Thanks to a slow trickle of info from LG — and a torrent of new details from a leaked microsite — we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the company's biggest smartphone release of 2015 — the LG G4.
The LG G4 is almost upon us. The Korean company has been announcing some of its next flagship's headline features over the past week, and more recently a leaked (and only partially complete) microsite for the phone dropped even more info on us.
Between all the various details emerging online, the G4 is slowly starting to come into focus, and we've brought all the information you need to know — both official and unofficial — into this extensive preview. Join us after the break.
1. Chassis and Build
It's pretty clear by now that the LG G4 will be available with an optional leather back panel, similar to the 2014 Moto X. LG's been teasing the brown leather option in its invites for the G4 launch event, and the recent microsite leak spills the beams on all six leather color variants, as well as three more traditional plastic back panels. From the microsite:
Inspired by artisanal precision, the [G4]'s premium back covers come in metallic gray, ceramic white, shiny gold, and genuine leather. The chic colored versions sport a textural hammered-array pattern while the classic leather option is available in five distinct colors and features an exquisite threaded stitch.
Other images from the same source show a removable back panel, so potentially you'll be able to swap battery doors if you want. For example, it's possible G4 buyers might be able to pick up a cheaper plastic-backed model at launch and then purchase a classier leather rear further down the line.
As for the rest of the phone's design, we're looking at a device closely resembling last year's G3, which is to say it's mostly screen with not a whole lot else going on. Close-ups of the device's front and sides seem to show a reflective pattern surrounding the display, along with what appears to be a plastic trim.
The G4 dimensions listed on the microsite show a device both slightly wider and taller than the G3 (75.3mm wide, up from 74.6mm; 149.1mm tall, up from 146.3mm), while retaining the same 8.9mm thickness. And side-on shots of the G4 reveal an ever so slightly curved display. It's unlikely the device itself is actually flexible like the G Flex 2 — what's more likely is a subtle curve to the front glass, similar to the old Samsung Galaxy Nexus of 2011.
Many of the other specifications listed on the site appear to be placeholders though, so we'd take these exact numbers with a small pinch of salt.
LG has already announced the next-gen display it intends to use in the G4 — an improved 5.5-inch Quad HD (2560x1440) panel. The company's press release goes into more technical detail than the leaked microsite about exactly what is better about this new display. However the promotional blurb does reveal a couple of interesting details, starting with the brand name for this type of screen: Quantum IPS Display.
The 5.5" QHD screen utilizes an IPS Quantum Display to deliver brilliant, crisp images rich and authentic in color. Remarkably energy efficient, the screen is also easily visible even in bright light.
And sure enough, LG's presser describes what display buffs will know as Quantum Dot technology:
The high color gamut LED technology provides more accurate colors in red and green by combining a blue LED chip with red and green phosphors instead of combining the blue LED chip with a yellow phosphor used in conventional LED backlights. LG Display has achieved a 20 percent improvement in color gamut with this technology.
Other notables on the G4's display include:
- "More accurate colors with a 120 percent [of S-RGB] color gamut"
- "50 percent higher [contrast ratio] than conventional QHD LCD panels"
- "Brightness has increased by 30 percent without any increase in power consumption"
- "In-cell Touch" technology — "instead of placing the touch panel on top of the LCD, the touch sensor is embedded within the LCD" for improved touch sensitivity.
- Reduced light leakage: "photo-alignment technology uses UV light to form a liquid crystal alignment layer in the display panel, which helps achieve a higher contrast ratio by aligning the liquid crystals evenly to reduce light leakage."
Bottom line: expect a much brighter, better-looking display than the G3. And thanks to the new panel's ability to go brighter without using any more juice than before, the G4's panel shouldn't be as much of a battery suck as last year's first-generation QHD LCD.
3. Battery and charging
There's not a whole lot of information on the LG G4's battery contained on the leaked microsite, however we are shown the basics: a 3,000mAh removable battery, along with wireless charging support, likely through the Qi charging standard.
The accessories page of the microsite showed the G4 being used with the company's existing Qi chargers.
The battery isn't any bigger than the G3's, but some of the the G4's key components should be more power-efficient.
While many of the hardware specs listed on the microsite appear to be placeholders, the battery information is a safe bet. The image above, taken from that site, clearly shows a 3,000mAh removable battery, along with telltale contacts for wireless charging under the battery door. Last year's LG G3 also supported wireless charging out of the box, but only in some countries — notable exceptions included the U.S. and Korea.
So while LG's not going any bigger on battery capacity this year, it might instead rely on the more energy-efficient screen — and perhaps a less power-hungry CPU — to help the G4 last longer between charges than its predecessor.
