The LG Q6 looks like someone just shrunk down the G6. The front panels of the two phones are identical, with displays that go nearly all the way to the top and bottom edge and have curved corners. Like the G6, the glass used on the Q6 is flat and does not wrap around the edges like those so-called 2.5D glass covers. The way the display stretches across the front surface really makes it feel like you are holding just the display itself rather than a phone with a display on it.
This is easily the best thing about the design and makes it stand out immensely from the crowd. We wish LG had left out its logo on the front for an even more immersive experience but at least it is understated enough to the point where it isn't distracting.
The phone is available in three colors - Black, Gold, and Ice Platinum - and regardless of which you pick, the front bezels remain black.
Around the sides, the Q6 makes use of series 7000 aluminum. On the right is the power button that is within reach and easy to use. On the opposite side are the volume controls. Unfortunately, these are two separate buttons instead of one long strip, so you have to run your fingers along them each time you use them as you could be pressing the wrong one.
Also on the left are the two trays, first for SIM 1 and microSD and the second one for the SIM 2. The Q6 lets you have both SIMs along with a microSD and you don't have to choose between a second SIM and expandable memory like on many competitors.
On the top is a microphone and on the bottom, is the headphones jack, microUSB connector and another microphone. It's a shame that LG chose to go with a microUSB connector on this phone rather than the newer USB-C port.
The back of the phone is where the design distinguishes itself from the G6. While the G6 has a glass back with the telltale dual camera setup and fingerprint sensor, the Q6 comes with a completely different setup. You get a glossy plastic back cover with a single camera lens in the corner with a single LED flash.
There is no fingerprint sensor at all on this phone, which is quite disappointing. The Q6 has a loudspeaker near the bottom on the back instead of the bottom edge as on the G6.
In terms of visual appeal, the Q6 wins all the points out there. The design is unlike anything out there in the market in this price range and makes the phone look much more expensive than it is. We also love how the phone feels in hand. The narrow body afforded by the aspect ratio coupled with a generally small display means that the Q6 fits great in the hand and is an absolute pleasure to use.
In terms of build quality, LG has touted military grade drop protection. The phone uses sturdy aluminum and durable H-frame design to absorb bumps and bends. We didn't actually drop the phone to test this, so we will just have to take LG's word for it.
What we can comment on is the general quality of the back of the phone. The glossy plastic on the back is a big step down from the glass on the G6 and the aluminum on most phones in this price range. Not only does it not feel particularly good in hand, it scratches extremely easily. Our review unit had several minor and a couple of major scratches on the back in just a couple of days of use. The glossy back also has no oleophobic coating and gets smudged up easily and is very hard to clean.
We could still live with that. Unfortunately, the plastic lens used for the camera has the exact same issue. The camera lens also got a handful of scratches during use and we also found it hard to clean because it too lacks an oleophobic coating.
Overall, we really like the look and feel of the Q6 but there has been some obvious cost cutting done on the back of the device.
The LG Q6 has a 5.5-inch, 2160x1080 pixel IPS LCD panel. The 18:9 aspect ratio gives the phone some extra resolution at the top and bottom, making it the highest resolution display in its price range.
Now, as is the case with ultrawide displays, there are some things worth remembering. First, 5.5-inch 18:9 display has less surface than a 5.5-inch 16:9 display. Also when you are watching 16:9 videos, which form the bulk of the content online, you will get black bars on the side, which further reduces your viewing area. We measured the diagonal length of a 16:9 video on the Q6 and found it to be only 5 inches. So for 16:9 content you either have to zoom in and crop the edges or you effectively have only a 5-inch display.
However, for content that does take up the entire screen, you get to enjoy the full resolution of the screen. You can see more of your WhatsApp conversation, more of your Facebook timeline, more of your web page and more of your map. It might seem like a small boost in usable area but it's actually quite useful and going back to a 16:9 display suddenly seems restrictive.
If your eyesight is good, you can reduce the rendering size further from the settings and have everything scale down, making the Q6 fit even more things on its screen. This allows you to be even more productive, at the cost of some visual acuity. And when you do find that ultrawide video on YouTube or Netflix, then you genuinely get a bigger image compared to a 16:9 display of the same size.
Now, coming to the display quality, we were quite impressed with the improvement LG has done in terms of color calibration. While past LG displays always exhibited rather wild color rendering that didn't seem to adhere to any particular color space nor did they let you adjust them, the display on the Q6 sticks rather close to standard sRGB values.
If we had to nitpick, we would say the colors are still just a tad bit oversaturated and the color temperature is a bit cool but apart from that we do think this is a very good display as far as colors are concerned and we hope LG improves upon this in future.
What bothered us about the display was the presence of a sharpening filter. For some reason LG felt that the display wasn't sharp enough and artificially sharpened the image through software. It's quite noticeable if you look closely at it and is especially obvious around things like text that exhibit haloing. It isn't as bad as it used to be when we first got the phone and the sharpness was turned all the way up. LG eventually turned it down in a software update but didn't get rid of it entirely. It reminds us of the LG G3, which too shipped with a sharpening filter that was eventually toned down in subsequent updates. We hope someone from LG is reading this and gets rid of the filter entirely as there is absolutely no need for it, especially on a display as pixel dense as on the Q6.