LG’s announcement of the LG G6 is one of the highlights of MWC 2017 (don’t miss our LG G6 review). The general positioning that LG is taking in the premium space is to divide up its product line into the G-Series and the V-Series, with the G6 and the V20 being the current representatives.
The LG G-Series used to be what the market normally considers to be the “high-end” or “flagship” phone. The arrival of the LG V10 marked the split with that category, and the arrival of the G6 and the next generation V-Series, the trend will be more contrasted.
G-Series: the phone for enthusiasts
The LG G-Series, including the new LG G6 has been carefully crafted by LG to address the “enthusiast” market (my term, not LG’s). What is it? Basically, people who want a great design and user experience without caring about winning the features or benchmarks war. Supposedly, in return, the customer would pay less, for more value.
This concept is not new. In fact, several phone OEMs, including many from China, have been pursuing this very goal for a couple of years, some with a lot of success, others with mixed results. Huawei’s Honor brand fits in this category but OnePlus and a few others also provide very interesting products as well.
One could argue that today, the LG G6 is one step ahead of all these “enthusiast phones” or “premium handsets” because LG brings a combo of features that it believes people truly care about:
- High battery capacity (3300 mAh)
- Excellent camera experience with its unique wide-shot photos
- Very good design, build quality and durability
- High value for the price
The official LG G6 prices in different markets remains unclear, but we can compare the LG G5 ($360-$400) price against the Galaxy S7 ($520) to form an idea in the meantime. The two phones are different, and one could argue that the S7 is “better”, but is it 25% to 30% better? I don’t think so, and that should matter if you care about value for the money.
As you can see above, in terms of pricing the LG G5 is much more aggressively priced when compared to the S7 – its generational peer. We think that the LG G6 will follow this trajectory, and could be even more aggressive, considering that LG has optimized the G6 even more.
The most visible optimization is how the company is adding or removing features depending on specific region/market interest. After looking at customer reactions for things like Quad-DAC, Dual-SIM, wireless charging (USA only) or internal storage usage (32GB or 64GB), LG decides to make these available – or not- in specific markets. IF retail prices follow, users wouldn’t pay for features they don’t use. Note that the G6 has a micro SD option that supports 2TB cards.
Unfortunately, this means that the LG G6 has huge variations, with one model featuring 64GB of storage and Quad-DAC in places like Hong Kong, to the European model NOT having 64GB, Quad-DAC and Wireless charging. IF LG is right, this should not impact sales too much, otherwise there could be consumer frustrations – we’ll see. LG points out that there are always regional differences, which is true, but this is extremely contrasted.
Note that retail prices are ultimately decided by partners such as wireless carriers, so LG does not have 100% control over that. LG doe s not currently direct-sell, although there are various back channels such as Amazon to get unlocked LG phones.
V-Series: the phone for power-users
The LG V-Series pioneered with the LG V10 and represented by the LG V20 at publishing time is another beast. This is a lower-volume phone which does not have the same constraints to please the widest audience.
The V-Series is for the power-user, the person who wants the best of everything LG has to offer and don’t mind paying extra for this, even if some features such as Quad-DAC end up being under-utilized.
As we discussed this with LG executives at the Korea HQ of the company, it was made clear that the distinction between G and V series would grow in 2017 in order to help both customers and retail partners present a clear distinction between the two. In essence, both phones should not compete against one another, but complement one another in a complete smartphone line-up that addresses more potential customers.
If you care about having an excellent user experience but only paying for what you really use, the LG G6 should be on your radar because it can fulfill this beautifully depending on your needs. On the contrary if the thought of missing specific features such as larger internal capacity (64GB, 128GB), high-end audio rendering (Quad-DAC), Dual-SIM or Wireless charging seems unbearable (depending on the market), then it’s probably best to pay extra and get those features in a different phone, like the upcoming next V-Series phone.
The LG G6 is for anyone who wants a great phone experience, not the bragging rights.