LG G Flex 2 is A Beauty – Smaller, Faster, and Prettier

LG has kicked off its CES with a stunner – the LG G Flex 2. While many believe that flexible display is the future of mobile, last year’s LG G Flex was at best a cool tech demo with unrealistic pricing and not so great specs. With the second iteration LG is hoping to have a genuinely compelling and unique smartphone.

LG G Flex 2

The biggest improvement in the G Flex 2 is the display. The display size has been reduced from the gigantic 6-inch to a more manageable 5.5-inch, while resolution has been bumped up from 720p to 1080p. The display is also supposed to be a lot brighter than before. The phone measures in at 5.87 by 2.96 inches and doesn’t feel massive thanks to the narrow bezels. The screen is curved to a 700 mm radius. LG claims that the glass is 20% tougher than Gorilla Glass 3. The G Flex 2 houses a 3000 mAH battery, which can be charged from 0 to 50% in just 40 minutes.

One of the unique features of the G Flex was a self-healing back, which allowed the back cover to it to ‘automagically’ repair bending as well as scratching. However, it often took up to 3 minutes for the phone to heal itself. With the G Flex 2, LG is promising a drastically faster heal time of 10 seconds at room temperature.

Under the hood, the LG G Flex is powered by Snapdragon 810 – the latest and greatest from Qualcomm. There’s 2 gigs of RAM, and the device will launch with Lollipop out of the box. There will be 2 variants with 16 and 32 GB of internal storage. Both will support expandable memory up to 128 GB. It will be available in two colours – Platinum Silver, Flamenco Red.

The camera seems to have carried over the enhancements introduced in LG G3. It’s a 13 megapixel with dual-LED flash, Laser Autofocus, and OIS+ (optical image stabilization). The 2.1 megapixel front camera boasts of Gesture Shot while is helpful while taking selfies.

The G Flex 2 ticks all the right boxes, and is undoubtedly a drool worthy device. However, the pricing will ultimately determine its popularity, and LG is keeping mum about the cost for now.

LG G3 Review

LG has come a long way since its initial clunky Optimus handsets. The first two flagships in the G series did a lot to improve consumer perception about LG smartphones. It didn’t hurt that Google also placed faith in LG and assigned it the responsibility of developing the Nexus devices. The Korean electronics giant is going all out with the new G3. Launched and promoted by Amitabh Bachchan, it certainly has the specs to turn heads. But, how does it perform in real life? Did LG bite off more than it can chew? Keep reading to find out.

Appearance, Display and Battery

LG G3 Front
LG G3 Front
LG G3 Back
LG G3 Back

The headline grabbing feature of the G3 is undoubtedly the quad-HD display. The 5.5’’ IPS display boasts of a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels, which equates to an insane 534 ppi pixel density. LG obviously doesn’t believe in Apple’s claim that it’s impossible for our eye to discern improvements in pixel density beyond 300 ppi. After, using the G3, I am inclined to agree with LG. Some of the preloaded content looks absolutely breath-taking. Even the YouTube videos at a 2K resolution looks splendid. Unfortunately, most of the content that you are going to come across will not be able to take advantage of the G3’s superior display. We expect apps and videos to catch up at 2K becomes more prevalent, but by then the G3 might already be old. Compared to the G2, both contrast and saturation seems to have suffered. LG has shifted from natural looking displays to dialling up the saturation to make the colours pop. Another area where LG has compromised with the display is outdoor visibility. It’s not as good as before, and is made worse by the fact that in order to prevent overheating, the phone automatically restricts the maximum brightness to 90% after a few minutes of usage.

LG G3 Brightness Limitation
LG G3 Brightness Limitation

The size of the display puts it firmly in the phablet category. In fact, the LG G3’s display is a couple of inches bigger than the first Samsung Note. However, the G3 is still appreciably smaller than the Note N700 in almost every way. The G2 has impressively thin bezels, but the G3 cuts down even further. The almost edge-to-edge display lends the G3 a majestic appearance that none of the other flagships manage to pull off. In spite of the heft, the G3 is the easiest to handle among similarly sized devices. This is largely due to the fact that the G3 is not as wide as many of the phablets, and has a curved back that is easy to grip. This is only a relative thing though. Like all current generation flagships, the G3 is simply too big to be comfortably used with one hand. The G3’s rear is plastic, but polished to give a metallic appearance. The plastic feels cheap, but also has the advantage of making the phone lighter.

Smartphone Size Comparison
Smartphone Size Comparison

The back cover is removable and the battery is user replaceable. The 3000 mAh battery offers enough juice to last through the day. I didn’t conduct any benchmarks, but the battery life seemed to be on par with other flagships. LG has done a few under the hood tinkering to make sure that the massive display doesn’t hurt the battery life, and the tweaks seem to have worked.

LG G3 Battery Options
LG G3 Battery Options

Hardware

The G3 is powered by a Snapdragon 801 chipset that includes a Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 CPU and Adreno 330. As you can expect from such mighty hardware, the performance is great. The G3 maxed out the 3D Mark – Ice Storm Extreme benchmark, and is certainly among the best performers you can buy right now. Heating can be a concern, as I mentioned earlier, but at least the G3 doesn’t completely disable critical functions (Camera) like the Z2 does when its gets heated.

