LG's G6 flagship phone is probably going to appear at Mobile World Congress in February, but that doesn't mean LG is coming to this January's CES show empty-handed. It's bringing five new devices that may end up making for the bulk of its US sales in 2017: a mid-range phone with a stylus, as well as mid-range to low-end K series phones that you're going to see popping up for affordable prices on nearly every carrier.
The K series are LG's workhorses. While the G5 gets all the press, the K phones quietly plug along behind the scenes, offering reliability, a solid brand name, and affordable power. LG tried to jazz up its midrange last year with the X series, each of which had one special boosted feature (such as a fast processor or a big battery), but the Ks still seem to have more uptake from the US carriers.
So at CES, we're getting the K10, K8, K4 and K3. They range in size from a 5.3 inch 720p screen, for the K10, to a 4.5-inch, 854 by 480 screen, for the K3. The K10 is interesting for running a Mediatek MT6750 processor and packing a 13-megapixel main camera. But I think the best buy in the group is going be the K8. The new K8 has everything a midrange buyer wants: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, a 5-inch 720p screen, a 13-megapixel main camera, and Android 7.0 Nougat. If that's planted in the middle of carrier lineups, it'll be popular.
The K4 and K3 are more likely to lurk in the realm of super-cheap carriers like TracFone. Both run Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processors and have relatively weak 5-megapixel main cameras. Most disappointgly, they also have Android 6, which shouldn't be happening on a major manufacturer phone in 2017. That's not to say it won't happen elsewhere - it just shouldn't. They step down to 5-inch and 4.7-inch, 854 by 480 screens respectively. The whole K family is shown below.
With the Samsung Galaxy Note line effectively dead at the moment, LG's midrange G stylo phones are carrying the torch for phones which come with a stylus. Never mind that the G stylo's stylus isn't a magic pressure-sensitive pen, it's just a capacitive stylus like you could use with any phone. But the big screen, and the fact that the stylus is there, encourages its use as a notepad in a way that many other phones don't. The G Stylo 2 and its sibling, the Stylo 2 Plus, have appeared on all four major carriers. We reviewed the G Stylo 2 on Boost.
The G stylo 3 brings the pen to Android 7.0 Nougat. It has a Mediatek 6750 processor, a 5.7-inch 720p screen, and 8MP and 13MP cameras. So you see, it's big, but not necessarily fancy. It's a pen-enabled phablet for people who don't need super-high-res screens or "air commands." It'll do a good job of spreading Nougat among the midrange, and hopefully it'll be picked up more quickly than the G Stylo 2 was. It took last year's model until October to be ranged by Verizon.
We'll get hands-on with all of these new phones at the show.