What strikes me first about the LG G6 smartphone is its tall and narrow display.
Its 5.7-inch screen fills almost the entire front and is surrounded by a slim bezel with just enough space for the front camera at the top and the LG logo at the bottom. This works out to an impressive screen- to-body ratio of over 80 per cent.
My eyes were next drawn to the black border between the display and the bezel, as if the screen had been outlined with a thick black marker.
This border is more obvious on the white and silver models than the black version that I tested. LG says this was done deliberately to make the screen stand out, though it may not be everyone's cup of tea.
Another possibly controversial design element is the curved corners on the G6's display, which seem to be for aesthetic purposes. Unfortunately, early users with a keen eye (or a magnifying glass) have already noted that these curved corners look slightly jagged and are not entirely smooth.
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Unlike the typical 16:9 screens on other phones, the G6's tall and narrow display has an 18:9 aspect ratio (2,880 x 1,440 pixels). Thus, its height is twice that of its width, making the G6 ideal for one-handed use.
More importantly, the phone could distinguish between screen taps from my fingers and contact from my palm most of the time. This palm rejection feature led to fewer accidental taps, which is not always the case with other phones.
Because of its height, it can be difficult to tap the notification shade at the top of the screen. Thankfully, the G6 uses soft keys instead of physical ones.
In the display settings, you can add a fourth Notification button to the default row of Back, Home and Recent keys to easily show your notifications without having to reach the top of the screen.
Apps and videos, however, are usually formatted for the 16:9 aspect ratio. As a result, there are two thin black bars at the sides when running non-optimised apps, like the Alto's Adventure game, in landscape mode.
Netflix, however, has tweaked its app to support the G6's screen. The video streaming service is also bringing its realistic and vibrant HDR (high dynamic range) content to smartphones soon, starting with the G6. Besides supporting the more popular HDR10 standard, the G6 is the first device to support the competing Dolby Vision HDR standard.
Unsurprisingly, the G6 has an excellent LCD screen that looks great from any angle and shows off the more true-to-life quality of HDR videos.
The G6 marks the end of LG's brief flirtation with modular phones. Last year's G5 could be augmented with additional features with the right accessory, but LG's new G6 flagship handset, like many high-end phones, has a unibody metal chassis and a glass back.
The company said that it reverted to a more conventional design because of consumer preferences. Switching to a unibody design also lets LG add water and dust resistance - up to the IP68 standard - to the G6. But you cannot remove its 3,300mAh battery, like you can on its predecessor.
The phone still has a 3.5mm audio jack, as well as a Type-C USB port. The fingerprint sensor, which doubles as the power button, is at the back of the device.
With wide-angle lens on both its front and rear camera, the G6 is able to capture a larger, more expansive area. I found this feature very useful, as the front camera could get every member in a group wefie shot more easily.
LG's camera app also makes good use of the 18:9 aspect ratio. For instance, the wider screen lets it display a camera roll of your recent shots at the side. Enable Square mode for a split-screen option that lets the app do things such as stitching together two photos taken with the front and the rear cameras at the same time into a single image.
As a fan of wireless charging, I was disappointed that LG has made certain features, like wireless charging and hi-fi audio, exclusive to specific regions.
Only the US model will have wireless charging, while the Korean version supports hi-fi audio. LG said it made these choices after researching on what most consumers in a certain market wanted.
The Korean retail model that I tested came with 64GB of storage, with 12GB used by system files. The Singapore model will probably have dual-SIM support, but LG has not divulged the exact configuration for the local model.
Official pricing is also unknown, but the phone is expected to be launched sometime next month.
This article was first published on Mar 15, 2017.
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