LG G4c review

LG hopes to conquer the budget market with its new smartphone

LG G4c review
The LG G4c is curvy and bright

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Like every major manufacturer, the LG G4c comes with the latest version of the firm's Android skin.

In the hands of the best, such as HTC, an Android skin can be an exceptionally valuable asset, bringing in missing features, helping to flesh out existing elements and introducing a semblance of originality.

As for the worst cases, such as certain Samsung devices, skins can unfortunately expose users to proprietary services and apps without escape. And, like super-glue in a finely machined Swiss watch, these skins can tend to bog processors down significantly.

Somehow, LG has managed to stake out something of a middle ground. Through a combination of small value add-ons and poorly fleshed-out apps, the experience is neither one of exceptional comfort or despair.

LG G4c review

The Android software looks good, but gets very cluttered with app icons

Visually, the software is quite pleasing, if very busy. The top of the screen is dominated by a sizable weather widget and persistent Google search bar. Below this you'll encounter the beginning of a considerable problem: app icons.

To the bottom-left sits a tidy folder of in-built Google apps, such as Gmail. On the right of this, apps begin to accumulate as they are installed, adding themselves to the home screen and the app drawer.

Normally this wouldn't present a problem, provided there was an automatic means in place to sort the influx. Unfortunately there isn't. I found that as I installed more apps, they simply muscled in among one another, lacking any kind of indexing to tell them apart.

Understandably, this increasingly cluttered list made finding specific apps difficult and impeded my flow significantly.

However, I fixed this by simply installing the Google Now launcher. In turn, this allowed the small, but well thought-out add-ons to really shine.

Take, for instance, the simple act of checking the time. When the display is off, all it takes is a swipe from the top of the device to activate a small, discrete clock. Perfect for sensitive situations and at night.

LG G4c

Smartworld is the portal to LG's services and theme store

Turning on the camera by holding the volume-down key when the screen was powered off also became second nature. In the absence of having a dedicated two-stage shutter button, this proved to be an excellent time saver. One major advantage of having a camera at all times is being able to capture a perfect moment, and this proved a great way to do so.

Little touches like this abound throughout LG's skin. And yet, for every nice add-on, there is the like of 'Smartworld', a portal to LG's services and theme store. Due to frequent crashes I was unable to test the various themes, which tended to follow odd design languages ('camping', 'denim', etc).

As Android skins go, LG's is certainly no 'TouchWiz', but neither is it a 'Sense'; to damn with faint praise, it is definitely easy to ignore.

Sound quality

Once upon a time, dedicated MP3 players and mobile phones could co-exist. In a world of devices that performed only one function, the thought of a phone that could also play music was considered absurd, that is, until they started to arrive on mass.

Now that people are no longer overawed by the presence of a speaker on their beloved rectangular slab, it is the quality of these small speakers that is becoming more and more important.

LG G4c review

LG claims that the speakers on the G4c are the best in the budget phone market

This has been recognised by some manufacturers, not least the likes of HTC, which has gone to great lengths to provide a true stereo audio experience on its One M9. Now the others are beginning to catch up, too.

LG is no exception, bringing in game speakers it claims are more powerful than the competition's. And for the most part, this proved to be true.

In everyday situations, when pumped to the max, it was easy to rock out to the LG G4c's passable mid-tones and well-defined bass notes. As is the case with most devices produced on a budget, the emphasis is on volume rather than the warmth of tones produced, and the G4c certainly makes itself heard.

Whether competing with a noisy shower, stick blender or any other noisy appliances (save for a demonic washer/dryer), the G4c always came out on top. Although by no means the best in its class, it certainly got the job done.

As such, for annoying other passengers from the back of a bus, or for hosting impromptu hoe-downs, the LG G4c fits well into a variety of different situations, providing great volume and decent clarity.

Quick, let me take a wide-angle selfie

The rise of the do-it-all device has had a far-reaching impact, affecting not just the MP3 player, but the likes of the cheap compact camera, too. Today, consumers expect their smartphones to take images worthy of sharing.

This battle has had strong implications for the budget space, with many manufacturers, such as Acer with the Liquid Jade Z, going to great lengths to provide excellent quality images at a low price point. Slowly, this battle is shifting from the rear of the device to the front.

Last year brought the advent of the wide-angle 5MP selfie camera to the budget smartphone, and, indeed, these often became a device's main selling point - just look at the Nokia Lumia 735. Now, such a sensor is almost de rigeur.

LG G4c review

There's a wide-angle front-facing camera for all your selfie needs

On the front of the LG G4c, you'll find the same 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera as many of its competitors, with the ability to get a whole host of faces in focus and to capture them with a reasonable degree of clarity.

Some users may be disappointed with the lack of filters and other fun effects present in live view, though switching from the stock camera app solves this situation. Having a hardware camera shortcut also makes taking self-portraits a great deal easier - another example of well thought-out details.


In the past, low-cost Android devices had a reputation for being somewhat slow and suffering from considerable lag. Yet, following years of solid work from Google on this front, the OS has now been optimised to a considerable extent.

What this means for budget devices is simple: improved performance. Buoyed in part by the advent of powerful, yet affordable, processors from Qualcomm and others, it is now possible to get better value for money than ever before.

Running a quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, and backed by 1GB of RAM, the G4c is modestly specced in comparison to some of the competition, not least the likes of the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6.

LG G4c review

A respectable multi-score of 1375 was achieved on Geekbench 3

The device achieved a respectable single core score of 449 and a good multi-core score of 1375 on Geekbench 3.

The likes of the original G4 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 won't feel threatened, but performance on the whole is adequate. In day to day use, with light gaming, streaming music, watching video over WiFi, and reading online, it is more than up to the task.

Although intensive games, such as Riptide GP, suffer from the occasional dropped frame, the situation isn't dire.

Sometimes, when a number of apps were running simultaneously, or when attempting to switch between resource-intensive apps on the fly, the G4c could become easily bogged down.

Power-users should look elsewhere for the perfect gaming machine, but for the average consumer, and the intended audience of this device, LG's device is something of a workhorse.

Sean is a Scottish technology journalist who's written for the likes of T3, Trusted Reviews, TechAdvisor and Expert Reviews.