LG G4c review: We review the LG G4’s baby brother, a 5-inch Android packing tons of great features and an 8-megapixel snapper.
Okay, so we love the LG G4 to bits. The leather finish is great to fondle and stare at, the 5.5-inch screen is simply stunning and the 16-megapixel camera is reassuringly dependable in almost any situation.
But ‘mini’ versions of flagship phones are usually dull, uninspiring handsets with slimmed-down specs and little of the magic that made their bigger brethren so good. (The one notable exception to this is the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, which is still bloody great).
So it’s with supreme caution that we approached the LG G4c, a mid-range 5-inch mobile that definitely cuts back the G4’s specs to reach a more affordable price point. So, is it actually any good?
One of many loveable aspects of the G4 that’s been understandably cut for the LG G4c is the leather backing. Instead, you get a simple plastic casing that can be popped open to reveal the removable battery, SIM card slot and microSD slot lurking beneath.
Still, LG has at least added an attractive wavy pattern to the rear casing and the G4c is a decent-looking mid-ranger, all things considered. The screen bezels are quite slender and the (admittedly slightly chunky) frame is pleasingly curved in all the right places. There’s even some subtle curvature to the screen, although not to the crazy extent of the G Flex 2, of course.
We’re all too happy to see LG’s rear-mounted power and volume controls once again crop up on the G4c. As before, they’re different shapes and textures so you can quickly work out which is which without looking, and your fingers naturally fall onto them when you’re handling the handset. The volume buttons are multi-purpose too, so you can long-press volume up to summon a notepad app, or volume down to jump into the camera app.
And if you’re not a fan of that hidden-away power button, you can simply double-tap the screen to wake the G4c up.
Screen and media
LG has downsized the G4’s 5.5-inch screen for the G4c, but not by much. The 5-inch display is still spacious enough to comfortably kick back with a film, although your HD movies won’t look quite as glorious thanks to the basic 720p resolution. Of course we’re disappointed not to see Full HD, considering the Vodafone Smart Ultra managed 1080p for just £125. That said, it’s still sharp enough to read tiny text and our movies definitely didn’t look pixelated.
As an all-round panel, despite less-than-stellar contrast levels, the G4c’s screen is a decent mid-range effort. Colours are naturally reproduced and the panel is easily bright enough to see in harsh glare.
As for audio, there’s a single speaker housed on the back of the phone and it’s surprisingly powerful. Your face won’t exactly melt off with awesome bass, but you can certainly use it to listen to music or a podcast while you’re lounging around the house and it does the job for video too, despite the iffy positioning. By blasting sound away from your face, some of the impact is lost – and it’s easy to accidentally smother the speaker when adjusting your grip.
You have 8GB of storage space to carry around your media, but over half of this was already used up when we booted the G4c. Thankfully you’ve got that microSD slot to expand.
Performance and battery life
Performance-wise, LG has gone old-school with a Snapdragon 410 processor, an entry-level 64-bit chipset that’s been kicking around for a year and a half now. And while it generally handles day-to-day life without too much of a struggle, there are plenty of moments when switching between apps that the G4c stutters and pauses.
That said, the G4c did happily play some of the latest action-packed games with a relatively smooth frame rate. We’d expect the phone to struggle with demanding titles in a few months’ time, but for casual gamers it should more than satisfy.
Battery life is a definite highlight, with the G4c lasting well over 24 hours even with regular use. In fact, if you don’t go crazy with video and the like, you should just about make it through two full days without charging. And if you do want to go crazy, you can still get just under seven hours of non-stop video streaming before the phone dies.
LG usually rams tons of extra features into its flagship handsets, but the good news is that they’re often genuinely helpful. The G4c also comes packed with many of the same features, so fix yourself a sandwich (may we suggest bacon and chicken, you can’t beat a bit of meat on meat action) and let’s go through the best ones.
So, your phone’s sat there on your desk. You want to check for notifications, or maybe just grab the time, but instead of waking the phone you just need to drag a finger down the screen. The top of the display lights up and shows you that a text is waiting. Wake the G4c with a double-tap and then punch in your Knock Code, a series of taps on four different quadrants that you set yourself to keep thieving types out. Your text will be sat there on your desktop in a little window, which you can directly reply through.
Check out our LG G4 tips and tricks guide to see more of the greatest LG features in action:
On the back of the G4c you’ll find an 8-megapixel snapper, which of course is massively pared down from the G4’s excellent camera. It’s not a bad everyday shooter, but it’s beaten by some rivals such as the Vodafone Smart Ultra and Sony Xperia M4 Aqua.
Daylight shots are sharp enough to check out on a telly, while the focus fixes quick enough to take speedy snaps. You should only get blur if your subject’s moving fast. Unfortunately bright colours occasionally come out over-saturated and there’s no HDR mode, so high-contrast situations (for instance, shooting a statue against a bright sky) end up losing detail.
And if you’re snapping at night, forget it. Your only hope of getting a decent shot is by getting up close to your subject and using the flash.
Still, the interface is nice and streamlined, allowing you to quickly focus and shoot with just a quick tap and hiding the various settings away. You can flip to the front-facing camera with just a swipe across the screen, and the 5-megapixel snapper is strong enough to capture sharp, good-looking selfies. And as this is an LG phone, you can of course take a selfie by pumping your fist or saying ‘kimchi’.
The LG G4c is a seriously stripped back, affordable version of the G4 which manages to keep most of the useful features we know and love. It’s more easily handled than the G4 and the 720p screen is still solid, but the odd performance stutter and occasionally frustrating camera detract from the overall experience.