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LG's flagship is finally here

New leather-stiched options

Just a trick of the light

The G4 and its G3 predecessor

Big and sharp display

A barely there curve

Hefty but comfy in the hand

Lining up the competitors

The UI gets a facelift

The 808

Upgraded camera specs

Includes more gesture shots

Removable battery inside

More than meets the eye

Samsung looms over all

Should you upgrade? Depends.

In the big scheme of things

Already launched in Korea, LG's newest marquee handset, the G4, will roll out globally in late May and early June. All four major US carriers will carry the device as well as US Cellular, and it'll be available in the UK and Australia too.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

One of the standout features of the G4 is the real stitched leather back cover, which looks and feels considerably more premium than the plastic options.

In the UK, this tan leather colour is exclusive to the O2 network, but will be available globally.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The other back plates have either a ceramic paint or metallic elements. It feels similar to the G3's faux-metal backing. We also liked the subtle "dented" diamond pattern on the back that catches light in an interesting manner.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Like the LG G3, the G4 (left) sports a 5.5-inch LCD display. The quad-HD touchscreen is razor-sharp, with graphics, images, text and movies appearing incredibly crisp. It has a 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution, which works out to 534 pixels per inch.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

LG claims that the device's screen, an IPS Quantum Display that it says is the first of its kind anywhere, is 25 percent brighter (500 nits) and has a 20 percent wider color range than its previous QHD screens on mobile devices. Contrast has improved by 50 percent over its last iteration too, up to 1,500:1.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

LG says the leather used is a by-product of the beef industry so no extra cows have been killed on its behalf.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Similar to the LG G Flex 2, the G4's display is curved. However, the former is arched about four times steeper, and the curve on the latter is barely noticeable to the eye. In fact, you can only really see it if you place the phone face down on a flat surface.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Though the phone feels rather heavy, it's nice to hold in the hand and up to the face while on a call, due to the round back that curves from left to right, which contours to your palm.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

From left to right: the G4, the Samsung Galaxy S6, the HTC One M9 and the Apple iPhone 6.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The device runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. Overlaid on top is LG's latest UI, UX 4.0. Bright, colorful and more in tune with Android's Material Design flat aesthetic, UX 4.0 is LG's most refreshing UI yet. It's easy to navigate and understand, and we especially liked the charming app icons.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The handset is equipped with Qualcomm's 64-bit, hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor that has a clock speed of 1.8GHz. Inside is a 3,000mAh removable battery, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage and a microSD card slot that can hold up to 2TB.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

On the back is a 16-megapixel camera -- a jump from the previous 13-megapixel effort. New camera tools include three different types of shooting modes: Standard, Auto and Manual, which gives you the most control over your photos.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

For your selfie and video-chatting needs, the phone's front-facing camera has been bumped up from 2.1 to 8 megapixels.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

The G4's 3,000mAh battery is removable, which can be useful to power hogs who may need to switch batteries in the middle of the day. During our battery drain test for continuous video playback, it lasted over 10 hours.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

As mentioned before, the device is equipped with a Snapdragon 808 processor. Though this sounds like a step down from the LG G Flex 2's 810 processor, LG says that the 808 chip is actually more optimized for the G4, and works to boost the handset's performance.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

Compared to other Android rivals, however, the handset didn't edge out the competition. For instance, the Galaxy S6 (right) scored consistently higher than the G4 on every benchmark test.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

For those who have a G2, the LG G4 is a considerable upgrade and it's a worthy buy given its faster processor, brighter display and impressive camera. The phone is also far better than the recent G Flex 2, which isn't as fast or have as sharp a display.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Those who already have a G3, however, should feel happy to keep their handset since the G4 isn't a significant upgrade. Indeed, it fails to expand or elevate LG's G brand to a higher level of innovation, and it feels more like a premium phone from the company rather than a flagship.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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