A comfortable evolution: LG’s flagship G4 reviewed

Even the battery handles itself well, and for this phone, we brought in a new battery test to run alongside our regular day-long rundown test.


In the first test, which has us rely on wired headphones, no Bluetooth, checking the internet, doing some social networking, making phone calls without headphones, reading news, writing and checking emails, and generally using the phone, we found a solid day was possible without any problems, lasting the full 24 hours, though not much more.


The second test was to see if it could last how this journalist usually uses phones, with Android Wear connected, Bluetooth switched on and working with wireless headphones, making phone calls, social networking, web surfing, and the regular assortment of mobile phone use, allowing us to discover that a day of life was again possible, though it would need to be recharged the moment the phone got home.

That’s not bad at all, and while it’s not the 1.5 to 2 days of life we hope for, something at least one 2014 flagship phone can achieve, it’s impressive life for a 2015 flagship phone, with LG winning in battery performance thus far for the top-tier phones this year.


Photographic performance is also quite interesting, and not just because LG has provided the specs for a strong mobile camera, but also because it is embracing Android Lollipop’s ability to snag RAW images out of the camera, meaning you get a little more room to work with if you’re snapping away photo, though sometimes you may find the RAW files look a little noisier than the JPEG result.

Most of the time, LG’s auto and simple modes will do the job you’re asking for, firing off a shot here and there from the 16 megapixel camera on the back with its low-light friendly F/1.8 lens, which is the lowest of any other smartphone we’ve seen.

That alone is an improvement to smartphones, but the sensor size is also a little bigger than what was offered on the G3, meaning it should be a little more friendly to low-light, also, and it is.

Image from the LG G4
Image from the LG G4

Shots taken at night from the auto mode reveals some strong dark areas with little obvious noise, and while you can obviously see motion blur, the quality is quite good, and we’re happy, which is also the case for our shots in daylight.

Laser auto-focus also helps as does the element of optical image stabilisation giving you just that much more wiggle room than you might expect, and there’s also that manual mode.

Yes, that manual mode.


“That” manual mode provides control of ISO, shutter speed, white balance, manual focus (which you can dial in with a slider), and exposure, though it does lock the aperture to F/1.8. That’s not a bad thing, though it would be nice to have true aperture control, because you don’t really get that.

Rather, the camera on the LG G4 tends to stay open as wide as it can, letting in as much light as possible, and keeping the depth roughly the same, with close up images giving you the typical depth fall-off you’d expect from a macro with a low aperture, while the landscape and portrait shots tends to keep as much as possible in focus, as if you were focusing on infinity, which we suspect you are, at least from the smartphone’s point of view.

Image from the LG G4
Image from the LG G4

Overall, you’re likely to be happy from the quality offered by this camera, and especially in regards to colour.

That’s one of the surprising inclusions offered by the rear elements, with a colour spectrum sensor on the back to analyse the colour and help recreate accurate colours from photos being shot. It’s interesting to watch this at work, with scenes that often look as real — at least from a colour point of view — as when you shot them, and a white balance and colour change that happens quickly from the camera’s point of view.

On the front, you’ll also find a decent 8 megapixel shooter, providing more than enough room to move for selfies, with the camera here producing decent shots, but nothing quite as detailed as the camera on the back.

LG has included a couple of neat additions, such as the hand tracking that allows you to fire off a selfie simply by tracking your hand and forming it into a fist (giving you a three second timer), a four-shot selfie firing off four selfies when you hold down the volume button on the back, and the selfie with flash that pushes out a frame of pinkish light at your face from the screen adding a bit of extra light to your front-facing self portrait.

Selfie with a flash. Sort of. Not really.
Selfie with a flash. Sort of. Not really.