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The fierce competition in India's smartphone market is pushing mobile phone manufacturers to try all sorts of tricks to please consumers. While Chinese companies are continuously narrowing down the price-spec ratio by offering high-end hardware at a budget price-point, other global brands are trying out innovative techniques to turn the tables. And as we all know, Indian smartphone makers are mostly copying the global counterparts to stay in the game.
This kind of differentiation between brands makes the phone market diverse and keeps the consumers in focus, a good thing indeed. One such smartphone that justifies the above mentioned point of humble specs but something really game-changing is LG Q6 or as you can call it, the mini LG G6.
Priced at Rs. 14,990, LG Q6 is company's first Q series smartphone and introduces the LG's impressive FullVision display technology in the budget smartphone segment. Besides, the smartphone retains the LG G6's compact and durable design but sadly it fails to match up the competition when it comes to pure hardware.
Let's find out more about LG's budget offering for the Indian market with the help of following review.
LG’s FullVision Display offers best-in-class screen user experience in budget price-point
Being a reviewer I have used almost every handset launched in sub Rs. 15k price-point in last two-three years. The most recent ones that offer full HD displays are good for watching YouTube videos and to play games, however LG Q6 beats all of them hands down in terms of screen sharpness and overall user experience. This is not just due to the full HD resolution scattered on the taller but compact 18:9 aspect ratio screen, the quality of display panel speaks for itself. It's very sharp and feels much more responsive in everyday use than every other mobile-screen I have used in the same price-point.
The screen size is 5.5-inch and it's a full HD panel with a resolution of 2,160x1,080 pixels. The extra footprint adds some more pixels taking the pixel count to an impressive 442ppi. The near bezel-less footprint and the taller 18:9 aspect ratio allows you to see more content in smaller form factor, which makes video browsing, gaming and multi-tasking more immersive.
The LCD panel provides good contrast levels and amazing colour reproduction. The screen also performed really well in direct sunlight as the LCD panel can get really bright to offer a comfortable viewing experience in outdoor scenarios.
Overall, LG Q6 is the mid-range handset that delivers the best-in-class multimedia viewing and screen user-experience without compromising on aesthetics and durability. And in case you manage to break the gorgeous screen, the company is also offering one-time free screen replacement within 6 months.
Most compact mid-range smartphone that also scores high on durability
While I loved the screen on LG Q6, my favorite feature is still the compact form factor of the mid-range handset. The smartphone follows the similar design footprint borrowed from its elder sibling LG G6 and can fit snugly in your palm. The phone is compact but the display is still one of the largest in its price-point. And the best part, your thumb can reach out to any part of this taller 5.5-inch screen without any struggle. All thanks to minimal bezels surrounding the screen.
And while it is very comfortable to use with one hand, the smartphone also maintains high standards of durability. LG Q6's metal body is solidified by the lightweight 'H Beam' frame which is made from the strong 7000 series aluminum. It is one of the highest strength aluminum alloys available and used extensively in industries such as aerospace. The aluminum gives LGQ6 the required endurance to handle impacts from any direction, but sadly does not protect it from scratches. The smartphone's outer layer is quite prone to scratches and fingerprints and I recommend using a third party case to minimize the damages.
At the end, I would like to say that LG has managed to devise a durable mobile phone which is absolutely comfortable to touch, use, and hold and still offers a big and crisp display.
No Fingerprint scanner, instead you get Face Recognition
The only weak-point of LG Q6's design is the lack of a fingerprint scanner. This might come as a surprise to you seeing the pricing of the handset but yes LG has chose not to incorporate the biometric scanner on Q6. Instead, the company is offering face recognition technology that can be used to unlock the phone. You need to lift your phone and the front camera will instantly recognize your face to unlock it. It's that simple and also works quite well when you have ample light. I set it to work when the screen is locked and off and it did unlock the handset without any trouble.
If you are doubtful about the reliability of the face-recognition, you can activate the advanced face recognition that makes it harder to unlock the device with an image or a video of the saved face in the phone's memory. However, it slows down the whole process of unlocking the device by some micro seconds.
