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.
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.