's the first HDR 10 and Dolby Vision compliant display in the world. Thanks to its 2:1 aspect ratio. This display is also crazy sharp 565 pixels per inch. Viewing angles are also very good, despite not having Samsung's gimmicky curved screen.

Color accuracy ranks among the most accurate today. Whites are great and blacks are deep (for an IPS panel). It has enough color punch, but could look pale against the some AMOLED panels and IPS-NEO screens.

Sunlight legibility is also decent, however, default auto brightness level could look too dull against the competition. We suggest to manually adjust brightness levels to satisfy your eyes with QHD+ clarity and sharpness. It has 10 points of touch as well.

Audio Quality

Sound is good with punchy bass and articulate details overall, but up to around 60% volume only. Distortion, noise, and peaky hiss would be very audible on higher volume levels. For a smartphone marketed as a HiFi device, we expected a better sounding speaker. LG, please make it sound stereo-like next time.

For headphones, the G6 generally reminds of what we experienced with the V20. We're technically not surprised as it has the same Quad DAC setup found with V20.

Audiophile grade sound on a phone, arguably the best on a smartphone yet!

As a result, audio output through headphones is true and pure. It is very rich in details, analytical, and very well balanced. Bass reproduction is the finest on a smartphone yet (simply not too much), mids are super clear, and its far from peaky at all. Distortion isn't also audible even on max volume level.

Our only criticism is it's driving power. Yes, it is good enough to drive most low impedance earphones and headphones, but it'll struggled with the big ones. Yes, even if you turn the HiFi Quad DAC on.

Unlike the three microphones found with V20, the G6 only has two. But, the quality is still GREAT. Still better than most of the flagships we tried. You can still enjoy close to crystal clear calls and recordings with less noise.

Battery Life

Decent screen on time result on heavy usage
Decent screen on time result on heavy usage

Despite of its small body, LG managed to squeeze a larger than expected 3,300 mAh of battery capacity. As a result, battery life is good for a device with power hungry 5.7 inch QHD+ screen.

We recorded a screen on time of almost 5 hours when using and abusing the G6 as our main phone. That's a decent feat considering our mobile data, WiFi, or WiFi hotspot is on all the time on at least 60% brightness level. For casual usage, we enjoyed the G6 from 8 am to 7 pm on a single charge. Not bad.

Note: LG has several battery saving modes to extend the battery life of your phone further.

Charging time is quick too! Since the LG G6 is Quick Charge 3.0 ready, we only needed 1 hour and 30 mins from 0 to 100% to fully charge the phone.

Camera

Dual cameras, double the fun
Dual cameras, double the fun

Behind, the LG G6 boasts a 13 MP f/1.8 w/ OIS + 13 MP f/2.4 wide angle w/ PDAF and dual tone LED flash. While it could have some improvements, its technically the same dual lens setup found on the LG V20.

In its software, The G6 has a lot of modes to choose from. On top of the super-wide angle mode, you can select auto w/ auto HDR, panorama, 360 panorama, food, popout, snap, slo-mo, and time-lapse. We also like it has a square aspect ratio mode for Instagram lovers.

It even has a robust type of manual camera mode with 1 / 1400 shutter adjustment and up to 32 seconds shutter speed. The manual mode also has an option to save images in RAW format. You can also use the manual mode on wide-angle mode

Shutter speed is quite quick. Though both saving and shooting speed isn't the fastest among the other modern flagships.

Camera quality, as usual is great. But it isn't really much better than the V20. It is still rich in resolved details, vibrant enough colors (close to accurate), and has decent dynamic range for a smartphone. Capturing images with blow-out highlights are also less with G6 which is a HUGE plus.
Lowlight performance has also improved. Grains are now less and it can now show more details. It is also brighter than most dual cameras setup around, thanks to its f/1.8 lens.

Shooting in wide-angle mode is mostly fun!

