Track Tech: Verizon Wireless’ LG G4

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Sometimes you need a break. A breath of fresh air. A vacation from the monotony.

That’s where I was just over a month ago so I decided to take a break from writing for a while. I got back in touch with other things I love to do – traveling for fun instead of work, actually having a social life with friends in the city I live in, and occasionally… just spending an entire day at home, catching up on DVR recordings that had piled up for months, with my dog curled up at the end of the couch. And the best part of all of it… no guilt. I refused to let myself label all of this as unproductive or lazy. Not an easy task in the head of Shay… but I did it. And it was needed. And now I’m back.

So thank you for the patience, and I hope you enjoy this piece. Technically, yes, it’s the next edition of Track Tech, but it’s personal too, as I experienced a lot while trying out the LG G4 from Verizon Wireless, and I want to share all of that with you, my awesome readers!

Screenshot_2015-08-26-16-54-10Sometimes you need a break. A breath of fresh air. A vacation from the monotony.
(Sometimes you have déjà vu.)

The LG G4 is exactly that – a phone that refuses to conform to the smartphone world standards and makes us take a moment, get reacquainted and enjoy something different rather than falling into a pattern of familiarity.

As someone that reviews 10-12 wireless devices over the course of a year, it’s easy to think, “I’ve seen this feature… and this one…”, but that always presents a challenge, which I like… to find what it is about each device that makes it different from the last one. Finding those unique features and software components are exciting, so it’s even more stimulating when the phone presents these as a whole.

From the curved back of the LG G4 that feels molded to your hand, to the placement of the buttons on the back of the device, condensed but easy to tell apart by touch, the G4 seems to be customized to the user as soon as they take it out of the crisp white LG box. The ease of use of the G4 continues once powered on and as time progresses. You receive notifications called “Smart Tips” that introduce you and familiarize you to the G4, making you aware of the true capabilities of this phone. Here are a few of my favorites and how they came in handy throughout my recent adventures.

Instant Fireworks, Just Add Verizon

Screenshot_2015-08-26-16-53-08One of the most frustrating things when taking photos is missing “that” moment. A great candid laugh or reaction, or even something quick moving or fleeting in time that you didn’t capture because the camera took too long to focus or flash. The Instant Photo Capture Function on the LG G4 makes sure that this is no longer an issue! A double-click of the volume down button on the back of the device powers on the camera immediately when the phone is off and another click captures the moment in real time.

0829152214dBack in August, I was enjoying one of my favorite summer activities… a local festival! I had a bag of fresh and warm kettle korn, a cup of shaken lemonade and a spot at a picnic table under the trees. I was ready to watch fireworks in the distance, when I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to see exactly how instant, the instant photo capture feature was on the LG G4. As you can see, it exceeded my expectations and gave me multiple shots of firework perfection. The instant gratification continued thanks to the reliability of the Verizon Wireless network, allowing me to share photos in real time.

Show Respect, Not Your Phone

Screenshot_2015-08-26-16-54-29As attached as we are to our smartphones, there are moments when having them at arm’s length is less than appropriate – light emission, sounds escaping and even thumb typing is just disrespectful and unnecessary. That was how I felt as I approached the United 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania over September 11th weekend this year. I had decided to make the drive down on the 12th after my work shift upon hearing that they unveiled the new museum & visitors center on the 14th anniversary of the National tragedy. I had the opportunity to pay my respects at both Ground Zero and the Pentagon in past years, and I wanted to do the same for the heroes that died in Pennsylvania. As I drove up to the memorial and stepped out of my car, the silence was nearly deafening… even though I was surrounded by dozens of cars and even more people. It’s not the place for ringtones, selfies, or conspiracy theories. The site demands reverence without uttering a sound.

0912151806~2I made sure my phone was on silent and I only took it out in order to take a picture of the etched glass overlook and on the wildflower path as I walked down to the crash site to livestream on Periscope so my followers could see the grounds and hopefully be inspired to come pay their respects as well. I was on a time schedule however, as with most days in my life, so I needed to keep track of the hours… I was able to use the Quick Glance Ability to check the time discretely (since I use my phone as a watch), as well as note missed calls or notifications. From a black “sleeping” screen of the phone, I just swiped down from the top of the screen… think of it as peeking behind the curtain. The calls & notifications that I saw were not emergent and I did not even post my photo until I reached my SUV at the end of my visit and had a moment to decompress. It was a very emotionally overwhelming day and it deserved my presence in the moment, not on a smartphone. Thanks to quick glance, I was able to show that respect without compromise.

