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LG G4: could this new flagship smartphone replace your camera for good?

LG’s newly announced smartphone promises to challenge even dedicated cameras on quality

The high quality of smartphone cameras has long been taken for granted; but there’s still no comparison between a photo taken on a mobile and one taken on even an entry-level DSLR camera.

The gap is ever closing, though, and LG’s newly announced G4 smartphone could even bridge it.

There are plenty of eye-catching specs attached to LG’s latest flagship Android device; and not just in terms of raw power. Its leather-backed case, its 100GB of free space on Google Drive and its removable battery and microSD card slot are all little differences that will make smartphone customers go, “Huh, that’s nice,” and help it stand out from the competition.

But the big sell on the mobile that goes on sale in Korea tomorrow and in the UK later this year is its Nikon-and-Canon-bothering snapper.

Cameras have long been sold on their megapixel count and the G4’s weighs in at 16 megapixels, just as its predecessor the G3 did. But far more important for picture quality than a sensor’s resolution is its size, and the G4’s is 40% larger than the G3. More sensor surface area equals more detail being picked up equals more lifelike pictures.

On top of that, it sports a wide F1.8 aperture lens – which enables a lot more light in to hit that sensor. A lot more light? 80% more light than the G3, according to LG. Along with an improved image stabilisation feature (which now operates on three axes rather than the G3’s two), that means a camera that should make short work of low-light photograpy.

What else? A Color Spectrum Sensor on the back of the phone measures the light levels of your surroundings and uses those to automatically adjust the camera’ white balance and flash colour, with the aim of automatically producing realistic colours in your pics.

Out of the box you’ll also get access to phone’s manual mode, enabling direct control of settings that are often automatic on smartphones; things like the focus, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation and white balance. The phone will even shoot images in RAW – an image format beloved by photography enthusiasts since it leaves any image formatting to be done in post-processing software, rather than on the camera itself.

Away from the camera, the G4 is packed with all the high-end features you’d expect from a phone that’s going to war with the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S6 and the HTC One M9. A 5.5-inch (2560 x 1440, 538ppi) display, Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB RAM and 8MP front-facing camera? Check, check, check and indeed check.

As you’d also expect, LG president Juno Cho says the new phone “can compete with the best of the best.” Well of course he’d say that, but on paper it does certainly look to be the case, making LG’s new phone very much one to watch.

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