LG has been somewhat of a silent competitor in previous years. The LG G2 was a good, but not great smartphone, struggling to compete in a market dominated by the likes of Samsung, Sony and HTC. This year has been particularly good for Android as a whole, but it’s been even better for LG.

LG G3 1

The Korean manufacturer’s flagship model for this year, the G3, rises above the competition in nearly every single way. It’s a beautiful, powerful and feature rich smartphone, held back only by some of the requirements it demands to reach such heights. Some of the extra bells and whistles come at a cost that might have you looking at other Android options, even if this is technically the best you’re going to get this year.

At a glance, it’s hard not to notice the G3. It’s a stunning phone, but also incredibly massive. That’s not saying much in the smartphone market lately, but it’s tough not to see the G3 as a shining light.  It’s a little wider than the average Android handset, such as the HTC One M8, and it took up most of my hand when held.

It helps then that LG have kept some of the smarter design choices from previous models, such as the rear power and volume buttons. These keys were so well placed that I could easily access them while holding the G3 in a natural position. It’s a much, much better solution than the extremely annoying top power button, and a bit more ergonomically intuitive than side-panel keys.

Root LG G3

The G3 is also quite the looker. The G3 looks like it has a full metal finish, something which LG tried hard to disguise. The backplate is in fact a metal brushed plastic cover, which is far better than the one Samsung uses but still inferior to the likes of the One M8 and iPhone. It looks the part, but it’s also incredibly easy to scratch, something which you can’t fix once it’s happened.

The real star of the show here is the screen. The LG might be only slightly bigger than the S5 and One M8, but it’s 5.5 inch display sits perfectly on the device, with an extremely thin bezel that just screams sexy. The screen itself has a resolution that LG can really hold their noses up high over, pushing out a stunning 2,560 x 1,440 resolution and 538 pixels-per-inch. To put that in more real terms, this matches the resolution of the recently announced Galaxy Note 4, letting the G3 slip into Quad HD territory. The result is an absolutely stunning visual experience, but at a cost.

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The G3 allows you to pop the back off and remove the battery and add in a MicroSD card, with the former being something that most smartphones don’t allow you to do lately. While this is great for replacing batteries that die, it almost feels like LG had to do this just to get the phone through a single day. The battery life on the G3 is quite terrible, with the phone lasting barely into the afternoon with regular use. So you can carry around a spare if you really need to, or make sure you’re near a plug point most of the time.

LG Optimus UI

The gorgeous screen is mostly to blame here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the powerful hardware underneath all the pretty also affects battery life. The G3 sports a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM and a massive 32GB of built-in storage that can be added to. The result is a user experience that is completely seamless, with the G3 hitting a bump in the road and slowing down. It’s power and beauty that is unchallenged in the Android market, as long as you can keep it powered.

One thing that Apple always gets right for me is simplicity. Often Android devices have a ton of stuff to sort through before you get comfortable, made even worse by apps loaded on by manufacturers. So I was pleasantly surprised to see very little loaded on from LG. The G3 was simple to start, easy to navigate and not bogged down with tons of unnecessary add-ons. A truly seamless Android experience that I wouldn’t mind having every day.

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That’s not to say LG put nothing of theirs on the G3 though. The Smart Notice Box helped keep be informed about the whether, and advised me when a recurring number should be saved as a permanent contact. It’s small but came in handy now and then. LG also has their own fitness app which is supposed to track calories burned from simply walking, but most of the time it got the calculations completely wrong. The most interesting addition though is the Knock Code. Using a pattern of knocks you can unlock the G3 from standby. Another elegant solution to quick access, but still far slower than the iPhone’s fingerprint scanner.

LG G3 Metallic Black Back

The G3 also features a pretty great camera, both on the front and in the rear. On the back you’ve got a 13MP camera with LG’s new laser guided auto-focus technology. This allows the G3 to lock onto the subject of the picture quicker, making for speedy photos. The auto-focus is perfect for stationary images, and is probably the fastest one out there, but it struggle a little with motion. Regardless, the G3’s pictures are crisp and vibrant, with LG cutting down of editing options and getting the ones that were actually being used.