LG G3 Geekench Score
LG G3 Geekench Score
LG G3 Basemark X Score
LG G3 Basemark X Score
LG G3 3D Mark Score
LG G3 3D Mark Score

The G3 comes with 16 or 32 gigs of internal storage. The latter has 3GB RAM while the former has only 2 GB. External memory cards up to 128 GB are also supported.

LG G3 Storage Availability Out of the Box
LG G3 Storage Availability Out of the Box

The G3 unit in India is 4G-enabled, and supports all common connectivity options including Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/f/n/ac, and NFC. Wireless charging (Qi) is also supported.

LG G3 Network Settings
LG G3 Network Settings

Software

One of my pet peeves with LG has been its silly, childish icons. I’m glad to report that they are finally gone. In fact, LG has embraced the flat design concept, and tastefully reskinned its entire interface. Bright, primary colors have been replaced with more subdued tones. But, LG has ensured that the UI doesn’t become boring with the help of quick animations peppered through the interface. However, all is not rosy. The notifications pane still has way too many things going on. I like the scrollable, quick toggles section, but the audio control is pointless since that can easily be done through hardware keys. Also, in its attempt to simplify the Settings pane, LG has removed a lot of the neat options it had before. Important settings like switching between Network modes (2G/3G/LTE) seem to have disappeared. However, the G3 is still one of the most customizable Android devices out of the box. You can change your phone’s appearance by changing home screen themes, tweaking fonts, and switch animation effects. There are tons of free themes available for download in LG’s app store (SmartWorld).

LG G3 Home Screen
LG G3 Home Screen

There are also heaps of software enhancements. My favourite among them is Knock Code. One of the potential issues with having the power button at the rear of the phone is that it becomes impossible to unlock the phone without picking it up from your desk. To get around this problem, the G2 introduced Knock On, which allowed you to wake up the phone by simply tapping on the screen twice. Knock Code is a further enhancement of that. It allows you to define a custom pattern of taps (combination of Up, Down, Left, and Right). You can directly wake up and unlock your device by tapping your Knock Code. This is actually a faster and easier than pattern unlock. It’s also a lot harder for bystanders to figure out.

LG G3 Knock Code
LG G3 Knock Code

Another new inclusion is LG Health, which tracks your steps without requiring any additional hardware or using too much battery. However, like most such apps it’s likely to be more gimmicky than useful. The data it reported varied wildly with the data reported by Sony’s Smart Band, which itself doesn’t agree with the Fitbit.

LG G3 Smart Bulletin
LG G3 Smart Bulletin

LG also made a lot of fuss about its keyboard. I like that fact that you can adjust the height and there is a dedicated numpad. However, like all other OEM keyboards, it is no where near as good as Swype or Swiftkey.

LG G3 Keyboard
LG G3 Keyboard

Perhaps my least favourite new feature is Smart Notice, which is more annoying than useful. The only reasonable advice I received from it is to carry an umbrella based on the weather forecast. When you already have something as good as Google Now, it’s stupid to a similar but vastly inferior app.

LG Smart Notice
LG Smart Notice

LG’s note taking app QuickMemo is still there, but doesnt have a dedicated button like in some of the older models. Other typical LG features are also there including Smartseek (displays YouTube like thumbnail preview in the video player when you seek), QSlide (opens app in a floating mini-window with adjustable transparency), Guest Mode (restricts access to apps and data), and Cliptray (clip board manager providing access to data you have previously copied).

LG G3 Bundled Apps
LG G3 Bundled Apps
LG Smart Cleaner
LG Smart Cleaner
LG G3 Display Settings
LG G3 Display Settings
LG G3 Guest Mode
LG G3 Guest Mode

Multimedia

The G3 ships with a 13 mega-pixel camera with Optical Image Stabilization and Laser Autofocus. The latter is another LG innovation. As soon as you hit the capture button, the G3 emits a laser beam, which acts like a SONAR and helps it determine the distance of objects in the frame. LG claims that it allows the G3 to focus faster and more accurately in varied conditions. Although, the benefits weren’t as dramatic as advertised by LG, the G3 did manage to focus quickly and reliably even under poor lighting conditions.

The camera itself is excellent. Although, it looks inferior to the Sony Xperia Z2 on paper, in reality I struggled to find a difference. In fact, in some cases, the G3 returned better results. LG has dramatically simplified the camera interface. Manual mode as well as multiple scenes are now a thing of the past. There are three basic modes – Auto, Magic Focus, Panorama, and Dual. The Magic Focus mode snaps multiple pics at different focal lengths and allows you to change the focus of the picture later. The Dual mode fires both the front and rear cams together to make sure that you aren’t missing from all your photo. Photosphere (or VR Camera as LG used to call it) has been axed, presumably because it’s too complex to be used in most situations. The amount of detail in the images was good with low noise and vibrant colours. LG’ flagship is way ahead of HTC, and on-par with everyone else.

[ Download Uncompressed Images ]

The 2.1 mega pixel front-camera is capable of shooting full HD videos. There’s also a selfie mode, which allows you to trigger a 3-second countdown timer by clasping your palm. This is neat as having to tap the camera button while posing for and taking a selfie can be a bit tricky. There’s also an option to use the light from the display as a secondary light source. The overall quality of pics captured from the front cam, however, is nothing particularly impressive.

The G3 supports 4K video recording, but as in other devices it’s more of a gimmick. It’s usable for short periods of time, but generates way too much heat and takes way too much space to be usable for longer videos. However, the quality of recorded video is great for a smartphone, and the microphone does a good job at removing background noise.

