LG Q6 review

Honey, I shrunk the LG G6

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

Unofficially titled the “LG G6 mini”, the Q6 is an impressive midrange phone on its own. While it lacks certain flagship features and annoyingly, a fingerprint sensor, the FullVision display and rear-facing camera are stand-out inclusions that you probably won’t find elsewhere for this cheap.

For

  • Chip off the G6 block, in a good way
  • FullVision display is great for multimedia
  • Camera is fairly impressive

Against

  • No fingerprint sensor
  • Rear is scratch-prone

The LG Q6 is the midrange take on the company’s 2017 flagship smartphone, the LG G6. As you can see for yourself, much of the G6’s visual pizazz has made the transition to the more budget-friendly class intact. 

It features the familiar tall aspect ratio, a nearly bezel-free design, and commendable build quality that yields a smooth feeling in the hand. However, given its lower asking price, not every single one of the G6’s finer qualities makes an appearance. 

The plastic back, for example, is prone to scratching. You won't find a fingerprint sensor here – a feature served up by the sub-$100 Moto E4. Predictably, the Q6’s internal specs are decidedly ho-hum and don’t pack adequate muscle to hustle through some of the more demanding 3D games available on the Google Play Store.

(Update: The Q6 has been added to our list of best cheap phones that you can buy right now. Without a fingerprint sensor, it doesn't place very high on said list, but in many ways, it's still a stellar option.)

The budget smartphone arena is competitive as ever and the Q6's downsides are hard to forgive. But, as it's available for as low as $239 in the US with Amazon supported ads, you're still getting a whole lot of phone for the cash.

Image 1 of 9

Image 2 of 9

Image 3 of 9

Image 4 of 9

Image 5 of 9

Image 6 of 9

Image 7 of 9

Image 8 of 9

Image 9 of 9

LG Q6 price and availability

  • Available now starting at $239 (£239, AU$399)
  • Supports GSM networks only, including AT&T and T-Mobile

The Q6 is now available globally. If you're outside of the US, you can snag this phone from your local retailer, but the story is a little more complicated in the US.

LG's new midrange smartphone is available through Amazon's discounted, ad-supported program for a discounted rate. For $239, the Q6 will come stocked with lockscreen offers, ads and a fleet of Amazon apps pre-installed.

If you'd rather have the device clear of any bloatware, it will set you back $299. Keep in mind that this device won't work with the likes of Verizon and Sprint, since its radio only supports GSM networks, including AT&T and T-Mobile.

FullVision display and the camera save this phone

  • Taller aspect ratio makes for a more immersive viewing experience
  • 1080p display is crisp and vibrant, but at the cost of color accuracy
  • Camera tech and software is among the most competent around

The Q6 calls out to the multimedia fans with its 5.5-inch FullVision display that pushes away bezels in favor for more screen real estate. Unlike most phones, this one has an 18:9 display that runs at 2,160 x 1,080 – and odd resolution thanks to the odd aspect ratio.

All this means is that it’s literally twice as tall as it is wide. While this doesn’t impact general use all that much, the extra bit of screen gained makes watching movies and playing games a bit more immersive on the Q6, as it did on the G6.

Speaking on the screen’s quality, its LCD is plenty detailed, vibrant and plenty bright, though sometimes to the point where the colors look washed out and the lighting can be harsh on the eyes. 

Moving to the cameras, LG’s 13MP single rear-facing sensor is shockingly capable in the right hands – and in favorable lighting conditions. LG’s camera app is fast to boot from the lock screen and though it doesn’t always produce great results, it’s one of the better midrange cameras out there.

LG Q6 specs

Screen size - 5.5 inches
Resolution - 2,160 x 1,080
Battery - 3,000mAH
Front camera - 5MP
Rear camera - 13MP
Weight - NA
Dimensions (mm) - NA
OS - Android Nougat
CPU - Snapdragon 435
RAM - 3GB RAM (varies per region)
Storage - 32GB w/ microSD

While most of the heavy-lifting is performed by the larger sensor, the front-facing camera is no slouch. At 5MP, the detail presented in each photo isn’t astounding, but being able to swap between regular and wide-angle presentation is an awesome perk that LG loves to stick in its phones.

Adding to this, LG’s camera software continues to be among the best, if not the best, around. From filters to the simple user interface and innovative dual capture that staples two squared-off images together, creators will have a blast here.

Further down in the review, you can check out a growing collection of photo samples that show off the highs and lows of this phone’s capabilities. All said, the Q6 won’t replace your point-and-shoot or your flagship smartphone camera. But if your expectations are checked, this phone will impress.