For the wide-angle mode, the images will have the Go Pro like distortion which outdoor shooters would like. Yes, even if those images will be less in details and will have much noticeable grains. Forgivable. Overall, stills are still flagship grade. Just a tad below with the likes of S8.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight auto HDR
Daylight auto HDR
Wide angle HDR
Wide angle HDR
HDR noon time shot
HDR noon time shot
Daylight close-up
Daylight close-up
Indoor wide angle
Indoor wide angle
Close-up indoor dim
Close-up indoor dim
Clean background blur
Clean background blur
Auto night
Auto night
Long exposure in wide angle mode
Long exposure in wide angle mode

For selfies, the 5 MP f/2.2 sensor both in normal and wide angle mode shoots very well photos in daylight. Color accuracy ranks among the best for selfies and it isn't that noisy in general.

Shooting groufies are fun with G6!

Where it falters is in lowlight or harsh lighting conditions. Even with the use of the selfie screen flash, quality lags behind other flagships. Use the screen flash as much as possible in lowlight.

Selfie Camera Samples

Wide angle mode in a well lit place
Wide angle mode in a well lit place
Indoor struggle
Indoor struggle
Wide selfie indoor
Wide selfie indoor
Lowlight wide selfie
Lowlight wide selfie

For videos, this handset shoots very good videos for a smartphone. It can shoot up to 2160p at 30 fps and 1080 in both 30 and 60 fps. Stabilization is also great due to its gyro sensor and software optimization. It has less shakes and jello effect. We also find its AF on video quite fast.

Note: You can also use the manual mode for taking videos

For selfies, it can shoot up to 1080p in quality. But, up to just 30 fps. Also we noticed that LG cropped the image. Even on wide angle mode, quality still looks very cropped. It is decent in focus and stabilization though.

Video Samples



Performance

Antutu score of LG G6
Antutu score of LG G6

On paper, the LG G6 is equipped with decent flagship grade specs. It includes the Snapdragon 821 octa core processor clocked at 2.4 GHz, Adreno 530 graphics, and 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM. It even has a speedy 64 GB UFS 2.0 expandable storage.

However, while still powerful, Snapdragon 821 isn't the latest processor around. We expected LG to have the latest and greatest chip around.

Anyway, fortunately, performance is still close to top notch. This handset is very speedy in real life and we can't really feel the difference in performance against most modern flagship smartphones. Multitasking and opening of apps is smooth and gaming is fluid (yes even for heavy games). Also, we noticed that the thermal management of this device is fine. It doesn't heat up much even while gaming or even hotspot.

For the software, LG has an improved Android 7.0 Nougat OS that's less cluttered. It also has very minimal bloats which is surprising. We also find the Smart Doctor software very effective as it can optimize your phone and save battery further.

It also has a rear facing fingerprint scanner behind, but it is a little bit slower than my liking. There's a small delay whenever you unlock the phone.

WiFi, LTE, Bluetooth, and the rest of the sensors are all working just fine.

Pros - Tank-like build, BIG screen on a small frame, flagship grade overall performance, headphone audio quality to beat, good main camera, wide angle mode wow factor
Cons - Default auto screen brightness level is duller than expected, no stereo speakers, fingerprint scanner is slower than competition, selfie camera could be better, weird regional limitations of features (our model has Quad HiFi DAC, but doesn't have wireless charging)

Verdict

Is the LG G6 an underrated flagship smartphone? For us, a resounding yes! Why? This is the most refined LG smartphone yet. Craftsmanship is much better, phone is surprisingly handy for a big screened device, specs are powerful, and most of the features are flagship worthy.

There are some weaknesses that LG should address on their next releases, but for a high-end phone priced at around PHP 31,990 to 37,990, the LG G6 is a great phone for its purpose.

Build / Design - 4.5
Display - 4.25
Audio - 4.75
Battery - 4
Camera - 4.5
Performance - 4.5
Average - 4.41 / 5
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