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Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: all major carriers
Manufacturer: LG

What's Hot: 5.5" QHD display is a relatively compact and comfy package. Super camera, removable battery and it has a microSD card slot. Attractive with leather back.

What's Not: Faux metal back is ugly, thankfully we have other choices. Display isn't extremely bright.


Reviewed May 8, 2015 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)


When the LG G4 arrived here at MobileTechReview, it was the leather-backed version, specifically the T-Mobile-provided exclusive warm brown model. I confess I was smitten: it wasn't just the vegetable-dyed leather, but that slim curved design looked hot. I'm glad we got that model in before our international Korean review unit provided by LG, because that second unit had the much more pedestrian faux metal back that wouldn't fool a 5 year old. Now looks aren't everything, but they've become increasingly important in the smartphone race. The leather-backed G4 was a phone I wanted to own even before I turned it on (granted I knew the specs were top notch). The G4 will be available in 4 different colors for the leather-backed model, and there will also be a ceramic-backed version. Note that the back cover is removable, so you can in theory mix and match--blue leather for a stately night out, ceramic as the replacement for the power tie at work.

Let's get down to practical matters for a moment. The G4 is LG's 2015 flagship Android smartphone, and as such the specs are top notch. The latest Android OS (Lollipop 5.1), a capable Snapdragon 808 CPU, 3 gigs of RAM, 32 gigs of internal storage, an AV remote, NFC, WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth, GPS... all the usual trimmings. The phone supports X10 CAT 9 LTE 4G and it has an 8MP front camera and a simply excellent 16MP rear camera.


This is a 5.5" phone with a Quantum IPS QHD display. It's for those of you who like living a little large in terms of screen real estate, but as with the G3, LG engineered the size down so it doesn't feel huge. It's a slim phone with a slight curve that looks cool and feels good in hand as well as against the face. The curve isn't nearly as pronounced as the LG G Flex 2, so you won't hear any banana-phone jokes from friends. The phone feels slimmer and more comfortable than the LG G3, and that phone was by no means uncomfortable. The edges are thin and the phone is thickest at the centerline, adding to hand-friendliness. LG loves back buttons, and those buttons do fall conveniently under your finger when holding the phone. Still it will take LG newbies some time to accustom themselves to using back volume and power controls. With LG's Knock-On feature you won't actually need to press the power button--just double-tap on the screen to wake the phone or turn off the display.

Remember that we mentioned that the back is removable? Isn't that refreshing in 2015 when even Samsung has moved to a unibody design for the Galaxy S6. Those of you who like to swap in spare batteries on the go will be pleased. And there's a microSD card slot compatible with cards up to 2 TB--take that Galaxy S6! Underneath the sexy leather or ceramic top layer, the phone is robust plastic. We don't mind a bit--we want our phones to look good, but be durable too. Plastic is obviously durable and absorbs impact, making the phone a good choice for those of you with the dropsies.

IPS Quantum Display

From the front, the black glass dominates and the side bezels are tiny while the top bezels are average in size. The 2560 x 1440 "Quantum" display is a marked improvement over the LG G3 display in terms of brightness and color saturation. It's a passably bright panel and color saturation is pleasing and doesn't look unrealistically oversaturated. Viewing angles are also good, though for some reason that's hard to capture on video for this particular panel. LG says it uses the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative) color space, where the phone manages 98% coverage. DCI is the up and coming standard for UHD broadcast and it's used in digital movie theatres. All that's well and good, but how does it look? Extremely sharp, vivid and pleasing. It's not quite Super AMOLED for over the top saturation, and I still prefer Samsung's Super AMOLED QHD displays, though LG has narrowed the gap more than did the HTC One M9. Max brightness isn't quite as high as the GS6, and Super AMOLED will always have the deepest blacks. That said, the G4's panel manages blacks that don't look like dark gray and the whites are white.