LG has also worked on the loudspeaker, which is often ignored in smartphones. The speaker is rated at 1 Watt (1.5W with Boost Amp), and is quite loud. Of course, if you keep the phone on a flat surface, the sound is going to get muffled. LG still can’t match up to the quality of the sound produced by HTC’s front-facing stereo speakers, but its loud speakers are no pushovers. In all likelihood, LG was forced to put the speaker in the rear as front-facing speakers would have added to the dimensions of the G3.

Conclusion

The G3 is a phenomenal device. It’s not perfect. It’s too big to be comfortable. The faux-metal back cover looks good, but doesn’t feel as great. And, the ultra-high resolution display comes with its own set of compromises. However, these are small grievances. LG gets most of the things right. It packs in a bigger display than others, while keeping the phone size in the same ballpark. The resolution is, of course, a generation ahead of everyone else. The camera is as good as others, if not better. And, some of its innovations like the Rear Key and Knock Code are simply brilliant. There’s little to separate the flagships from Samsung, HTC, Sony, and LG. The G3 is also priced competitively. It’s cheaper than the Z2, in the same range as the One M8, and a bit more expensive than the Galaxy S5. A lot depends on your personal preference. However, LG G3 is my favourite device of the season. This is a phone that’s really hard to not like.

LG G3: Hands-on, Photos, and First Impressions

The LG G2 might not have achieved the massive sales figures of some of its competitors, but it won the hearts of many, and demonstrated that LG had what it takes to be an industry leader. With the G3, the Korean manufacturer is looking to raise the bar further.

LG G3 - Simple is the New Smart
LG G3 – Simple is the New Smart

Appearance and Display

As is the trend these days, LG has bumped up the display size in G3. It sports a 5.5’’ display, which firmly puts it in the phablet category. However, thanks to unbelievably narrow bezels the G3’s dimensions are actually very similar to the HTC One M8 or the Sony Xperia Z2. This means that like every other flagship released this year, the G3 is too big for single handed operation. However, the G3 at least gives you a phablet sized display. There are compromises to be made. The LG G3 boasts of a plastic body and doesn’t have any water or dust resistance. The metallic finish on the plastic does help retain the premium appearence, but it doesn’t feel as great to hold as the M8 or the Z2. LG has played its cards well, and the G3 ends up managing to to appear sleeker, smaller, and more premium than it really is. I’m a fan of the G2’s rear keys, and they’ve been improved further in the G3. The volume keys now form a distinct concave pad that makes it impossible to mistake them for the power button.

LG G3 Front View
LG G3 Front View
LG G3 Rear Keys
LG G3 Rear Keys

Even a few years back the thought of a full HD display on phones would have seemed ludicrous, but LG now believes that even 1080p is not good enough. As a result, the G3 boasts of a quad-HD (1440 x 2560 pixels) display. The display is simply fantastic, and you would be hard pressed to spot pixels even when you’re looking really close. However, this is only as long as you’re using the inbuilt apps and the wallpapers available in the gallery. For example, LG’s clock face for the Quick Circle screen looks disarmingly real. However, as soon as you open Chrome and start surfing or other use third party apps the screen advantage is rendered moot. Owing to its first mover status, the G3 is definitely going to have a content problem. The crazy high resolution has also forced LG to come up with clever optimizations to ensure that the battery doesn’t die within a few hours. There are also reports that the display gets heated easily and often forcefully reduces brightness to cool down. I didn’t get enough time during my hands-on to replicate these issues.

LG G3 Side View
LG G3 Side View
LG G3  Another Front View
LG G3 Another Front View

Hardware and Software

The LG G3 chugs along smoothly thanks to the Snapdragon 801 chipset that features a Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 processor. The phone is available in 2 variants – 16 GB and 32 GB. Surprisingly, even the amount of RAM varies between the two. The latter has three gigs of memory, while the former only has a couple. Both of them support microSD cards. The G3’s tagline is ‘Simple is the New Smart’ and LG has attempted to clean up a lot of the mess from its previous release. I’m glad to report that the silly looking icons have finally been axed. LG has embraced flat design, and the colour palate is mature yet attractive. I really liked the new look and feel of the G3, but Android L’s Material Design is still the best Android UI so far. Several pre-installed apps have removed, while others have been merged to reduce complexity and increase available space.

LG G3 Display Up Close
LG G3 Display Up Close
LG G3 Knock Code
LG G3 Knock Code

Camera

The camera snaps pics at 13 megapixels, which is lesser than some of the other flagships. However, based on my limited hands-on, the camera is actually really competent. I took a few snaps inside the display booth to compare the Z2 with the G3, and found that the G3 has nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, in a couple of cases, I felt that under proper lighting conditions shots captured by the G3 had better details and lower noise. The G3 includes a laser focus feature that LG claims to significantly improve capture speed as well as focusing ability under low light. During my hands-on, I found that the G3 is consistently fast in focusing and capturing photos, but not much faster than its competitors. The G3 also includes dual-LED flash for a more natural colour reproduction under flash. Once again, I didn’t see any significant enhancement during my hands-on, but I’ll hold my verdict for now due to the limited amount of testing that I could do. Other camera tricks include a new selfie mode that can be triggered via hand gestures, and optical image stabilization. The latter is something that both Sony and Samsung surprisingly left out of their flagships.

