LG has today announced its new LG G4 flagship, packing hardware upgrades all-around, a plethora of rear cover designs, and the Snapdragon 808 system-on-a-chip. None of the specification announcements come as much surprise (thanks to the steady stream of leaks over the last few months), but now we have the official word on what LG’s latest contender will be bringing to the market…

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One of the most obvious changes coming with the LG G4 line is the new availability of “elegant” and “human” removable rear covers. The back of the phone will be available in many different colors, and in genuine leather, “contoured ceramic,” and “hammered metallic” material variants. Additionally, the phone features a “slim arc design” to fit the contour of your hand, which helps it “stand up better to those accidental drops” as well.

The camera features were also one of the biggest focuses of today’s event, with LG saying that the phone gets closer than any other to the power of professional camera. It has both “Basic” and “Normal” modes as seen before, but alongside the brand-new “Manual” mode, the camera packs some features that set it apart and give you control over shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and more.

Check out our LG G4 hands-on and first impressions video below:

The rear camera with laser autofocus sports a 16-megapixel sensor that launches in as little as 0.6 seconds and can take a photo with just a double-tap of the rear key. The phone sports a F1.8 aperture (which allows in 80% more light than other smartphones currently on the market), a 40% larger image sensor, and a 3-axis optical image stabilizer. It’s also the world’s first to have a color spectrum sensor, which allows the camera to recognize both light and objects. Finally, LG says you can take photos with as slow as a 4-second shutter speed, and that all of the photos you take can be saved in raw format to expandable microSD storage.

On the front you’ll find a nice new 8-megapixel selfie cam, and LG says that its gesture shot feature has been much-improved with the G4.

The new phone brings several iterative spec updates, including a 5.5-inch display with resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels at 538 pixels-per-inch, 3GB of RAM and 32 GB of flash storage. It’s leaving behind the infamous heat-prone Snapdragon 810 and going with the Snapdragon 808 SoC, and packs a 3,000 mAh battery to keep all of this up and running (for more than a day, according to LG). The phone has the usual connectivity interfaces, including 802.11 ac WiFi, 4G LTE support, Bluetooth 4.1LE, and NFC.

On the software side, the phone will of course have LG’s UX 4.0 skin of Android 5.1 Lollipop. LG announced UX 4.0 earlier this month, showing off the software’s “Smart Board” widget, the new photography features, and more. The LG G4 is UX 4.0’s debut device.

LG G4 owners will receive a free 100 GB of free storage space from Google on top of the 15 GB that comes by default, which is definitely a nice incentive for those in the market for a new Android phone. The LG G4 will start rolling out on April 29 in South Korea, according to LG, with many other countries to follow. In the US, the phone will be coming to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular. There’s no official word yet on pricing yet, but you can read more at LG’s official G4 landing page.

SEOUL, April 29, 2015 — LG Electronics (LG) unveils its eagerly anticipated LG G4 smartphone today, at launch events in New York, London, Paris, Singapore, Istanbul and Seoul. Approximately 1,000 guests around the world gathered to view the new LG G4, the successor to the G3, which exceeded all expectations in terms of sales and industry awards. Among the first users of the LG G4 will be 4,000 lucky customers who will receive the new smartphone as part of the company’s largest-ever consumer experience campaign.

With the G4, LG focused on delivering comfortable elegance, a great visual experience and a human-centric user experience. The LG G4 camera features a rare-in-smartphones F1.8 aperture lens which allows 80 percent more light to hit the image sensor than in the LG G3. The innovative camera module is paired with the new IPS Quantum Display that is better in every way than the innovative Quad HD display introduced to the world in the LG G3. The LG G4 embodies human sensibility that is clearly visible in its Slim Arc exterior design and graphical user interface.

“We are living up to our promise of Innovation for a Better Life with a fashionable, premium smartphone that is more focused on delivering a balanced user experience that can compete with the best of the best,” said Juno Cho, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “We wanted to give consumers a truly human-centric device that combined the analog sensibilities with technologies that delivered real world performance. From the design to the camera to the display to the UX, this is the most ambitious phone we’ve ever created.”

Comfortable & Elegant Design

LG paid special attention to the materials utilized in its newest flagship. The LG G4 is available in handcrafted, genuine full grain leather in six beautiful colors. The vegetable tanning process employed is an age old tradition that requires skilled craftsmen to produce and dye the leather. The colors of the leather on the G4 are rich with warm tones that look authentic and change over time. Most importantly, vegetable tanned leather is environmentally friendly and can be recycled easily, since no harsh chemicals are used. Other material options for the G4 rear cover include pure Ceramic White with 3D patterns, artisan-forged Metallic Gray as well lustrous, Shiny Gold.

The fashionable elegance of the LG G4 is a refreshing change from the uniformly flat, full metal designs that have been become standard across the industry. The LG G4’s design is defined by the Slim Arc, which runs along its entire body, highlighted by a display with a subtle curvature. More than just a design accent, Slim Arc offers 20 percent better durability than a flat smartphone in face-down drops and gives the smartphone a more comfortable and secure feel in the hand.

The exterior design is also reflected in the smartphone’s user interface, which includes simple, naturally intuitive graphics. In the LG G4, the icon colors are more vibrant with icons that have rounded corners, consistent with the Slim Arc design. What’s more, the Smart Notice widget automatically changes its background and text color based on the home screen image selected by the user.