Performance and Horsepower

We were surprised when we heard that LG decided to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 rather than the 810 used in the LG G Flex 2 and HTC One M9. Don't flagships get the fastest available CPUs, after all? The Snapdragon 808 is no slouch, and it sits between the 805 and 810 (unsurprisingly). These are all top notch multi-core CPUs found in high end phones, and while the 808 doesn't benchmark quite as high as the 810, in practical use, I don't think anyone could tell the difference. One benefit is that the 808 runs cooler than the 810, and the back of the G4 never got hot. The Snapddragon 808 is a 6 core, 64 bit CPU with Adreno 418 graphics. The phone has 3 gigs of RAM, and 32 gigs of internal storage. It has a microSD card slot for storage expansion.


Does the LG G4 feel fast? Yes it does. Nearly every Android phone's UI stutters at one point or another, and the G4 is no exception. That's not to say it stutters frequently, but we caught it thinking for a moment now and again... a wee bit more often than the faster clocked Galaxy S6, but not much more often than the clean and Spartan Nexus 6. Our review units are very late firmware phones, but they're still pre-release, so LG could tweak for speed a bit more by the time it gets into your hands.


  Quadrant 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited AnTuTu Sunspider JavaScript Test (lower is better)
LG G4 23,730 18,655 46,043 760
LG G Flex 2 26,390 22,644 49,344 730
HTC One M9 22,323 16,658 36,309 831
LG G3 24,385 18,708 36,525 425
Samsung Galaxy S6 33,355 21,160 61,873 420 (webkit)/1025 (Chrome)
LG G Stylo 14,559 unsupported phone 21,542 1545(Chrome)/ 1031 (webkit)
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ 34,422 24,397 64,059 349 (Webkit)/692 (Chrome)
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 34,631 24,463 63,086 351 (Webkit)/688 (Chrome)
Nexus 6 13,595 23,520 49,961 795
Motorola Droid Turbo 22,709 20,735 48,332 795
Samsung Galaxy S5 23,643 18,329 35,357 398
Moto X Pure Edition 2015 24,771 19,703 48,700 N/A
HTC One M8 24,527 20,896 36,087 776
Sony Xperia Z3 21589 16,135 35,008 837
Nexus 5 8808 17,828 27,017 718
LG G2 19,762 9803 (extreme) 32,990 823
Samsung Galaxy S4 12,276 11,601 (unlimited) 24,776 826

Geekbench 3: 1113/3651


Calling and Data

Here we'll focus on the US T-Mobile phone since the cellular radios are intended for our home country. Call quality was very clear and quite full and reception on T-Mobile's 3G and 4G LTE networks was similar to other recent high-end phones on that carrier. Data speeds were likewise par for the course on LTE, which is to say very good.

Deals and Shopping:


LG G4 Video Review


LG G4 vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 Comparison


Moto X Pure Edition vs. LG G4 Comparison Smackdown Video


LG has made a very big deal of their new 16 megapixel rear camera in the G4. Like the LG G3 It has laser autofocus, OIS (optical image stabilization) and 4K video recording, but it sports a new higher resolution sensor, a faster lens and a color spectrum sensor for better white balance and accurate color rendition. Laser autofocus means quicker focus times, which is handy for sports, action and kid photography. In our tests against other higher end camera phones, the G4's color rendition engine did a better job getting colors right compared to the Samsung Galaxy S6 (and the S6 has an excellent camera). Optical image stabilization is the cure for your shaky hands, and it also comes into play if you're taking photos while on a moving surface like a car or train. The G4 has 3 axis OIS, while the GS6 has 2 axis stabilization. Other notable phones with OIS are of course the LG G3, iPhone 6 Plus and several fine Nokia shooters.

