When it comes to major smartphone releases, 2017 is proving to be a pretty big year. This is especially true for Samsung and LG, two companies that are attempting to redefine the smartphone display game as we know it by introducing flagships that rock 18+:9 ratios. It’s pretty much granted that Samsung will get the majority of consumer attention, but is the LG G6 every bit as compelling as what Samsung offers? Should you buy it? Good question.
While I haven’t personally used the Galaxy S8 for more than about thirty minutes or so, I have been rocking the LG G6 as my daily for the last two weeks. In that time, I’ve come to form a pretty strong opinion when it comes to this device. In the following article I’ll go through my overall experience with the handset, as well as a few important considerations for those that are entertaining the idea of picking up an LG G6.
This handset flies fast and is a pleasure to use
I’ve never really been a major LG smartphone fan, unless we’re talking about the Nexus 5. It’s not that I have a problem with the G series, simply I tend to gravitate primarily toward Nexus, Pixel, Samsung, and Huawei (the latter mostly for battery life reasons). The LG G series never tempted me simply because I found all its competitors more alluring. That said, I’m no stranger to the G line, using both the LG G2 and LG G4 for extended periods, and the G3 and G5 at least in passing.
So with my LG smartphone background out of the way, I have to say I am really impressed with the LG G6. I have learned to be okay with Samsung’s TouchWiz but can genuinely say I like stock Android a lot more (yes, I’m one of those people, sorry!). Like TouchWiz, the LG UI has some similarities to stock but also several layers of paint and customization thrown on top. Yet somehow I’m finding I really dig this UI in a way I didn’t with TouchWiz.
Not only is the LG G6′ interface fast, but little extras like the large icons used for its always on display notifications are pretty intuitive, as are messages that pop up when you connect Bluetooth headphones, and so on. The way that LG handles alerts and other little things don’t necessarily revolutionize my smartphone experience, but they add to it. Overall, the UI is super polished and has come a long way since the early days when it was essentially just a TouchWiz clone. The additions on the surface are reasonably useful, and everything else I don’t like can pretty much be turned off — like the app drawer-less default setting.
I really enjoy the LG G6, so much so that I've at least entertained the idea of buying one for personal use
Moving past the software, the camera experience is solid and very comparable to my Pixel. Unlike the Pixel, the design is actually quite stunning, at least on the back. I’ll admit that I wasn’t a fan of the phone’s rounded corners and overall front design when I first started messing with this phone, but it has grown on me. Without a doubt I find this phone sexier than the vast majority of Android phones on the market. Of course that’s a matter of taste and so your opinion may differ.
As far as functionality and features, I don’t find myself missing anything from other handsets I typically use like my Mate 9, Pixel, or Galaxy S7 edge.
At the end of the day, I really enjoy the LG G6, so much so that I’ve at least entertained the idea of buying one for personal use — as the current G6 I’m using is company property and will eventually be passed on to other members of the team. The main thing that holds me back from recommending this to everyone and shouting the G6’s name from the rooftop? The fact that the phone is made by LG.
The LG brand stirs some mixed emotions
No, I don’t hate LG. On the surface their phones and other products are exceptional… until they aren’t. It’s hard to recommend LG because it has a spotty past when it comes to quality control, boot loops, display issues, reception issues, and the list goes on. It’s not just one phone either, with known issues affecting nearly every major phone release they’ve had over the last few years including the LG G2, G3, and G4.
The problem isn’t just isolated to a few rogue defective handsets either, as it is recognized as a big enough issue that a recent class action lawsuit was filed by Girard Gibbs LLP over boot loop issues with the LG G4 and LG V20. Since then, the firm has reportedly been considering adding more devices to the lawsuit including the Nexus 5X, LG V20, and LG G5. Going to places like Consumer Reports and Consumer Affairs makes it pretty evident LG’s inconsistent quality control applies to more than just phones, as even their televisions tend to be a bit of a mixed bag depending on the model.
LG's quality control problem isn't just isolated to a few handset, as it is recognized as a big enough issue that a recent class action lawsuit was filed.
Then again, Samsung’s record isn’t exactly squeaky clean either and yet people continue to hand the Korean giant wads of cash. In other words, this reason alone isn’t enough for me to flat out not recommend the LG G6, but before buying I would at least consider buying an extended warranty or some kind of insurance. I’d also just be on the look out of any quirky behavior your LG G6 exhibits if you do buy one, so you can get it taken care of while the warranty is in affect.
Of course, the odds that you will never have a problem are actually pretty good, but it doesn’t hurt to at least slightly consider LG’s QC history before diving in. Beyond that, is there any other considerations you should be aware of if you’re considering the LG G6? Yes, actually, though how important these points are will vary depending on your individual wants and needs.
The LG G6 is powered by 2016
The LG G6 looks great, works great, and is great. But it’s not bleeding edge all around. Sure, the display is a bold step forward, but the engine running this beast is straight out of 2016. Opting for a Snapdragon 835 would have meant a shipping delay for the LG G6, putting it well behind Samsung’s Galaxy S8 launch. In order to beat Sammy to the punch, LG decided it was better to stick with the tried and true Snapdragon 821 and focus on a polished product over a cutting-edge one.
Honestly, if you aren’t an ultra spec nerd, the fact the LG G6 runs the 821 won’t matter to you in the slightest. It will still fly through all the games and apps you throw at it and in real world use the differences in performance aren’t exactly that massive. The only downside to the LG G6 is an older chip means it is slightly less future proof, but then again, for all but the most hardcore users this phone should easily last 2-3 years as a daily driver.
Not all LG G6s are created equal.. and that’s lame
As you may be aware, LG opted to save select features for certain markets. For example, wireless charging is only offered in the US and the epic Hi-Fi Quad DAC is only found in South Korea and a few select Asian markets. Even getting 64GB of storage is only possible in South Korea, parts of Asia, and Australia. This isn’t a deal breaker, but just something worth being aware of. And it’s one of those little things that we just can’t help but shake our heads and wonder why LG why?
So should you buy, or shouldn’t you?
So do or don’t I recommend this phone? Honestly, it depends on who I’m talking to. If it’s someone who has been burnt by LG before (like my sister with her defective LG G4), I’d probably suggest something else as she’s automatically going to be turned off by the brand. I also probably wouldn’t recommend the LG G6 for those who are spec nerds and like to flaunt the fact they have the “fastest phone”.
For everyone else? If you simply want an attractive phone that’s intuitive to use and don’t mind giving a brand with a slightly checkered past a chance, yes, this phone could be perfect for you. This is especially true if you were tempted by the Galaxy S8 but want to save a little money, as the LG G6 offers many of the same features but is at least $100 cheaper depending on the model you are looking at.
Whether it’s right for you or not, the LG G6 remains one of the best phones of 2017 so far — just remember that it’s long-term reliability is still a bit of an unknown. What are your thoughts on the LG G6? Share them with me down in the comments.