Yes, it’s a little early to put LG G3’s hotly anticipated sequel under the microscope, what with the Korean manufacturer recently confirming the G4 isn’t headed for a Mobile World Congress introduction next month.
LG looked outright frantic when it echoed the “delay” compared to rumored timelines, stressing a Q2 itinerary following the direction set by the G3. Yet we’re only a couple of months away from the beginning of the year’s second fiscal quarter, and sometimes, the proof is in the pudding.
The pudding, for metaphorical purposes, being G3 and G2’s endless string of discounts. Rarely a coincidence, or consequence of gratuitous generosity from phone makers and retailers, this usually occurs for stock-clearing reasons ahead of new product launches.
Hence, the G4 is probably nigh. Possibly, nigher than LG lets on. And even if it isn’t, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 definitely are. It’s good to know therefore what to expect, in case, well, you don’t want to expect. For the G4, that is, and consider jumping the gun on the GS6 or M9.
Here it goes then, an early look at the prospective wow factor of the LG G4:
Design and build materials preview
There are two departments LG wants us to believe the G4 will be vastly improved in, although we’re ready to bet upgrades are due across the board. Chiefly, we’re looking at a new “visual approach”, and likely, “experimental” design elements too.
Experimental was G2’s middle name, with that quirky physical rear button arrangement inaugurated back in 2013. Perhaps unexpectedly, the unique design caught on, and G3 did little else but refine it.
This time around, we’re anticipating something new, something unusual and groundbreaking in addition to the now established back keys. A curved screen a la the G Flex line, maybe? It’s a definite possibility. How about a fully flexible, bendable, Flubber-like handheld?
That’s pushing it, and dreaming with our eyes open for a shortcut to the future. On the plus side, a build material overhaul is in the cards, with emphasis on actual metal instead of metal-aping plastic at last.
Display rumor roundup
They say once you go Quad HD, you never go back. They don’t?! Well, they should, because it’s true. There’s no way for LG to downgrade the G4 from G3’s staggering 2,560 x 1,440 pixel count to a “middling” 1,920 x 1,080 without looking bad. Battery gains or no battery gains.
So then, why not go forward? To 2,880 x 1,620 pixels, aka 3K resolution. That would amount to a ppi of roughly 600 (!!!) on a 5.5-inch piece of glass, or 635 on 5.2 inches. So what if your eyes can’t notice the bump and perceive all the pixels? The heart wants what it wants.
Processor and RAM
An endorser of Qualcomm’s struggling Snapdragon 810 chips from day one, unlike we know who, LG was seemingly rewarded an early stab at a polished, fully working batch of the octa-core 64-bit monsters.
They went to the G Flex 2, which performs just fine, and so the G4 is clearly in no danger of setbacks or overheating. Nor does LG ever thought about going an alternative route, like Nvidia or MediaTek.
Doubt is hovering over the memory territory, with several possible scenarios rumored. LG could A. “settle” for 3 GB RAM, B. up the ante to 4, or C. offer buyers the choice. Much like they did with the G3, which launched in 2 and 3 GB variants. Want to open door number three? Yeah, us too.
Cameras, software and battery
Will LG G4’s claim to fame be a hugely enhanced rear-facing snapper, with augmented optical image stabilization, a 20+ megapixel count, Tri-LED flash (!!!), laser autofocus, and maybe optical zoom? Again, LG wants us to think improving the camera experience is one of their main areas of interest, leading to nutty guesswork like that.
But really, optical zoom is a long shot, and overall, it’s going to be difficult for LG to stand out in the shutterbug-targeted arena. So once again, we reckon it’s much more likely you’ll be getting smaller but noticeable upgrades everywhere rather than a few major ones here and there.
Put a 5 MP front shooter on your list of predicted “minor” enhancements, as well as cleaner, smoother software (based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, of course), always ready to make the jump to 6.0… Marshmallow? Muffin? Macaroon? Whatever, LG will have your backs swifter than everyone else, as is currently the case with G3’s amazingly fast 5.0 update.
As for battery capacity, it depends on a number of things, starting with screen size and chassis slimness. Anything under 3,000 mAh would be disappointing no matter what, and anything over 3,500 (with rapid charging) would make the G4 a must-buy.
G Pen support (?), fingerprint recognition (??), audio, storage and more
Remember that quote about “experimental” features? Stylus input would probably qualify, even if Samsung’s S Pen is already an oldie (and goldie). At the end of the day, a separate “G Pen” version is tipped for release later in the year, so odds are LG’s G4 experiments will bear a different fruit.
Maybe a fingerprint sensor to get with the crowd. But where would it be placed? Next to the power and volume rocker? No, thanks. How about a retina or iris scanner for phone unlocking and online payments at the blink of an eye?
Sounds game-changing but also somewhat gimmicky. A slew of audio revisions, culminating with a new Dolby mobile system and 2-watt stereo speakers, is certainly not gimmicky, though it isn’t awfully exciting either.
Finally, wireless charging, LTE Category 6 speeds, internal storage options capping off at 128 GB and an additional 128 GB space provided via microSD cards seem like near-guarantees. There’s even an outside chance the G4 will be constructed water and dust-proof to “experiment” with increased ruggedness and outdoor-friendliness.
Bottom line, the variables contained in the LG G4 equation are far too many to make a rash decision once the Galaxy S6 and One M9 see daylight. Let’s just wait and see before we splash the cash on the “next big thing”, shall we? You wouldn’t want to get the next best thing now, would you?