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Ceramic and metallic options also available; flagship model will launch by June and be priced at around $750 USD; QHD still standard

South Korean phonemaker LG Electronics Inc. (KRX:066570)(KRX:066575) has announced the refresh of its G Series line of flagship smartphones.  The LG G4, a fourth generation design packs a somewhat predictable spec -- but does manage a few twists.

The biggest surprise?  The inclusion of a more subtle version of its curved display technology found its in the popular LG Flex 2 model.  Otherwise the design doesn't stray too far from that of the LG G3, although the spec upgrade is modest.

LG announced the device at a dual-launch event in New York City and London, locations that correspond with two of its biggest markets (the U.S. and UK).

LG G4

LG G4

LG's launch event in NYC

Here's the basics (recapped in part from above):
  • Design:
  • Ceramic, metallic, or leather materials options
  • Removeable back cover; similar button layout to the LG G3.
  • OS: Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android 5 "Lollipop"
  • Display:
  • Snapdragon 808 (MSM8992) system-on-a-chip (SoC) application processor (AP)
    • By Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM)
    • 64-bit instruction width
    • Build on 20 nm HPm process
    • 2x Cortex-A57 Cores (@1.82 GHz); 4x Cortex-A53 Cores (@1.44 GHz)
    • Adreno 418 GPU (128 ALUs @ 600 MHz)
    • "Specially designed" modifications (What are they?  It's unclear.)
    • Cat. 6 LTE Baseband processing
  • Storage: 32 GB (internal) + up to 128 GB (expandable microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC)
  • Memory: 3 GB LPDDR3
  • Cameras:
    • 16 megapixel rear; 8 megapixel front ("selfie camera")
    • phase detection/laser autofocus, optical image stabilisation (OIS), dual-LED tonal flash, "full manual control" camera mode, 1080p @ 30 FPS video recording from front-facing camera
  • Communications:
    • Cellular: 3G, multi-band LTE/4G (max: 300 Mbps down / 50 Mbps up)
      • There's a deal with Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) to deploy LTE voice calling on Verizon Wireless G4s.
    • Other: NFC, Bluetooth v4.0 (w/apt-X and LE support), FM radio (w/ RDS), Infrared, GPS/etc. 
  • Battery: 3000 mAh w/ Qi wireless chargin
  • Other:
Here's a sample shot from the camera showing the color balance quality (via LG):

LG G4

Here's a couple more Tweets/pics from LG Electronics of the star device. Overall, LG is making a similar play to what domestic rival Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KRX:005930) (KRX:005935) is doing with the hot-selling Galaxy S6 Edge.  But rather than curve the edges, it's curving the phone across the entire display ever-so-slightly.  And unlike the GS6 Edge, a device which is accompanied by the higher volume curveless Galaxy S6 (GS6) vanilla twin variant, there's no alterative design variant of the LG G4.  You either learn to love the curves, or you learn to live with the LG G4.

LG G4

LG will be getting started roughly two months behind the Samsung GS6, GS6 Edge, and HTC Corp.'s (TPE:2498) One (M9) smartphones.  Details are still a bit vague, but this later launch is expected; after all the LG G3 debuted in June 2014.  The launch price for the unlocked edition -- roughly $750 USD or GBP£550 -- will resemble that of Samsung's devices.

LG G4 on wood

LG G5

Overall the curve throws an interesting curveball to prospective buyers.  It's undeniable that this stud smartphone is less publicized than the Samsung flagship duo.  But some will surely bite given the presence of a removeable battery and expandable storage -- two key factors some buyers resent Samsung for purging from the Galaxy S6 design.

LG G4

That said, LG faces tough competition not only from Samsung but from other devices including the HTC One M9, Xiaomi's upcoming Mi flagship device (also expected for the summer), and Huawei's P8 smartphone (which features an intriguing new "Kirin" processor from Huawei chipmaking spinoff HiSilicon).  There's a lot of alternatives, but for some the LG G4 will be the device for the job when it at last arrives two months from now.

Sources: Twitter [@LGUSAMobile], [@LGUK], The Verge [blog]





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