With the G4, LG hopes to arm people with professional-grade camera features in their phone, as a way of competing better with Samsung and HTC in the premium Android phone race. The G4 also boasts a brighter display, and a new leather-backed look.
The new phone has a 16-megapixel rear camera that features an F1.8 lens aperture. The aperture number refers to the diameter of the lens opening (the larger the diameter of the aperture, the more light reaches the image sensor). The lower that aperture number is, the greater the lens area. The G4’s F1.8 aperture compares favorably to the F2.2 aperture in both the iPhone 6 and the HTC One M9.
A color spectrum sensor recognizes both light and objects. This lets the camera adjust the flash color temperature and light balance — a feature that LG says no other phone cameras have.
In addition to an automatic mode, the G4 adds a manual mode that gives users control of white balance, exposure, and shutter speeds, which other phone makers have been experimenting with this year. LG is also adding a button on the back of the phone called Quick Shot that allows users to take a quick picture with a double tap.
The higher megapixel count and lower aperture number, LG said, will create sharper and brighter images, compared to other phone cameras. The G4 also features an 8-megapixel front-facing “selfie” camera.
LG’s idea is to add professional-grade features to the camera so users can “share your personal experiences exactly as you see it,” said president of LG’s mobile communications business Juno Cho. Photos can be stored in raw format or JPEG form. A microSD port allows for media with larger image file sizes.
LG tries to pump up the “premium” look of the new phones by putting leather on their backs — with six colors to choose from.
The large seam running down the middle of the back is meant to lend the phone a rustic, authentic look. For those who don’t like leather, three plastic-backed phones are available in silver, bronze, and white.
LG has already bragged a lot about the display used on the device. Today the company introduced a display called IPS Quantum display that it says improves color 20 percent, improves brightness 25 percent, and increases contrast 50 percent.
The display, LG says, is 50 percent brighter than those of its competitors. We’ll have to see it up close to be sure of that, and we’ll also be interested to see what all that brightness does to the battery.
This naturally leads to the question of battery life, since the screen uses the most power of any component in the phone. The G4 has a 3,000mAh removable battery that you can swap out rather than recharge. In order to conserve battery power, LG has uses a special graphic RAM feature that puts the CPU to sleep when displaying a still frame.
To make sure the phone doesn’t die on you mid-photo shoot, the G4 will send the user a notice if it sees that an app is drawing a lot of power from the battery.
The new smartphone runs on the Snapdragon 808 chip, not the more powerful Snapdragon 810 that had been rumored to power the device. The 808 runs cooler, which may have been the reason it was chosen.
With this latest phone, LG is eschewing the flat style of smartphone in favor of curved surfaces, a feature which the company said makes the phone more resistant to damage from drops.
LG has increased its tie-up with Google in the G4. The phone comes preloaded with Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets. G4 owners will also get an extra 100 gigabytes of free storage on Google Drive for two years.
Finally, the company announced a partnership with Volkswagen where the user interface of the phone will be mirrored in the car’s front display.
We’re still waiting on a time frame for the phone’s release, though it’s rumored to release on April 29, 2015 — tomorrow. We do know that the G4 will be available on all four national wireless carriers. In the meantime, we’re going to go get hands on with that phone!