Initial LG G4 thoughts

So... I've been a believer in LG for some time now.  I remember the early days of Android and LG really wasn't quite there.  There were a few 'not so great hits', and HTC was pretty awesome, Sony was making Xperia Plays... it was cool times.

Then we heard that Google was going to go with LG for their next Nexus.  It seemed out of left field.  But I was amazed... even more so when the G2 came out and it was to be the Nexus 5.  My big take away was that "if this is what LG is now, we're in for something good".

Ever since I've been a fan of the LG brand.

LG G2 G3 G4
what's not shown is my Nexus 4
I should probably buy it back to have the family
Unfortunately they're pretty small market wise on this side of the ocean, which I don't get.

The G3 was a nice upgrade from the G2 and I really wondered what they'd do with the G4 to make it better.

Well, they did (hit the link to see what some of the announced improvements are).  Luckily enough I have been able to get my hands on a G4 to test for a month.  And I had a call with the LG team to discuss the phone and what I should try out on it.  I thought it the perfect time to give you some of my initial thoughts thus far and some of the bits of info I got from yesterday's call.

Okay, with the phone call here's some of the things I learned from Eunice at LG.  (I recapped some of these on a g+ post)

  • There's no set date for the release to the public - just some time mid-June
  • There's no set price for the device as the carriers set that (tho' I had to sign for the phone at a value of $699)
  • No comment on PMA/Qi compatibility (the back still has 4 pins but the backing only has contacts for 2)
  • There will be a CircleCase available in Canada for the G4 (we somehow missed out on the G3)
  • When asked, they did say that the Snapdragon 808 was going to be compatible with QuickCharge, but didn't indicate how/when (i.e. is it a firmware update that'll be needed)
  • Speaking of the 808 - it was THOROUGHLY tested with focus groups to see if there was a perceived difference between the 810 and the 808; and the difference was negligible.  This allowed them then to focus on improving other parts (i.e. the camera and the display)
  • Canadians will get both the Black Leather back and the grey plastic/metal back in the box of the device so you can choose (we won't be getting the ceramic nor the other colours of leather tho')

I think that was all the questions I had them answer - if you have others I can ask them at a later date.

For my month usage I have specific challenges to do, so look for me doing some weird postings and I'd really like your input and thoughts.

Now, on to my thoughts.

First up... the phone has a little more 'substance' to it over the G3.  The G3 feels light and slim.  The G4 has a little more 'hand hold' to it due the backing, plus the bezels are ever so slightly bigger than the G3.

The screen is definitely better with some vibrancy to it.  I do notice however in bright sunlight it is a little more ... well, not washed out, but the gamma is really shot up causing some of the colours to bleed a little more into each other.  But, the upside is you can see it better than I could with the G3.  Covering the screen slightly over the sensor returns the colours to normal.  (it's really visible in games like Ingress where it's a lot of black and then a blue or other colour has a fade on the screen - it looks way bigger than it should)

Performance is about the same in any app, but on the launcher there's a definite sluggish feeling.  Not a lot.  And you really wouldn't notice it at all...but coming from using the Google Now launcher on the G3 and then going to the G4 it's there.  Even the LG Home launcher on the G3 is slightly faster.  This is probably due to the G4 being a little 'smarter'.  There's a few new features like SmartSettings which are essentially 'triggered' events for when you're out or home etc.. to turn on BT or off Wifi.  Plus the SmartNotices are 'smarter', so there's probably a bit more computation going on in the background for all that.

The camera - this is one of the big improvements for the G4; and something MANY of you are really looking forward to.

For the most part it's the same as the previous G3 - I haven't tested low light conditions yet, but I'm sure that's where it'll separate itself from the G3.  Personally I've used the Google Camera all along for my G3; but for the G4 I'll be using their camera app.

There's no fancy '3D feature' like some of the other devices out there (there is panorama), but where this app is better is the manual control.  I have to admit I really like it...

...until I use it.

The issue is mostly me... I assumed that after being a Canon guy forever that if I hit the shutter key that I would be in a "Shutter Priority / Tv" mode... but it's like being in full manual.  Remember the f/1.9 is fixed, so it can't compensate the aperture for a varied shutter.  So watch the exposure reading and if needed you can adjust the ISO as needed.

Using AE-L was also a bit of a mystery at the beginning - having to remember what it's actually used for.  (for those of you who forget, Auto Exposure Lock is for getting your exposure reading on say one object, then lock it in, and then you can recompose the shot and not have it re-read the exposure setting)

In the end I probably don't need these features, but having been a bit of a photo bug back in the day, it's nice to know I CAN.  And having the adjustments in a dial setting just really makes it feel like my manual shooting days.

I love how LG has the 'backup/restore' between 2 LG devices (it can take up to 30 minutes, but all your settings and files will all be sent over to the new phone).

That's pretty much it that I've played with so far.  Anything else you want to know about the phone, let me know... the next 30 days are going to be awesome!

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