LG offers 3 camera UIs, simple, basic and manual. Simple is a tap to focus and shoot screen, while basic (the default) has the usual camera shutter and video buttons, flash control, modes and front-rear camera switch. Manual gives you control over everything except aperture--it's for you Leica M240 lovers. I've been shooting with dSLRs since there was no "d" in the front (that means films, youngsters), and I do find the manual controls handy for specialized shots like light trails, dramatic exposures and some macros. For everything else, I found the phone's auto mode to do a superb job. Android Lollipop allows for RAW+JPEG shooting and LG exposes that feature. The RAW photos were mostly terrible and served to show how excellent LG's JPEG engine is. We saw serious exposure issues, odd large color blocks (yellow or magenta) and enough chromatic aberration that it would take a lifetime to correct in Lightroom or Photoshop. But a few images' RAW files were actually usable, particularly if shot in manual mode. Watch our video to see sample photos. Overall it's a superb camera phone that easily beats the iPhone 6 (which has half the resolution), and can hold its own against some Lumia phones, though Lumia RAW files are more usable.

The front camera offers higher resolution. The 8MP sensor combines with a fast f/2.0 lens and gesture control for selfie-heaven. Well, it has a wide-angle lens, which exaggerates facial features, but it's obviously better for group shots or capturing your surroundings. Image and video quality are very good from the front camera. Speaking of video, the rear camera can shoot 4K video and the quality is good, though not better than the Samsung Galaxy S6's 4K footage.

Battery Life

Here we have the tale of two phones; well actually three. We have a T-Mobile LG G4 for the US market, and we've had two international Korean LG review units in house (the second Korean unit replaced the first for a firmware update). Both T-Mobile and international units averaged just over 5 hours of screen on time, matching our 2 US Samsung Galaxy S6 units (one T-Mobile, the other Sprint).

Oddly, the phone doesn't support Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0. That said, we plugged it into both the included charger and our QC 2.0 chargers (they're backward compatible with non-quick charge phones), and charging time was passable for a 3,000 mAh battery. We charged the phone from 10% to full in 1.5 hours. As a consolation, you can swap in a spare battery any time you wish to extend runtimes on the road.


We were very impressed with last year's LG G3, and the LG G4 is healthy evolution of that model. The G4 is one classy and attractive phone with the leather back and it feels great in hand even though it has a big 5.5" display. That Quantum IPS display is brighter and more colorful than the slightly bland G3 display. The phone is fast, though it's not the fastest you can buy--that doesn't worry us because today's high-end phones have more horsepower than you can race in everyday tasks. The cameras are excellent, call quality is good and LG's shown some restraint with their UI customizations. For those who prefer larger screen phones, this is one of the best on the market right now. . I do wish LG had gone only with leather and ceramic, the faux metal plastic back isn’t in the same league.


Price: TBA, expected to be $199 with 2 year contract, and $600-$700 full retail.

Related Reviews:

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Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge Review

LG G Flex 2 Review

HTC One M9 Review

HTC One A9 Review

LG G Stylo Review

Moto X Pure Edition 2015 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ Review

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review

Nexus 6 Review

Motorola Droid Turbo Review

iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus Review

iPhone 6 Review

iPhone 6 Plus Review








Above: the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4.

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Display: 5.5" Quantum IPS display. Resolution: QHD 2560 x 1440. 538 PPI. 1500:1 contrast ratio. Has ambient light sensor, accelerometer and proximity sensor. Wireless display and SlimPort HDMI out.

Battery: 3,000 mAh Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable.

Performance: 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core CPU with Adreno 418 graphics. 3 gigs RAM, 32 gigs storage.

Size: 5.9 x 3 x 0.39 (thickest) inches. Weight: 5.47 ounces.

Phone: GSM quad band world phone with EDGE 2G. 3G and 4G LTE for GSM carriers. CDMA with EV-DO Rev. A 3G and 4G LTE for CDMA carriers.

Camera: 8MP front camera with f/2.0 lens and rear 16MP camera with 1/2.6" sensor, f/1.8 lens, OIS, laser autofocus and 4K video recording.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac, NFC and Bluetooth 4.1 BLE.

Software: Android OS 5.1 Lollipop with LG UI.

Expansion: 1 microSD card slot supporting cards up to 2 TB, micro USB port.


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