In a joint event between London and New York, LG has lifted the veil on the next iteration of its high-end smartphone, the G4. The G3's designs largely borrows from the G3 and iterates on it with a new slightly curved screen and optional leather back covers. The camera seems to be LG's core focus for this device, and we'll get back on those details in just a bit.

The G4 will be the first device to officially use the Snapdragon 808, Qualcomm’s MSM8992 big.LITTLE SoC arrangement that uses two ARM A57 cores in one cluster clocked in at 1.82GHz and four ARM A53s at 1.44GHz in the other. The GPU also uses a lower end Adreno 418 clocked in at 600MHz. Qualcomm avoided LPDDR4 in the S808, and thus remaines a LPDDR3 piece likely running at up to 933MHz.

While we're not too concerned with the resulting CPU performance and loss of two big cores, and slight frequency loss of the Snapdragon 808, it's the GPU which should see higher impact as 3D performance suffers a tad compared to the Snapdragon 810's Adreno 430. In our preliminary tests with the demo device, we see GFXBench Manhattan offscreen go down from 22.7fps to 15fps and T-Rex from 49fps down to 35fps when comparing the G4 to the HTC M9, which sports a FHD screen as opposed ot the QHD one we find in the LG device.

The detailed specification lists shows the iterative improvements over the G3, launched last year:




SoC MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801
4x Krait 400 @ 2.5 GHz
MSM8992 Snapdragon 808
2xA57 @ 1.82GHz
4xA53 @ 1.44GHz
GPU Adreno 330 @ 578MHz Adreno 418 @ 600MHz
+ microSD
32GB NAND (eMMC 5.0)
+ microSD
Display 5.5-inch 2560x1440 IPS LCD 5.5-inch 2560x1440 IPS LCD
Network 2G / 3G / 4G
Qualcomm MDM9x25
UE Category 4 LTE
2G / 3G / 4G
Qualcomm X10 (Integrated)
UE Category 9 LTE
Dimensions 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
149 grams
148.9 x 76.1 x 6.3 - 9.8 mm
155 grams
Camera 13MP rear camera, 1.12 µm pixels, 1/3.06" CMOS size,
F/2.4. 2-axis OIS

2.1MP F/2.0 FFC
16MP Sony IMX234 rear camera,
1.12µm pixels, 1/2.6" CMOS size
F/1.8, 3-axis OIS

8MP Toshiba T4KA3 FFC
Battery 3000 mAh (11.4 Wh) replaceable 3000 mAh (11.4 Wh) replaceable
OS Android 4.4.2 with LG UI Android 5.1 with LGUX 4.0
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, MHL, DLNA, NFC 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.0
SIM Size MicroSIM NanoSIM

The screen size and resolution stay constant at 5.5" and QHD, but the device has an angular element to it, similar to the LG G Flex 2 but not as pronounced: The screen is touted to be a new generation IPS Quantum display. It looks like LG is claiming 20% gamut increase. The display has  50% increased contrast over the G3, achieving a total of 1500:1 contrast ratio. The G4 reintroduces Panel Self Refresh which was unfortunately missing from the G3, and this should vastly improve battery life over its predecessor.

The screen has a 3000mm radius curve throughout the phone's design that LG markets as "Slim Arc" design.

The phone comes in several different plastic and leather cover options. These are high-quality hand-produced genuine leather products. The plastic version sports a diamond pattern mimicking a metallic look. This also means the G4 is slightly bigger and heavier than the G3 as it comes at a increased 155g. The removable battery of the G4 remains similar to the G3 at 3000 mAh, and the SIM moves to the nano-size. The microSD slot remains an option for the G4.

The G4 gets a camera update, moving from a 13MP to a 16MP design that migrates from an F/2.4 to F/1.8, allowing for potentially better performance. We find a Sony IMX234 sensor, a unit we haven't yet seen used in any other devices. LG were keen to point the F/1.8 over Samsung’s F/1.9 on the latest Galaxy S6. The new OIS system dubbed "OIS 2.0" now offers a 3-axis gyroscope instead of the traditional 2-axis implementations in all current OIS devices. Another first is the implementation of a colour spectrum sensor next to the flash unit, and is able to read RGB and infrared light. LG is able to vastly improve white-balance and also increase clarity for more natural pictures.

