LG reportedly has plans to introduce Google Assistant, Google’s voice controlled AI, on the LG G6. Read on to find out more.
We may be less than half a year from the launch of the LG G6, which means the phone’s design is almost certainly underway. Details are still light for now, but there’s plenty of educated guesswork to be done.
The LG G5 landed to a lukewarm reception, at least compared to its biggest rival, the Samsung Galaxy S7. Now LG is under a lot of pressure to tackle its biggest competitor, and the LG G6 is its best opportunity in the short-term.
We’re expecting the LG G6 to arrive in late February, with rumoured specs including Qualcomm’s expected Snapdragon 830 chip, Google’s Android 7.0 Nougat OS, and wireless charging.
The biggest clue about the new phone so far comes from LG itself, which published a YouTube video in January where smartphone users reveal their most wanted phone features. The final list includes: big screen, smaller body, waterproof, a “capture it all at once” camera, and reliability. The video then rounds out with the message: “Imagine how your wishes will come to life – February, 2017.
LG G6 RELEASE DATE UK & US – WHEN WILL THE LG G6 COME OUT?
The LG G6 release date is what you’re probably most keen to find out, but information is still thin on the ground. That said, it’s not too difficult to take a good guess.
First off, here’s when previous LG flagship smartphones were announced and released in the UK:
LG G5 – February 21 (announced), April 8 (released)
LG G4 – April 28 (announced), May 28 (released)
LG G3 – May 27 (announced), June 27 (released)
LG G2 – August 7 (announced), September 12 (released)
It’s clear that there’s no real pattern to LG smartphone launches. However, last year’s LG G5 announcement took place one day before Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress technology tradeshow started, which we’re guessing will happen again this year. In 2017, the MWC show will run from February 27 to March 2, so we’d expect the LG G6 to be announced on Sunday, February 26, 2017 – alongside the rumoured Samsung Galaxy S8.
Unfortunately, guessing the actual release date is much more difficult; we’d say you’ll be waiting at least one month for the phone, based on previous launches.
LG G6 FEATURES – WHAT’S NEW ABOUT THE LG G6?
If the LG G5 is anything to go by, the LG G6 could really rock the boat in terms of features. Here’s what to expect from LG’s next flagship smartphone.
LG G6 SCREEN & DESIGN – 4K DISPLAY, MODULAR ADD-ONS?
LG’s 2016 flagship, the LG G5, featured a 5.3-inch display, which is par for the course. Most phone makers have settled on screen sizes that measure between 5-inches and 5.5-inches from corner to corner, and LG is unlikely to stray from the status quo.
The LG G5 also used a 1440p QHD display, which is a higher resolution than many of its rivals handsets, like the OnePlus 3 and Apple’s iPhone 7, and matches Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S7. It’s unlikely that LG will go lower with the LG G6, and could even upgrade to a 4K display – in a possible bid to improve the phone’s mobile virtual reality performance.
The LG G5’s design proved very controversial, after some reports suggested that the aluminium unibody chassis felt like plastic. Well, while it turned out that the LG G5 was built out of metal, it also featured a plasticky paint layer, which resulted in major confusion. There’s no telling whether the LG G6 will retain the same design, but we’d be very surprised.
THe best rumour we have so far is from Android Police journalist David Ruddock, who posted the following to Twitter: “Source: LG G6 will not have a removable battery, LG will move to an all-glass design language similar to Samsung. Headphone jack is a go.”
There were rumours that the LG G6 would feature a curved OLED display, just like the Samsung Galaxy S7. But according to South Korea’s ChosunBiz news site, LG has struggled with supply issues for curved screens, and has decided not to include the feature on the LG G6. The report also claimed that the full-metal body and glass cover that were previously rumoured have now also been scrapped thanks to cost issues. Apparently, these significant supply chain problems have meant that LG is now having to completely redesign the phone.
The report goes on to explain how LG now plans to include a traditional flat-screen LCD, just like previous flagship LG phones.
Another controversial LG G5 design choice was the ‘LG Friends’ modular system, which allowed G5 owners to swap out different modules that provided the phone with additional functionality – these included an audio DAC and a camera enhancement. Unfortunately, the system landed to mixed critical reception, rather than being the major hit LG had hoped for.
As a result, the ‘Friends’ system may be binned, at least according to Korea’s ETNews, which says LG plans to scrap modular functionality going forward. Citing industry sources, the site wrote: “IT is heard that LG Electronics has decided not to modularise its next smartphone. Corresponding products such as boards and audio chips are currently being prepared accordingly.”
LG G6 SPECS – HOW POWERFUL WILL IT BE?
There’s no denying that the LG G5 was a powerful bit of kit; it featured Qualcomm’s then-flagship Snapdragon 820 system-on-a-chip (SoC) and 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM – plus a hearty 32GB storage. But times have changed, and supply chains are already gearing up to build 2017’s next-generation hardware.
