“That’s a G6 mini!”
Well, those are the first words that came to our minds when we clapped eyes on the LG Q6. The phone is the first mid-segment offering from the Korean brand to grab some attention in a while, and that first glance revealed why – the Q6 sports a display that is a tad smaller than the G6 but has the same 18:9 aspect ratio and relatively slim bezels that LG has dubbed FullVision. No, it is not quite as brilliant as it was on the G6, but combine it with the similar UI (LG’s skin running on top of Android 7.1.1) and the glossy back, hide the price tag, and you would not blame people for thinking that this is a G6 Mini of sorts.
Ooh that display!
For, let’s get this clear – this is the first device in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment (about USD 230), that comes with this sort of display and bezel shaving. And the minimized bezels do their magic on the Q6 very much as they did on the G6 – they make it an incredibly compact device. In spite of sporting a 5.5-inch display, it is a mere 142.5 mm long and 69.3 mm wide – that is even smaller than the current darling of the market at that price point, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 which has a display of a similar size but is 151 mm long and 76 mm wide. And at 8.1 mm, the Q6 is slimmer than the Note 4 as well (8.4 mm). Top this with a weight of 149 grams and the Q6 becomes the most compact device with a 5.5-inch display we have seen at its price point. At a resolution of 2160 x 1080px, it is also one of the highest resolution displays we have seen in this segment, where most manufacturers stop at full HD.
And it is rather well-built too, with Corning Glass 3 protection on the display and the metallic frame on which the phone rests being made of 7000 series Aluminium – LG says that the phone comes with “military grade durability” but has not quite specified what that means (we will let you know as soon as we find out – it is supposed to be MIl-STD-810G compliant, which is open to a host of (mis)interpretations). A bit of a damper is the super glossy back which seems plasticky, which kept picking up dust particles and is a fingerprint magnet.
Design-wise, LG seems to have largely stuck to the G6 handsome-rather-than-beautiful ethos, with straight lines on sides and curvy corners, which help accentuate that display. The front has zero hardware buttons and only has an earpiece with the selfie camera above the display and LG branding below it, the right side has the power/display button, the left side the volume up and down buttons and dual SIM card and microSD card slots (no hybrid SIMs, hooray), on the base, are the 3.5 mm audio jack and micro USB port, and the top is bare except for a solitary mic. The back we think is the slightly weaker side of the phone in design terms – it houses the 13.0-megapixel shooter (in a rather larger circle), flanked by an LED flash on the top left corner, and on the same side near the base is a speaker grille. We have mentioned that the back is a fingerprint and dust particle magnet and it bears saying again.
Not so oooh everything else
It has the looks and the display, but scratch that very good surface and the Q6’s slightly clay-ey feet start becoming visible. Yes, that 18:9 display and the UI will remind people straight away of the flagship G6, but under it are a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor, 3 GB RAM and 32 GB of storage (expandable to 256 GB), the likes of which are more than easily matched and indeed, exceeded, by offerings from Xiaomi and the Motorola/Lenovo combo. The rear camera is a 13.0-megapixel one and the front facing selfie shooter a 5.0-megapixel affair, and although both come with a number of software tricks, the hardware seems a trifle short of the dual camera sporting Lenovo K8 Note and Honor 6x. The 3000 mAh battery is par for the course, but the absence of a fingerprint scanner at this price point is galling. LG does say that the phone comes with facial recognition, but a fingerprint scanner is so much easier – and now intuitive – to use.
All of which leaves the LG Q6 with a mountain to climb. Yes, it is the first device to come with that sort of a display – one which has so far been seen only in devices that cost more than twice as much – and its compactness is delightful, but on the flip side is a much better specced and in many cases, lower priced competition. What’s more, it is an online only device, which means it will be squaring off against the likes of the Redmi Note 4, the Honor 6x, the Moto G5 and the just-released Lenovo K8 Note. Formidable competition.
Still, it is great to see LG finally bringing a contender in the mid-segment. Just how well it fares against some not-inconsiderable competition and whether people will Q up for it will be revealed in our detailed review in the coming days. Stay tuned.