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It’s been a while since a smartphone created this much hype and excitement. With the G4, LG has managed to do just that. LG has built on the strengths of the innovative G2 and G3, so you can expect the same unique design (with rear controls), outstanding camera and great battery life.

While our review model had only the metallic back, one of the big selling points of the G4 is its gorgeous handcrafted leather back. It comes in black or tan, and you get both backs so you can swap between them to match your mood.

I’ve been a fan of the ergonomic design of the previous generation models, so the G4 is no different. The 5.5-inch screen fits into a 138.8mm body and while it’s still a large phone, it isn’t uncomfortable to hold with one hand. It is unique in that the only controls for the handset are situated at the back. LG felt that this was the most natural position for the power button, nestled between the volume up and down keys. It took me a while to adjust to, but I’ve since set volume down key to take photos (double press).

This design also brought about another feature called 'Knock On', which I admit, had me attempting this on my personal handset. It allows you to wake the phone by tapping the screen twice. You can then unlock your handset with a Knock Code by tapping the screen a few times. If numbers impress you, there are a possible 86 367 unique combinations of between two to eight taps. If ‘knocking’ isn’t your thing, you can set a PIN, password or draw pattern to unlock the handset.

Crisp display

If this is important to you, the G4 is one of the only major smartphones with a removable – and thus replaceable – battery. It also has an expandable microSD slot up to 2TB, to complement the 32GB on-board memory.

The 5.5-inch QHD display has a resolution of 2560x1440 pixels with 538ppi. Colours appear bright, text crisp, and you won’t struggle using it outside, in direct sunlight. While I was indoors or sufficiently lit spaces, I always brought the screen brightness level down to prolong my battery life.

Latest processor

The G4 runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop, with an expected LG overlay. If you want to change the theme, you have to download new ones; something I’ve not had success in doing, despite creating an LG account. It has a fair amount of apps preloaded to get you going. I also like tweaking the notifications panel by removing unnecessary shortcuts and keeping what’s relevant, sorted by most frequently used.

Amazing camera

And now, for the most exciting aspect of the G4: the camera. The 16MP main camera has an f/1.8 low-light lens, optical image stabilisation, laser autofocus, and manual mode. The camera app has been revamped, giving users (pro photographers and amateurs alike) three main options: simple, auto and manual. While auto lets you switch between dual and panorama, manual mode is what’s going to keep you coming back for more.

The manual settings let you adjust ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and focus, which LG claims are ‘typically reserved for DSLR cameras’. You are guaranteed to have fun playing around with this mode, all while looking for more subjects to photograph. You can also shoot images in RAW, so you don’t lose quality and can edit from a PC later. The camera supports 4K video capture.

Say goodbye to pixelated selfies with an 8MP front-facing camera. Even at night, photos don’t have noise, something you see in almost every other camera. As gimmicky as Gesture Shot is, I found it useful at times.

The G4 is a great all-rounder, with standout features like a good screen, an amazing camera, battery life, but also there’s a removable battery.

Available from Vodacom

The LG G4 will be available in store and online from 19 June. 

The device is available for R9 649, as well as on a range of contracts including the Vodacom Smart S for R469 per month for 24 months. 

The device comes with a 32GB micro SD card in the handset box, as well as an LG battery pack.

Colours

  • G4 Black Leather + additional Violet Black Brushed Metal Cover in box
  • G4 Brown Leather + additional Gold Brushed Metal Cover in box
Specifications
Size: 5.5-inch IPS Quantum Display
Resolution: 2560x1440 (Quad HD); 538ppi
Platform: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
CPU: 1.8GHz 64-bit Hexa-core
Memory: 32GB (expandable up to 2TB via microSD); 3GB RAM
Camera: 16MP main (OIS 2.0) and 4K video recording; 8MP front
Battery: 3000mAh (removable)
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS, USB

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