What’s most likely is that the LG G6 will feature Qualcomm’s new (but unannounced) Snapdragon 830, which is likely to start appearing in handsets in January or February this year. The processor has already been heavily leaked, and is reportedly being manufactured by Samsung’s chip-making division. It’s likely that it will be built on an efficient 10nm manufacturing process, which could lead to power and performance improvements.
There’s also a very good chance that the LG G6 will feature a USB Type C port, just like its predecessor, as well as retaining (or improving upon) the 32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.
LG G6 CAMERA – DUAL-CAMERA CONFIGURATION?
The LG G5 was relatively unique when it first launched, thanks in part to a dual-camera configuration embedded on the back of the phone. One of the rear-facing cameras was a standard 16-megapixel shooter, while the other rear-facing camera was an 8-megapixel wide-angle affair. We were generally pleased with the LG G5’s photographic performance, so we’re hoping for a similar setup with the LG G6. Unfortunately, the rumour mill hasn’t turned out any camera details just yet.
LG G6 BATTERY LIFE – HOW LONG WILL THE LG G6 LAST?
The LG G5 has a 2,800mAh cell, which isn’t exactly massive – but did it hurt battery life? In our LG G5 review, Mobiles Editor Max Parker wrote: “The battery life on the LG G5 is good. Not phablet good, but it managed to easily last the day with about 10% remaining when I plugged it in before bed.”
With Android 7.0 Nougat’s battery life improvements and the potentially less power-hungry Snapdragon 830 rumoured to feature, we’d expect to see better (or at least equally impressive) battery life from the LG G6. That said, if the LG G6 makes the leap to a 4K display without increasing the size of the cell, we could also see battery life slip. Unfortunately, we won’t know until the phone launches.
There’s also a chance that the LG G6 may feature wireless charging. In October 2016, LG announced a the Quick Wireless Charging Pad, a new 15W pad that can power up phones using the Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi charging standard. What’s interesting is that the LG G5 doesn’t support Qi charging (or any other standard, for that matter), which suggests that the LG G6 may finally add the feature.
According to LG, the new pad can charge a completely empty smartphone battery to 50% capacity in less than 30 minutes. Speaking at the announcement, Sung Huh, LG’s Electronic Components chief, said: “We proved that we had the world’s best wireless charging technology. As a wireless charging module is directly related to the convenience and safety of the users, we will meet the expectations of our customers with advanced performance and perfect product quality.”
Considering Samsung, LG’s biggest Korean rival, already offers wireless charging on the Galaxy S7, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the LG G6 following suit.
LG G6 SOFTWARE – ANDROID 6.0 OR ANDROID 7.0?
There’s really only one option for the LG G6 in terms of software, and that’s Android 7.0 Nougat. Now that phones are already arriving with Google’s Nougat software on board, it would be criminal if LG released a flagship in 2017 without the new OS.
The good news is that Android 7.0 is really great, building upon 5.0 Lollipop’s design improvements and Marshmallow’s performance and UI enhancements.
Some of the biggest changes include the ability to display multiple apps in split-screen mode, support for notification replies, support for the Vulkan graphics API, a new Android update system that doesn’t require lengthy reboots, and improvements to the ‘Doze’ battery-saving mechanism.
And as of Android 7.1, Nougat brings support for Daydream VR, Google’s fledgling virtual reality platform. Great news for anyone with cash to spare for Google’s Daydream View headset.
If you want to check out Nougat, it’s already available on the following devices: Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and LG V20. HTC has also offered the update on the HTC 10, One A9, and One M9.
The other LG G6 software news is that we might see the introduction of Google Assistant. According to Business Korea, LG has partnered with Google to ensure that the LG G6 is the first non-Pixel phone to support the company’s voice controlled digital assistant.
LG G6 PRICE
There’s been a dearth of pricing leaks so far, which means it’s impossible to pin down the LG G6 price right now. But we can take a gander at phones-gone-by; here’s the pricing for previous LG flagships:
LG G5 – £529
LG G4 – £450
LG G3 – £500
LG G2 – £400
As you can see, the retail prices of LG’s flagship smartphones vary wildly. But bearing post-referendum currency woes in mind, we’re expecting increases rather than decreases. Expect anything north of £500 for the LG G6.
SHOULD YOU WAIT FOR THE LG G6?
We’re still months off from the LG G6’s expected release date, so it’s hard to say whether you should wait. If you’re a fan of LG smartphones, or you’re dead-set on Android, it’s at least worth hanging around to see what they show off. We’re expecting the Samsung Galaxy S8 to launch on the same day as the LG G6, so you should be able to make a relatively informed decision.
That said, there are plenty of other great phones already available to buy right now. Google’s new Pixel and Pixel XL handsets will give you an early taste of what Android 7.0 Nougat has to offer, and Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are also worth considering – if you’re not stuck on Android, that is.
And we won’t rule out older phones like the Galaxy S7, OnePlus 3, and HTC 10 either; all three are formidable handsets that you should easily be able to squeeze two years of usage out of.