Battery life

The LG Q6 packs in a 3,000mAh battery, which for a phone of this size and price is a fairly modest capacity.

Like most phones available now, the Q6 has no issue whatsoever surviving a day of use. However, if you’re a multimedia or Twitter hog like me, you’ll likely finish your day in the 20% area with the Q6. 

To give you a better idea on how the battery drains, watching a 90-minute high definition video wiped out 16%. This leaves a healthy amount of life left in the Q6 to stick by your side for the rest of the day. However, if you’re watching the on-and-off YouTube clip, interspersed with a few rounds of Hearthstone, you’ll see the percentage plummet – as you would with any device.

From a zeroed-out state, a half-hour plugged into the charger revives LG’s midrange smartphone to about 25%. It takes a full hour for it to reach 73% and just under an hour and a half to full charge it.

Astoundingly, this phone can lie dormant for days without losing much battery. We left it on over a long, three-day weekend and returned to it still with 87% of the charge remaining.

Camera

As we stated above, the LG Q6 is a competent snapper. Intimate, well-lit shots tend to come out as you’d hope they would and selfies pop in both regular and wide-angle presentation.

We had issues with this phone’s low light performance, as we did with its tendency to overblow the highlights in a given photo. This can make shooting on a sunny or overcast day difficult when usually those are the best days to take photos during.

We had a mix of victories and defeats with the Q6. Given its midrange status, we’re delighted that we had more of the former than the latter. Check out the photo album and video sample below.

Image 1 of 20

I was honestly not expecting results this good. In the right light, the 13MP shines.

Click to view in full resolution

Image 2 of 20

Only lit by a lamp some feet away, the sensor doesn't look as magical, but still gets the point across.

Click to view in full resolution

Image 3 of 20

The detail looks decent here, but the highlights are overblown.

Click to view in full resolution

Image 4 of 20

The colors of this bibimbap look stellar in "food mode", but the lack of detail makes this mouth-watering dish look a little less appetizing.

Click to view in full resolution

Image 5 of 20

This diorama was already cast in yellow light and the Q6 did a decent job of picking up the general vibe of the setting. Though it took a few tries to not get a blurry result.

Click to view in full resolution

Image 6 of 20


Image 7 of 20

Image 8 of 20

Image 9 of 20

Image 10 of 20

Image 11 of 20

Image 12 of 20

Image 13 of 20

Image 14 of 20

Image 15 of 20

Image 16 of 20

Image 17 of 20

Image 18 of 20

Image 19 of 20

Image 20 of 20

Notice in the above video sample that the sensor has a difficult finding its focus for some time. Sure, there was a lot to look at, but it's not the best look if you're whipping your phone out to capture some time-sensitive footage. Plus, the SteadyRecord feature, which uses electronic image stabilization (EIS) actually results in a more shaky picture, not less.

Anything else I should know?

At first blush, the Q6 looks like the LG G6. And while we described a few ways in which they’re very different devices, there’s more to it.

Given the slashed price, the Q6 lacks the 2K display found on the more expensive device. Additionally, LG opted for rather scratch-prone plastic on its back. One tumble saw this phone slide across a tiled floor, collecting a surprising amount of blemishes along the way. 

This phone also isn’t waterproof, nor does it offer niceties like wireless charging or military-grade build that protects its front screen from cracking. Calling these aspects out aren’t meant to be dings against the Q6, but it’s important to distinguish them given how similar the two phones look.

Lastly, you might want to purchase this phone in your region based on this review. But given that the Q6’s release is staggered, you likely won’t be able to purchase this phone in your region just yet. It’s currently available in South Korea, but is said to be heading west in the coming weeks.

Who's it for and should I buy it?

The LG Q6 is for people who want a midrange phone that people will mistake for a flagship. From every angle, it closely resembles the company’s high-end LG G6. But make no mistake: this phone’s innards, which compete with the likes of the Moto G5, aren’t going to knock your socks off.

Two features really stick out as valid reasons to buy the Q6: its taller aspect ratio screen and the cameras. LG’s user interface scales well with most apps and lends itself to being an awesome screen to watch movies on. Its cameras, while sometimes tough to capture a great moment with, are capable of some surprisingly high-quality results.

If the features above play a large role in your daily life as a phone user, there’s a lot to enjoy with the Q6. However, if you’re stepping down from a flagship in hopes that you can get the same kicks with a cheaper device, this device will miss the target for you.