LG Flagship Evolution: What Should Change and What Should Stay
LG’s Android-powered smartphones date back to 2009 and since then, they have been consistent in bringing forth new devices with some of the latest specs and software. One of the most successful smartphone series from LG is the “G” series devices.
The first ever “G” series device was the LG’s Optimus G which was announced back in 2012 and since then LG is in quest of finding new methods to up their smartphone business. There have been some radical transformations, however, and LG’s smartphones changed in many ways as they created and subsequently abandoned trends for new features.
A Mix of Tradition and Innovation
Since the Optimus G and the Optimus G Pro, LG wanted to take their smartphone manufacturing to the next level. This made them think completely out of the box to produce a device known as the LG G2 in 2013 — since then, LG has dropped the famous “Optimus” branding on the surface. This was an exciting device on that year due to the different aesthetics that the phone brought to the table: the G2’s sides were button-less, and all the hardware buttons were moved to the back of the device. Such design strategy helped LG to minimize the side bezel size and make a sleeker device overall — one which kickstarted the “bezel-free” trend with an impressive screen-to-body ratio. Something LG G2 owners will happily remember is the fact that this phone packed the amazing Snapdragon 800, and with its sizeable battery, the G2 delivered excellent battery life for its time, only rivaled by juggernauts like the Note 3.
To top the G2, LG had to produce a device which met new consumer expectations, and the G3 did just that. It had a premium albeit fake brushed-metal look, removable battery, expandable storage, a beastly camera with Laser Auto-focus, a 2K display, wireless charging, a somewhat slimmer UI, LG Knock code and updated specs — more than enough reasons for consumers to upgrade their G2. Even though there were a few software issues, LG was fast enough to fix them with OTA updates. The G3 made some mistakes, though: first of all, it jumped to a QHD screen too early, as the Snapdragon 801 and its Adreno 330 were simply not strong enough to power the additional pixels. The new screen was not the most efficient, and coupled with the processor, the phone was notorious for overheating and throttling. Finally, the sharpening in the screen made it look worse than the pixel density would otherwise suggest, and LG slightly increased the bezels.
Even though LG devices were mostly on par in the camera department, LG was not satisfied with their main shooter, which led the company to adopt a F 1.8 / 16 MP sensor for the G4. That and additional improvements made for one of the best camera experiences in 2015. The device updated its specs with a faster processor and an improved display with few design changes. The one that caught most people’s attention is the fact that the device still has a removable back and battery with expandable memory up to 2TB, yet it did keep a somewhat-premium design due to its genuine leather back. Things like wireless charging were omitted, but other than that, the G4 offers a compelling package with a good processor, a nice screen, a great camera, and useful (albeit somewhat gimmicky) software features.
When you compare the V10 to its predecessor you cannot see much of a difference except a different back panel, a fingerprint sensor and a bigger display on the front of the device. Other than that, the device sports similar specs as the LG G4 with the notable bump of additional RAM. Nevertheless, the V10 has a small additional screen at the top which is a main selling feature, as it allows for a new way of multitasking and glancing at notifications. The V10, however, finalized the abandonment of the small-bezel tradition LG had going with their flagships, as each iteration saw bigger bezels, and the V10 is particularly large.
What could improve:
All 4 generation of the device has seen improvements and have proved that they are worth an upgrade from the previous generation.
- Even though LG constantly updates their devices with newer hardware and software, they show little love to the battery capacity. From G2-V10, all 4 devices have the same 3,000 mAh battery capacity, which is not weak by any means. However, the G2 was praised for its battery life in ways that its successors were not, and it’s sad to see LG not reclaim that crown when the competition tries to move forward as well.
- Software experience: LG UI is one of the most feature-packed OEM offerings out there, with added features like knock code, etc. But what consumers do not like is the cartoonish feel that it has, and each new release has fans hoping LG makes it more appealing.
- LG’s radical button placement allowed for thinner bezels, yet their devices have been getting worse in this department. The G2 had an exceptional screen-to-body ratio, but the G3 and G4 regressed on that, and the V10 is extremely large in comparison to its direct competition in the phablet segment.
What should stay:
- One of the most beloved features of current LG phones is the ability to remove the back and the battery, which gives the option to carry an additional battery to swap on the go. While other manufacturers are moving away from this option, LG is seemingly sticking with it.
- The addition of expandable memory makes LG’s flagships future proof and cheaper when factoring in the expensive storage upgrades of other OEMs.
- LG’s camera is considered as one of the best in the industry features such as manual mode, and hardware additions like laser auto-focus and OIS+. LG’s camera software has also improved with the V10, which makes the camera package even better for content creators.
- Finally, the buttons at the back of the device make sense and I believe that it should be kept in upcoming flagships as well (unless they come up with a radical new idea).