LG is the first big-name smartphone vendor to debut a new flagship device in 2017, and its new LG G6 is pretty spectacular. I gave readers a hands-on look at the G6 and some first impressions back in late February when it was first announced, and now LG’s US carrier partners have finally announced the LG G6’s release date. Verizon subscribers will be able to pick up the hot new flagship phone in just two weeks on March 30th, while the rest of the major wireless carriers in the US will release the phone a week later on April 7th.
Reports suggest that G6 pre-sales have exceeded everyone’s expectations, but that shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone who has seen the device in person. The G6 is the first in a wave of next-generation flagship phones with displays that take up almost all of the front, and LG’s new handset packs plenty of power to compliment that pretty face. I’ve been using a pre-release version of the phone for the past few weeks though, and as great as the G6 is, there are two major design flaws that are driving me crazy.
Newsflash: design is a big deal. Smartphone functionality has been relatively stagnant for the past few years, and that isn’t expected to change very much in 2017. What will change this year, however, is smartphone design. Vendors finally have technology at their disposal that will allow them to create handsets that come closer than ever before to the all-screen smartphone of our dreams.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will feature a fresh new design with no side bezels and barely any bezels above or below the screens. Apple’s iPhone 8 will reportedly sport a similar design when it debuts in September. But there’s only one big-name phone company that has already unveiled its new kind-of-sort-of-all-screen flagship phone, and I’ve spent the last few weeks with it.
It’s awesome. The fact that LG has managed to cram a gorgeous 5.7-inch QHD+ display into a smartphone that’s about the same size as Apple’s iPhone 7, which features a 4.7-inch screen, is incredible. That’s an extra inch in diagonal size, not to mention the G6’s pixel density of 564 ppi compared to 326 ppi on the iPhone 7.
The G6 is beautiful, powerful, and ridiculously compact for a phone with such a big screen. But as they say, the devil is in the details.
Apple separates its phones from the pack in a number of ways, and attention to detail is somewhere near the top of the list. Apple’s high standards when it comes to design and quality have forced rivals to elevate their game; it seems like forever, but Samsung’s flagship phones were made out of flimsy plastic as recently as three years ago. LG has also made great strides this year with the G6, but there are to design issues that are setting off every OCD alarm in my body.
Both of these problems are inexcusable, but for me, the first one is by far the worst.
What’s the one part of your smartphone you look at and interact with more than anything else? Yes, the screen, and the G6’s “FullVision Display” is a sight to behold. It’s big, it’s bright, colors leap off the phone, and the contrast is outstanding. Beyond panel quality though, there are two signature display features. The first is the design, which we’ve covered. The second is the round corners that give the phone a very cool look.
Except, the corners aren’t round. 😡
In each of the screen’s four corners, LG hasn’t sloped the pixels on the panel properly. So instead of smooth, round corners on the G6 you’re left with rough, jagged edges that look horrible. I find that they constantly draw my eye away from the content on the screen, which is just awful, needless to say. It’s difficult to capture the full horror in a photo, but here’s a picture from xda-developers to at least give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here:
It might seem like a silly gripe, but I assure you it’s not. The screen is the most important component of a smartphone when it comes to user interaction, and a mistake like this is inexcusable. I actually get angry every time I look at this phone, because the screen is so stunning aside from this misstep. It’s impossible to unsee.
I would be remiss if I failed to remind readers once again at this point that the G6 I’m using is a pre-release handset. It is possible that the release version of the phone doesn’t have this issue. That said, I’ve seen a dozen different units at this point and they all had the same jagged edges in each corner. From what I’ve heard, that’s how the phone will ship.
My second problem with the G6’s design isn’t quite as infuriating since it’s not literally staring you in the face each and every time you use the phone. It’s still another bizarre misstep that should never have made it to production though, and it involves the shape of the phone.
Most phones are symmetrical from front to back. For example, if you look at the side edges of the iPhone 7, you’ll see a perfectly round curve that slopes evenly from the front to the back. That’s not the case with the G6. Instead, looking at the phone from its top side, the shape is like a rounded trapezoid — the sides are wider at one end of the slope than they are at the other.
This is done intentionally, and it’s actually a very good idea. There’s just one problem: It’s backwards. 😡😡
Instead of following the contour of a hand and placing the wider edge in front like the Galaxy S7, LG made the G6 wider in the back. As a result, the phone is very comfortable to hold… when the display is face-down in your hand. When you hold the G6 properly with the screen facing you, it doesn’t feel good at all. Again, it’s not terribly easy to explain, but once you notice it you’ll never un-notice it.
The simple fact of the matter is that it’s troubling to me that LG would greenlight any phone with issues like these, let alone the company’s 2017 flagship phone. LG has never been a leader where attention to detail is concerned, but little mistakes like this ruin the experience.