LG G3 Big B Edition Back View
LG G3 Big B Edition Back View
LG G3 Black Model Front
LG G3 Black Model Front
LG G3 Black Model Back
LG G3 Black Model Back

Conclusion

A quick hands-on is never enough to fully judge a phone. I’m not entirely sold that the QHD display is necessary, or even worth all the added compromises. I would like to go back and take a deeper look at the camera, audio output and the battery, as well as the software modifications that LG has made. However, one thing that I can say without a shade of doubt is that the G3 is an extremely competent smartphone that makes a great first impression.

The G3 is being launched in three colours – Metallic Black, Silk White, and Shine Gold. LG will also release 15,000 Big B editions of the G3 that will sport Amitabh Bachchan’s signature. In a welcome departure from prevailing trends, the special edition won’t cost extra. Officially, the price tag is ₹47,990 for the 16 GB variant and ₹50,990 for the 32 GB variant; however, you should soon be able to get them for less.

LG G3 Accessories: First Look

Earlier today LG unveiled its new flagship smartphone along with a bunch of accessories at a glitzy event in Mumbai featuring the Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. We’ve already shared our hands-on experience with the LG G Watch. However, it’s not the only interesting G3 accessory that LG is launching.

Cases

LG has enhanced its Quick Window case and renamed it as the Quick Circle case for the G3. As the name suggests, the transparent portion of the case is now circular. Tapping the circle a couple of times activates the display, which by default displays clockfaces. Like earlier, there are several clockfaces, but the combination of insanely high display resolution and the circular shape makes them appear stunningly beautiful. LG has also thrown in a soft glow effect for the rim of the circular window, which gets activated when you receive a call or a message. Double tapping activates the circular window, and a quick swipe lets you access the music player, pedometer, email, phone, and camera.

LG Quick Circle Case - Analogue Watch

LG Quick Circle Case - Change Watch Face

LG Quick Circle Case - Digital Watch

LG Quick Circle Case - Options

Besides the Quick Circle case LG is also launching a Slim Guard case with protective rubber edges and a Slim Hard case with premium leather finishing. All three cases support Qi wireless charging.

Charging Dock

Quite naturally LG is also launching a new wireless charging dock to take advantage of the aforementioned Qi wireless charging support. The dock is a simply white slab that can be propped up to double up as a stand for the phone. The phone can be placed on the dock in either orientation – portrait and landscape. However, the stand is not very secure in both modes, and needs to be accurately aligned with the dock for charging to commence

LG Wireless Charging Dock

Headset

LG has partnered with the famous audio equipment manufacturer Harman Kardon for its behind-the-neck Bluetooth audio headset. The in-ear headset has retractable cables, which ensures that the cables never gets tangled. The headset features a 220 mAh battery is rated at a whopping 550 hours of stand-by, 17 hours of talk time, and 14 hours of playback on a charge. The headset features a jog button to fast forward and rewind music, and sounds an alert and vibrates whenever there are incoming messages. When paired with the LG G3, it even announces the name or phone number of the caller. Raising the G3 up to your ear will automatically disengage the headset and allow you to converse using your phone.

LG Tone Infinim

LG Tone Infinim - Close Up

LG G Watch Launched in India – Hands-On and First Impression

The LG G Watch is one of the first smartwatches to be powered by Android Wear — Google’s new operating system for wearables. The G Watch is yet to ship to the first group of buyers from India; however, it was on display at LG’s glittering G3 launch event in Mumbai, and we got some hands-on time with the smartwatch.

LG G Watch - 1

The G Watch is powered by Snapdragon™ 400 processor with 1.2GHz CPU, and connects with any Android smartphone running Android 4.3 or above via Bluetooth LE (Low Energy). It sports a 1.65” IPS LCD touchscreen display with 280×280 pixel resolution. It has a 9 Axis (Accelerometer/Compass/Gyro) sensor, but there’s no heart rate monitor.

LG G Watch - Hands On

LG G Watch - Hands On

The LG G Watch is not small by any means, but is reasonably slender given the kind of hardware it is packing inside. However, it’s hard to get excited about the design, especially with Moto 360 on the way. The watch-face is square and blocky, and the straps are rubberised. Unlike the Samsung Gear Live, the G Watch’s rear is completely flat, which makes the watch protrude awkwardly from the edges of your wrist. The Gear Live has a gentle curve, which makes it fit better on normal wrist sizes. The display is decent, but also of lower resolution than Samsung’s offering. However, at such small screen sizes, this will not be a major issue.

LG G Watch - Side View

The G Watch doesn’t have any buttons, and is meant to be controlled solely through voice and the touchscreen. Tapping on the screen wakes up the device and you can either speak your commands, or you can select from a list of available activities. Alternatively you can also say ‘OK Google’ to directly jump into Google Now. Available activities include setting alarm, checking your calendar, starting stopwatch, checking your fitness data, and taking notes on Keep. You can extend this list by installing Android Wear compatible apps. You can scroll through the list and access any of the apps with a simple tap. You can scroll through various cards, and swipe to the left to bring up more options. You even do stuff like dictate replies to mail or a hangout. A swipe towards the right exits the current app and brings you to the homescreen. The homescreen displays the current time, along with notifications from Google Now. This can include information about upcoming events and meetings, flight information, and weather. There are also multiple watch faces that you can select from.

