In the weeks a head, thousands if not millions of buyers in the West will be getting their hands on the LG G4 in both plastic and leather flavors. But with the carriers likely to be getting their claws into the more attractive leather G4 variants, getting it might not be practical to get hold of your first-choice color or texture at launch.
Fortunately the G4's removable back panel means you're free to pick up plastic at launch and upgrade to leather later. That's what we've done with our grey plastic G4, swapping out the bundled polycarbonate rear for black leather.
Unsurprisingly, if you're used to a plastic-clad G4, the leather backs will come as a big change. The texture will vary depending on which color you opt for, but the black leather back we're using feels just a little less secure in the hand than the polycarbonate original. That said, the in-hand feel is significantly improved, and the central stitched seam doesn't stand out quite so much on the black variant.
It's also a tad thicker than the plastic back, which impacts the in-hand feel somewhat. The leather backs stick out a bit more, and you can see there's less difference between the height of the camera protrusion and the surface of the back with the leather option. Similarly, the back buttons are now recessed ever so slightly.
Leather also tends to make the phone wobble a little more when placed on a flat surface, since it's effectively balancing on the stitching. And this also means on uneven surfaces it's more likely to tilt to one side.
Leather is the material a premium phone like the LG G4 deserves
So far we've yet to notice any issues with the joins between plastic and leather, though after such a short time that's not surprising. It's going to take longer than a few days for the leather to wear and age — but at least out of the box there's no sign of trouble.
A quick warning to those considering picking up a leather back on eBay: Most of the aftermarket leather backs currently available are from sellers in South Korea, where the G4 first went on sale. As such, they may well come with Korean carrier branding, as ours did. If that's not what you want, be sure to double-check with the seller before parting with your cash.
Finally, let's talk buttons. As you may have noticed, the G4's back buttons come in three colors: grey, gold and white. So if you're swapping plastic for leather it'll be up to you to pair them accordingly. The good news is black leather goes with basically any of them. Most of the other leather styles look best with the gold buttons. If you're after an official color-matching guide, this promo shot is worth a look.
At the risk of stating the obvious, leather is the material a premium phone like the LG G4 deserves, and thanks to the easy swapability of the back panels, it'll soon be easy for anyone to have it.
If you're picking up an LG G4 in the near future, hit the comments and let us know which color (and material) you're going for! Hit up ShopAndroid.com to learn when new LG G4 accessories become available!