Stress test: can the LG G4 really rival a cinema screen?

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

We've been given one of the latest, cutting-edge handsets and stress testing the 'big feature' on it. I was handed the LG G4 and, while I thought about testing out how 'leathery' it was, I couldn't ignore that cracking Quad HD display.

It's not just a hi-res screen though, it's a 5.5-inch display with a screen resolution of 1440 x 2560 offering up 538ppi. But more importantly than that is LG's claim that it offers real cinematic colour reproduction, using the same standard you'll see in your local multiplex, rather than NSTC, which is older and designed for more ancient tech.

But in reality, it meant one thing for me: lots and lots of video content. More specifically, movies and TV shows on the go.

Here's everything I've found in my official hard test diary. Honestly, it was hard.

Day 1

What better way to kick the week of video testing off than with the biggest video provider on earth? I went straight into the YouTube app and wasn't that enamoured with the Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp trailer I had playing.

It wasn't anything to do with the content - the show looks hilarious - it was down to the screen brightness. I'd left the screen on 70% - as many users would - and it wasn't doing anything for me so I flicked the slider up to full. Now it's time to settle down into Taylor Swift's Bad Blood video in its Full HD glory.

LG G4 video

The colours on the screen are fantastic and the speaker set up is actually better than half-decent for video content, despite not being front facing. Compared to the LG G Flex 2 I was using beforehand you really notice the kick in the audio, enough that I needed to even turn it down a little to keep listening.

From there I thought it was time to give YouTube a little rest and boot up Channel 4's catch up app All 4. I watched two episodes of Catastrophe on the app and struggled to see with the sunlight pouring in through my window at one point so had to turn the screen - and myself - around.

LG G4 video

OK, sunlight is always going to affect the screen in some way, but I'd like to see something that's meant to be this amazing do better in bright light so I'll be sure to test this more in the coming days.

The quality dropped out on multiple occasions within the app as well but I'm tempted to blame that on our home internet connection or the All 4 app itself.

What I've learnt today is to not sit in bright sunlight and expect good quality and Rob Delaney is rip-roaringly funny. You should watch that show as soon as you can.

Day 2

Today was the first time I properly took my phone on the tube, and rush hour is the optimum time to be watching video. I always clock at least one or two people catching up on telly or their film library whilst on their commute. To test it I loaded up a download from UK on demand app BBC iPlayer for this test.

Luckily I'd grabbed a seat and then it was time to settle down to Mock The Week. For those not in the UK, it's a comedy panel show that features lots of brightly lit studio shots and a really slick animated introduction video.

This kind of overproduced panel show can sometimes look poor on a lower quality screen but it just proved how bright the LG G4 screen really is.

LG G4 video

iPlayer doesn't exactly have the best reputation when it comes to quality but the download looked great throughout and didn't pose any resolution problems, so I was watching HD the entire way through the journey.

The biggest issue with watching video on the tube is volume – those trains can sure get noisy. Research has found it's becoming a problem for some who use the tube as they turn their music up to such loud levels to hear what they're listening to they're actually damaging their ears.

To start with I was on about 70% volume but really struggled to be able to hear what was happening when travelling through the tunnels. The worst part is you have to turn it down when you hit the next station to stop it being unbearably loud.

The positioning of the G4's buttons comes into its own here though. When the volume rocker sits on the side of the phone it can sometimes be hard to access when your fingers are busy gripping the phone – luckily here one of my fingers is free to play around with the buttons on the back and not get in the way of the action.

The next step is to try out streaming quality within iPlayer but as I only have Wi-Fi at stations and not in the tunnels that'll have to wait until another day.

Day 3

Time for a lazy weekend – let me paint you a picture. I've taken a chair out onto the patio at home, put my feet up on another and logged into a TV streaming app (Now TV) on my phone. Luckily our internet just stretches out into the garden and I kick off watching the last few episodes of Veep season 2.

I've got headphones in once again and when I'm not on a noisy tube the sound quality really impresses. Maybe the top volume could do with being pushed up a little but that also comes down to the quality of my headphones.

I also took out the headphones to try the speakers out outside. I live in quite a noisy area of London but I didn't find any issues in the half hour episode I was watching. The dialogue came through fine but I suppose Veep isn't the most testing scenario for sound quality.

Again, I am having issues with sunlight whenever the shade disappears. While it's certainly not as bad as I've seen on other flagship phones it's still a big issue and I do feel there must be a solution out there for someone to find.

If one manufacturer finds a way to kill off glare it'd be a fantastic USP and make for a much better viewing experience.

To start with I ran the screen on about 60% screen brightness but incrementally upped the brightness as the time went by.

I've realised I need to up the ante here with most of the content I'm watching being simple sitcoms – I need to test out some special effects come tomorrow and I'm thinking it might be time to bring out the original X-Men film I've got waiting within my Google Play Movies.

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.