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

Day 4

Today is the day of rest yet instead I'm spending a lot of it on public transport with a slightly sore head from last night's antics – I've got to make sure that doesn't affect my diary entries though.

My journey is going to consist of a bus, a train, an underground train and then a short walk so I've got quite a bit of time to kill with the 93 minute long original X-Men film.

LG G4 video

That opening scene of Magneto in the concentration camp will always bring a lump into my throat but in this quality it's even more impressive than ever.

The scenes in the snow was a particular highlight from a screen quality perspective. The colour range on this screen is beyond anything I've ever seen on any other phone, so much richer without being overbearing. It's so clear and looks great, making the rough and tumble in the Alaskan snow even more entertaining.

Samsung's Super AMOLED can arguably match this, but you have to fiddle with the settings a little to get the right balance, which many won't do.

Sadly I didn't finish the film on my journey but it did mean I could collapse onto my bed at home for the final 18 minutes of action. Some of the effects have dated and the screen really points them out, with the clearer, high-res HD action showing up the line between CGI and real life much clearer than a fuzzy DVD.

Tomorrow I plan to kick it up another notch and go for a real CGI fest. Take your bets on which film it's going to be now.

Day 5

When deciding on today's film I needed to go harder, more recent, with top notch special effects. I cast my mind back to the Oscar nominations for this year and there was only one choice; Interstellar.

No matter your opinion of the film, you have to admit it was a visually stunning feat and therefore perfect for this diary.

The first half of the film wasn't particularly stressful on the display but as we head out into space there are so many landscape shots and interesting visual images really testing the screen.

After watching Interstellar in IMAX I didn't think I'd ever see the film in such beautiful quality again. Obviously it wasn't as good on this 5.5-inch display but it was the closest I could physically get using a smartphone.

LG G4 video

It is a big a shame there isn't a higher resolution version of the film on Google Play Movies – this would be the perfect affair to make real use of the Quad HD resolution.

After realising this I decided to find a way of getting 2160p footage streaming to the phone to really test out the image - but it's surprisingly difficult beyond 'test footage' for TVs and monitors, which I'm not particularly bothered about watching on my commute.

There aren't any streaming apps that make it possible to get Quad-HD movies onto the display and it does pose the question of why LG has opted for this ultra high screen resolution beyond browsing the internet and looking at photos.

LG G4 video

Apps and services are sure to adapt for higher resolutions in the future, but at the moment all I've got to play with is YouTube. But looking for 4K footage and then streaming it at the 1440p resolution looked good enough.

I'd love to say a Quad-HD resolution phone was a big bonus in 2015 but right now there isn't enough footage to support it. Once one of the big streaming sites such as Netflix or Amazon bring it to mobile phones there will be a use but right now movies and TV are restricted to Full HD and it's not enough.

Day 6

Today I've done a little testing with my Google Chromecast at home and the LG G4.

Some of the apps took a few attempts to work. YouTube was phenomenal as usual but Now TV took a few attempts to play the latest episode of True Detective. It also meant I was free to do what I like with my phone for the rest of the time.

LG G4 video

I've also been doing some battery testing with the phone, playing video and seeing how long it lasts. The first time I did this was with Interstellar and at 100% brightness with all connectivity turned on it ran through the two hours 49 minute long film and had 47% left at the end.

You don't always want to get the highest screen brightness though so I opted to watch the film at 70% brightness – still looks great on this display – with Airplane Mode on as well. It came out the other side with 52% left. An impressive ending.

Comparing the LG G4 with other handsets available right now is quite simple. Samsung's Galaxy S6 is the closest to the LG G4 with a 5.1-inch display and a higher pixel density at 577ppi.

It looks stunning but that little extra room on the LG G4 display just tops it. You look at video side by side and I really just wish Samsung had upped the screen size that little bit more. The Galaxy S6 Edge has done that but video doesn't play on the sides of the screen so it's not as useful as you'd expect.

Galaxy S6 Edge

When you sit the LG G4 down next to the HTC One M9 with its 5-inch 1080p screen though you really notice a big differences. Picture quality is no where near as clear - it's only 441ppi - and although it's a big step up from phones we saw last year it's not anywhere near as beautiful as Samsung and LG's choices.

Sony has also failed to impress on the Xperia Z3+ with a 1080p 5.2-inch display. The company has come out and said it's avoiding higher resolution to save on battery life but the difference between the Xperia and LG doesn't seem to be magnitudes better - why can LG have the better display and still have a not-too-dissimilar battery life?

Day 7

Today I say goodbye to my video testing baton. No more excuses to sit around the house, or the office even, watching video clips and catching up on the latest telly. But there is time for one last hurrah so today I decided to absolutely blast the phone. I want it to fire on all cylinders and see what I can do with it.

I'm not giving it time to calm down between films and it's going to be constantly playing until the battery runs out on me. It's kicking off at 9am and I'm not going to stop until it's dead.

I've set it up to run X-Men once again for the 93 minute running time – that film is downloaded to the phone's storage so I expect it to eat up a little less battery but connectivity is still up and running.

It made its way through X-Men and Lockdown and by that point was down to 37% battery and pretty warm by the end. I was still able to hold the phone but it was certainly burning up.

I then went back to iPlayer to play some more video and after an hour long TV show I was sat on 19% battery. I headed back into YouTube to played 10 minutes of clips and then another hour on All 4 and I didn't manage to see the end of the show.

All in all the phone managed to last just over five hours playing on full brightness, full connectivity and on a variety of different apps. That's a real stress test, so you should easily be able to last a long distance flight with a normal brightness and Airplane mode on.

Lg G4

After spending a whole week testing the LG G4 it's a fantastic looking smartphone. The screen is objectively beautiful - according to a number of people I showed the phone to - and offers one of the best experiences when watching video content.

Out of all the flagship devices available on the market today, LG would still be my tip for watching movies purely down to screen size and the resolution. Samsung is just behind, but I think LG has pipped it to the post with some extra real estate on board and slightly better colour reproduction.

The Quad-HD fanfare is great but there isn't really enough content available to really make the screen shine right now. Watching movies and TV does look great but it's not exactly down to the extra resolution LG has pushed in. It's more down to the great colour range and brightness on the phone.

If you want a phone to watch films and TV on the go the LG G4 is by far the runaway choice but don't expect to find lots of gorgeous content to fill it with. At least, not just yet.

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at 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.