Momentum counts for a lot in the smartphone business.
Want proof? Look no further than the slew of tech giants who never recover from a couple of quarterly losses (CF: Nokia, BlackBerry) and slide inexorably into long term decline. Or worse still.
After a distinctly lean period creatively and commercially, though, LG seemed to have bucked that trend with last year’s very warmly received LG G3.
Overcoming a slow start, it racked up substantial sales and capped things off by nicking the gong for 2014’s best smartphone at this year’s Mobile World Congress.
Much is riding, then, on the just-unveiled G4, as LG bids to make good on last year’s renaissance.
For some, the fact that it’s in some ways little changed from last year's model is a disappointment, with LG opting to retain the same design, back-mounted buttons and screen dimensions as its predecessor.
Are they right to be disappointed? Well, we’ll hold fire with our definitive opinion on the LG G4 until we get our review unit and spent some time with it.
But until then check out our first impressions in the hands-on video from the launch event. And then tell us what you make of it in the comments section below.
LG G4 video hands on transcript
Demonstrator: Hello everyone. This is Shaun at the LG Announcement. I’m the UK product and training manager here at LG.
Here what you can see is a gorgeous 5.5 inch IPS quantum display.
All that actually means to you and me is more authentic, more natural colours – colours which are more discernible to the eye, such as the reds and greens.
This gives it a wide colour range in line with what you would actually see at the cinema.
In fact, it’s up to 98% in line with what you would see at the cinema.
This is the first time this has been delivered on a smartphone.
Behind that you have a great new liquid infrastructure display, which is subtly curved, subtly arced, 3000 radius.
As you can see here, the device itself is also subtly curved, and has been designed to give you a real ergonomic feel in hand.
Beyond this, the handset has a 808 chip cell, which we’ve worked quite closely together with to deliver the Snap Me experience that you actually see currently at the moment.
And that allows me to actually complete and slide to launch the camera quickly with a double tap, and take an image straight away. Not only that, launching the camera directly from the screen is truly quick.
The camera itself is actually a feat in itself. So, here we’ve actually got for the very first time on a smartphone, an F1.8 aperture lens.
And what that means to you and me is, that when you’re actually taking pictures, even in a lower light, it actually lets in a lot more light – in fact, up to 80% more light than a conventional smartphone.
On one side we’ve got an innovative lens with autofocus feature, and then you’ve got an MD flash. And just below that, we’ve got one of the world’s first, which is a colour spectrum sensor.
Now normally on a smartphone, you actually get your white balance which determines your colour levels.
But what this feature does, for the very first time, it actually detects objects and lights, and determines the colour temperature of that particular subject, even before you’ve taken an image.
So what that means, generally, when you take a picture, it’s actually what you see on the screen.
Behind that camera, we’re allowed to actually do great things, like have this fantastic manual mode whereby you can actually adjust things like white balance, manual focus, ISO levels, even the shutter speed so you can create trail effects.
Beyond that, if you actually look into manipulating any of the photos, you can actually change your images through JPEG Raw, or add JPEG Raw as a file type.
So adding the ability to maintain the interactivity of the file so that you can officially amend or adjust as you see fit using Photoshop or any other leading photography applications.
We actually have employed a great front facing camera, with an 8 megapixel sensor, with nice wide viewing angles.
What that allows me to do is things like interval gesture which allows you to take four selfies in a row with a 2 second interval in between.
When I’m ready, I can preview that, and it actually gives you previews by images.
If I don’t like them, I can simply go back up, and it goes directly back into camera view.
It’s very easy to flip the camera, just by doing that or by swiping left or right. And you can see that really easy, smooth transition between front and rear camera.
We’ve employed a new technology which is LG 4.0, and what that allows us to do is to improve things that you do on a day to day.
So we’ve created Smart Bulletin, which allows you to get to things that you’d use on a regular basis, so for your stats or any recordings, or exercise.
Now to the calendar which has been greatly improved as a result of having a unified calendar. So all your Google contacts can actually come within.
On top of that we’ve also got a feature here called Event Pocket.
With Event Pocket you can add different files such as images, videos, and even add Facebook updates or things that you’ve been invited to, and even locations.
So if there’s key points of interest in the area and you want to go back and visit at another time, what it will do is populate the points of interest, and all you need to do is drag and drop, obviously to select the date and the ones that you want to go and visit.
So for instance, you do that. And it’s a simple drag and drop, and that’s my event created.
Also what’s been improved is Smart Notice. Smart Notice now actually shows you which applications use the most energy.
So if for instance you have downloaded a new application, it will simply pop up and tell you, you are using 2 or 3% more, and you can actually stop that application running in the background.
All in all this is a fantastic piece of kit designed for ease of use, designed to make your life easier, more practical.
But more effectively, designed to create a great visual experience whether you are actually watching content on the screen, or whether you are taking images on the camera.
This is the LG G4, and it’s due out towards the end of May. It will have different types of back covers coming out for different operators.
So with Three you’ll have the white ceramic and the titan. O2 are likely to do tan and the titan. Carphone are doing black leather and the titan as well.
uSwitch Tech: Any price points been set as yet?
Demonstrator: Nothing as yet, that will be determined by our partners.