LG G3 Review.
The LG G2 was the under-dog of the year last year, it rose up from a relatively obscure device, battling to get noticed up against the likes of HTC and Samsung but it became one of if not the best smartphone of 2013. It won its fair share of awards and places in top ten lists, but that’s not to say it didn’t also win its fair share of critics, but LG has listened to those critics (well, some of them) and kept the award-winning formula of the G2 and added even more ground-breaking features into the mix in 2014, and this is the LG G3 Review.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you pick up the LG G3 is that it is rather large, but you’ll also notice that for a 5.5 inch screen, it’s not actually that large. It’s had a size bump over its predecessor the G2, which measured in at 5.2 inches.
The G3 now sits at 5.5 inches, which puts it firmly in the camp of “phablets” along with the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Note, Sony’s Xperia ZL and HTC’S One Max. What makes the G3 stand out from the rest of these monster phones, is that the body of the phone is nowhere near as big, despite the 5.5 inch display, LG have managed to cram all that into a phone with the same size footprint as the HTC One M8 or Sony Xperia Z2 which have 5” and 5.2” displays respectively.
Obviously a larger phone is going to be less ergonomic, if you’re going from a phone with a screen size of around 4 inches or higher (iPhone users I’m talking to you) then forget how you used to use your phone, efficiently using your phone one-handed is a thing of the past with a 5.5 inch screen, 90% of tasks are now going to be two-handed, unless you want to increase the chances of dropping your phone.
Speaking of dropping your phone, you are greatly increasing the chances of the phone sliding out your hand and onto the cold, hard ground with a plastic body, it’s no secret that the G3 is predominantly made from polycarbonate 80% to be exact, but LG have mixed in 20% of metals to give it a much more premium look, and it really does look great, it’s easy to forget that it’s a plastic phone at times, it doesn’t get slippery after long periods of use like the Galaxy S5 tended to do, and it does have a metal look and feel to it.
As well as integrating metals into the mix, LG have also given the G3 a curved back to make it that much easier to hold, and by and large it does work, I rarely had any issues keeping a firm grip, apart from once where it would have been toast if it weren’t for my razor sharp reactions.
As well as a gorgeous design that rivals the One M8 and Xperia Z2 it also has a removable back cover giving you access to swap out the battery and expand the memory up to 128 GB and add a SIM card, this is all neatly tucked away in the back of the device and not taking up any room on the G3’s impossibly small bezels and thin size. Another reason LG have managed to free up room on the sides of the device is the volume rocker and the power button, which are both located on the back of the device, much like last year’s G2, but, don’t worry if you thought the G2’s back buttons looked out of place and a bit ugly, LG have managed to make them look a lot neater and a lot less out of place on the G3, you’ll barely even notice they’re there, until you need to use them, of course.
This is the area where the G3 really stands out from its predecessor and pretty much every single smartphone on the market currently, LG have decided to go on all out pixel assault, cramming a 2560 X 1440 (2K) resolution into the G3’s 5.5 inch IPS panel. So, if you’re good at maths you would have worked out that the G3’s screen equates to a retina-popping 534ppi smashing the competition out the water and crowning the G3 as the world’s best mobile display.
In all honesty, the screen is magnificent, text pops out the screen, colours are gorgeous and everything looks true to life, the only draw-back is very little is currently optimized for the screen, other than LG’s default wallpapers, app icons and the 2K content pre-loaded on the screen, so if you want to show off the screen to your mates, head over to the gallery and show them the 2K LG demo, it will blow their minds.
That being said, this is still by far the best screen out there, it’s incredibly sharp and has a beautiful array of colours, but opts for the more natural look, colours actually look like how they do when you look out the window, which is in sharp contrast ( no pun intended) to Sony’s Xperia Z2 which tends to exaggerate colours a lot, which isn’t a bad thing. But the colours are significantly brighter than the One M8’s which can tend to look quite washed out from time to time.
There’s no doubt this is the display to beat at the moment, and it’s only going to improve as app developers fine tune their content to take advantage of the impressive display, another positive note about the screen is despite its huge resolution it doesn’t massively impact battery life, but more on that later in the review.
