The LG G6 is one of the most exciting phones of the year, and a good introduction to flagship season 2017! Should you buy it or wait for the Galaxy S8?

It's April 7, and that means the LG G6 is now available to buy in the U.S. and Canada (though carriers have been shipping them to some lucky pre-orderers for a couple of weeks now). Choosing to buy a new phone is a tough decision, but choosing to buy the LG G6 when the Samsung Galaxy S8 is on the horizon — it comes out in two weeks — makes the choice that much harder.

If you're in the market for a new phone, and are considering the LG G6, here are some things you need to know.

It's got a big screen, but feels really compact

The LG G6 is the first of likely many phones with a non-standard screen aspect ratio. Specifically, its 2:1 (or 18:9, for a more standard comparison) screen makes it considerably taller than most phones out there today, but coupled with the near-elimination of bezels around the bright, beautiful IPS display, it's one hand-friendly.

The screen really is beautiful. Contrast is great for an IPS display, an area where Samsung's AMOLED panels traditionally take the lead, and colors are punchy and accurate. Indeed, LG's 2880x1440 pixel screen is Dolby Vision HDR certified, as well as HDR 10 certified, two competing standards that, with the help of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu and others will make it much more pleasant to watch video content on a relatively small phone screen.

How the LG G6 was made

It's got wireless charging, but only in the U.S. and Canada

For some reason, LG decided to keep one of its best features, wireless charging, limited to the North American market. It's not a huge deal — most people rely on Quick Charge wired charging through the USB-C port — but it's strange nonetheless. Still, the phone's 3,300mAh battery may need a top-up, wired or wireless, once or twice throughout the day, as we've found the phone to have less-than-stellar uptime compared to phones like the Pixel XL.

These LG G6 features are limited to some regions

Its two cameras are wonderful and creative

Like the G5 and V20, the LG G6 has two cameras on the back, each 13MP in resolution but with differing focal lengths that transition seamlessly using toggles in the simple-yet-powerful camera app.

We've spent some time playing with G6's optics, and while the regular, optically-stabilized is great indoors and out, it's the wide-angle sensor that we've grown to love, especially when taking landscape photos that capture the whole field of view.

LG's also got some really fun camera modes that take advantage of its symmetrical screen, which can be divided into two perfect squares. You may not want to use the word 'twofie', but the phone can take two square photos at the same time using the front and back cameras.

Only the Korean unit gets the Quad DAC

One of our favorite features from the LG V20, the Quad DAC that makes music incredibly inviting, full and sonorous, is not coming to the North American or European models of the G6. Citing higher costs, LG says that there just isn't a big market for audiophile components in smartphones — but that doesn't exactly assuage our frustrations.

Get a microSD card, because the storage won't last

Another strange decision, especially in light of the Galaxy S8 coming with 64GB of storage by default — the North American and European LG G6 only comes with 32GB of internal storage, with no option to buy a higher-capacity model. Sure, 32GB should be fine for most people, but it won't last forever, which is why we recommend you buy a big, spacious microSD card for it.

Don't buy an LG G6 without a microSD card

The launcher is still pretty terrible

We like the software on the G6 — it's LG's most restrained take on Android to date, and there's very little to complain about. But the launcher, which eschews the app drawer and adds ugly borders around all homescreen icons, is pretty bad.

Our recommendation? Download Nova Launcher, Action Launcher, Evie Launcher, or something that resembles the opposite of whatever LG is thinking.

Those colors are gorgeous

Black or platinum — doesn't matter. Both colors are really, really nice, and they shimmer and reflect light in their own unique ways. I haven't been a big fan of the generic silver that seems to ship with every phone these days, but LG's take on it, called Platinum, is really something else altogether. And then there's the shiny, fingerprint-friendly black color, which I've been using. I love it; as long as you keep it clean, it's one of the crispest-looking phones I've ever had in my pocket.

There's also a white variant, but it's not coming to the U.S.

Which color LG G6 should you buy?

It's a really solid phone

Honestly, the LG G6 doesn't do anything badly. It's well-designed, gorgeously-engineered, and comes off as a mature, reliable piece of equipment. As MrMobile said in his review, it wears its chunkiness on its sleeve, not trying to hide its metal frame with sloping glass. As a result, it may feel a bit squat next to the Galaxy S8, but I've grown to really love that solidity, both in my hand and my pocket.

donm527
04-02-2017 12:07 PM

The LG G6 has clean strong lines and thick frame leans on the industrial side. Bezels down to a minimum and screen framed with the right amount of chin. Silver has a business classy look to me while the murdered out black reminds me of my LG G2 days and very nice too. You say the S8 UI looks clean but can't understand how you can say that compared to the G6. The G6 would be closer to stock...

Reply

It's waterproof, drop-resistant, and covered in glass, just like the Galaxy S8. And while it lacks this year's Snapdragon 835 platform, I've yet to worry about its performance, since the Snapdragon 821 — which powers the Pixel and Pixel XL — is still so good, and feels so new.

The bottom-firing speaker is good, the headphone quality is great, as is the call quality and LTE reception. I had some trouble connecting to one particular LG Bluetooth speaker, and the Bluetooth volume was unexpectedly low on another speaker, but that's the extent of the bugs I've found so far.

It's around $100 cheaper than the Galaxy S8

So here we come to the final decision. At between $650 and $700, depending on the carrier, the LG G6 is around $100 cheaper than the Galaxy S8. That's a lot of money to save on a phone that's better in some ways (it's much easier to pick up off a table, and the fingerprint sensor placement is so much better) and nearly as good in others.

If you've made up your mind, you can learn everything you need to know about the phone in our forums!

Then you can figure out which carrier to buy it from.

Where to buy the LG G6 in the U.S.