LG G Watch - Apps

LG G Watch - Apps

LG G Watch - Stopwatch

LG G Watch - Settings

The G Watch is snappy, and I didn’t spot any lag. However, I did notice that the touchscreen sometimes failed to register my swipes, if I can’t careful. The 400 mAh battery is expected to last for about two days, which is more than some of the other products in the market, but hardly good enough for a watch. The G Watch is charged via a special cradle with magnetic plates that securely attaches with the watch. The charging dock itself is powered by a standard microUSB cable. The dock feels quite sturdy, however, if you manage to lose or break the dock, you might end up with an expensive brick on your hand, as replacement docks aren’t available for purchase at the moment.

LG G Watch - Dock

LG G Watch - Rear

The G Watch is meant to showcase Android Wear, and that’s what it does. However, it fails to make you go ‘wow’ with either style or functionality. Android Wear is a powerful platform and is capable of doing lots of cool stuff. However, both the platform and the hardware have quite a few shortcomings. The design is unappealing, the display is average, there are very few apps available at the moment, and the battery is not great. However, all of this is pretty much expected from a first generation device running on the very first version of an OS. The LG G Watch is meant to showcase Android Wear, and that’s exactly what it feels like – an early, unfinished device that offers a glimpse of the potential of the platform. The Android Wear platform is brand new, and there are plenty of usability issues that it needs to figure out. Even simple stuff like opening an app or chatting with someone via hangout can end up being a frustrating experience. The LG G Watch is priced at ₹ 14,999, and in its present avatar is not for everyone. Buy this only if you enjoy being an early adopter and want to be ahead of the curve.

LG G Watch with G3

LG Announces The Mid-Range G3 Beat Smartphone

Samsung and HTC have already launched a mini version of their flagship smartphone. Now, LG joined the bandwagon with the unveiling of its mid-range LG G3 Beat smartphone. This handset is basically the trimmed down version of the company’s flagship device. LG G3 Beat packs a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC clocked at 1.2 GHz. The performance of this processor has been clearly demonstrated in the previously launched Moto G, Galaxy Grand 2 and HTC One Mini 2.

LG G3 Beat borrows the unique laser auto-focus from its bigger brother, which enables the device to focus on the object faster by measuring the distance between the subject and the camera using a laser beam. It comes with HD IPS display with a screen-to-body ratio of 74.1 percent and the Floating Arc Design with smooth curved sides and tapered edges for comfortable grip and feel.

lg_g3_beat

Dr. Jong-seok Park, CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, said,
“Smartphone manufacturers cannot ignore this growing segment of consumers who want the best balance of looks, features, performance and, of course, price. The LG G3 Beat represents our commitment to the mid-tier smartphone market that demands mature technology, proven branding, great innovation and attractive price, all in a single device.”

LG G3 Beat is powered by 1.2 GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. Apart from that, it features a 5 inch HD IPS display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, 8 megapixel rear camera with Laser Auto Focus, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, 8 GB internal memory, 1 GB RAM, MicroSD card slot, Touch & Shoot, Smart Keyboard, QuickMemo+, Gesture Shot and a 2540 mAh removable battery.

LG G3 Beat will be shipped with the Android 4.4.2 KitKat Operating System. It measures 137.7 x 69.6 x 10.3 mm and weighs 134 grams. This handset will be available in Metallic Black, Silk White and Shine Gold colors. LG G3 Beat will go on sale from July 18 in South Korea, followed by Europe and other major markets in the coming weeks. The price of this device will be announced soon. Stay tuned for updates!

5 Reasons Why the LG G3 Might Be the Best Smartphone of the Season

LG Mobile has officially unveiled its latest flagship, the LG G3. Due to the flood of leaks in the days leading up to the official unveiling event held in London, there were very few surprises. However, the star of the night still left an impression. LG has come a long way over the past few years. The recent Nexus devices manufactured by LG have received rave reviews, and the G2 and other recent launches did well enough to push LG into the #3 spot (behind Samsung and Apple) in the world of cell phones.

The LG G3 has a lot riding on its back, and based on what we saw tonight, LG might have another hit on its hands. With the G3, LG has rectified its mistakes and enhanced its strengths. Here are five reasons, why the G3 might turn out to be the best Android smartphone of the season.

LG-G3-Poster
LG G3

Superb Display

LG-G3-Front

The G3 features a 5.5’’ screen with a whopping QHD resolution (2560 x 1440 pixels). This amounts to a pixel density of 538 ppi, which is way ahead of anything its competition can offer. In order to ensure that the QHD display doesn’t kill the battery, the G3 dynamically throttles frame rates in addition to throttling the CPU. However, the big question is how much 4K content will become available in the coming months, as right now none of the non-stock apps are designed to take advantage of the super high resolution display.

Slim Body

LG-G3-Back

The G3 uses faux metal (“light-weight metallic skin” is the term being used by LG) for it’s latest flagship, which might not be as premium as the Xperia Z2 or the One M8, but is still better than the G2 and the Galaxy S5. This isn’t the only improvement in the G2’s design. The LG G2 was smaller than the Xperia Z1, in spite of having a bigger display due to the edge-to-edge display. With the G3, LG has managed to trim the bezels even further. The G3 is a big phone, but it’s not much bigger than the other flagships. The G3 (5.5’’ display) measures in at 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm compared to the Xperia Z2’s 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm (5.2’’ display) and HTC One M8’s 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm (5.0’’ display). LG has also retained the smart ergonomic choices it had made with the LG G2, such as having the power on and volume buttons at the bottom of the phone, instead of at the edges, which can be tough to reach.

