lg g4 leather

That “vegetable-tanned” leather back on the G4? It’s costing LG extra, and the company is passing the buck to customers.

Ahead of the official unveiling (if there will be any veils left to lift by then) on April 28, the LG G4 went up for pre-order in its native South Korea. The G4 is sold by SK Telecom, KT, and LG U+, even if the device won’t be available in stores for customers to try out until next week, with actual availability rumored to start on April 29.

Interestingly, the G4 is priced by Korean carriers at a slightly higher price than we expected. Korea Telecom is offering the device for the equivalent of $825, compared to $795 for the Galaxy S6 32GB, but lower than Galaxy S6 Edge 32GB ($910).

This isn’t actually the official unlocked price, but an LG representative confirmed to ETNews that “it will stay in that range.” According to Korea Times, LG’s pricing strategy is actually targeting the Galaxy S6 Edge, as the company sees the vegetable-tanned leather back as a luxury offering worth paying a premium for:

“Among the various tanning methods, vegetable tanning is the most traditional and the most recognizable. It is the only form of tanning that is able to give leather unique characteristics, retaining the natural flaws and markings. That’s why only a few luxurious brands such as Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton applied the tanning technology to very high-level products.”

LG confirmed that, carrier subsidies not considered, the G4 will be pricier than previous models.

The G3 launched last year at a rather high price (900,000 won/$880) in South Korea, but the device was more affordable in the rest of the world. In the US, the 5.5-inch device could be had for as little as $450 unlocked last fall. That, and the fact LG has minimized the hype by releasing details ahead of the launch, made us think the G4 could go a bit down range.

It remains to be seen whether LG will market the leather-backed G4 as an Edge-competitor worldwide or just in in South Korea. It will be interesting to follow how the price changes in time; the Galaxy S6 shapes up to be a sales hit, which may force LG to lower the G4’s price fast and hard. Then there’s the “more premium” device that LG said will come later this year, which could put more pressure on the G4’s price.

Stay tuned for the official details coming April 28.

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