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LG unveils the G4, its new flagship smart phone

The LG G4 will have a QHD display, top-shelf camera, and an optional leather body. When it becomes available in May, the LG G4 will join the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, and iPhone 6 as a flagship smart phone.

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The LG G4 is the newest flagship Android smart phone. Here, LG President and CEO Juno Cho introduces the G4 at an event in New York on April 28, 2015.

Mark Lennihan/AP

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Over the past few months, the field of top-tier Android phones has gotten considerably more crowded. In March Samsung announced the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smart phones, which debuted to good reviews, and later that month HTC launched the One M9, its flagship handset. Not to be left out, this week LG officially announced the G4, its high-end smart phone for 2015.

LG has been leaking details about the G4 for several weeks, but now it’s official: the handset will have a 5.5-inch screen, a 16-megapixel camera sensor, and some fashion-conscious design choices such as an (optional) leather-encased body. The LG G4 will run Android 5.1 “Lollipop,” the latest version of the operating system, with a little bit of LG-specific software running on top.

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The G4’s camera is probably its strongest feature. The cameras found in Android smart phones are notorious for never being able to take pictures that are quite as good as those you’d get from an iPhone, even though they stack up on paper in terms of megapixels and sensor quality. But the G4 could change that reputation. Reviewers say the G4 takes very clear, sharp images even in low light, and with its default camera settings. LG’s camera software allows the user to control shutter speed, ISO, and white balance, and the camera has automatic image stabilization and a special sensor to help it capture colors more accurately.

Like last year’s model, the LG G3, the G4 has its power and volume buttons located on the back of the phone’s body, and its build is slightly curved, which LG says makes the display 20 percent less likely to break if the phone is dropped. The display has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, also known as “QHD” (Quad High Definition), and LG says it has the same color accuracy rating as the screens professional use to do color grading for movies.

Under the hood, the G4 has 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage (which can be expanded by adding a MicroSD card), and a zippy six-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor. The phone’s battery is removable, and LG says users can expect up to 14 hours of talk time, though of course the phone may not actually last that long in real life.

The G4 should be available on all the major US carriers, in the UK, and elsewhere, by the end of May. LG hasn’t announced pricing yet, but the G4 will probably cost about the same as its predecessor, which went for $200 on contract when it launched in the US last summer.