Great Visual Experience

LG designed the 16MP camera in the LG G4 to capture beautiful images, even under less than ideal lighting conditions. The camera module features a wide F1.8 aperture lens that allows 80 percent more light to reach the sensor. LG improved low-light performance even further with OIS 2.0, which doubles the performance of the improved OIS+ by expanding the range of image stabilization from one degree to two degrees on the X- and Y-axis and adding a third axis for the first time.

New for G4, Manual Mode allows experienced photographers the ability to exercise more artistic expression by letting them directly control the focus, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation and white balance for every shot. Advanced photographers can also save their photos in RAW format, in addition to JPEG, for more precise editing with no loss of details.

The advanced camera in the LG G4 is complemented by Color Spectrum Sensor (CSS), the first feature of its kind to find its way into a smartphone. CSS improves color accuracy by precisely reading the RGB values of the ambient light in a scene, as well as the infrared light reflected from objects. CSS uses this information to adjust the camera’s white balance and flash color to create images that are as close to what one would see with the naked eye. With Color Spectrum Sensor, no longer will reds appear as bright orange or whites as dull yellow.

For selfies good enough to frame, LG included an industry-leading 8MP front-facing camera for sharp, detailed portraits and group shots. Gesture Interval Shot improves on the original Gesture Shot feature by taking four shots spaced two seconds apart, increasing the chance of getting that perfect shot under the most difficult conditions. Triggering the shutter is as simple as opening and closing one’s hand twice in front of the camera.

Taking a quantum leap in display technology, the LG G4 is the first smartphone to use LG Display’s new 5.5-inch IPS Quantum Display, which offers 20 percent greater color reproduction, 25 percent improvement in brightness and 50 percent greater contrast. It is the first Quad HD display to employ Advanced In-Cell Touch (AIT) technology, which combines the LCD and touch sensor into a single layer to provide better color reproduction and touch sensitivity. This new display is calibrated for DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) standards for color expression, championed by top Hollywood studios.

Power and Performance

With G4, the higher quality display doesn’t come at the expense of battery life. The LG G4 is equipped with a high-capacity 3,000mAh removable battery, a rare feature in today’s high-end smartphones. Combined with the benefits offered by the snappy yet energy-thrifty Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 808 processor with X10 LTE, the LG G4 has no trouble getting through a full day of normal use. In fact, the LG G4 is estimated to last 20 percent longer than the G3, from the same capacity battery.

To mark the first public unveiling of its Snapdragon™ 808 processor, Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, executive chairman of Qualcomm International joined Mr. Cho on stage in New York City with Qualcomm vice chairman Jim Doh attending in Seoul.

“LG and Qualcomm Technologies collaborated from the initial stage of the Snapdragon 808 introduction to expertly tune the technologies and make several of the LG G4’s unique features possible,” said Jacobs. “The resulting G4 smartphone is an ideal example of how the best optimized technologies come together to meet consumers’ needs.”

Human-Centric UX

The LG G4 is the first phone to utilize the new human-centric UX 4.0 that promises to be simpler and more intuitive to better understand and respond to the needs of each user. The improved UX eliminates unnecessary steps while providing more configuration options for advanced users.

■ Quick Shot allows customers to take pictures without opening the camera app by double tapping the phone’s Rear Key while the display is off. LG G4 also has an incredibly fast camera startup time of just six-tenths of a second.

■ The new Gallery makes it extremely fast to scroll through thousands of pictures and view them on a timeline. The Memories feature automatically organizes photos and videos into event albums based on the time and place they were taken, without having to upload to the cloud.

■ Event Pocket allows users to create one, unified calendar by dragging and dropping appointments and activities from multiple calendars and social media sites. After the initial setup, there’s no need to log into multiple calendars.

■ The improved Smart Notice provides more personalized notifications for weather, travel and more by analyzing habits, such as how a user commutes to work. This allows Smart Notice to issue personalized messages such as, “Make sure to take an umbrella on your way to the subway.”

■ Quick Help allows users to search for instant answers to any questions about operating the LG G4, right in the Smart Notice widget. Quick Help can guide users through the LG G4’s settings and even schedule a call with customer service.

LG has sought out partnerships to enhance the overall user experience of the G4. Google Office comes pre-installed on the LG G4 for easy collaboration on-the-go and G4 owners will receive an additional 100GB of Google Drive storage free for two years. With MirrorLink and LG G4, owners of Volkswagen vehicles will be able to view a car-friendly version of the G4 interface on the in-dash display for full integration with contacts, navigation and music on the smartphone.

The LG G4 will start its global roll-out on April 29 in Korea and will eventually be available on approximately 180 carriers worldwide. Prices and carrier availability will be announced locally in each market.

Key Specifications:*

■ Chipset: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 808 Processorwith X10 LTE

■ Display: 5.5-inch Quad HD IPS Quantum Display (2560 x 1440, 538ppi)

■ Memory: 32GB eMMC ROM, 3GB LPDDR3 RAM / microSD slot

■ Camera: Rear 16MP with F1.8 Aperture / OIS 2.0 / Front 8MP

■ Battery: 3,000mAh (removable)

■ Operating System: Android 5.1 Lollipop

■ Size: 148.9 x 76.1 x 6.3 – 9.8mm

■ Weight: 155g

■ Network: 4G / LTE / HSPA+ 21 Mbps (3G)

■ Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 4.1LE / NFC / USB 2.0

■ Colors: [Ceramic] Metallic Gray / Ceramic White / Shiny Gold /

[Genuine Leather] Black / Brown / Red / Sky Blue / Beige / Yellow

■ Other: Manual Mode / Gesture Interval Shot / Quick Shot

* Specifications may vary depending on the market.