This is the LG G4. In leather. And while LG can't claim to be the first phone in recent memory to sport cowhide on its hide — the 2014 Moto X also did so, and did it well (and in several color options) — LG is doing things different here, with a swappable leather back for its latest and greatest Android smartphone.
And this is another one of those annoying instances in technology in which pictures really don't do it justice. We're still overcoming the shock of the skeuomorphic era, in which we made things to look like other things. But this, folks, is the real deal.
We've got a pretty good frame of reference here, too, going back to the Moto X. Only you get even more contrast with the G4. Its textured plastic back, while nicely textured, is still plastic. Snap on the leather back — and at the time of this writing LG's let us play with it but didn't give us any details as to when or how it'll be available, and how much it'll cost — and the phone seems to transform into something much more sophisticated.
The LG G4 in leather is the way to go. Period.
The leather looks good. It feels good. It maybe doesn't have that new-cow smell, but that's OK. It definitely gives the G4 a little more grip — or at least a very different grip — than the plastic back. That's in part because of the texture of the leather itself — and it's smooth as only new leather can be — but also because of the stitching that runs down the spine.
This isn't a cheap leather back. And LG is quick to tell you just how much work goes into making these. Two to three months for the tanning process — using a vegetable tanning process takes time — and vegetable tanning is easier on the environment. (While vegetable-tanned leather can, in fact, be recycled, it remains to be seen if that's true for the shell it's adhered to in this case.) And the stitching is Gütermann Mara. (Not being connoisseurs of thread, we'll take the Internet's word that this is a good thing.) And the whole smash will come in several colors — black, brown, red, sky blue, beige and yellow.
As for how the leather and the stitching will hold up, well, we'll just have to see. After more than half a year of hard use, our leather-clad Moto X has done pretty well. Not flawless, but then again it's not supposed to be. Either way, at the outset, LG's got a looker here.