The display is more movie-optimized than ever
At first glance, you might not see the improvements that LG made with the G4’s display. It’s the same size (5.5-inch) and same resolution (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) as the G3. But once you turn it on, you’ll see what the new IPS Quantum technology brings to the table. What you get is more contrast, warmer and more accurate colors and wider viewing angles—ideal when you’re watching a YouTube™ video with two or more people.
In fact, the display renders 98 percent of the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) color spectrum, which means it shows nearly every color standardized by Hollywood filmmakers (who started the DCI in 2002 to help standardize digital cinema standards). No other phone comes close. The result is a screen that shows spectacular scenes, like the ice planet in Interstellar or big battle scene in Guardians of the Galaxy, in surprising detail, especially for a screen that fits in your hand.
The camera lets anyone shoot like a pro, no matter where they are
There was no shame in the G3’s camera game, but that didn’t stop LG from upping its rear-facing camera from 13 MP to 16 MP on the G4. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) is still around, but an additional third-axis sensor provides even better stabilization—letting you capture even smoother video when you’re bouncing around at a concert. You’ll also be taking selfies in full HD quality, thanks to the front-facing 8 MP camera.
The G4’s camera also sports a wider f/1.8 lens aperture that lets in more light than its predecessor. Where you’ll really notice the difference is in low-light situations, where the G4 will catch all the detail of your dog napping by a bay window as the sun sets, enabling you to actually recognize Rover instead of seeing an indiscernible blob.
A new Manual mode lets you tweak settings like ISO, white balance and shutter speed, giving you a more DSLR-like shooting experience. And the RAW image capture mode gives you more post-snap editing options.
Ceramic backs turns heads
There’s nothing wrong with the G3’s faux metal plastic shell. It’s tough, light and easy on the eyes. In fact, one version of the G4 is very similar. But there’s the operative word: “version.” With the G4 you get options. Sexy, sophisticated, and attractive options. Like genuine leather backs with German stitching in a variety of colors: metallic gray, ceramic white (a Verizon exclusive) and genuine leather black.
The software and specs are state of the art
The LG G3 is running an iteration of the newest version of the Android, Lollipop. The G4 comes out of the box with a slightly newer version of Google’s much-heralded operating system (OS).
Much of the talk has centered around its incorporation of Material Design, which offers a cleaner, more logical interface. It’s easy to switch between browser tabs and your email, and you can act on alerts to incoming calls and messages without jumping out of the app you’re in. Some critics maintain it’s the best Android OS so far and a major breakthrough for the mobile platform.
Spec talk sometimes doesn’t mean a lot. Numbers—like a Qualcomm 64-bit, hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor and 3GB of RAM—sound fancy, but what does it mean? For one, it means the G4 is equipped to perform like a 2015 flagship phone should. The G4 lets you split your screen to do two things at once, and for some devices, that would create lag. The G4 is having none of that, letting you watch movie trailers while reading emails with nary a glitch in sight.
The best of the G3 is still there
Some things about the G3 were better left alone, like the previously discussed screen size. A 5.5-inch-screened device just feels right in the hand. You can still double tap the screen to wake it and secure your device with Knock Code™, a feature that lets you tap customizable locations on the display to create a unique code.
Two more major features that Android lovers crave remain: a SD card slot and removable battery. That means up to 200 GB of removable storage and the option to swap out a fresh battery should you find a way to run down the phone’s 3,000 mAh power pack.
LG’s newest flagship stands tall among the Android pack, with the features to make it one of the best phones of 2015—and beyond.