March 1, 2017

MWC 2017 Series: Here’s the first look at the LG G6

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, LG unveiled an unusual smartphone.

It was neither avant-garde nor a piece of novelty that will be forgotten in a year’s time. Neither was it a game-changing piece of technology, nor an expensive and sensational smartphone with high artistic merit. In fact, it was a straightforward device that means business. No frills and fancy lights and whistles, it’s a statement on what design is all about: it’s beautiful because it works. That’s the LG G6.

A phone with your best interests at heart

The main idea about the G6’s design according to LG, is a phone with a large screen while being easy to hold and use in one hand. LG did this by reducing the bezels around the G6 screen way more than how they did so in previous models, while changing the shape of the 5.7-inch screen. It has a taller aspect ratio of 18:9 with a resolution of 2880 x 1440 pixels, making it twice as tall as it is wide.

What we love about the design

Large screen and easy to hold body

Normally, smartphone companies enlarge their smartphones diagonally, meaning with the increase of the phone’s height, there is a proportional increase in width as well. This is not the case with the LG G6. By increasing the height of the phone while keeping its width at a range that’s comfortable for an average person’s grip, (and coupled with rounded corners) the phone gets to display more content at once while being easy to hold.

Inside Image_LGG6_2

Strength through design

Sure, the phone is just conventionally attractive without any wow factor, but it boasts an adamant metal and glass construction. It’s only 7.9mm thick but it’s like a tank of a phone. But perhaps a submarine or a battle cruiser would be a more apt comparison as it is also resistant to water and dust, with an IP68 rating.

The rounded corners aren’t just an aesthetic or streamlining decision, but also a practical one: it gives the phone room to reinforce its corners as they are highly vulnerable to sudden impacts. Sharp-edged corners mean the screen is closer to the edge, so a sudden impact can crack the screen.

Other features we love

Dust and water resistance (IP68 rating)

Like the G5, the G6 has two cameras on its rear: one for normal phone photography (f/1.8 lens and optical image stabilization), and one for wide angle shots (unstabilized f/2.4 lens, but not much of an issue since wide-angle means slower shutter speed). The good news is both modules share the same 13-megapixel sensor so both have the same image quality. On the other hand, the 5-megapixel front camera has a 100-degree field of view and is likely in between the normal and wide-view range.

The LG G6 will be one of the first major phones to have a built-in Google Assistant, which was previously limited to the Google Pixel phones. In a practical and durable phone, the addition of a Google Assistant makes it the G6 a formidable phone indeed.

Not the perfect phone we want, but the perfect phone we need

Inside Image_LGG6_1

The G6 has a 3300mAh battery and can charge to full in around 96 minutes. However, it isn’t removable, the first of its kind in LG’s major lineup. This makes sense—it’s supposed to be water-resistant so the design called for it.

It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 instead of the newer 835. LG defended this decision, saying its engineers are more familiar with the design incorporating this chip version, making the phone more reliable instead of faster but unreliable. They did however work with Qualcomm to adapt an 835 feature into the 821, which simulates smooth optical zoom between two camera lenses.

No frills and fancy lights and whistles, it’s a statement on what design is all about: it’s beautiful because it works. That’s the LG G6.

Don’t be disheartened: the 821 is found in phones like the Google Pixel and the OnePlus 3T, both of which are highly capable phones. It’s just that Samsung was hogging Qualcomm’s initial supply of the 835, thus the shortage of the chips.

It seems that the G6 will be a reliable and affordable phone, but this remains to be seen as it is not out in the general public yet for a long time, where flaws usually emerge. If all goes well, it will be LG’s most impressive phone, with its sensible and practical design, and a restraint that not too many phones out there have. Without Samsung to steal its thunder, the LG G6 seems to be the most promising smartphone of the Mobile World Congress.