With the LG G6, the modular design of the LG G5 is gone in favor of a more traditional phone, one that takes multiple elements from the top handsets around, blended together to make a more prosaic (but still intriguing) handset.
The G6 is a much more conservative design than its predecessor, taking the form of a sealed unit that drops the removable battery, replacing it with a larger-capacity power pack and waterproof shell.
Surprisingly, this phone isn't using the latest chipset from Qualcomm, so you won't be getting the full grunt of the Snapdragon 835. However, LG maintains this was a decision to benefit the consumer – using a chip it had expertise with rather than an unknown entity it couldn't test fully.
Instead, it's going with a Snapdragon 821 option, which LG told us was a better option given it had more experience working with the chip and could thus extract more performance rather than using an untested engine.
The screen is, really, the only place where innovation is still present on the G6, with the longer 18:9 display giving more screen real estate to play with, and introducing some clever little changes to the user interface to exploit the extra pixels.
Beyond that, there's not a lot that marks out the LG G6 from the rest of the competition – and that's a pretty good thing.
Having used the LG G6 for a couple of weeks, it's easy to see that this is a 'grown-up' handset from the South Korean brand. It just feels nicer in the hand, more solid and refined, and we really haven't missed anything from the LG G5 at all.
Early prices were as high as $650/£649/AU$1000, but they're already starting to drop, and while it's still an expensive handset LG seems to have baked all the components together well, so at least you'll be getting a decent phone for the money.
It’s interesting that some reviews have called the LG G6 a 'return to form' - apart from perhaps the LG G2, the brand hasn’t had a stellar flagship device for years. Rather, it feels more like a ‘finally understanding what users actually want in a phone’.
(Update: The G6 isn't the only hot LG phone brought to market in 2017. We've recently reviewed the LG V30, which sits rather high up on our list of best Android phones. Unfortunately, it's so good that it has kicked the G6 right off the list. But who knows? Maybe the LG G7 will end up taking the V30's place.
We've added comparisons to the top phones the LG G6 is competing with, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, Sony Xperia XZ Premium and HTC U11, so you can get a clearer picture of how they differ and which is most worth your money.)
LG G6 price and release date
- Out now
- Costs around $550/£580/AU$1000 SIM free
OK - here's the curious thing about this phone. It's got a lower-spec in some areas, has prioritised things like design over an improved camera... and yet still costs far more money than we'd expect.
The LG G6 has an eye-watering £649 SIM free RRP in the UK, which is astronomical given we're used to seeing phones from this brand come in at almost half that cost after a few months of being on sale.
In fact, that might happen again, as many retailers have already dropped the price to a still-steep £580.
In terms of contract pricing, we're looking at around £38 per month minimum if you don't want to spend too much on the phone upfront, which again is rather high.
In the US, contract pricing is set at around $28 per month, which is in the region of Apple's iPhone 7 and the Google Pixel... both of which aren't considered cheap phones.
If you want to go for it SIM free in the North America, you're looking around $550 (down from a launch price of roughly $650), where it's AU$1,000 for those over in Australia.
For a limited time, you can trade in your old phone at Verizon to get the G6 for 50% off, which is a pretty tempting deal.
The LG G6 release date has already been and gone for most territories, with the UK one of the last to get its hands on the device - we're hoping that as it becomes more widespread, the cost of ownership continues to come down.
- An understated and sophisticated metal and glass build
- Impressively small bezels
- Water and dust resistance
The LG G6 is covered in a mix of glass and metal, with two sheets of Gorilla Glass (although weirdly it's Gorilla Glass 5 on the rear, but only the much older Gorilla Glass 3 on the front) framed with a rim of aluminum.
What's most impressive is how little bezel there is on this phone – we've now seen the same kind of design from Samsung on the Galaxy S8, but the narrow bezels have been shrunken top and bottom to create an impressive effect when you turn the phone on.
Anyone aware of the LG G5's design will be surprised by just how… normal this phone looks. Gone is the dull plastic back of the LG G3, the odd leather of the G4 or the come-apart design of last year’s phone – the LG G6 is smooth and classy all the way around.
That will disappoint those who like the way LG has taken things in a different direction in the past, but honestly, the G6 design is a smart move. It’s the most classically understated and sophisticated phone we’ve ever seen from LG, and it’s the perfect platform for letting the internals shine through.
And it's got the features that matter, like IP68 certification for water and dust resistance - a common flagship feature that was missing from the LG G5.
The rear of the phone is smooth, with no protruding camera bump – we’ll get onto the snapper in a moment, but LG told us it chose slimmer sensors rather than more advanced camera tech to make the design of the phone sleeker.
It's a gamble, but last year's camera was fine, and LG can probably just get away without another change.
There are two sensors on the rear of the phone, above the round fingerprint sensor, which also doubles as a power button.
The LG G6 is currently available in platinum, black and white, although it was strongly hinted to us that more colors will be popping up soon.
The platinum is the most alluring of the colors, with a metallic sheen under the glass that catches the light nicely. However, the white option, with two cameras and round fingerprint sensor below, makes the G6 look a bit like a surprised ghost.
At the bottom of the phone is the single speaker next to the USB-C connector – and LG has kept the headphone jack at the top, declining to bow to the industry trend of dropping the connector as it keeps more 'traditional' (read: everyone) music fans happy.
Some LG phone lovers will be distraught, however, to find that the battery is now sealed into the handset – LG has finally given up on the removable power pack in order to put in a more powerful and slimmer juice unit.
It’s been increased to 3,300mAh within the slimmer 7.9mm frame – and it’s the right move. The need for removable power packs is almost dead thanks to the proliferation of portable battery chargers, but its V-series phones (such as the LG V20 launched last year) keeps the option for now.
MicroSD support still exists, with the up-to-2TB expansion option thrust into the SIM tray, and complementing the 32GB of onboard storage; however, it's really annoying that you can't adopt the storage from the memory card and use it as internal memory like other phones allow you to do.
The design of the LG G6 is certainly more refined - it does feel a bit light and over time the glass back feels more like plastic. That creates slightly sweaty digits, and there have been times when the fingerprint sensor has needed a wipe to function correctly.
However, that sensor is in the right place - rarely was there a misplaced finger when trying to unlock the handset, and the ring on the outside was easy to hit.