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LG G4 hands-on review

LG G4 hands-on review: At today’s London launch event we met the new LG G4, the Korean company’s latest flagship and follow-up to our favourite phone of last year, the LG G3. The LG G4 packs a very unique camera and some seriously solid specs, and here’s our first impressions.

When you first fondle the LG G3, you can easily spot its lineage back to the LG G2, primarily in the phone’s centrally positioned, rear-mounted button arrangement. The volume and power keys sit directly under the phone’s rear 16-megapixel camera and once again include a Quick Shot feature, letting you wake the phone and take a snap in an instant.

The G4’s aesthetics centre around LG’s ‘arc’ design language – the screen adopts a subtle curve (softer than the obviously-bendy G Flex 2), as does the phone’s back, allowing it to sit comfortably in the hand. LG compared the body of the G4 with two unnamed handsets (possibly, potentially, maybe and iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6, but who are we to say…), highlighting the benefits of the G4’s curved frame, which LG claims gives the G4 20 per cent greater resilience to drop damage compared with flatter smartphones.

If you’re looking for the thinnest handset around then the G4 isn’t your Huckleberry, but that’s not to say it’s a bulky phone by any stretch of the imagination. That sculpted body features a removable back plate, which bizarrely makes it the only flagship of the current smartphone crop to feature one. And yes, you can replace the battery and expand the storage via a microSD card – for some, this will be a huge bonus, especially given the Galaxy S6’s lack of expandable storage.

Although LG may not have joined Samsung in swapping out plastic for glass and metal bodywork, the LG G4’s design incorporates unmistakeably premium new elements. Of the eight colours showcased at the launch event, two consist of textured plastic bodywork (one of which integrates ceramic in its composition too) whilst the remaining six showcase a new double-stacked leather design.

Not only does the leather look and feel great in the hand, each G4 is unique featuring hide from the US and stitchwork from Germany. Whilst none of the LG representatives could confirm which colour options are destined for the UK market the G4 will be available in black, brown, red, Sky Blue, beige and yellow leather. The tan finish may show the leather back off in press imagery most effectively, but it’s arguably the least attractive of the options.

The user experience is the last piece of the puzzle from our brief encounter with the G4 – a take on Android 5.1 dubbed LG UX 4.0 that the company’s Brian Na describes as a “simpler and smarter experience for all users.” Thanks to the phone’s Snapdragon 808 hexa-core chip, it’s an impressively rapid interface, familiar for the most part, but enhanced by new features like Smart Bulletin; collating elements of everything you interact with from music playback, to your calendar, to health tracking.

We took a deeper dive into the LG G4’s 16-megapixel camera and compared it against other top handsets here, and for a full hardware rundown, check out our announcement piece, here.

LG says the G4 will hit UK stores on May 28th, with the black leather option featuring as a launch exclusive at Carphone Warehouse here in Blighty. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but we’ll update with a full run-down of where to buy the G4 in the Uk and which deals are best once they’re announced.

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