Truly, a Bright Smartphone

Screenshot_2015-08-26-16-54-42This past Labor Day weekend, I attending the Cleveland Air Show for the first time since childhood. It was also my first time back at Burke Lakefront Airport since Champ Car ran the last Grand Prix of Cleveland in June 2007. Now, I won’t go off on a tangent about how the Verizon IndyCar Series needs to return to the Cleveland Lakefront because it was a fan & driver favorite race, since I’m relatively certain you all know how strongly I feel about my hometown finding it’s way back onto America’s premiere open-wheel circuit. That said, we enjoyed walking the runways that used to form the track. Safe to say while everyone else was looking up at the planes when they first walked in, I was looking like a goof and staring at the ground.

The nice thing about having the LG G4 in tow for this event, was that whether I was taking photos of the aerobatics in the sky, the planes parked on the runways or the old entrance to the pits, the phone screen was perfectly visible in direct sunlight. This phenomenon is due to the IPS Quantum Display, which produces crisp images, a broader range of colors than ever before and a higher contrast ratio – this all comes together to provide the most incredible display ever seen on a smartphone.

According to Pocket-Lint.com,

“The G4 screen has been created to close-in on the standards used by Hollywood movie studios, dubbed DCI or Digital Cinema Initiatives. And while no display device can present the full spectrum of visible colour, the DCI colour gamut is a wide array of visible colours that can recreate a rich overall image.”

0906151546~2So when you look at the LG G4 and it feels like you’ve never seen anything like it before… it’s because truly, you haven’t! I received such great feedback on pictures posted from my LG G4 – and that wasn’t only because of the camera quality and fantastic true-to-eye captures, but because the editing software that comes loaded on the device is top-notch for a smartphone.

The best feature of the editing options was the HD filter, particularly on landscapes or subjects that were not human. I say that because HD filtering is just not flattering on the human face. You will see every imperfection and it will age you. Be a good person, don’t ever HD filter your friends. The color & contrast however, is ideal for inanimate objects, as it makes them pop and transforms a regular image into something resembling a 3-D image.

Lighten Up, It’s Your #BestShotEver

Screenshot_2015-08-26-16-53-39

Let’s keep talking about that G4 camera. Remember all the hype leading up to the phone’s release? All the commercials, the branding, and LG’s #BestShotEver promotion? Well it all lived up to the hype, and then some! During the #BestShotEver promo, LG sent out emails to bloggers and tech folks like myself, requesting us to register for the opportunity to be a part of the LG G4 release promotion. In doing so, they sent us each a SIMcard-less LG G4, essentially allowing us to use it exclusively as a camera. It had wifi connectivity capabilities in order to post our images on social media with their promotional hashtag. We were asked to take photos in pro (manual) mode and make note of the image’s shutter speed and ISO when posting.

The user can control more than just those two elements however. White balance, auto or manual focus, as well as opting when to utilize the auto exposure lock feature. The combination of how to use all of the features is limitless. And that’s just the snapshot itself… I already explained the level of post-editing thats possible, and quite honestly, I only scratched the surface. We didn’t even get into the laser auto focus and the f/1.8 aperture lens.

ShayS

Everything I’ve discussed so far is referring to the 16mp rear-facing camera. The 8mp front-facing camera, better known as the selfie camera, will not only be your best friend when trying to take a personal photo, but your friends will all love it. Everytime I took a selfie with friends, I got the same reply… that they loved how flawless their skin looked! The other awesome thing about the front-facing camera is that it puts a light colored frame around the mirror-image you see when in low-light situations. This gives the faces in the shot a natural light instead of a harsh flash. No more blinding selfie lights or dark shadowed faces!

verizon-communications-inc-too-announces-release-date-for-lg-g4The complete freedom you have with this phone is unparalleled. From using manual mode on the camera, to ordering a G4 with a stitched leather-back in the color of your choice, the personal customizations for this device are endless. It’s truly an investment, and having Verizon Wireless, the Nation’s most dependable network behind it, only increases its desirability. The unit as a whole is a game-changer, but my absolute favorite thing to do with the LG G4 is snap & share photos. You forget you’re using a phone to take these shots, it just feels like a lightweight and unobtrusive professional camera. Get your hands on one, take the time to enjoy the art of digital photography (again or for your first time), and thank me later. More appropriately, thank LG & Verizon!

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