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LG G4C review: A curved screen and affordable price aren't enough

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The Good The LG G4C's subtly curved screen is bright and bold, its camera is basic but takes decent shots and the battery should give you a good day of use.

The Bad Its weak processor and graphic-heavy software result in extremely sluggish performance, making even basic navigation frustrating. Its 8GB of built-in storage is basically useless.

The Bottom Line Don't be swayed by the LG G4C's fancy display -- the new Moto G's superior performance and cheaper price makes it a much better buy.

6.0 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 4
  • Camera 7
  • Battery 7

The LG G4C is pitched as being a cheaper alternative to LG's luscious flagship G4. Indeed, there are resemblances in the curved design of the phone, but the G4C has made some hefty compromises in order to arrive with a cheaper price tag.

The 5-inch display has a 720p resolution, the camera has only 8 rather than 16 megapixels and the processor has been toned down from a brutal six-core chip to a low-power quad-core affair on the G4C. It's the latter that's the biggest compromise here, with the G4C's processing performance being sluggish to the point of being irritating.

Of course, you can't expect flagship performance without paying flagship cash, but even so, there are better places to spend your money. The G4C's biggest competition comes from the new Motorola Moto G. This 5-inch phone has the same resolution in its display, but its processor provides a much more swift experience, it has a 13-megapixel camera and it's water resistant. Not to mention the vast array of colours it's available in.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

While the Moto G will set you back £160 in the UK, with 8GB of storage, the G4C will cost you £190, for the same amount of on-board space. Without hesitation, I recommend going for the Moto G over the G4C.

Design and display

There's a definite family resemblance between the G4C and its flagship brother, thanks to the curving screen and the volume and power buttons positioned on the back, beneath the camera. The G4C also comes with a similar plastic grey back panel to the one seen on the standard G4. I found that plastic panel to both look and feel cheap on the G4 and it's not much better here. It unquestionably lacks the luxurious charm of the leather G4 back panel -- an option not available here.

It's not ugly, however, and its cheaper price tag makes the lack of premium leather forgivable. Its 139 by 70 by 10.2mm dimensions make it comfortable to hold and use in one hand and it feels well put together. On the top edge is the headphone jack, with the Micro-USB port found on the bottom. The back cover is removable and it's under there that you'll find the micro-SIM and microSD card slots, as well as swap out the removable battery.

You will need to make use of the microSD card slot too, as the phone comes with a pitiful 8GB of storage, less than half of which is actually available for you to use.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The 5-inch display has a 1,280x720-pixel resolution, which is sufficient to make apps and images look decent. Sure, high-res snaps lack the clarity of the ultra high resolution flagship, but that's one of the sacrifices you'll have to make when opting for a more budget-minded handset. It's bright and colours are rich too. It's a good all-round screen and is well suited to most everyday tasks.

About the screen's curve -- it's there, sure, but only just. It's such a subtle curve that most people who saw the phone didn't realise until I placed it flat on a table. It's certainly not curved enough to make any kind of difference to your viewing and so I'm forced to question why it's there at all. Without it, the G4C could almost certainly come with a cheaper price tag and you wouldn't lose a thing from the overall experience.

Android software and processor performance

You'll find version 5.0.1 Lollipop on board, over which LG has slapped its own custom interface. I quite like LG's clean-looking software with its flat icons, and I'm pleased it hasn't thrown too much needless bloatware into the mix. You'll find a few extra additions like a backup app and LG SmartWorld, but there's far less junk than you'll see on most Sony phones, for example.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Its big graphical overhaul of Android seems to have taken its toll on the processor's performance, however. It's packing a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, which should be sufficient for most tasks, but the G4C is far from speedy. Even navigating around the Android interface can be slow, with regular jerks as the processor fights to keep up with you. Its meagre 1GB of RAM might have a part to play in this. Gaming is off the cards too, except for the most basic of titles -- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, with its fast-paced 3D action, is totally unplayable on this phone. Angry Birds 2 fared better, but even that had its moments of sluggishness.

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