2. LG G4 (£500) ★★★★★
How do you stand out as a phone? LG has tried doing things a bit differently by offering a leather-back version of the G4. Yep, it uses real leather, and comes in a whole rainbow of colours (just like cows, eh?). For a bit less cash there’s a plastic version too.
Aside from this unusual design, the LG G4 has rear buttons instead of side ones, and with a 5.5in screen it’s a bit more cinema-grade than the other phones here. Great for gamers, great for Netflix fans.
As a result, though, we’ve found the battery life to be a bit ropey. You don’t have to try hard to drain it down in a day. For all the bodywork flashiness, it doesn’t feel quite as expensive as the Samsung or HTC rivals either, especially the plastic versions.
So who should buy the LG G4? The larger screen counts for a lot, and while the interface isn’t starlet-pretty, it doesn’t pull any silly moves like the Huawei. And, hurrah, LG hasn’t chopped out the microSD card slot either.
Aside from its tendency to run out of juice pretty quickly, we’ve had a good time with the LG G4. The camera is good too, doing battle with the Galaxy S6 for the title of best camera in town right now. A decent sensor and super-fast lens work wonders every time.
Screen 5.5in 2560 x 1440 LCD (538ppi) > Processor Snapdragon 808 Hexa-core 1.8GHz > Cameras 16MP rear, 8MP front > Storage 32GB (with microSD) > Battery 3000mAh > Dimensions 148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm, 155g
Design - Leather goddess 8/10
Can’t stand a plastic phone? After the plasticky G3, LG has decided to offer a leather-topped G4 and even the plastic version is injected with ceramic for a slightly snazzier feel. To make the leather back, LG thins out a piece of real leather then glues it firmly onto a skinny piece of plastic to keep it firm.
Get down to its core, though, and not all that much has changed. The LG G4 still uses a wafer-thin backplate that doesn’t feel as solid as unibody metal or glass. At least you can replace the battery easily and use a microSD slot, though. As usual for LG, the power and volume buttons sit on the back rather than the sides. It feels weird at first, but works.
Camera - Sharper than cut glass 9/10
In a brutal game of tech top trumps, the LG G4 has a 16MP sensor and f/1.8 lens, just a shade better than the Galaxy S6. Sure enough, it offers slightly better low-light skills. It’s a bit slower, though. Just like last year, the G4 uses lightly contoured volume and power buttons on the back that can also be used to quick-start the camera.
OS and Apps - Sub-optimal Optimus? 8/10
Just as every Android UI under the sun is going smoother and more organic-feeling, the G4’s Optimus UI sticks with what it knows. It’s all sharp angles, and has a couple of interface bits and bobs that aren’t strictly necessary anymore. It could be prettier, but it’s super-snappy and lets you banish any bits of bloat you don’t want to see. There are some extra apps you may want to nix, but some extras are useful, such as the universal remote app that lets the G4 control your TV. Optimus UI could be better, but there are ways to fix it if you want.
Screen - Quantum LCD 9/10
The LG G4 has an LCD screen, but it’s not just any LCD screen. It offers searing QHD resolution and uses Quantum Display tech to supercharge the colours and contrast. It pops like crazy. Only criticism: the reds pop a touch too much for our taste.
Leather or plastic? Either way this is a big-screen wonder