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

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