LG G6 hands-on: LG goes super-widescreen with latest flagship

No more modules, but LG continues to push the boundaries of smartphone design with the new, stretched out LG G6

The LG G6 is an acknowledgement of sorts. It's an acknowledgement that modular smartphones don't work at least not in the format the LG G5 brought with it last year. That's a shame, but LG hasn't given up innovating just yet with the LG G6 packed with some intriguing features.

The phone's key feature, as widely leaked before the launch, is its stretched out, "Fullvision" screen. Instead of a 16:9 aspect-ratio display, which is typical of most smartphones' Full HD or qHD+ panels, the LG G6 has a 5.7in, 1,440 x 2,880 display with an aspect ratio of 18:9; in other words, the height of the screen is double that of the width.

Design, key features and first impressions

Inevitably, that long screen translates into a pretty tall phone, but it isn't quite as awkward a shape as you might expect it to be. That's thanks to the super-narrow bezels above and below the phone. Indeed, with a screen border that's barely there on the right and left hand side as well, the screen on the LG G6 occupies almost all the front panel, a move that makes for a fabulous-looking smartphone, especially with its curved corners.

In the hand, it's a great-feeling handset, bordered by a metal frame and backed with glass that's curved along the edges. It feels a little like the Samsung Galaxy S7 to hold, and that's a very good thing.

It still has a fingerprint reader that doubles as the power switch and it's still situated on the rear. One thing that thankfully has gone, though, is the ugly camera hump of the LG G5. That' been flattened out with the LG G6's camera now flush mounted to the rear of the phone. Also worth noting is that the LG G6 will come in three colours: "Ice Platinum", "Astro Black", and "Mystic White".

Why the long screen, though? The key advantage so says LG is that it gives you more screen real estate while being able to still hold and operate the phone with one hand: it's essentially a 5.7in display in the body of a 5.2in phone, according to the South Korean manufacturer.

LG G6 key specs

CPU

Quad-core 2.35GHz Snapdragon 821 processor

RAM

6GB RAM

Display

5.7in 1,440 x 2,880 18:9 aspect ratio IPS display with Gorilla Glass 5

Camera

Dual 13-megapixel cameras, one f/2.4 one f/1.8

IP rating

IP68 dust and water resistance

OS

Android 7.0 Nougat with Google Assistant

Release date

Mid-March 2017 release date

LG also says it enables more effective multitasking, with the ability to dock a pair of square screens side-by-side. We're not convinced by this argument; in fact we think it could even be a detriment in some circumstances you'll likely see black bars right and left of the display while watching movies and TV, for instance.

Still, you will at least be able to squeeze more of your website on screen at one go, and the extra height means LG has been able to squeeze in a bigger battery. The LG G6 has a 3,300mAh power pack inside, which should mean better stamina than the LG G5.

What else is new? First up, the display supports HDR Dolby Vision and HDR10 to be precise and is the first smartphone to do so. What does this mean? Essentially, ridiculously high peak brightness levels and fantastic-looking movie content, and the big news is that you won't be short of content to watch, either, with both Netflix and Amazon announcing they'll be enabling HDR streaming to mobile devices in the near future.

The LG G6 also reprises the LG G5's best feature: its dual cameras. It's different this time around with the resolution falling from 16 megapixels to 13 megapixels, but the idea is the same, with one 100-degree wide-angle camera and, one camera with a standard 71-degree angle of view. As with the LG G5 the main camera has a bright f/1.8 aperture and the wide-angle snapper is a slightly dimmer f/2.4.

As for the core specifications, they're considerably less interesting. Instead of the widely expected Snapdragon 835, the LG G6 has only a quad-core 2.35GHz Snapdragon 821 chip inside. It's backed up with 6GB of RAM, but this means you don't get support for the latest version of QuickCharge 4, which promises five hours of use from five minutes of charging.

LG is retaining the 3.5mm headphone jack however (which we're very pleased about), the phone will be both dust- and water-resistant to the IP68 standard and there's Android 7.0 Nougat on board, complete with support for the Google Assistant.

LG G6 review: Early verdict

Despite its weirdly tall profile, we must say we like the LG G6. It's a wonderful phone to hold in your hand quite light and not at all awkward to hold or use one-handed and the fact that the display occupies nearly the entire front is great. Coupled with an improved dual-camera setup, it should be an early contender for the best smartphone of 2017.

Most of all, though, we like the LG G6 because it's different. Not quite as out there as the LG G5, perhaps, but it strikes out on a different path to most modern smartphones, and in a business as competitive as this, that has to be a good thing.

The LG G6 will be available from mid-March.

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