Smarter Camera

The LG G3 sports a 13 megapixel camera with Optical image stabilization, and dual LED flash. Going by LG’s previous releases, the camera should be a very competent shooter, with good low-light capabilities. The dual-LED flash with BSI sensor promises a sharper image and a more natural color pattern. However, the real innovation in the camera department is the inclusion of LaserAF. LG is promising almost instantaneous autofocus with LaserAF. The camera interface has also been greatly simplified, and taking awesome selfies is now simpler than ever before.

Improved Sound

Somewhat disappointingly LG has shied away from implementing front-speakers. This is possibly a compromise the Korean giant was forced to make to avoid making the phone even. However, LG has added a 1 Watt speaker with an AMP, which it being claimed to be powerful enough to produce deep bass and clear trebles.

Powerful Hardware

The LG G3 is powered by the Snapdragon 801 chipset, which has a Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 CPU and Adreno 330 GPU. The battery is as powerful as it was in the G2 (3000 mAh), but is now removable. The only weak spot is the 2 GB RAM in the 16 GB edition (the 32 GB model has 3 GB RAM).

Besides the aforementioned hardware enhancements, the G3 also boasts of numerous software enhancements. Instead of adding more gimmicks, LG has trimmed a lot of fat from the software. It promises to have removed all unnecessary visual elements. Security has been enhanced through Content Lock (personal data encryption) and Kill Switch (remotely disable phone). Knock Code from the G2 Pro, which enables you to directly unlock your phone by tapping on the screen in a predefined pattern, has also been retained.

LG-G3-Features

LG G2 Review

After playing catch-up for several years, LG Mobiles is finally in a position to take charge. Samsung is still the market leader by a huge margin, but the Nexus 4 succeeded in instilling the belief among consumers that LG can also make good smartphones. Last week, LG Electronics India (LGEI) launched its latest flagship Android smartphone – the LG G2. The G2 has a lot riding in it. LGEI expects to pick up 10% of the Indian market share by the end of the year, and it’s targeting Rs. 200 crore in revenue from the G2. On paper the G2 is a monster; however, how does it stack in real life? Read on to find out.

Appearance, Display and Battery

LG-G2-Front

Unlike in the Nexus 4 or the Optimus G, the G2 is made entirely out of plastic. There’s no metal or glass to be found anywhere in the construction. Personally, I don’t mind the absence of glass. There’s no denying that the aluminium bodied Xperia Z1 exudes a more premium feel, but avoiding metal often helps in bringing down the cost and reducing weight, and glass is way too fragile to be practical in a device that you’re going to use day in and day out. However, what I’m disappointed about is the return to the cheap glossy exterior that LG had done so well to avoid in its 2012 line-up. The rear cover has a reflective pattern that’s mildly interesting, but the glossy finishing means that it’s a smudge magnet. The battery in the Indian version of the G2 isn’t user replaceable, but that has allowed LG to fit in a giant 3000 mAh battery in the relatively compact dimensions (138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm) of the G2. However, even with a plastic body, the G2 is fairly heavy, weighing about 143g.

LG-G2-Rear

The most distinctive feature of the G2 is its button placement. All the buttons in the G2 are placed at the back, just underneath the camera. This seems counter-intuitive and definitely takes some getting used to. In fact, this is probably the single most debated aspect of G2. When I began using the G2, I wasn’t entirely convinced about the idea. In theory, the button placement made sense. Single handed operation isn’t exactly a joy in most recent top-of-the-line droids, and the reason for that is that reaching buttons placed on the top or on the sides is difficult for anyone with normal sized palms. The G2’s rear buttons should be a lot more convenient to use since they are placed just where your index finger should reside while normally gripping the phone. In practice, things didn’t start so well. For the first couple of days, I had to repeatedly turn my phone to see where the buttons were. However, things improved quickly as muscle memory kicked in. After just a week of regular usage, I instinctively knew exactly where the home and the volume buttons were . In fact, the rear-buttons are now among my favourite things about the G2. LG deserves to be applauded for coming up with the concept and being brave enough to use it in their flagship.

LG-G2-DIsplay

The gorgeous edge-to-edge full-HD display that we saw in the G Pro has gotten even better in the G2. The G2 features a 5.2’’ full-HD (1920×1080) IPS display with a 424 ppi pixel density. This is a good two inches more than the Sony Z1 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. However, the G2 is actually smaller than the Z1 and about the same size as the S4, thanks to its extremely slim bezels, which almost vanishes when the display is off. As far as quality is concerned, there isn’t a single thing that I could find to criticize. The colour reproduction is brilliant, viewing angles are great, and outdoor visibility is never an issue.

LG-G2-Another-View

As I mentioned earlier, the battery in the Indian version of G2 is non-user replaceable. However, this has allowed LG to use a special step design to pack in more power. I didn’t run any benchmarks, but the G2’s battery backup is among the best I’ve seen in high-end smartphones. It’ll easily last through a day and a half of normal usage on 3G, and will probably keep on ticking for well over two days on 2G. LG claims a talktime of 21 hours on 3G and 31 hours on 2G.

LG-G2-Battery-Backup

Hardware

The LG G2 is powered by the mighty Snapdragon 800 chipset, which includes a quad-core Krait 400 processor clocked at 2.26 GHz, and an Adreno 330 GPU. In terms of performance, the G2 is in the same league as the Note 3, Xperia Z1, and Xperia Z Ultra, and ahead of pretty much everything else. No matter what you do, performance is never an issue with this phone. It maxed out the normal 3D Mark benchmark, maxed out a few of the tests in the 3D Mark Extreme benchmark, and was in the top 3 in the 3D Mark Ultra benchmark. The G2 has crazy amounts of processing power, which allows it to do stuff like zoom into full-HD videos and play them in windowed mode with adjustable transparency.