The microsite doesn't make any mention of quick charging, but given that LG's already including this in the G Flex 2, there's a very good chance we'll find it in the G4 as well.
The LG G3's camera was one of its standout features. And based on information from LG's own press releases, as well as the leaked microsite, the G4 could follow up with another strong performance in this area. The company has officially announced some of the technology behind the G4's camera, revealing a 16-megapixel unit with f/1.8 aperture — meaning higher-resolution shots than the G3, and a lens which captures 80 percent more light than that phone's rear shooter. From LG Innotek's press release:
The advanced design of the camera module means that it receives 80 percent more light than in the highly praised camera found on the LG G3. More light means better looking images in low light environments and less blur when shooting action and fast moving objects.
Furthermore, in response to the explosive growth of selfies, LG Innotek developed an 8MP front-facing camera module, its highest resolution for a front camera to date. This high resolution module's ultra-thin IR filter keeps infrared light from entering the camera lens, giving images taken with the front camera more natural and accurate colors.
Say hello to RAW support and a host of manual shooting modes
And the leaked microsite gives us a bit more information on what this 16-megapixel shooter will actually be like to use. The site boasts the "world's fastest autofocus," (likely thanks to LG's laser AF technology) and a redesigned camera app that gives photographers more information than before, and even more shooting options — including RAW support.
The shot of the G4's manual shooting mode shows several features which should have photographers salivating:
- On-screen histogram and white balance reading
- RAW + JPG shooting mode
- Manual focus slider
- Manual EV, ISO and shutter speed controls
- Auto-exposure lock button
- Slow synch flash mode for using the flash with longer exposures — useful for capturing background detail in night shots
For the rest of us, LG's simplified auto shooting mode looks just as it did on the G3. And if you happen to own a smartphone-compatible tripod, the G4 offers a "light trail effect" mode to take longer exposures.
5. Internal hardware + specs
Between LG's individual component announcements and the leaked microsite, we already know a lot about some of the phone's most important hardware specs, but there's less info available when it comes to the chip powering the device. The specs page on the leaked microsite shows placeholder information, most likely from the G3, so there's not much to go on there.
Fear not, the microSD slot hasn't gone anywhere.
The best info available is pretty sketchy: hardware info from a benchmarking app, of a phone with the model number LG-F500. The F500's hardware lines up with what we know of the G4, and it's powered by a six-core Snapdragon 808 CPU with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The 808 offers less raw power than Qualcomm's flagship 810, using a combination of two high-power Cortex-A57 cores and four low-power A53s. (Snapdragon 810 uses four A57s and four A53s). However the presence of fewer power-hungry A57s might be easier on the G4's battery. (We certainly hope so, given the relatively poor battery life of the G Flex 2.)
What we can say with relative certainty however, is that LG's sticking with removable storage for its 2015 flagship. An image of the phone with its battery door removed clearly shows a microSD slot atop the SIM slot.
LG UX 4.0 was one of the first parts of the G4 to be pre-announced by the manufacturer. An official teaser video shows off features including a redesigned Smart Bulletin panel with extra cards, including TV remote capabilities, a music widget and health tracking features. Smart Bulletin was somewhat underused on the G3 — the new implementation seems a bit closer to iOS's widget panel, with much more stuff going on.
Smart Notice, LG's predictive widget, has also been upgraded with new cards and more personal recommendations. The gallery app now groups collections of photos into "Memories." And the Calendar app has been upgraded with drag-and-drop capabilities.
From the leaked microsite:
Smart Notice 2.0
Receive personalized recommendations that make life simpler and more productive. You can also create action formulas to automate routine tasks and conveniently discover all of the [G4's] features with Smart FAQ.
Super Fast Gallery
Conveniently organize photos based on time and location and receive reminders to look back on fond moments. Browsing the gallery is also faster than ever with a completely redesigned interface and a search-by-date function.
Easily drag and drop events right into the calendar and have Event Pockets provide suggestions for venues and things to do based on the information provided.
... That's in addition to a light visual refresh that focuses on lighter, more vivid colors, in keeping with Google's Material Design. It's not a drastic departure from the G3's software experience, but at least it'll be a familiar experience for owners of that phone.
7. Accessories and more
Finally, the leaked G4 microsite reveals the usual assortment of accessories for the upcoming flagship. LG's promoting its smartwatches, including the LG Watch Urbane, as well as wireless chargers and its trademark QuickCircle cases.
So that's everything we know about LG's next flagship smartphone right now. While there's a lot of information out there, it's worth taking things with a pinch of salt until the official announcement. That's set to come on April 28, when the G4 will be announced at an event in New York City.
What do you think of the LG G4 so far? Will you be picking one up? Join the discussion in the comments, and the Android Central LG G4 forums!
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