But because this is the selfie generation a lot of work has gone into providing an easy, user friendly front camera that delivers relatively good quality. The 2.1MP front facing camera does the job, but there is one feature that stands out. It’s always cumbersome to try and actually take decent picture while holding a phone. The G3 simplifies that, allowing you to either shout out a phrase to take the photo, or raise your hand and make a fist to initiate a countdown. This makes those wider group selfies easier to pull off, which may or may not be a deal breaking in today’s market. It also looks incredibly weird, but it does make for a decent selfie at the end of the day.

 

 

Last Updated: September 17, 2014

LG G3
Summary
A short while ago the HTC One M8 really impressed me and seemed like the go-to Android phone. That's not entirely true anymore. Like any other Android device, the G3 has its downsides, so it's going to be a case of picking the lesser evil. Here you're sacrificing battery life for performance, but gaining a leading display. If that sounds like a reasonable trade-off, then there's really no reason to look elsewhere.
Rad

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff's a bastard.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I read a different review on the G3 about an hour ago, they also mentioned how bad the battery life is.

    • Admiral Chief Assassin

      I’ve heard the S5 has good battery life, but that is about all I’ve heard from that phone. Oh, also, had a quick session on one, I rather like the UI

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        My contract’s expired so I was doing some browsing. I reckon I’m just going to stick with my S3, it still plays Sudoku & Spelltower like a boss.

    • Eric

      That’s the problem with phones with these super high density screens. Pushing 4k pixels on a phone screen takes a lot of power. I don’t understand the obsession for such high density pixels though. It’s really not like the human eye can even see the difference on such a small display, when such resolutions are only noticeable on much much bigger screens. In the end of the day all it does is serve as a gimmick to get people to buy a phone for the “superior” screen, when in the mean time you’re shooting yourself in the foot with regards to battery life. Even 720p on such a “small” screen is pushing it to be honest.

      Now I know there’s always some kind of person that goes “But I can totally see the difference”. But no. No you can’t. It’s physically impossible. You might see difference in contrast and color depth, but not pixel density at such high resolutions.

      • Infinite

        I agree to some extent, however each piece does contribute to the whole. What you end up with on the G3 is a beautiful, crisp screen that is pleasing and more importantly: enjoyable to use. For this, I would not say it’s not a Gimmick… but as you pointed out – It is not only about the pixel density.

        The best way to market a screen that clearly ate most of the R&D budget would be to appeal for the layman’s “bigger, better, faster” syndrome. In this case, I knew that it was not the DPI number that sold me, it was the sum of all its parts that presented a much better screen than any other phone on AT$T’s floor at the time. I am curious to see how the Note 4 will compare tho. I personally favor IPS screens though.

    • geelslang

      Its a deal breaker for me, battery life is critical. Im leaning towards the Sony Z3 for my next phone.

    • My husband has had his G3 for a couple of months now and he’s blown away by how great the battery is. It easily lasts 2 full days without a charge. And I know for a fact that he always has his wifi, data, sync and location services on at all times. I wish my G2 could get away with that!

  • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

    I have a confession to make. I have not ever owned a smartphone. I reckon I just don’t understand the redundancy here. I also don’t see myself picking up one in the future, since my Blockia® is still perfectly capable of taking calls, sending texts, and checking emails. Plus every time I go cheap on a cellphone I upgrade something on my Desktop (or splurge on Steam sales).

    *Edit: I also haven’t charged my phone in two days. It’s still on 31% battery life. Winning.

    • Erick Lee

      I have a confession to make. I don’t own a desktop. I just don’t understand the redundancy here. My old laptop is still perfectly capable of composing emails, word-processing, and surfing the net. Plus by going cheap I get to upgrade something on my Car (or splurge on clothing sales).

