The LG G4 made its official debut this week, and the company is clearly looking to drag some attention away from the Samsung Galaxy S6.
If the handset's design is anything to go by, it might just manage to do that. The smartphone has a real leather rear (and a plastic version for those not too keen on the idea of cow skin).
The G4 also matches the Galaxy S6 when it comes to display quality with a 5.5in QHD screen, although it falls short in the processor department with a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 chip.
The LG G4 will be made available with a durable leather rear, and LG confirmed on Monday that this will be the real deal.
The Galaxy Note 4-like model, which won't be to everybody's taste, feels impressively luxurious in the hand. It's easy to grip yet soft to touch, and feels like it could withstand a few scrapes.
The LG G4 will also be made available in three 'ceramic' versions, which we later found out are five percent ceramic and 95 percent plastic. The diamond pattern on the rear gives the model a unique (and deceivingly high-end) look, but this version doesn't feel quite so premium or as sturdy.
LG has yet to reveal pricing details, although retailer Unlocked Mobiles claims the plastic model will be £30 cheaper than its leather-clad sibling.
The LG G4 measures 9.9mm thick, 1mm thicker than last year's LG G3. It does feel fairly large in the hand, but it doesn't feel quite as awkward to hold as the Nexus 6, for example. This is largely thanks to its "natural arc", which means that the handset is slightly curved so that it sits more neatly in the palm of the hand.
Much like the LG G3, the G4 comes with its physical keys stuck to the rear, which we found quite difficult to reach given the large size of the handset.
The LG G4 features the same screen as its predecessor, a 5.5in 2560x1440 QHD offering with a pixel density of 538ppi. However, LG said that it's the first to use a Quantum IPS display, which should provide better colour accuracy and outdoor visibility.
LG's claims rang true during our hands-on time with the handset. The G4's display made the one on our iPhone 6, for example, look somewhat lacking by comparison, offering punchier colours, impressive contrast levels and excellent viewing angles.
The display also proved much easier to read in bright sunlight, which can't be said for the Galaxy S6.
Just as speculation had suggested ahead of its unveiling, the LG G4 doesn't pack Qualcomm's highest-spec Snapdragon 810 processor, and instead opts for the hexa-core Snapdragon 808 chip.
This is backed by 3GB RAM, and equips the handset with support for LTE-A 4G speeds of up to 450Mbps.
The use of a Snapdragon 808 chip might disappoint some, but we noticed no problems with performance during our time with the LG G4. It felt just as nippy as the likes of the Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9, and we struggled to slow it down no matter how much we threw at it.
LG claims that the Snapdragon 808 chip should make for better power efficiency too, and the 3,000mAh battery is quoted as offering 14 hours of talk time. We've yet to put this fully to the test, but will do so in our full review.
LG's UX 4.0 interface debuts on the LG G4, which sits on top of the smartphone's Android 5.1 Lollipop software. The firm claims to have made things simpler with its latest custom skin. It's largely similar to the UI on the LG G3, but does feel a little more stripped back and minimalistic.
Despite the handset's more basic UI, LG has stuffed the G4 full of additional features, such as Smart Notice and Smart Stay, both found on last year's model.
There are a few new additions, though. A Gallery app, for example, looks eerily similar to the Photos app that debuted in iOS 8, and a feature called Event Pocket allows you to to drag and drop items like photos into the calendar.
New photography tools have also been added in LG UX 4.0, including a set of manual camera settings. There's also a feature called Quick Shot that means you can double tap the volume down button twice to take a photo, even when the screen is switched off. Again, given the placement of the button, we found this quite tricky to do one handed.
LG has also mentioned its collaborative efforts with Google, which has seen a number of the search company's apps pre-loaded on the LG G4, along with the added bonus of 100GB Google Drive storage for two years.
LG claims that the G4's camera credentials make it the most advanced smartphone camera available.
The LG G4 packs a 16MP f/1.8 camera with laser autofocus, Optical Image Stabilisation and a 40 percent larger sensor than that found on the LG G3. There's also a 'colour spectrum sensor', which the firm claims will make images look more natural and balanced.
These are some pretty big claims from LG and we've yet to put the camera fully through its paces. On first impressions, however, it's extremely impressive, snapping images quicker than rival devices, and offering images full of colour and detail.
The LG G4 is also capable of shooting in JPEG and RAW, and LG claims that the handset could replace a dedicated camera.
If any Android smartphone has what it takes to give the Galaxy S6 a run for its money, it's the LG G4.
We'll reserve judgement until we give it the full review treatment, but the high-quality screen and impressive camera should have Samsung worried.
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