LG has lost some of its mojo since the release of the LG G5 model in 2016, but one has to give LG a lot of credit for taking a stab at some real innovation with the LG G5’s modular form. While great power can come with innovation, it also comes with a great responsibility not to turn away your current fans to impress new buyers. Turning on a dime, LG threw out its LG G5 design altogether, along with their promise that the modules would not become obsolete and would work with future renditions. The new LG G6 is the result of this turnaround, but there is certainly nothing that is innovative or revolutionary about the new design. They did what a football coach always says after a bad game or season – we must return to the basics, and that is exactly what direction LG headed when designing their new G6. The problem with returning to the basics is that it can sometimes result in a predictable and boring design. Did LG go far enough with their new LG G6 to bring back their mojo, bring back faithful customers, or entice new smartphone buyers to jump on board?
The concept of using modules with a smartphone is a splendid idea – just look at the Moto Z series and the Moto Mods that are available for it. But implementation is also critical, and while the Moto Mods ‘snap’ onto the back via magnets, the mods for the LG G5 slid up inside the device and locked in place. Users did not like the looks of the LG G5 with its painted metal design or the thought of their expensive smartphone coming ‘apart’ to accept expensive modules. The LG G5 was a model LG would have simply liked to forget and have buyers concentrate on their new LG V20 until the new LG G6 is finally released for sale at the end of the month. However, will LG’s rush to get the LG G6 out for sale before the new Samsung Galaxy S8 series, turn out to be a winning decision or another dud?
As we said earlier – LG went back to basics and while they came out with a nice, solid device, will it be evolutionary enough to draw the interest needed that will equate to sales? The new LG G6 will certainly excite diehard LG fans, but will those looking to buy a new device turn to the G6 or will they wait for more technically advanced smartphones using the newer Snapdragon 835 processor like the Galaxy S8 series coming out a month later? LG stayed away from the dual curved displays of its biggest competitor that one has to admit while looking great, adds little to its functionality. LG did include tiny bezels that allowed LG to give the 5.7-inch Quad HD display with its unusual 18:9 ratio a size of only 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm and a weight of 163 grams. While the 18:9 ration may become the new standard, very few apps are updated to handle that size, meaning it will be a while before its advantages can be appreciated.
The biggest news or controversy is in the use of 2016’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor rather than using the newer Snapdragon 835 that will come in the Galaxy S8 series. It will pack a robust 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB/64GB of expandable storage, so there are no problems there. With delays in the availability of the Snapdragon 835, it may turn out to be a good thing for the LG G6, but in the long run, it may deter buyers that want the latest and greatest in what could be a 2 or 3-year commitment for most people. One must also realize that while the newer 835 chip does include many improvements over the 821, the manufacturer must incorporate those changes into the design of the smartphone; otherwise, they can sit there dormant on the chip offering no improvements over the prior chipset.
LG changed the construction of all-metal LG G5 to all glass on the LG G6. This allowed LG to include much needed IP68 certification for water and dust resistance and wireless charging, however, in the process they did away one of their prime selling points – its removable battery is now fixed. A trend that is now the norm for smartphones, but still a sore spot of resistance with many users. LG did not include the four DAC configuration of the LG V20 in the US model of the LG G6. All of this leaves us with a well-built smartphone with all of the goodies we look to get in a high-end model with a great display with always-on technology, small bezels, and a dual-camera area that should take great photos. The LG G6 also comes with Hi-Res audio, the newest Bluetooth 4.2, NFC for mobile purchases, a fingerprint sensor for security, wireless charging, Quick Charge 3.0, the reversible Type-C USB port, and a decent 3300mAh battery, albeit non-removable. LG, while an important smartphone manufacturer, never had a ‘hot ticket’ or ‘must have’ mystic surrounding its devices. The LG G5 scared many people away from LG last year, but the LG G6, while not having the latest processor and adding a few quirks, should be enough of a device to get back what mojo it had before the LG G5. Will it be enough to win over previous customers and bring in new ones ?