Overall, the face recognition technology on LG Q6 works well but does not have a 100% strike rate, especially when you don't have ample lighting around you.
Impressive rear camera and decent Selfie camera
LG Q6 features a 13MP rear camera accompanied with an LED flash light. The picture quality delivered by the rear camera is impressive. There's a good amount of detailing in the pictures and they look really vivid on the crisp full HD display. The images captured in daylight also show a very good dynamic range. The low-light performance is not the same as the images show noise and you will also notice the poster colour effect while you zoom in the images to maximum levels, something we also noticed with LG G6's rear camera.
The camera app also features LG's exclusive Square Camera that comes with four creative shot modes. The pictures you capture with Square camera can be directly uploaded to Instagram and Facebook without requiring any cropping or editing. Moreover, to enhance the user experience, the camera app on LG Q6 also comes with instant social sharing features that allow you to share the pictures with friends and family right from the camera app. What I found missing in the camera app is the manual mode that would have made it a complete package.
For the selfie lovers, LG Q6 offers a 5MP wide selfie camera with 100 degree field of view. The picture quality is good but not the best in this price-point.
Qualcomm’s entry-level chipset paired with 3GB of RAM
Coming onto the performance part, LG Q6 is not the most powerful handset in sub Rs. 15k price category. It is backed by an Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor which has 4 Cortex A53 chips running at 1.4GHz and 4 Cortex A53 chips clocked at 1.1GHz. The processor is paired with Adreno 505 GPU to handle graphics part and you also get 3GB of RAM for multitasking.
While the handset is a capable day-to-day performer, don't expect it to run the most intensive tasks without any performance issues. I did not face any major issues while using LG Q6 as my daily driver. The handset perfectly handled three Email clients, Facebook Live, YouTube streaming, camera, Instagram stories, etc. The apps load up quickly and the phone also handles multitasking fairly well.
You can enjoy games like Angry Birds 2, SpiderMan Unlimited and other similar games without any frame drops, however Asphalt 8 and other heavy games showed occasional hiccups.
The LG Q6 also offers 32GB of internal storage space, which can be further expanded by up to 2TB using a microSD card.
Android Nougat with LG’s UX 6.0
Like the flagship LG G6, the Q6 also Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS with LG's UX 6.0 layer on top. The LG's customized layer is quite colorful and offers a variety of features including ‘Comfort view' which reduces the blue light from smartphone screen to offer a comfortable viewing experience. You also get Google Assistant and Nougat's split-screen multitasking feature that makes it possible use two apps at once. The taller 18:9 aspect ratio screen works really well in displaying two apps at a time on single screen.
By default you will have all the apps placed on the home-screen but you can swap the UI for a traditional app-drawer user interface. You can also download and install a number of themes to change the look and feel of the handset. The touch capacitive buttons at the bottom of the screen can also be tweaked matching one's preference.
Overall, the software user experience on this mid-range handset is no less than a flagship Android handset.
Battery and Connectivity
The 3,000mAh battery unit on LG Q6 can nearly give a day's backup on a single charge; however the lack of fast charging is rather disappointing. And as far as connectivity is concerned, LG Q6 offers Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g, n, Bluetooth 4.2, FM Rdio and USB Type-B 2.0.
LG Q6 does not offer the most powerful processor in its respective price category, but it is still the best mid-range smartphone I have used till date. The durable and compact design is unmatchable and the kind of screen user experience it delivers is simply top class. The everyday performance is good and there will be very few instances where the handset will give you reasons to complain.
The cameras work well in daylight and the handset can also last a day with moderate usage. I also appreciate the workable Face recognition technology but the lack of fingerprint security is still a big deal breaker.
At a price-point of Rs. 15,000, you can opt for a number of handsets from Chinese smartphone makers that can deliver better processing, camera and battery performance. However, none will match up the design and screen quality of LG Q6. The smartphone is available exclusively in Astro Black, Ice Platinum and Terra Gold on Amazon.in at Rs. 14,990.