Big screen in a small body

HWM (Malaysia) - - UNLOCKED - by James Lu

The first thing you’ll no­tice about the G6 is its mas­sive 5.7-inch dis­play. The dis­play has a stretched 18:9 as­pect ra­tio, mak­ing it taller and thin­ner than the 16:9 as­pect ra­tio dis­plays found on most other phones, but also keeps the G6 com­pact and easy to use one-handed.

De­sign-wise, the G6 is fairly blocky, with a slab-like form fac­tor that makes the phone feel quite chunky. In terms of over­all size, the G6 is quite sim­i­lar in size to last year’s G5 (it’s ac­tu­ally slightly shorter and nar­rower, but 0.2mm thicker). It’s also the first LG phone with an IP68 rat­ing, which means it can with­stand up to 1.5 me­ters of wa­ter sub­mer­sion for up to 30 min­utes at a time.

On the rear, the dual cam­era setup from the LG G5 and V20 re­turns, with just a few mi­nor tweaks. Both nor­mal and wide-an­gle cam­era lens are now the same 13 megapix­els, which means there’ll be less of a drop in qual­ity when switching be­tween the nor­mal and wide-an­gle lenses. Hav­ing said that, the main cam­era is still bet­ter, thanks to its op­ti­cal im­age sta­bi­liza­tion and faster f/1.8 aperture. The wide-an­gle lens still lacks OIS and is ham­pered by a pretty slow f/2.4 aperture, which of­ten re­sults in less sharp im­ages, es­pe­cially in weak light. As a re­sult, you’re bet­ter off us­ing the main cam­era when­ever pos­si­ble.

The G6’s 5.7-inch QHD dis­play has a 2,880 × 1,440 pix­els res­o­lu­tion (564ppi) with an 18:9 ra­tio. The un­usual stretched as­pect ra­tio means that the 5.7-inch dis­play isn’t ac­tu­ally as large

as a tra­di­tional 5.7-inch dis­play with a 16:9 ra­tio. In fact, if you open a web­site and put the G6 side-by-side with a 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone 7 Plus will dis­play more text than the G6. The un­usual screen ra­tio also poses a prob­lem with app and con­tent com­pat­i­bil­ity. Most apps and the ma­jor­ity of con­tent is made for 16:9 ra­tio, so you of­ten have to deal with con­tent that is ei­ther cropped at the sides, or has black bars at the edges. It’s still a big screen ex­pe­ri­ence, and with the right con­tent it looks glo­ri­ous, but it’s not as big as you may an­tic­i­pate based on that '5.7-inch' spec.

The dis­play it­self is ex­cel­lent, with vivid col­ors and crisp text. Ad­di­tion­ally, the G6 is the only smart­phone with a Dolby Vi­sion-com­pat­i­ble dis­play, which means it’s the only phone you can watch HDR con­tent from Netflix on.

LG is one of the few brands that re­ally fo­cuses on au­dio qual­ity and the G6 is no ex­cep­tion, with a high-end Sabre 32-bit Quad DAC in­side it. This DAC fea­tures a par­al­lel sub-DAC con­fig­u­ra­tion to im­prove noise per­for­mance and re­duce to­tal har­monic dis­tor­tion and the G6 sup­ports nearly ev­ery file for­mat out there, in­clud­ing ul­tra high-end DSD512 32-bit files.

Rather than wait for Qual­comm’s new flag­ship Snap­dragon 835 pro­ces­sor, LG has opted for last year’s Snap­dragon 821. The 821 still has plenty of power to­day, but is no longer cut­ting edge, for a flag­ship. As ex­pected, bench­mark per­for­mance on the G6 wasn’t as good as the Galaxy S8 or iPhone 7, but it still

CON­CLU­SION Good big screen ex­pe­ri­ence ham­pered by poor bat­tery life and pro­ces­sor.

per­formed rea­son­ably well.

Un­like LG’s pre­vi­ous flag­ship phones, the G6 has a non-re­mov­able 3,300mAh bat­tery. Un­for­tu­nately, its per­for­mance wasn’t that great, with the G6 lasting just seven hours and 42 min­utes in our video loop­ing bench­mark, al­most half the bat­tery life of the sim­i­larly Snap­dragon 821-pow­ered OnePlus 3T.

Af­ter years of gim­micky fea­tures like curved form fac­tors, rear but­tons, and mod­u­lar de­signs, LG’s new­est smart­phone seems down­right min­i­mal­ist in com­par­i­son. But some­times sim­ple de­signs work best and the G6’s at­trac­tive metal and glass build and huge dis­play work re­ally well.

Un­for­tu­nately, de­spite be­ing un­veiled a month ear­lier, a big part of the G6’s wow fac­tor was quickly stolen by Samsung, who took the bezel-less de­sign idea to the next level with its dual-curved In­fin­ity Dis­play S8. Ad­di­tion­ally, it’s al­ways go­ing to be a tough sell to ask peo­ple to pay RM2,999 for a last-gen pro­ces­sor, plus not too many im­prove­ments in other ar­eas ei­ther. The dual cam­era setup, for ex­am­ple, isn’t much bet­ter than last year’s model, and the wide-an­gle cam­era, though use­ful, could use more work.

Ul­ti­mately, the LG G6 is a phone that will in­ter­est two groups of peo­ple: au­dio­philes who re­ally want a 32-bit Quad DAC in their phone, and peo­ple who like the S8’s bezel-less de­sign, but don’t want to pay quite as much. That’s a pretty niche au­di­ence.

On the rear of the phone, there’s a power button that dou­bles up as a fin­ger­print scan­ner.

The G6 is the only smart­phone that sup­ports Dolby Vi­sion HDR.

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