So, as you would expect LG have really gone to town on making sure the G3 tops the spec list, they did it with the screen and they’ve certainly done it with the phone’s internals. The G3 packs a Quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset clocked at 2.5 GHz helped along by a healthy 3GB of ram and 32Gb of on-board storage, it’s worth noting at this point to our UK readers that this version isn’t currently available so you’ll have to make do with a 16GB storage/2GB RAM version for the time being. That being said, I’m sure the UK version will still be blisteringly fast.
Anyway, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, you want cold hard facts, not my opinion, running the LG G3 test unit I received through the AnTuTu benchmarking app it achieved a score of 34992, which put it neck and neck with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8, although this could just be down to the unit I received. After AnTuTu, I then ran a full benchmark test on the Quadrant platform where it received a score of 22323, putting it hugely ahead of the other devices on the list, but more or less in the same area as its rivals, the One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5.
Numbers aside, the G3 is an exceptional performer, it easily handles graphically intense games, image heavy websites and pretty much anything else you throw at it, I didn’t experience any app crashes or stuttering, even when watching the 2K video which is preloaded on the device.
It plays media incredibly well, and it’s certainly had a speaker upgrade over the G2 (1 Watt), in terms of volume it can keep up with the One M8, although it doesn’t have the same bass and quality sound as the M8 and the speaker being located on the back means you lose a lot of sound unnecessarily.
Aside from the 2K screen, the standout feature of the G3 is the laser autofocus found on the camera, which gives the G3’s camera the ability to focus a lot more efficiently and a lot faster than most smartphone cameras out there, meaning you can take multiple photos by tapping the screen and not losing focus.
Even without the fancy new laser autofocus, the G3’s 13 megapixel snapper really does the business, photos come out sharp, with lots of attention to detail and true to life colours, there’s also a huge reduction in noise from the G2. You may think that the images look so impressive due to the G3’s more than impressive screen, but they look good no matter what you’re viewing them on, have a look yourselves through the sample album and let us know what you think.
The G3 takes fantastic images in sunlight and at night, obviously day time shots come out a lot sharper and with less noise, it’s hard to remove that completely from night time shots. The G3 has a dual LED flash which does its best to compensate in low-light conditions but obviously it’s always advisable to not use the flash whenever possible. LG have also added OIS+ to the G3’s camera, which is very much like standard optical image stabilization except it uses software to further enhance the scale of the stabilization, making images look even better.
On the front of the device is a 2 megapixel shooter, for video calling and of course the taking of selfies which LG have gone one further to help you take endless photos of your face, you can now activate the timer by clenching your fist, meaning you can spend more time focusing on getting your pout just right.
The G3 has a 2K screen which made a lot of people nervous about just how well the 3,000 MAh battery would perform under such pressure, LG made claims that it had made certain alterations that would guarantee the same battery life as the G2 even with the massively improved screen and by and large they’ve kept their promises.
The LG G3’s battery does perform very well and will last a long time, it’s not special and you won’t be blown away by the battery life, although that does depend on which device you’re converting from (I’m looking at you iphone users, again) but you’ll get a full day out of one charge of moderate to heavy use, even more if you’re conservative and use the power saving mode, which you can enable to automatically come on once the phone hits 30%.
The good news is, even if you do get caught short and run out of juice half way through the day, unlike a lot of Android devices out there the G3 will charge back up pretty quick, going from zero to one hundred percent usually takes up to about 2 hours.
Just like the G2 of last year, the G3 is the under-dog of the Android heavy-weights, not because a lack of quality or cutting edge specs, simply due to the fact the likes of Samsung, HTC etc. have been making smartphones a bit longer and have managed to amass a following and stolen a lot of the mind-share of Android smartphones.
That being said, with the success of last year’s G2 and the inevitable success of this year’s G3 LG are less and less going to be regarded as an underdog or a lightweight, in my eyes the G3 is now the phone to beat this year, sure it came out later than the competition so LG had time to improve things like the display etc. regardless of all that, the G3 will continue to fly off shelves and gain more of the consumer’s attention, for all we know next year LG might not just be the underdog anymore and could be the market leader, manufacturers take heed.