What a difference a year makes. Last year, LG stole Sunday — the day of glitzy launches — at Mobile World Congress showing off their new, modular G5. But by Monday afternoon, sentiment had shifted. Once the press had a chance to play with the devices, snapping the modules on and off, reality set in. Who would really do this? Why was the camera module basically just an expensive grip? What were they thinking?
While launching the G6 this week, Juno Cho, President of LG Mobile Entertainment had one simple sentence on the disappointing modular LG G5; “we’re still proud of that effort”. Heartbreaking. Still, we’re always told to “fail fast” in tech, so good on LG for realising its mistakes and moving on so quickly.
The G6 is a gorgeous unit, and one hell of a course correction. It’s sporting the new, tougher Gorilla Glass 5, front and back, with the back panel curved to feel a little more snug in the hand. And the front panel is nearly all screen, so despite it being a 5.7-inch display, it’s comfortable in my Trump-esque hands.
LG call the front panel a FullVision display. It has a unique 18:9 screen aspect ratio, which keeps the phone quite narrow, again helping with reach. In many respects this little mobile screen is better than my TV, supporting 2K images in Dolby Vision and HDR 10.
LG’s skin of Android is a colourful mix of pastels, showing off the new display in subtle ways. It’s a definite improvement over its previous interpretations of Android.
There’s a chamfered edge around the front panel, which gives the phone a high end look and feel, with just a tiny bit of sharpness to the grip. It’s an odd contrast to the rounded edges of the rest of the unit. Everything else is curved, right down to the rounded edges of the display.
The new flagship comes with IP68 water and dust resistance, matching the features of other flagships on the market. Having never dropped my phone in the toilet, I never thought I’d care about water resistance. But it’s allowed me to take snaps of my kid’s first trip to the beach, so now I consider it a “must have”.
The G6 sports a dual lens camera, but unlike Huawei’s P10 or the iPhone 7 Plus, the lens are independent, giving you the option of standard or wide screen shots. You won’t get any of the “fauxkeh”, or fake bokeh of those devices here.
And the G6 is the first phone after Google’s own Pixel to have the new Google assistant built in. I look forward to more handsets being blessed with Google’s assistant in the future.
There’s no word on local pricing, but history tells us to expect the LG G6 to be priced somewhere in between the mid range phones from Motorola et al, while undercutting the flagships from Apple and Samsung. If that’s the case, the LG G6 will be a fantastic deal, as it’s easily one of the best phones on display here in Barcelona.
With Blackberry and Nokia grabbing the headlines, Mobile World Congress in 2017 is fast becoming the year of the comeback. But while those brands have a more dramatic comeback story to tell, LG has the most compelling product. When the hype dies down and we all go home, the G6 is the phone I’m most interested in spending more time with.
The author travelled to MWC in Barcelona as a guest of Huawei.