The phone now also offers full manual control, with customizable ISO, exposure, shutter speed and white balance among other things. RAW format capture is also supported. Double clicking on the rear buttons already takes a picture within a second, LG is here taking another stab at Samsung's S6 as it only is able to open the camera app in the same time.

The front camera has been boosted to a 8MP Toshiba T4KA3 sensor and sports an improved gesture shot triggering function.

The volume rocker on the rear changes slightly, moving to a flatter central piece. The flash element of the camera in this area is a dual LED design, and we also find the microphone grille at the bottom. One of the elements LG seems to be pushing with the G4 is the design of the back cover, allowing for a replaceable leather rear while retaining the front facia that exhibits a faux carbon-fibre effect of sorts.

The device should be available this week in major markets. We’re currently waiting in line to get some hands-on time with the device, and hopefully on the list to get a sample to follow up from the LG G3 review.

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  • ZoiloM - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    Not necessarily a tough sell. As a spec-head, I can understand their reasoning for dropping down to the 808 to favor more stable performance rather than trying to find a way to deal with the overheating issues on the 810. Better GPU with the same screen size & HD resolution will definitely make sure the graphics can keep up with the additional processing power. Yes, they focused on the camera quality, which definitely opens up the market for those looking to have a good quality camera with their phone, but for your average user, all they care about is if the phone can do what they want it to do without slowing down or freezing up. I'm hoping the UX 4.0 allows you to control the use of cores like the original Optimus did, but it's not a dealbreaker. Now, for the average consumer, the G4 would be one of the best options. There are people who are looking for alternative options from Samsung & iPhone. I will be getting this phone when it's available in about a month or so.
    As far as the leather design, it's not the only option for the backing, so there's no real reason why that specific feature would turn away buyers. You have the option for the more conventional styles for backing with a few color/style options.
  • watzupken - Monday, May 4, 2015 - link

    Compared to the Exynos 7420 and the SD 810, I don't believe the SD 808 will be any slower in real life usage. A lot of these reviews focuses on benchmarks, which for most people out there means nothing. Most applications is unlikely to use more than dual core in the beginning, so Octo core is really just a marketing gimmick. I doubt most users will experience any slow downs, unless there is some software issues or any unknown issues with the hardware itself. I do hope to see a better battery life, but I am sold on the G4 for now. Looking forward to it when it becomes available.
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    Sure.. and if they used SD810 you'd probably complain that it will be a very tough sell because the phone is too power hungry under sustained load on 4 cores.
  • arayoflight - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    Andrei, wasn't LG claiming that the camera sensor is home brewn?
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    Not that I'm aware of?

    We've had confirmation of the IMX234 sensor for several months now.
  • jjj - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    Have you heard anything about the Omnivision 21 and 24MP stacked sensors arriving soon? Curious how they'll do. They were supposed to arrive at about this time.
  • JoshHo - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    The sensor is made by Sony, but almost everything else is made by LG Innotek.
  • arayoflight - Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - link

    So it's just like S6. IMX 240 from S6, but the lens system of their own.

    I have 2 more queries:

    1. Is the sensor 4:3 or 16:9?

    2. Is it a 6-element lens system?
  • djc208 - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    I really like LGs hardware, but their software support has really left me wanting. They seem to be getting better, but at least Samsung has been more reliable with updating the OS on their older phones, even if it is laden with bloat.
    Honestly we've started to crest that rise where increased performance isn't as important as it once was. I have a hard time seeing why I need to replace my original Optimus G other than it's still running Android 4.2.2.
  • geekfool - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    "The new OIS system dubbed "OIS 2.0" now offers a 3-axis gyroscope instead of the traditional 2-axis implementations in all current OIS devices."

    Er... no. Nokia has used 3-axis OIS (roll, yaw and pitch) from the beginning. Is the "Conventional OIS" part meant to refer to LG's own previous phones?

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