The LG G4 is as close as you can get right now to a no-compromise, high-end Android phone. Almost everything about it is done exceptionally well in this Review, from the best-in-class screen and camera, to the reliable all-day battery life. LG’s software is quicker and more responsive than ever before, and the premium leather backs add a welcome touch of class.


LG G4 Full Review

As good as most high-end smartphones now are, it’s still difficult to find one that doeseverything really well. In the past year in particular, getting the Android phone with the best camera or screen typically meant compromising in other areas. Same deal with the best software experience or build quality or battery life. It seemed like no single Android manufacturer could piece together the entire puzzle.

In this world of imperfect phones, 2014’s LG G3 emerged as a solid performer across the board. It didn’t look quite as good or perform as spectacularly as some rivals, but at a functional level it did just about everything really well. The battery life was pretty good, the camera was quick and dependable, and the screen — though not as vivid as rivals — was super-sharp and crisp, being the first Quad HD panel on a mainstream smartphone.

As good as most high-end smartphones now are, it’s still difficult to find one that doeseverything really well.

The G3 arrived at an opportune time for LG. The Korean company’s local rival, Samsung, fielded a less than stellar premium handset that year, allowing LG to mop up additional market share through a range of phones led by its well-received 2014 flagship.

A new year brings new flagship devices, of course. Samsung gave the Galaxy S series the biggest overhaul in its history, with the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge earning high praise for their eye-catching metal and glass designs and impressive internals. But as we discovered when we reviewed it, the GS6 also came with an Achilles’ heel or two: Generally lackluster battery life, and a move away from removable battery and storage options that would stick in the craw of some power users.

For LG, the Galaxy S6 represented a strong challenge, but also an opportunity. If LG’s next major smartphone could pick up the G3’s mantle as a great all-around device while also targeting Samsung’s perceived weaknesses, it could secure its spot as the de facto alternative to the world’s biggest Android phone maker.

So now we have the LG G4 in our hands, and we’re ready to dive into a full review of what could be one of the year’s biggest Android releases. Read on to find out how it measures up.

About this review

We’re publishing this review after just over a week with the LG G4. I (Alex Dobie) have been using the Korean LG-F500L model, and my device was running special firmware (version x10d3_eu) for G4 testers and members of LG’s preview program, which removes some of the Korea-specific software and localization. My G4 shipped with a dark gray plastic back; Phil Nickinson has been using a T-Mobile U.S. model (build LMY47D and software version H81109n) with the brown leather back, and he offers some thoughts on that version of the phone further into this review.

There may be some minor differences, mainly software-related, between what we’re reviewing and the G4 models that arrive in the West in early June. That said, the phone is on sale in Korea right now, so what we’re using should be considered relatively finalized. The largest change to this review was made after LG announced that the G4 will support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology for fast battery charges — we’ve made changes in the review to reflect that fact.

Some other notables: I’ve been using the LG G4 on EE’s 4G LTE network in the UK, paired with a Moto 360 smartwatch. I’ve loaded it up with a 64GB UHS-1 microSD card, which I’ve used mainly for photos and Google Play Music’s offline cache.