LG G4c

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A solid example of a mid-range phone, the LG G4c could be worse . . . and it could be better

LG is the fifth biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world, and it’s currently competing with Huawei for fourth place after having been outpaced by the Chinese company. The Korean company has been in the smartphone market since the early 2000s, and has been releasing new phones on a steady basis since then.

It has been trying to improve since the Optimus embarrassment a few years ago, and they seem to be just about treading water in the market. At first glance, the LG G4c is a solidly mid-range smartphone, with a solidly mid-range price of £229.99. The hardware, software, camera and design are all good, but lack that last little touch that would mark them as excellent.

It’s in about the same price range as the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua or the HTC Desire 860, and while it’s a little more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy J5 which has similar specs, it’s notably cheaper than the Apple 5c. So, how does the LG G4c shape up?

Design
There’s not much that can be done with a black rectangle, but LG have built smooth curves into the top and bottom edges of the G4c, saving it from being a plain black tile. It’s sleek and simple, with only the speaker and offset camera at the top along with a notification LED and proximity sensor that blend invisibly into the background. The LG logo sits where buttons would be on other phones. In this model, they’ve opted for full touchscreen – no buttons except for the ones on the back.

Turning it over, there’s a rather elegant metallic matte crosshatch pattern on the plastic back, with the camera centred at the top above the on/off and volume control buttons. Lower down, next to the logo, there’s another speaker.

The five-inch screen fits nicely into even a small hand, although LG’s habit of sticking the volume controls on the back might take a little adjusting to.

At 10.2mm, it’s not the thinnest phone on the market, but it doesn’t really need to be. It’s far from being a brick.
To get to the micro SIM card or micro SD card, it’s necessary to take the cover off the back, which fortunately snaps on and off easily. The SD card slot is stacked over the top of the SIM, in an interesting attempt at space-saving. The LG G4c is available in three colours: Metallic Grey, Ceramic White and Shiny Gold.

Camera
The LG G4c has a mid-range eight megapixel rear camera and a five megapixel front camera. The auto-focus on the rear camera shines when used on medium-to-close objects in decent lighting, and has a surprisingly good handle on dimly-lit images. It also has a fast enough shutter speed to take good pictures of moving objects without blurring too much at the edges. It performs well with smooth, shiny objects and takes decent home photos.

On the other hand, the very thing that makes it a good low-light camera means that it has a tendency to produce darker images on both cameras, and its handling of contrast can sometimes go overboard into intense dark and light. The images can also turn out slightly grainy and pixellated, as the rear camera doesn’t cope well with sharp edges.

The front camera is offset, so you’ll need to adjust the camera before taking a selfie. Selfie-taking is made fun by the LG G4c’s voice activation and gesture shot abilities, when just saying ‘Cheese!’ will tell the camera to take a photo. There’s no more need to worry about button and finger coordination when in a group of friends. Gesture shot follows your hand signal to take either one photo, or four in a row. And they’ve done away with the flash at the front, instead turning the entire screen into one big camera flash.

The video function allows you to take HD video, which comes out clear and bright as long as you don’t move too quickly. There’s little if any shake compensation, so you’ll need either steady hands or a small tripod.

The still photos can be edited in Google’s Photo app, with the usual range of filters and adjustments available so that you can get the best out of your images.

Screen
The LG G4c’s five-inch screen is crisp, clear, and colour-perfect. One of the best things about this phone is it’ll show HD pictures and video with no difficulty, to the limit of the image’s pixels. The bezel around the edge is relatively wide for a modern phone, which means that it’s possible that they could have fitted a 5.2 inch screen into the space available. Still, it’s a matter of taste as to whether you do or don’t mind having a frame around the display.

Performance
Under ordinary circumstances, the performance of the 1.3Ghz quad-core processor is good. The apps load quickly, and respond fast when called on. The processor runs music and video without hesitation, even when it’s high quality, though it’s possible that full-length movies may need a few extra seconds of buffering. With 8GB of hard drive storage and a potential extra 128GB on a MicroSD card, you’ll have space to store plenty of music and video.

Unfortunately, it falls down when called on to handle high-performance games. With only 1GB of memory, it can take a while to load games that demand a lot out of the graphics processor, and gameplay can be jerky.

Still, if you aren’t planning to play racing games on your phone, this won’t matter given that the LG G4c is fully up to handling the day-to-day demands of the average user.

With all that running, the 2,540 mAh mid-to-high-range battery performs well with the demands made of it.

Its standby mode holds up better than some more expensive models, although playing resource-hungry games or constant video are likely to drain the battery quickly. In standard use, however, it’ll last out the day without needing to be recharged.

Software
The LG G4c runs on Android Lollipop, which functions well on the phone’s architecture. The lock screen can
be swiped in any direction to open, with a fun ripple effect clearing away the lock screen to reveal the active
page underneath.

Once cleared, it reveals the standard Android main screen or whatever you’ve left running. Phone, Contacts, the App button, Internet, and Messaging are displayed along the bottom of the screen, and below that are the touchscreen versions of Back, Main Screen and See All Open Apps.

Above are stacked the most common and most recently downloaded apps – the Google folder, Email. Google Play Store, Camera, and Settings. Above that is the usual stack of widgets that can be added or removed to personalise your home screen.

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