How do you trump a whole new type of smartphone?
When LG delivered the G5 last year, it brought to the table the most usable example of a modular mobile to date.
With a switchable bumper plate and add-ons that included camera and hi-fi modules, the G5 represented what we thought might just be the future for phones. And, while the modularity didn’t catch on as LG had hoped, it was still an impressive demonstration.
So, where will LG go next? The good news is that we won’t have to wait long to find out: almost all of the evidence points towards an end-of-February launch, just in time for MWC 2017 in Barcelona.
To keep you in the loop until then, we’ve collected, sifted and sorted all of the knowledge, leaks and rumours doing the rounds about the G6.
WHAT WE KNOW
Early rumours pointed towards a curved display on the G6, but several shreds of evidence now suggest that this isn’t the case. Instead, LG’s latest flagship will be fronted by a 5.7in FullVision screen, with a better than QHD+ 2880×1440 resolution. LG Display confirmed as much in a press release, two weeks before the big MWC reveal.
The aspect ratio is a little different, too – 18:9 instead of the more usual 16:9. Why? Well, that could simply to be to differentiate it from competitors, but it could also make the G6 a seriously cinematic device. Either way, it’d be quite the jump from the G5’s 5.3in screen – and would pitch the G6 squarely against the Samsung Galaxy S8, which is rumoured to have a 4K, 5.5in display.
Bezels? Who needs ’em
Aside from a proper phablet-sized screen, it’s also been widely suggested that the G6 will ship with seriously slim bezels. Think: 90% screen to frontage ratio. That’s Xioami Mi Mix stuff – and, with a 5.7in screen, ought to look seriously striking. It’s hard to tell from the latest leaked prototype pics, but it certainly looks like chunky bezels will be a thing of the past for the G6.
LG confirmed as much with the official event invites, hinting at a phone almost completely dominated by the screen, and with only the slimmest of screen bezels on show.
Happy when wet
If true, this would be a first for a G-series handset: more than one source has suggested that the LG G6 will be sealed and waterproof.
An official teaser video from LG, in which people stated the features they most wanted in a phone, prominently mentioned waterproofing – alongside a caption stating that those ideas would “come to life” in February. While not conclusive – conflicting evidence exists, variously claiming that the G6 might or might not have a removable battery, which would make waterproofing tricky – we think this one’s pretty likely.
The G6 will definitely have a new look UI, with LG confirming UX 6.0 in a press release before the phone’s MWC announcement. It will put the focus on multitasking, improving the smartphone camera experience, and give users a better, more immersive way to play games and watch video.
That means the 18:9 aspect ratio will be put to good use, letting the G6 split the screen into two perfect squares for side-by-side apps, or shooting 1:1 aspect ratio photos for Instagram while still being able to see your last shot on the other side of the screen.
Apparently app developers are on board with the new ratio, but there should also be a way to view existing 16:9 ratio content easily in 18:9 format.
We’ll learn exactly what that is at Mobile World Congress, but in the meantime, the teaser video above gives a great idea of what to expect.
No more modular
Depending on who you ask, this one’s no surprise – and it’s almost certainly true. Despite the promise shown by the G5’s interchangeable bumpers and add-ons, uptake by smartphone buyers simply wasn’t as spectacular as hoped.
Whether because of that performance, or because the G5 was simply an experiment, almost all sources suggest we won’t see a return of those plug-in peripherals with the G6. Should we be sad? That depends on how good the rest of the G6 is.
Skin of glass, glossy back
Prefer plastic phones? The G6 won’t be for you: several shreds of evidence and a supposedly official image point towards an predominantly glass build for the G6, with just a few metal touches.
This should give the G6 a distinctly Samsung feel and, hopefully, means the end of the plastic parts that have plagued many an LG phone in years past.
Even if it does end up being made from metal, the G6 should come in an iPhone 7-mimicking jet black finish. A completed handset was leaked online showing an almost identical finish to Apple’s most expensive iPhone, complete with G6 branding, dual cameras and that rear-facing fingerprint sensor.
The wide-angle, dual-camera setup is back
LG managed to keep the G6’s camera a secret for quite a while, with most leaks lacking any real details. We didn’t need to wait until the big reveal to get concrete info, though. LG itself confirmed what to expect in a (Korean language) press release a week before MWC.
The G6 looks set to get a welcome upgrade over the G5’s dual 8MP/16MP sensors, with two 13MP sensors – one with a wider 125° field of view for wide-angle shooting. There won’t be any step-down in quality when switching between standard and wide angle now, as the sensors are identical.
Round the front, the G6’s selfie camera opts for a 100° field of view lens, which should be plenty for selfies – even if you want to squeeze a friend or two into the frame as well.
Software-wise, the G6’ll get a 360° panorama mode, a food mode that boosts colour saturation, and a square camera mode that’ll keep Instagram addicts happy.
If you believe the hype, Google Assistant is the next big thing in smart tech – but you’ll only get it on a Pixel or Google Home device, for now.
That could change with the G6, though: at least one industry source thinks we’ll see the smarter-than-Siri software grace the G6 with its presence, which would certainly add kudos to the newest LG handset – not to mention a heap more functionality over “OK Google”.
Wires or not?
Got a favourite pair of cans? More than one piece of evidence has hinted at the retention of the headphone jack on the G6 – so it won’t be a wire-free wonder. The latest leaks clearly show a headphone port at the top of the phone. Whew.
There’ll be a USB-C port, of course – LG made the switch for the G5 and won’t be going backwards for its successor.
It might just have wireless charging, though. OK, so it’s a speculation that seems to surface ahead of almost every flagship smartphone nowadays – and there are sources pointing both ways as to whether the G6 will charge without cables – but it would make for a nifty differentiator, and might explain that switch to a glass back.
We’ll MWC it soon
By now, you’re probably wondering when exactly we’ll see LG’s next big smartphone. Well, as we said at the start, all present routes point towards a pre-MWC launch on 26 February, ahead of an April on-sale date.
There’s a slim chance that the 26 February invite refers to something else but, given that LG has used MWC to unveil its flagships in the past, we’d be surprised not to see it in Barcelona – though Samsung’s postponement of the S8’s release shows that anything is possible.