If I were to ask for a smartphone that’s smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus but has a bigger screen, most electronics store clerks would probably think I was asking them to answer a riddle. But that’s exactly what LG sought to do with its new Android phone, the G6, which has a 5.7-inch screen that occupies nearly the entire face of the device.
Since the borders around the G6’s screen barely exist, LG was able to fit a 5.7-inch display on a phone that feels more compact than most big phones, including Apple’s. Samsung pulled off a similar trick in the past with its line of Galaxy Edge smartphones, which includes a display that curves around the side of the phone, providing more screen real estate than standard models. LG similarly eliminated the side bezels with its G6, but instead it kept every inch of screen on the front of the phone rather than stretching it over the edges. (LG has not yet announced pricing or availability for the G6.)
As such, the G6’s screen is slightly longer than that of most phones, resulting in an 18 x 9 aspect ratio compared to the more common 16 x 9. LG claims this makes for a more pleasant viewing experience, but it’s unclear exactly how much content is optimized to fit that screen shape. LG also pointed out that certain Netflix shows, like House of Cards and Stranger Things, were filmed to fit those proportions. During the brief time I had with the device, apps and web pages fit the screen just fine. LG appears to be catering the G6 to those who watch a lot of video, as the G6 will also support both HRD 10 and Dolby Vision standards for HDR content. HDR, which stands for High Dynamic Range, improves contrast ratio and color accuracy on screens.
LG’s new phone packs another feature less common on most Androids: the Google Assistant. Google’s Pixel lineup are currently the only phones available that has the company’s virtual helper built-in, although Huawei says it plans to bring Amazon’s Alexa to its Mate 9 phone sometime this quarter.
Both the G6’s 5-megapixel front camera and 13-megapixel main camera will feature a wide angle lens, with the back camera slightly broader at 125 degrees versus the selfie cam’s 100 degree lens. There’s also a second standard lens 13-megapixel camera on the back of the phone. LG is adding a new capture mode that takes advantage of the phone’s elongated screen as well. When snapping a photo, the camera viewfinder will appear on one side of the display while the captured picture is displayed on the other, making it easier to see how photos look without having to switch between the gallery and camera.
The phone also inherits some design staples from its predecessors, such as its rear-mounted home button. But this year’s model is IP68 certified, meaning it can withstand being submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes. One downside, however, is that the silver model includes a spun metal aesthetic that makes it look more like a home appliance than a gadget.
LG says the G6’s battery should be able to charge up to 50% in 35 minutes.
If the phone’s larger screen proves to be as useful as LG claims, the G6 could give rivals like Samsung and HTC tough competition in the Android market. Samsung, however, is rumored to be working on a similar display for its upcoming flagship Galaxy S8 device, which may be revealed as early as next month.