LG-G2-Quadrant-Benchmark-Score

Quadrant Benchmark Score

LG-G2-3DMark-Ultra-Benchmark-Score

3D Mark Ultra Benchmark Results

My review unit has 16 GB internal storage; however, a 32 GB model is also available. I’d recommend going for the latter since it’s only a couple of thousand rupees more expensive and the absence of any expandable memory support makes the extra storage crucial. The LG G2 has all sorts of connectivity options that you can imagine. Some of them are Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi direct, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0 with Low Energy mode support, and USB on-the-go. The chipset that LG is using is LTE enabled; however, the units being sold in India are 3G only. I suspect that LG might have disabled the LTE chip to conserve power. LG didn’t elaborate if it’s possible to later enable the LTE functionality through an update.

Software

I’m not an Android puritan, and don’t by default hate all software customizations. With that being said, it’s worth nothing that my main complaints with the G2 are all software related. There are a bunch of unique features in the G2. The first one that you’re going to encounter is the Knock-on feature. One of the disadvantages of having the power button at the back is that you’ve to lift up to phone to unlock it. Knock-on attempts to alleviate this issue by allowing you to unlock the G2 by simply tapping on the screen twice. The concept is deceptively simple and brilliant. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work. It works most of the time, but it also fails enough times to make me prefer the physical button over Knock-on.

LG-G2-Optimus-UI-Launcher

The G2’s built-in launcher is among the better ones, and is capable enough to not make me miss any of the third-party launchers. It has all the essential features including folders and dock, and even throws in a few fancy features like multiple transition effects.
The G2 runs on Android 4.2.2, which is recent enough, but is still a version older than what Samsung Note 3 ships with. This isn’t as big a deal as it used to be, since Google has decoupled a lot of functionality from Android updates. Sure, I’d love to have Android 4.3 on-board, but I don’t feel like missing out on anything significant even with Android 4.2.

Somewhat disappointingly, LG hasn’t opted to leverage the Quick Settings feature introduced in Android 4.2. Instead, it has retained its old Notification pane with scrollable power buttons, Q-slide apps, brightness control, and volume control. With the exception of the volume control, all of these are handy additions that you’d find yourself using every now and then. However, packing all of them into a single screen is a bad idea, as it makes the notification pane look horribly cluttered. In the G2 only about half of the notification pane is actually available for displaying notifications.

LG-G2-Voice-Mate

Some of the other unique features in the G2 are:
– Guest Mode: You can protect your privacy by setting up a limited environment for your friends or kids while lending the phone. In guest mode only pre-configured apps are accessible.
– Clip Tray: Just like the Microsoft Office Clipboard, the Clip Tray provides you access to stuff you have copied in the past. The Clip Tray in G2 can store as many as 20 texts or images.
– Text Link: This is another really neat productivity enhancer. The G2 is capable of understanding certain phrases and sentences in your message. If it detects an address in an SMS, it’ll offer to open up maps. If it detects an appointment, then it’ll offer to add the event to your calendar or to your Memo.
– Audio Zoom: This feature was first introduced in the G Pro, but is featured more prominently in the G2. While recording in landscape mode you can tap on a particular subject and the G2 will attempt to amplify the sound from only that subject in the recording.
– Slide Aside: A three-finger swipe from right to left dismisses the currently open app and saves it in a container. A three-finger swipe from left to right restores it. You can save up to three apps using Slide Aside and quickly switch between them. LG claims that it radically improves multi-tasking, but it seemed more like a gimmick to me. The default Android Task Switcher can be used to do the same thing with a lot more ease.
– Shot and Clear: This is similar to the context aware fill feature in Photoshop. In theory this allows you to fix photo bombs, and get rid of other artefacts in an image. However, this feature obviously has limitations, and doesn’t always work.
– Life Square: Life Square is an automated journal that logs pretty much everything you do. This includes events in your calendar, updates you post on Facebook, links you share on Twitter, pictures you take on the camera, and people you text and talk with on the phone.
– QuickRemote: Like most of its competitors, the G2 features an IR blaster, which allows it to act like a customizable universal remote.
– QuickMemo: The trusty old QuickMemo feature is retained in the G2. Quick Memo is the quickest way to capture, annotate, and share a screenshot.
– QSlide: QSlide is like the Pop out feature in Samsung, which allows apps to run in a part of the screen, while freeing up the rest of the space for other tasks. So, you can run the YouTube app in a corner of the screen, while working away on your email. LG has also thrown in the ability to adjust the transparency of apps in QSlide mode. There are a bunch of QSlide enabled apps including the Video player, SMS app, and Calendar.
– Capture Plus: Capture Plus option in the Browser takes full page screenshots of websites.
– Answer Me: To receive a call, simply hold up the phone next to your ear.
– Voice Mate: Voice Mate is LG’s own attempt at creating a voice assistant. The app has pretty decent speech detection, but can’t really do much. Google Now is miles ahead of Voice Mate, and I don’t understand why Samsung and LG are even trying to compete with Google in this arena.
– Smart Screen and Smart Video: These are two more gimmicky features, which were undoubtedly inspired by the Samsung Galaxy S4. Smart Screen allows the G2’s display to stay on when the phone detects your face, and Smart Video automatically pauses the video when the phone cannot detect your face. LG obviously realizes that both of these features are far too inaccurate to be of significant use, and hence has disabled them by default.

