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LG G4 SMARTPHONE Over the past month I had the opportunity to participate in LG Electronics Canada's test group for their new G4 Smartphone. Testers were required to compete in a series of photo challenges and submit these photos via an in phone app to showcase this device. LG is billing the G4 as the best mobile phone camera to date, so you know how excited I was to be selected with my love for photography. http://trylgg4.ca/archive/main.php Sure it's not a golf device, but why not share my experience with you guys in case someone's looking for a new phone. I'm new to Android, I normally use a Nokia Windows Phone. I fell in love with it's simple to use UI and flashy live tiles. I've always ranked Android as number 3 on my list of OS's I wanted to be a part of as it always had more of a PC feel rather than smartphone. Prior to a couple months ago my day job was Quality Assurance Analyst for a digital agency. On a daily basis I interacted with every mobile device and OS imaginable while testing websites. Android never stood out and I had come to enjoy the ease of Apple & Window OS's and always found Android devices cumbersome to navigate. So into my life walks the stylish LG G4. Now if the OS experience and internal hardware can match what it's fine exterior is selling I'm in. Design The front of the phone is anchored by a stunning, slightly curved 5 and a half inch ips screen, which exhibits brilliant dynamic colours. It really has impressed me how punchy the screen is without over saturating colours, the G4 displays perhaps the most true to life colour I've seen on a phone to date. LG has married these natural colours with a solid contrast ratio and deep blacks. These deep blacks manage to retain every ounce of shadow detail in images, portraying a very true to life image. A lot of people wouldn't stop to think of this sort of thing, but it's important to have a screen that doesn't crush your blacks into a blob when editing photos. The G4's colours, blacks and overall natural accuracy rival anything I've seen in displays today. Can a phone be called sexy? With the back of the phone LG has somehow managed to ride the fine line between a solid durable feel and a luxurious one. The genuine leather back feels extremely sturdy, but somehow retains its premium leathery texture. I don't see why anyone would get this phone with the plastic back and the perhaps add a case when the stock leather option is just so good. Seriously, this is a sexy looking phone. The location of the power and volumes buttons takes getting used to seeing how LG has chosen to place them center back right under the camera. Coming from your typical side button phones I was constantly double checking to see if I was touching the camera lens for the first week or two. Eventually you start to realize that these back buttons are just sitting naturally where you fingers need to be and there's never an issue. As for overall size I'll admit it; I have small hands, snicker as you mayâ€¦ This phone is a touch on the big side for me especially when it comes to day to day transit. On the train I want to be able to know I have a tight grasp on my phone and still be able to interact with one hand, but find it hard to reach the far side of the screen with my thumb. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the extra real estate the larger display a lots me, but be warned for some this will be a two-hander. OS I'm not going to get all technical here, it's Android and Lollipop is actually very good. Coming from Windows Phone 8.1 I really enjoyed it's UI, where my previous Android experiences felt more of a PC desktop where everything was hidden deep in menu when with a mobile phone I just wanted quick and easy. Android 5.0 Lollipop combined with LG's UX 4.0 user interface makes for a very clean and smooth user experience. Things look simple and are easy to navigate and settings are where you'd expect to find them. There's a few features I've been really impressed with so far as well. LG's choice to go with a smaller processor came with some contention by fans and reviewers, but at no time have I felt like the phone is slow. One area that has impressed me the most is the G4's ability to switch between apps very quickly which makes multitasking an absolute snap. One other feature I want to point out is Smart Lock's Trusted Places for passwords. You can set locations that your phone will recognize when you're in a â€œsafe zoneâ€ and you will not be required to swipe or punch in a pass code everytime you open the phone. I really commend Android for this feature, it's just simply one of the little things that makes the phone so easy to use. It's all the little things that add up to make for a great user experience and LG has a bunch of them, making this Android phone very fun and easy to use. All in all it's Android mobile OS and most people will make their own decision on what they want. Camera Where do I start? This camera is just sick - it's un-fricken-believable! LG has a game changer on their hands in the world of mobile camera phones. Like the screen itself, photos from the rear 16 megapixel shooter are punchy and not over saturated with dynamic natural lifelike colours. It's pretty crazy how good the photos are for a phone and LG has moved one step forward bridging the gap between mobile devices and today's digital cameras. The camera's UI is simple and easy to use, buttons are cleanly laid out and easy to understand which is which. Switching between front and back cameras is fast as well as accessing manual, simple mode or general settings. For day to day use the camera's Auto Mode is my go to and I really don't find the need to venture too far out of it. The cameras laser focus locks on fast and you can still tap the screen to focus on specific objects. I haven't really found any instances where it picked the wrong scene mode for shooting a certain condition. Overall Auto will be a very popular choice for most of you as well. The G4 has a more than serviceable 8mp front shooter taking those normal borderline acceptable selfies to a new level. Seriously the front camera on this blows away most flagship cameras from years past and even some on the market today. Here's some camera samples: Battery The LG G4's battery is really impressive, especially coming from a phone that I almost charged 3 times a day. Under moderate use, taking the phone off the charger at 7am lasts me until bedtime (9-11) and at that point it's still retaining 10-30%, heavy use days will be ready to die by bedtime. My typical day consists of maybe 20-30 minutes total gaming on the train going to and from work, 5 emails syncing, handful of photos, constant Whatsapp chats, managing/surfing social media, standard web browsing and news readers like Feedly and Flipboard. At bedtime I don't usually plug it in either, opting to wait until I awaken during the night just to see where we're at, I still have plenty of battery and actually it has barely budge a percent. Standby battery time on this phone is nothing short of stellar and definitely a strong selling feature of the G4. Golf Apps During my month with the G4, ZEPP was the only app I experimented with and this device did not disappoint. I normally used my iPad mini which of course has a much larger screen and it's easy to read your data lying on the ground without the need to pick it up. Not only was the G4 a very smooth experience with ZEPP, but it's bright and large 5.5 inch screen was very easy to read from about 7 feet away. In The End I've been delightfully surprised by my Android experience and I credit that to the stunning and highly efficient LG G4. LG's designers have have produced a phone that one could easily describe as sexy and engaging while making it extremely functional for daily use. It's a really nice device to hold, the screen is fabulous and I can't say enough about the camera. If you're in the market for a new Android phone this year and not sure where to start looking, you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not checking out the new LG G4. http://www.lg.com/ca_en/cell-phones/g4 http://trylgg4.ca/archive/main.php