Is the LG G4 a flagship? You'd think "no" just looking at the retail box. It has a clever design with a curve that hints at what's inside, but other than the beautiful phone the box's contents are a disappointment.
What little content there is - all you get is a charger and a cable. And it's not a Quick Charger either, you get a regular 5V/2A charger. The phone itself supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, but you'll have to buy a compatible charger yourself. There's no headset in the box either.
The LG G4 measures 148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8mm, which is slightly bigger than the predecessor in all directions. The slight curve of the body appears to add extra bulk but both phones essentially weigh the same.
The difference in size between the LG G3 and G4 is barely noticeable in person, though "bigger and thicker" is not what you want to hear when the new phone has the same screen size and battery capacity.
The LG G4 can easily be mistaken for the LG G Flex2, the two look so much alike and are basically the same size and weight. The Flex2's curve is definitely more prominent though and if that doesn't give it away, snapping on a leather back on the G4 will set these two even further apart.
While the body of the LG G4 is arced, the G3 forms appear softer, rounder. LG squared off the four corners and the left to right curve of the G3's back is more pronounced. The impression of angles and corners on the LG G4 is furthered by the sides, which are angled inward at the front.
This improves grip as it gives your fingers a ledge besides the screen. However, the way the opposing front and back curvatures work out creates a hard, pointed frame around the phone, which can dig into your palm if you grip harder. And you may have to as the glossy material of the frame is slippery, the smooth plastic on the back doesn't help much either.
LG G4 doesn't feel bigger, but is grippier than its predecessor
The G4 is a large phone, but we got used to it fairly quickly - we forget it's in our pockets and it doesn't feel humongous in the hand (well, the screen does). If you've handled and iPhone 6 Plus, the G4 is smaller than that (though noticeably thicker). It doesn't feel bigger than the LG G3, but like we said more angular and easier to grip.
LG G4 and G3 • G4 compared to the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy S6
The phone feels rock solid, which also means it doesn't bend like the G Flex2 (granted, a desired effect there). The weight is well-distributed with the balance shifted slightly towards the bottom. You can hold the G4 low and it won't topple over.
The LG G4 looks a bit like a TV with no clear indication of up or down, left or right. The G3 had a lighter colored strip at the bottom, which gave it a sense of direction, but the G4's all-dark front looks borderless.
The glass (Gorilla Glass 3) and screen below it are slightly arced, it's so subtle that you may not see it immediately. You can feel it though, the 5.5" screen is quite large and the concave shape makes the top and bottom parts feel closer to your finger.
The body is slightly arced, which makes reaching the top and bottom parts of the screen a bit easier
As for the back, there are two options, plastic or leather. The plastic covers come in Ceramic White, Metallic Gray and Gold. They have a subtle 3D diamond pattern and the White one is coated with ceramic paint. The Gray one (featured in our photos) is mostly gray, but can have a purplish tint depending on how the light hits it.
The plastic covers are rather smooth though and while you won't see fingerprints on them their texture is too subtle to notice most of the time. We prefer the plastic cover of the G3 with its brushed metal finish.
The Metallic Grey back cover compared to G3's cover and the real metal of HTC One M9
The G3 never had a leather option though. Motorola made a splash with the leather back of the Moto X, a feature reserved for Vertu and the like. LG one ups Moto by making the covers removable and adding decorative stitching.
The leather is tanned with vegetable oils, the traditional and more environmentally friendly way of doing it. It's a laborious process though so vegetable-tanned leather is used in pricy luxury items. Same goes for the stitching - LG gets its threads from GÃ¼tterman, a household name in the clothing industry.
The leather comes in three colors - Black, Brown and Red - though more are expected to come later on, while availability will be depending on region. The different colors have different grain, so that's something to consider.
The leather backs look much better than the plastic options in our opinion
As for the stitching, it goes down the middle of the back, which matches up with the centrally-placed camera and buttons but is perhaps not the most attractive place for stitches. We would have loved some contrast stitching too, the current light thread blends in with some of the lighter leathers.
Not much else has changed since last year. The back features the camera module, the volume rocker below it is split in half by the Power key. The way these three are grouped makes them look like a single design element. It goes on the centerline of the back, while dual-LED flash and Laser Autofocus system are placed symmetrically on each side.
The new 16MP camera in the traditional G-series arrangement
The loudspeaker is at the bottom left. The back can be removed to access the battery, the microSIM and microSD slots. The card slots are blocked by the battery. Here you'll notice several pogo pins, two of those are for NFC, the rest for the optional wireless charging covers.
The loudspeaker • removing the back cover gives you access to the battery and the card slots
The face of the phone is pretty plain, but it does have a hidden gem - the 8MP/1080p selfie camera. The earpiece, along with the usual sensors (proximity and ambient light), are also here.
An impressive 8MP/1080p selfie camera above the screen • just the LG logo below the screen
The bottom of the phone holds the mouthpiece, the 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB 2.0 port. It's SlimPort-enabled and with the right adapter (or compatible TV) the LG G4 has wired 4K video output.
Mic, 3.5mm audio jack and SlimPort-enabled microUSB port • noise-cancelling mic and IR blaster
The top of the phone holds the noise-cancelling mic and an IR blaster if you want to control your TV wirelessly. The sides of the phone are bare, except for a small notch that helps you pop the back open.
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