LG G6 – Nothing But Screen

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The G6 is LG’s newest flagship phone. It represents a significant departure from last year’s G5 – a modular design that did not prove popular. The G6, on the other hand, has a simple, elegant design that’s a lot more nuts and bolts than it is bells and whistles. The case is solid metal with a glass back. It is thin, and it is just about all screen with almost no bezel. This is the same trend we see with the Samsung S8. LG has achieved more with less. The screen is 5.7″, compared to the S8’s 5.8″. But the unit itself is very comfortable to hold.  It is a little longer than you might expect because instead of using the standard 16:9 aspect ratio, this uses an 18:9 ratio.  That means you get a full screen on some of the newer videos shot in that format, and a small amount of letterboxing (hardly noticeable) on standard 16:9 videos.

The 4K screen is capable of delivering High Dynamic Range (HDR) video, creating vibrant, rich colors.  It also has DolbyVision.  Performance on a couple of Netflix offerings was solid, with fast response time.  But a canned demo that LG provided was just spectacular, showing off the full capabilities of the QHD display.

The LG G6 uses the latest version of Android, Nougat.  It has a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, though it’s not quite the top of the line (most of us will never notice the difference).  Audio quality from the single speaker is good, but not astounding. It has a standard headphone jack.

Perhaps the most noticeable improvements on the LG G6 are in the camera.  More specifically dual 13MP cameras, one with a standard lens, the other, wide angle.  There are a variety of photo modes, including a square mode that allows you to see the picture you just shot in one square window, and the live camera in another.  You can also divvy the screen in grids.  I found the cameras easy to set up, and quite happy with the picture clarity and sharpness.  And yes, there are a great many adjustable shooting options as well. There is also a 5MP front-facing camera.

The G6 is water resistant down to about 3 feet for 30 minutes.  So dropping it into your sink or other porcelain fixture won’t doom it.  It’s also dust resistant.

The G6 is the first phone after Google’s own Pixel phones, to come equipped with Google Assistant, which is a good conversational interface, and one I prefer to Siri.  The on/off button, which also has the fingerprint sensor, is in the middle of the back of the phone.  Between that and the unit’s size, this makes it one of the best relatively big screen phones for single-handed operation.

Is It 50+ Friendly? – I found the screen quite readable.  Moreso than some other phones with even larger screens.  It was easy to do the standard Android setup, automatically restoring all of my apps from another device.  The fact that you can perform most functions on the phone with one hand makes it very usable, and offsets some of the advantages you’ll find on Plus-sized phones from Apple and Samsung.

Frustration Factor? – If I have any complaints about the G6 it’s in what it doesn’t have.  LG featured multiple speakers and digital audio converters in its V20 phone, which is great for music lovers.  It’s disappointing that they couldn’t combine those features in the new flagship.

Is It Worth The Money? – You can order the LG G6 from Verizon for $672,  AT&T has it for $720.  The Samsung Galaxy S8, which has a lot more bells and whistles is $720 at Verizon and $750 at AT&T. Prices on the other carriers vary slightly.  The LG G6 is a solidly designed phone.  It fits comfortably in my relatively small hand, and I enjoy the ability to do most of the functions with one hand.  The addition of Google Assistant gives the G6 some added functionality, while the Bixby voice assistant from Samsung is still unproven.  My recommendation – do a side by side comparison of the two phones before you buy.

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Gary is an award-winning journalist who has been covering technology since IBM introduced its first personal computer in 1981. Beginning at NBC News, then at ABC News, Ziff Davis, CNN, and Fox Business Network. Kaye has a history of “firsts”. He was the first to bring a network television crew to the Comdex Computer Show, the first technology producer on ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, the first to produce live coverage of the Solar Power International Conference, and the creator of the Fox Business Network signature series, “Three Days In The Valley”. Along the way he created the History Channel Multimedia Classroom. He has been a contributor to both AARP’s website and to AARP radio, as well as to a handful of other print and web-based publications where he specializes in issues involving boomers/seniors and technology. He has been a featured speaker and moderator at industry events such as the Silvers Summit and Lifelong Tech Conferences at CES, the M-Enabling Health Summit, and the What’s Next Baby Boomer Business Summit. His column, “Technology Through Our Eyes” appears in half a dozen newspapers and websites across the country.

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