Why the LG G6 isn’t one of the world’s best phones… yet

OK, this is a slightly odd article to write - it’s not something we’ve done before. But it’s a matter that we feel needs addressing, because some people will likely be wondering: why isn’t the LG G6 in our best phones list?

After all, it packs in a great design, a real leap forward over the LG G5… and that phone was residing at number three in our UK list until it was replaced (we’ll always prioritize new phones over old to ensure you’re going to buy a device that will be supported for as long as possible).

So you’re probably wondering: ‘What gives, guys? What have you got against the LG G6?’ The short (and long) answer is: nothing at all. We like this phone a lot… but LG has made one very strange decision that’s going to make it difficult to sell this phone.

It’s so goshdarn expensive. 

  • What has made it into our top phones list? UK | US | AU

Seriously - we’ve no idea what LG is doing here. While we appreciate that the phone is a big leap forward in terms of premium design and improved screen (we love the lack of bezels and feel in the hand) there are a lot of other areas where the brand dialed back the spec.

The camera is pretty much the same as last year. The chipset inside is from 2016, not the latest, cutting-edge Snapdragon 835 from Qualcomm. Most regions don’t have a 6GB RAM version, or the Quad DAC inside to massively improve the sound, or wireless charging.

Something doesn't add up

When we heard about this in the pre-brief in South Korea, we nodded. LG was clearly trying to lower the cost of the phone, competing against Samsung slightly in design but mostly in undercutting its South Korean rivals, a cut-price way to get a flagship phone in 2017.

Then the prices emerged, and we couldn’t believe it. Roughly the same price as the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S8 on and off contract (depending on your region, of course)? For what?

We’re not saying this is a bad phone - but it’s not exceptional either. It’s highly competent. It’s has a pretty good camera, an alright user interface, an acceptable battery life all combined in a frame that’s far more mature than anything we’ve seen from LG for a while.

We absolutely believe that you don’t need the very latest processor or bleeding edge camera sensor to still have a phone that’s enjoyable to use - but if a brand is going to save money by using old or less-optimized components, it needs to pass those savings onto the consumer.

Ultimately, it’s a good phone that just costs too much - and given our best lists are based quite heavily on whether the thing you’re about to spend hundreds (or even thousands) on is worth it, that’s a key consideration.

There is light at the end of the tunnel for those disappointed about the LG G6’s place in the market though: the South Korean brand is one of the best for discounting its phones over the course of the year, and if the LG G6 drops a few dollars/pounds then it’s easily one of the very best around.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.