Remember the days when an LG phone was nothing to shout about?

You only have to cast your mind back a couple of years, but then the G2 came along, and since then each new LG flagship has been anticipated as a potential demolisher of the very best that Samsung, HTC and Apple have to offer.

So the new G4 arrives with much fanfare and expectation, and it’s certainly dressed to impress in a shell of real, proper, made-from-the-skin-of-dead-animals leather. If that’s not to your taste (or within your budget) there’s a cheaper plastic/ceramic version. And no matter what it’s wearing, the G4 really is the toughest Galaxy S6 challenger in town.

Read more: Interested in Samsung's next superphone? Catch up with all the latest news and rumours in our Galaxy S7 preview

A friend who's dressed in leather

First off, let’s take a look at the bit that has made many an eyebrow raise: that leather back. LG has really maxed-out that leather look by stamping a join and stitching down the middle, getting you legit-feeling contours. Does it feel better than glossy plastic? Absolutely. It’s a bit like a more organic feeling soft-touch finish, and it makes the LG G4 seem a bit more expensive than its predecessor.

When LG’s asking for extra cash for the privilege, you’re entitled to look a little bit deeper, though. First, that seam down the middle is, predictably enough, fake. It’s just stamped into the leather, although the stitching on either side is real enough.

Next, don’t go expecting the LG G4 leather edition to age like a fine leather handbag or the dashboard of some CEO’s luxury automobile. Its resilience is going be to be impaired by the fact that the leather layer has been thinned to within a micrometer of its life.

This is a pretty common process by which normal leather is whittled down to make it thinner for those purposes where chunky stuff just won’t do. Ever tried on one of those ultra-thinline leather jackets? That would have almost certainly had the same treatment. The LG G4’s backplate is actually plastic once again, with what’s best described as an ultra-skinny leather veneer.

Yes, it’s real stuff, but part of what makes leather so rugged, so able to age well, is its malleability and ability to soak up impacts. And LG has stripped a lot of this away by making it quite this thin. Is it worse than plastic or aluminium? Absolutely not, just don’t go expecting miracles. This ain’t the stuff of motorbike duds.

Tech Specs 
Operating System
Android 5.1 with Optimus UI
Screen
5.5-inch IPS Quantum Display with 2560 x 1440 resolution (528ppi)
Processor
Hexa-core Snapdragon 808
RAM
3GB
Storage
32GB (microSD expandable)
Rear Camera
16MP, f/1.8 lens, single-LED flash
Front Camera
8MP
Connectivity
Wi-Fi ac, IR, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 apt-X
Battery
3000mAh
Dimensions
149 x 76 x 9.8mm
Weight
155g
Stuff says... 

LG G4 review

The LG G4 is a treat for camera fans and those who want something that looks and feels that bit different
from
£500
Good Stuff 
Great, versatile camera
Sharp and vivid screen
Leather back feels neat
Packed with smart tech
Bad Stuff 
Disappointing battery life
Not as expensive-feeling as S6 or M9
power
0
screen
0
build
0
apps
0
Camera
0
battery
0
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