In a price conscious market like India, it is anything but surprising that competition is among the fiercest in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment. It is in this segment dominated by the likes of Xiaomi and Lenovo that LG has launched its latest smartphone, called the Q6. The LG Q6 is priced at Rs 14,999, and it is available on Amazon India. Unlike its Chinese counterparts that follow the tried-and-tested formula of offering high performance at low prices, LG has chosen a much less trodden path. The smartphone is banking on its sheer beauty to tempt buyers. But will that be enough to win over a difficult segment? Having spent a few days with the LG Q6, here’s my review.
Let me start off with ranting a bit about smartphones available today in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment. Post the Redmi Note 3, most launches in this segment either look like Xiaomi’s smartphone, or its lovechild. A rectangular unibody metal design has become standard design feature, and going against this very standard is what has impressed me most of the LG Q6.
The LG Q6 is refreshing to look at, and if I may add, it doesn’t look anything like a Rs 15,000 smartphone. With its edge-to-edge display and compact form factor, the LG Q6 actually looks a lot like the flagship LG G6, and that’s not a bad thing.
The flat FullVision display dominates the front of smartphone, but more on that later. The back is slightly curved, which helps the device fit well in your palms. My only grouse though is the glossy plastic finish that makes the back panel a fingerprint magnet. Overall build quality though is quite impressive, which shouldn’t be a surprise, since the frame is built using 7,000-series (aerospace grade) aluminum. I tried bending the device with my hands, but it wouldn’t budge, and there were no creaks.
The LG Q6’s best feature is its display. There is a 5.5-inch screen, but because of the 18:9 aspect ratio, and 78-percent screen-to-body ratio, LG has managed to keep the overall form factor very compact. Like the LG G6, there are very thin bezels surrounding the screen. In fact when kept side-by-side, the LG Q6 is actually only as tall as my Apple iPhone 6s, which comes with a 4.7-inch screen. This is quite impressive, since it allows for someone with relatively small palms to enjoy a large screen.
The display itself is quite impressive boasting slightly higher than full-HD (1080×2160 pixels) resolution, good viewing angles, and ample amount of brightness. The aspect ratio might seem a bit odd initially, but it is a treat when watching videos on the move. The device does allow you to manually tweak app settings to take advantage of the bigger screen, but not all of them are equipped for it. On changing the aspect ratio, we found some apps looked a tad skewed. Still it is early days, and we could soon see apps with better compatibility. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to protect it from scratches.
Moving on, the next obvious question is about the performance, and this is where the LG Q6 disappoints. Under the hood is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 SoC paired with 3GB of RAM. In comparison, its closest rival, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC and up to 4GB of RAM.
The overall performance on the Q6 is anything but smooth. In the time that I used the smartphone, a bit of stutter and some lag was a common occurrence. Though it is capable of multitasking, the device does struggle when having a lot of apps open in the background. As you might have guessed by now, if you are into hardcore gaming, this is not the smartphone for you. The only way to play games like Riptide GP2 or Asphalt 8 is by turning the graphic settings all the way down. When ramped up, the device struggles under the load, and there is a visible drop in framerate. The back panel also tends to heat up, which is a clear indication of how hard the device is trying to cope.
The Q6 runs on the latest Android 7.1.1 Nougat out-of-the-box wrapped under LG UI 5.0. The UI is heavily customized, with bright colored theme packs and no app drawer. There is however an option to download Home (UX 4.0) from the settings menu, which brings back the app drawer.
Another disappointment is the lack of a fingerprint sensor on board. It is surprising to see a feature that has become a prerequisite on all affordable devices, doesn’t find a place on the LG Q6. Instead, for added security there’s a facial recognition feature. In essence, the smartphone will scan your face to give you access. While novel, the feature is slow (especially in low light conditions), and you will soon end up reverting to a passcode or PIN. RELATED: LG Q6 misses out on the fingerprint sensor, but offers an edge-to-edge display for Rs 14,990
When it comes to photography, the Q6 is just about good enough for casual photographers. Enthusiasts will almost immediately find faults in the camera’s’ capabilities. At the back is a 13-megapixel snapper along with a LED flash, which is quite good when clicking stills in good lighting conditions. While it manages to capture a lot of detail, I did find the colors to be a tad dull. Not surprisingly, there is a drop in photo quality when indoors under ambient lighting conditions. There’s a loss in quality, as well as noise seen in the photos. Though there’s not much in terms of fancy modes, the camera app does have different shooting ratios like 1:1 for Instagram, 4:3 and 16:9. There’s also an 18:9 mode, wherein the entire display becomes a viewfinder without any black bars.
For selfies, there’s a wide-angle 5-megapixel snapper at the front. Quality of the photos are good enough to be instantly shared on social without much editing. As is common these days, there’s a skin tone setting in the camera app to make your face look brighter, and blemish-free. Quality of selfies clicked in low light conditions are strictly average at best.
There’s 32GB onboard storage, which can be further expanded using a microSD card. Fortunately, LG has opted for a separate slot for the microSD card, and not the hybrid SIM slots offered by some of the Chinese companies. The device supports 4G LTE on both SIM cards, and during testing, call quality and volume levels were satisfactory.
LG has placed the speaker at the back of the device, which comes as a bit of a surprise. The audio can sound a tad muffled when the device is kept face up. When holding the phone in your hands though, the sound is loud and clear. The bundled earphones too are strictly average, and should only be used if you have no other option. The plastic earphones not only feel cheap, but sound cheap as well. It is advisable to invest in a pair of good earphones, to fully enjoy music or videos on the phone.
Making sure everything ticks is a 3,000mAh battery underneath. In my time with the smartphone, I was able to easily get by through the day on a single charge. My usage included a constantly buzzing Slack app, two mail accounts, two social accounts, watching videos on YouTube, as well as a bit of gaming. Unfortunately, the charger bundled with the phone doesn’t support fast charging. In my tests, the battery was charged from zero-100 percent in just over two hours.
To tell you the truth, I’m a bit on the fence when it comes to the LG Q6. For its price, I love the look and design of the device, which helps it stand out from the deluge of boring Chinese smartphones. LG has done well to take the best bits of the LG G6, and offer it in an affordable segment. The display is really that good, and is another standout factor for LG’s smartphone.
The cameras may not be outstanding, but smartphones in this segment seldom offer DSLR-quality stills anyway. Many will also rue the missing fingerprint sensor, but the facial recognition feature makes up for it to an extent. It may be slow, but one could eventually get used to it.
Performance though is a big let down, which also stops me from highly recommending this device. If you are a casual user, who spends more time browsing the internet and social media, there is enough power on-board. The device is also capable enough to handle your music and video needs. But if you plan to play games, this is not the phone for you.
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In the end, your usage will determine if you should go for the LG Q6 or not. For casual users, it is a good smartphone worth investing in that combines an excellent screen with a design that is noticeably better than other devices in this price range. But if you are looking at graphic-intensive tasks, you will be better served by something like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 or a Lenovo K8 Note instead.