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:

 

LG G3

LG G4

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
RAM 3GB LPDDR3 933MHz 3GB LPDDR3 933MHz
NAND 32GB NAND (eMMC 5.0)
+ 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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  • warreo - Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - link

    It would be rather ironic if LG was forced to pay more for the 808 because it's a newer part and not as available as the 810, despite being slower. The price of being one of the "cool" kids... Reply
  • Laxaa - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    It seems like serious camera features are the big deal this year. It's a trend I can get behind. The specs are there, and I'm eager to see some samples(they've ues Colby Brown in their marketing material, so I guess we will see something from him soon)

    The phone is still too big, though. G2's size was perfect and I wish they would stick to that.
    Reply
  • Syklis - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    Do any other manufacturers than Sony make more compact versions of their flagship phones? I'm eagerly awaiting the Z4 Compact, since Z3 Compact had pretty much the same specs as Z3. Reply
  • Laxaa - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    No other than Sony, unfortunately. Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    I'm right there with ya, this looks nice, I actually dig the leather back and between PSR and the 808 (plus a larger capacity battery) this might achieve some of the best battery results this year... But I don't think I can go that large, currently on a N5 and I wouldn't even mind something a little smaller (like the original Moto X). Reply
  • Laxaa - Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - link

    The G2 managed to squeeze in a 5.2" screen in a body simmilar to the iPhone 6, which to me, is the upper size limit. Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - link

    I could go for something that size, it's still pretty close to my N5 and it's 5" (G2 having smaller bezels), but all the current flagships being 5.5"-ish is a turn off, big time. Reply
  • jjj - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    This will be very tough sell.
    The 808 will turn many away, the leather many others, the design overall is a big step back compared to the G3 and even G2.
    It would work as a weird alternative bellow flagships but if this is their flagship for the year, it's not good enough.
    They don't have the Nexus anymore , euro dropping will hurt them so this year might get tough for LG.
    Reply
  • Maxpower2727 - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    The 808 will turn many away in the hard-core spec crowd. It will turn precisely nobody else away, since this phone is targeted towards mainstream consumers. Spec-heads like us are in the overwhelming minority. Reply
  • jjj - Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - link

    Consumers that are clueless will see the number of cores and that's enough to label it as less. Plus the missing cores will be highlighted in any reviews. Reply

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