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LG G4 Review

So cool!

 Tech Review LG G4. By Jonathan Fox, July 2015

I recently had the fortune of getting my stubby, hot-dog fingers on a brand new LG G4, one of the most eagerly anticipated handsets of 2015. It’s wicked. I immediately fell a little in love with its cool aesthetics, rounded edges and smart features…

Editor’s note: Before any of you get your hopes up please note that, although Jonathan is a fantastic (albeit self-proclaimed) technophile, he has a bug bear when it comes to reviewing smart-phones. They’re apparently too big. His stubby, little, anglo-saxon thumbs struggle to reach the top of the screen and until a manufacturer addresses this issue he has refused to give any handset a full 10/10.

Taking it out of the box, I was genuinely surprised at just how light it was. I wasn’t expecting a tricep workout, but I was  definitely thinking it would have a substantial weight. Instead, this little guy flew right into my hand. And stayed there. Partly due to the gentle curve on the back of the phone that softly rests on your palm. He wanted to be held. The manufacturers have definitely done their homework.

Already I’m thinking: “why doesn’t my phone curve like this?” “Does my phone not want to be cradled?” “Does it not like me?”

One of the first noticeable features is the presence of a button just below the camera lens on the back of the device. This neat little trigger acts as another way of activating the home screen rather than relying purely on thumbs. It’s odd, but it quickly becomes an intuitive tool of interaction and begs the question: “Why are we so obsessed with front of our devices?” There are four unused hot-dogs here. The LG G4 has been built with the whole user experience in mind, not just how we interact with the glass screen.

The software itself is as you’d expect. It’s quick, it’s smooth and it incorporates more of Google’s material design principles. The icons and apps have been given an even flatter design, blurring the decorative lines between Android and iOS. Which is good in one respect, as this minimal style is great for simple communication. But as Android and iOS evolve, I fear that individual character is being lost at the behest of wanting to be the first to communicate purely in colour, hues and tones. Fashion bias aside, it does look good. Like the inside of other new Android and iOS devices.

There is a separate argument to be had while on the subject of software. Every time I pick up a new device, anticipating amazing new quirks and features, I’m rarely disappointed. But once the novelty wears off, I’m essentially left with the same system as everyone else, and a slightly different casing. It’s like getting a puppy, only to find that every other dog in the world acts exactly the same way. It might look different, but there’s nothing special about it. Any connection you’d built up will slowly turn bitter and you’ll and up resenting your dog for building up your hopes when you got it out of the box. When all software is fundamentally the same (and yes, I am floating Android and iOS in the same boat here) you lose that individual connection and the device becomes cheap and ten-a-penny. I want more variety. I want more options. Ultimately I want more players in the mobile game. Sigh. I digress.

 Social commentary aside, a great tool featured on the LG G4 is the dual screen compatibility. Very handy. You can open up two apps simultaneously in screen. Perfect for multitasking, copy/pasting, and comparing info. This is a great feature and one that I can see being adopted by other manufacturers. This is progression.

Another notable feature is the ‘smart bulletin’ board that sits to the left of the home screen. It’s an aggregator of information that is meant to present your relevant information with a simple flick of the thumb. Most android handsets have this feature in some form or another, but the difference here is that the information presented is pulled directly from your phone rather than your online accounts. So instead of social status updates from old high-school friends having an all-too-public melt-down over their latest love-life drama, you’re now given useful information like how many steps you have taken that day and when the Summer Bank Holiday is. Good addition.

 The best part of this phone is definitely the camera. It’s dynamic, easy to use and makes you look like a pro. The LG G4 has a 16 Megapixel camera with a 1.8 aperture lens and lots of other numbers too. It’s clear, it’s simple and it takes great snaps. It even has an ‘auto-beautiful’ slider which gets rid of any blemishes and spots before the shot is even taken! That says absolutely nothing positive for our society, but boy, would I make a fantastic underwear model if my skin was how LG G4 auto-beautiful thinks it is.

The last thing to note is that the video recording is also highly intuitive, with a 0.2 second focus. Essentially, it means when you need to capture that amazing video moment, you can immediately wap out your phone and hit record without having to worry about the footage being blurry or laggy. I ran around the living room pulling the phone out of my pocket like a cowboy with a six -shooter, and every time the picture was crystal clear, so it really works.

I loved this phone. It’s smart, it’s friendly and it’s developed from its predecessors. There were no earth-shattering new features, but it is a definite improvement on the current standard of handsets, and the split-screen is extremely useful. It’s a strong 8/10; a full house of hot-dog fingers.

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