LG G3 review
|Review: July 2014|
In a nutshell: Take a cutting-edge design, skin it in a choice of metallic finishes, give it the highest definition screen on any smartphone, a superfast processor and the latest version of Android and you have a recipe for an amazing phone. Anything missing? Add laser autofocus to the camera and we're done! In short, the LG G3 rocks!
LG impressed us at the end of last year with the G2, but there were a few teething problems that stopped us giving it 5 stars. The G3 fixes those issues and takes the concept further. It's the real deal and deserves to be a massive success.
Design & style
There's only one word to describe first impressions of the G3 and it's "wow!" In a world where most smartphones look pretty much the same, LG has pushed the boundaries of the flat rectangular touchscreen to the edges of possibility.
The first thing that strikes you about the G3 is the screen. Where the HTC One M8 has a 5 inch display and the Galaxy S5 5.1 inches, the G3 pushes all the way to 5.5 inches. That's an extra 20% of screen space and it makes a difference. But that's not all. The screen has a record-breaking Quad HD resolution of 2560 X 1440 pixels, giving it an incredible 538ppi pixel density. It's an IPS screen, perhaps lacking the eye-popping vivacity of the Galaxy S5, but still bright and easy to read in sunlight. It's one amazing screen and a good enough reason on its own to choose the G3.
Next look at the edges of the screen. You'll see that there's practically no bezel and that the screen extends almost to the very edge of the phone. It's strikingly different.
LG has achieved this by moving all physical buttons to the back of the phone. On the back you'll find a combined volume/power control positioned just where your fingers are. It may take a little getting used to, but with practice it's just an intuitive as putting buttons on the side of the phone.
The G3 isn't quite as skinny as ultraslim phones like the iPhone 5s, but it's only a couple of millimetres thicker, and because it has a curved back, the edges taper, making it feel just as slim in the hand. LG has learned from HTC's recent success and has given the phone a metallic skin that shouts "premium!" at anyone who may be listening. It's plastic underneath though, so the beauty is just skin deep. The phone's available in a choice of 3 finishes - Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold - and looks stunning in each colour.
The phone is large, so it's not going to be lightweight, but at 149g it's midway between the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8. Remember that it's bigger than both of these phones.
We should also mention in this section that audio quality is good, with a powerful speaker and booster amp.
A special QuickCircle protective case is available from LG.
The G3 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat, giving it the latest Google gadgets, and it's a largely unmodified version of Android, with minimal changes from LG. A custom Smart keyboard is provided that makes the most of the huge screen, with adjustable sizing, easy word completion and correction.
A new way of securing your phone is provided too - Knock code. Just select a knocking pattern of between two and eight taps and use the sequence to wake and unlock your phone.
It runs fast too, very fast, thanks to a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor running at 2.5GHz, with an Adreno 330 GPU making it a match for the Galaxy S5. There's 2GB of RAM on board, as well as 16GB of storage for apps and data. When we reviewed the LG G2 we complained that 16GB of storage wasn't enough, and it seems that LG listened, because the G3 comes with a memory card slot, allowing you to add a microSD card for an additional 128GB of memory. Nice one!
13 megapixel camera
A flagship smartphone needs a flagship camera, and LG has equipped the G3 with just such a camera. The rear-facing camera uses a 13 megapixel BSI sensor and is able to take sharp images under a wide range of lighting conditions.
We have to mention the infrared laser autofocus feature, which gives fast and accurate focussing, as well as sounding unbelievably cool.
Other features to list are the dual LED flash, which helps to produce more natural lighting in dark conditions, and Optical Image Stabilisation to help reduce camera shake. The camera interface is very simple and easy to use too.
As well as the main rear camera, a front-facing camera with a 2.1 megapixel sensor is available for selfies and video chat.
The G3 is a 4G phone, with 3G HSPA and GSM compatibility too. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack, NFC and a HDMI SlimPort.
High-powered smartphones eat batteries faster than you can say "entropic heat death" and a phone of this calibre is going to make severe demands on battery capacity. The G3 comes with a 3,000mAh battery, which is smaller than rival phones from Samsung and HTC. LG quotes 16 hours of battery life, but we worry that heavy users might find they don't have quite enough juice to get them through a busy day.
The battery is removable, so you can keep a spare if necessary. It's compatible with wireless charging too, so you can buy a wireless charging dock to keep your phone permanently topped up and looking stylish at the same time.