LG-G2-Life-Square

There are a bunch of other features including a Translator, and a Task Manager. Traditionally, one of the strong points of the LG Optimus UI has been its customizability, and G2 continues that tradition. There are a massive number of things you can change without ever having to install custom ROMs. This includes customizing the touch navigation buttons, changing the lock-screen swipe effect, changing font type and size, and tweaking notification LED behaviour.

LG-G2-Customizable-Front-Buttons

Multimedia

Cameras are back in the spotlight, and the Nokia’s Lumia series has really set the cat among the pigeons. Everyone including Apple and Sony are trying to beef up their camera. LG has fitted the G2 with a 13-megapixel camera that’s at least mighty on paper thanks to its optical image stabilization and muti-focus capability. The good news is that the camera is truly among the best we have seen in a smartphone, and delivers on its promises. The Xperia Z1 will probably outdo the G2’s shooting capability, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. The G2 features manual focus, which allows it to take some stunning macro pics. In fact, the automatic Macro focusing mode is also among the best I’ve seen in a phone camera. The G2 supports ISO levels up to 800, and beats the S4 as well as the HTC One hands down, as far as low-light photography is concerned. The optical stabilization mode also makes its effect felt while recording from a bus or an auto. The G2 captures full-HD (1080p) videos at 60 fps with stereo sound. HDR mode has also been thrown in for good measure. However, when it came to audio zooming, that feature just didn’t work for me. For now, I’m chalking it up as a gimmick rather a real enhancement.

LG-G2-Camera-Sample

Low light shot with Manual Focus

LG-G2-Camera-Night-Mode

Outdoor photo in Night mode

LG-G2-Outdoor-Pic-High-ISO

Outdoor photo in Normal mode with high ISO

I’ve always been a fan of LG’s Video player, and it has retained its strengths in the G2. You can pinch to zoom into any part of the video, or zoom and track a particular subject. With YouTube like seek preview, you can preview exactly where you’re about to jump to in the video. And with Q-slide you can continue to playback the video while doing your work.

Like the Note 3, the LG G2 can output 24 bit 192 KHz Hi-Fidelity audio. LG has paired its flagship with the new Quadbeat 2 earphones, which are surprisingly good. They’re not as bass heavy as Sony’s stunning MH 1c, but the soundstage is equally wide, and the IEMs sound really balanced. In fact, if you are looking for a budget IEM, the Quadbeat 2 is something you should definitely look at. Although, LG has done a great job with the bundled earphones, the phone’s speaker is bit of a disappointment. The speaker isn’t bad by any means, but it sticks out as a sore point because pretty much every other aspect of the G2 is superb.

Conclusion

LG has gotten a lot of things right with the G2, including the display, the SoC, the physical button placement, and the camera. As a result, the G2 is an absolute joy to use. The downers are the lack of expandable storage, the average speaker quality, the slightly old Android version, and some poor design choices in the Optimus UI. The 16 GB model of G2 is selling for about Rs. 40,000. The 32 GB model costs a couple of thousand bucks more. This makes it about ten percent cheaper than the Note 3, which is also significantly bigger than the G2. In my opinion, the biggest competition to the G2 is the Xperia Z1, which has the advantage of a better build quality, dust and water resistance, superior camera, and slightly better benchmark scores. Where the G2 outshines the Z1 is display quality and ergonomics. The G2 is a better phone than the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. However, the Galaxy S4 is now available for about Rs. 36,000. I suspect that within a couple of months the G2’s price will also come down to similar levels. However, until then the price difference also makes the Galaxy SIV an alternative worth considering.

LG’s biggest achievement is that it has gone from competing solely on price to competing on performance and quality. Until a year or two back, you brought LG phones because they offered good value for money, not because they were the best phones in the market. With the G2, LG has succeeded in raising the bar and changing the game.

LG Re-Enters The Tablet Market With G Pad 8.3

LG finally re-entered the tablet market with the new G Pad 8.3. This device will be showcased later this week at the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin. LG G Pad 8.3 is the second member of the LG’s premium G Series family of smartphones and tablets. It comes with the new KnockON feature, which allows you to turns the device on and off just by tapping the display twice. Apart from that, it also comes with Slide Aside, which lets you multitask by simply sliding currently open apps to the side using a three-finger swipe.

Dr. Jong-seok Park, president of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, said,
“Complementing our G Series smartphones, the introduction of the LG G Pad 8.3 further strengthens LG’s premium lineup consisting of our most cutting-edge devices. Our G Pad is just another example of LG delivering devices with the unique selling points consumers around the world will appreciate.”

lg_g_pad

LG G Pad 8.3 features a 8.3 inch WUXGA display sporting a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, 16 GB internal memory, 2 GB RAM, and a 4600 mAh battery. This device measures 216.8 x 126.5 x 8.3 mm and weighs 330 grams.

LG G Pad 8.3 will compete with the new Nexus 7, Galaxy Note 8.0 and the upcoming iPad Mini 2. This tablet will be available in black and white colors. The LG G Pad 8.3 will go on sale in North America, Europe and Asia in the fourth quarter of 2013. The price of this device is expected to be revealed later this week. Stay tuned for more IFA 2013 coverage!