LG's G4 packs fast f/1.8 lens, Snapdragon 808 power

Smartphones from Samsung and Apple may be the most familiar faces in the high-end handset market, but LG wants to be a contender there, too. Today, the company unveiled its latest flagship phone, the G4, which looks ready to hang with the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6.

Like the last-gen G3, the G4 features a 5.5", 2560x1440 IPS LCD. Compared to its predecessor, the G4's panel is said to have improved brightness and contrast, as well as 98% coverage of the "DCI color space" (presumably the DCI P3 standard). In layman's terms, that means the G4 can reproduce a wider range of colors than the average sRGB monitor.

The G4's body features LG's trademark curved shape, although it's less extreme here than on phones like the G Flex 2. Where Apple and Samsung have clad their latest premium handsets in aluminum and glass, LG is sticking to removable, leather-clad backs. For those not into skin, LG also offers plastic backs in metallic and white finishes.

Under the hood is a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC with two ARM Cortex A57 and four A53 cores. An Adreno 418 GPU handles pixel-pushing duties. LG equips the Snapdragon 808 with 3GB of RAM here. There's 32GB of onboard storage, and unlike the Galaxy S6, the G4 keeps its microSD slot.

Most of LG's efforts appear to have been focused on the G4's camera. The new shooter features an f/1.8 lens, compared to the f/1.9 and f/2.2 irises on the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6. As far as I can tell, that's one of the fastest lenses available on a smartphone, period. The wide aperture should let the G4 vacuum up more photons than its competitiors in low light, which could lead to better image quality. The G4's camera also features optical image stabilization for extra sharpness at long shutter speeds.

The included camera app has a number of pro-friendly features, too, like manual control over shutter speed, white balance, and ISO. Photographers can even get raw files from the G4 for more control in post-processing.

LG's latest flagship will ship with Android 5.1. The company didn't provide pricing or release info for the G4 in the U.S., but shipments begin tomorrow in South Korea, with worldwide availability to follow.

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