Conclusion - stunning design, awesome power
LG has created a winner with the G3. Here you'll find stunning design combined with cutting-edge hardware, plus the latest Android OS too. Although it's a large phone, it's possible to use the G3 single-handedly, thanks to its near-zero bezel, tapered curves and rear button. And that Quad HD screen is truly stunning. Inside, the combination of superfast processing power, plenty of memory, impressive camera and all-round connectivity make this smartphone as capable as any available. If we have a doubt, it's related to battery life.
Other options for the same kind of money include the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Sony Xperia Z2, but these are all obvious choices. If you're looking for something a little different, something that will truly impress, then look no further. The G3 is it!
LG G3 features include:
- Android 4.4.2 (KitKat)
- 13 megapixel camera with dual LED flash, laser autofocus, and digital zoom
- Full HD 1080p video recording plus 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera
- Display: LCD IPS, 16 million colours, 2560 x 1440 pixels (5.5 inches)
- Speakers with built-in amp
- A-GPS, Glonass with Google Maps
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, email, Google+ Messenger, Google Talk
- Processor: Quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
- Memory: 16GB, 2GB RAM, microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC, HDMI
- 4G LTE, GSM/EDGE, multi band 3G (HSPA+42Mbps/HSPA+21Mbps)
- Size: 146.3 x 74.6 x 9.3 mm
- Weight: 149g
- Battery: 3,000mAh
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LG G3 user reviews
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Average rating from 10 reviews:
Reviewed by Frenchy
on 30th May 2016
I had that phone for 18 months now. There are a lot of good things already explained from other reviewers. It's an "old" phone now but in my opinion, this is not a phone to purchase, even second hand. The phone can get very very hot and slows down the processor dramatically.
Oh, I also forgot to say. The motherboard crashed after 18 months. You will notice it if you see your screen turning black and the colors fading away. It looks like I'm not the only one having this problem. This is not acceptable from LG.
From now on, I will not buy LG phones anymore. Bye bye LG.
Reviewed by Lawrence
on 17th Jul 2015
Quality phone no doubt. I was unsure about upgrading to a massive 5.5" screen after using an iPhone for the past few years.
The design is such that the screen goes right to the edge of the phone. Love that. Camera is good, browsing speeds are excellent.
A few gripes: the curved back makes typing interesting when the phone is flat on its back as the phone just rocks about. Also when watching videos the speaker is on the back so can get muffled.
Apart from that - brilliant phone.
Reviewed by Ruairidh
on 28th Feb 2015
I've had the LG 3G for 6 months now having previously had an iPhone 4 for many years. I've struggled a bit to get used to Android but won't let that influence my review of the G3. I had high hopes for this phone but a few issues have been disappointing. The phone occasionally freezes/crashes and the only way to get it back on is to remove and replace the battery. It crashes most when using the camera. Next problem is the signal which is a lot worse than my iPhone 4. I am with the same network provided but have much worse signal and often no signal in places I always used to. Battery is manageable but not great. The phone gets very hot. I use a supcase and after a lot of use, back of phone gets uncomfortably hot. On a plus side, the screen and camera are both brilliant. I don't think the phone warrants 5 stars but overall still enjoy the phone, just get frustrated with these problems.
Reviewed by richard waring
on 15th Dec 2014
had the phone for about 3 weeks now and its a great phone love the knock knock open screen and just got the update to lollipop well done lg
Reviewed by Dave
on 21st Oct 2014
Have been using the G3 for about two weeks now after having had Samsung S4 for a year. When I first turned phone on it told me that there was an update to install which I did , the phone has run very smooth from day one with no lag at all, no freezing either. Screen is very good , camera is good without maybe being the best , it takes photos very fast and it seems to be easier to in focus photos than with other phones I have owned , call quality is great and reception seems to be very good. There seems to be a mixed view on battery life , some people say its great others say its well below what you should expect , I seem to find it below what I would expect , I would say I am an average user but if I do not give it a charge late afternoon then I can not get through the day with it. The one real down side for me is that I cannot voice dial in my car with bluetooth by just pressing my bluetooth button , the G3 will voice dial but you have to unlock the screen and press the voice command button. After having had the S4 for awhile I really do find the G3 a pleasure to use , if you can handle the below average battery I would very much say to consider this phone if you are looking for something new. I cannot say how it compares to other phones on the market such as the Samsung S5 and HTC One M8 but i am finding the G3 to be a great phone.
Reply by Shinda
from United Kingdom
on 20th Dec 2014
Hi, regarding battery life, I find it helps a great deal to turn the screen brightness down to about half way. OK it makes the screen look less sexy but it can always be turned back up for when you really need it high (ie when in bright sunlight)
Reviewed by gaz
on 7th Sep 2014
had this phone for a few months now good looking phone but it interface is so laggy shame
Reviewed by ant
on 6th Sep 2014
battery life isnt as good as the g2 interface is laggy goes away after reboot but comes back, nice looking well build phone only problem is lag at times hence 4 star
Reviewed by Shinda
from United Kingdom
on 16th Aug 2014
A G3 owner now for nearly 3 weeks.
The day I went to upgrade my phone I had narrowed my choices down to either the HTC One M8 or the LG G3. I played about with both phones in the store but ended up with the G3 because of the removable battery. On my old phone, a Galaxy S3, I had installed an extended battery that lasted well over a day of heavy use. It was a lifesaver when I went on holiday and highlighted how important the ability to replace/upgrade the battery is (to me, at least). The UI on the M8 seemed more responsive, though. Both phones were of a similar size too.
First thing that struck me about this phone was how light it was (although that is probably due to me being used to carrying around a phone with an extended battery). The screen is nice, but in all honesty you don't notice it as being QuadHD. No more than you notice any other current smartphone screen. It just is. The 'knock-knock' feature is cool, although holding the phone would sometimes trigger the screen to come on (if you accidently tapped the screen twice). The laser autofocus feature? Again, nothing special. It's still easy to take blurry pictures if something moves at the wrong time. Colours are nicer than on the S3. The default camera app has limited options compared to the S3. No buttons on the side or front of this phone, the S3 was always switching on in my pocket. The G3 has an almost-recessed 'on' button on the back. It took a couple of weeks to get used to the button in this position but once you do it seems right. Battery life was pretty poor when I first bought the phone. It wouldn't last a whole day of moderate-heavy use. But in the last week LG had release an update with battery optimisations - now it easily lasts all day :)
Upgraded to a G3 from a Galaxy S3, on a £35, 2 year contract - was it worth it? Not really. The G3 is a nice phone but I still use it like I used my S3, only the G3 does it a little faster and obviously has a bigger screen. Gimmicks aside, there isn't a whole lot to justify the £840 I'll be paying over the next couple of years. Next time round I'll be expecting a bigger jump in technology.
Reviewed by robert
on 27th Jul 2014
stunning looking phone interface was a bit laggy until lg pushed out and update which has greatly improved things. battery life is pretty good concidering the screen size and the fact its a 2k screen i can get 2 days medium use and 1 with heavey use. screen wise i dont really feel the 2k looks much better than the g2 screen you cant really see much benifit with 2k screen as 1080 are all you need the 2k is a waste in a phone just puts extra drain on the battery. overall it blows the present phones out of the water thats until the note 4 comes along lol
Reviewed by Paul B
on 19th Jul 2014
I write this going from my beloved LG G2. I umm'd and arrr'd for a long time when LG announced the G3. Would it be worth it? YES!!!
I thought the size difference would be quite noticeable but it isn't. Don't get me wrong, it is a big phone but quite surprisingly it is so easy to hold and doesn't seem overly large like the Galaxy Note range. The camera is very good. It focuses extremely quickly courtesy of the laser focus and has just three extra modes such as panorama, dual focus and magic focus. The latter I have had a little trouble with but that is probably user error. The speed of the phone in general is very fast. I must admit though that I didn't notice too much difference between my G2. The most welcome addition is a slot for expandable memory as I had to juggle things about on my G2. I would quickly run out of space with the number of pictures and music I had. The rear buttons have been modified slightly and look a whole lot better. Knock code is a great feature and is so much better than having to input a code or pattern. The added LG Health is quite good and automatically tracks your steps and distinguishes between walking and running. You can also start tracking on it like Map My Run/Cycle etc and it will follow your route via map and distance. It also has wireless charging which is handy. I was tempted to get a third party charger but I think I'll wait for the official LG charger to be released. Overall I am extremely happy with my LG G3. One very, very minor niggle is that the handset does get a little warm when in constant use and using GPS. Saying that I did own the HTC One and it gets nowhere near as hot as that!
Reply by Rishi100
on 21st Jul 2014
Will you please mention something about battery life based on your day to day use? Does the sharper screen makes any visual difference compared to G2?
Reply by Paul B
on 24th Jul 2014
Battery life is surprising. Heavy use does take its toll but it lasts the day with moderate use. The screen is very sharp but I couldn't see too much difference between this and the G2 until I watched a 1080p movie. Wow.