      See what I did there?

      The answer is – that some want more from their mobile experience than you do. They want good games, a music player, a MP camera/video camera, LTE speeds, a web browser, a GPS, a video player, a book reader, and whatever else they can carry, on one device while commuting.

      This stuff may not interest you, but it interests others. In the same way, desktop games do not interest me that much or Steam sales. To each their own. We don’t get to judge who is ‘winning’.

      • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

        “See what I did there?” Yes. I did. Trolled!

        Well it is a darn good thing that my entire post was about my own personal preference and not a grand statement on the veracity of smartphones globally. At no point do I damn them, nor do I judge who (a person?) or what is “winning”. The context of that particular sentence you’re most likely referring to must have been misunderstand.

        But thank you for taking the time to be a condescending smartass. 🙂

        Anyway. Back to the revolution!

        • Erick Lee

          Well it takes one to know one, I guess.

          Why is it that every time a review of some device/console/platform is posted, some Snarkypanda needs to chime in to say how useless it is, or how their desktop is better, or how superior their setup is, with a lack of objectivity? You wouldn’t go onto a forum reviewing a country music album or something, and post ‘I don’t understand the The appeal of this music’.

          I would hope people instead stray away from topics that don’t interest them, instead of posting some subtle (hardly in this case) snark about how they have it better, with underlying tones that an interest in a topic/device/platform/thing is somehow odd or illogical. Yay Charlie Sheen.

          • SargonTheGreatPandaOfAkkad

            My my my. Calm down there, Betty Sue. Seems like a ton of that ire is directed at me for some reason.

            “Why is it that every time a review of some device/console/platform is posted, some Snarkypanda needs to chime in to say how useless it is…”

            I did no such thing.

            “…or how their desktop is better…”

            Didn’t say that either. Or anything else you’re trying to insinuate, actually. But don’t let that stop you.

            Heaven forbid someone who posts on these articles may do so because they wanted to. Because they had an opinion. It’s just… uncanny…
            So
            Much
            Tiger
            Blood

    • spg210

      So you prefer to live vicariously through reading about smartphones and commenting about them instead of owning one? And here I was thinking that people don’t inform themselves about topics that don’t interest them. For example, I don’t like heavy metal music, so of course I have no interest in listening to heavy metal music or perusing sites that cater to that music genre. Why would I? Makes no sense, huh? Exactly.

  • Spathi

    “Rad”…what is this, the 1980s?! 😛

    Good review!

    • it’s totally tubular.

      • Sir Rants A Lot: On Pandora

        Totes the best way to review!

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          It’s gnarly bro!

  • I have a G2 currently and I couldn’t be happier. That being said, I want a G3 too. Because, oooo, so sexy. 🙂

  • Brian Van der Merwe

    still happy with my s5

  • Matthew Holliday

    Well its no Nokia, but I guess its nice.

    • Brady miaau

      I am happy with my nokia, yes. It is a phone first, then a smart device. Unlike my Samsung Android puppy, which was not good as a phone (poor signal at my house, in built up suburb of Pretoria – Samsung could not cope)

      • Matthew Holliday

        agreed, got the lumia 925 myself, good phone, would definitely consider the 930 as an upgrade when the time comes

  • Seeker

    I own the G3 and I’m loving it. Upgraded from my S2. The battery life is decent. I can go two days with regular use. By regular use I mean doing normal phone stuff. Not playing high detailed 3d games or trying to hack the pentagon. Although I do dabble in some Pokemon Liquid Crystal.
    Dat screen dough…OMG dat screen. That’s my favorite part of the device. It makes everything look beautiful.

    • Blazzok

      Good to know, as I have been looking at getting the G3. However, a lot of the reviews I’ve read about this phone say the biggest issue this phone has is overheating. Have you experienced this at all?

      • Seeker

        I was worried about that when I read the first round of reviews but I haven’t experianced that yet. And I even use a case for it. It does get a bit hot though especially during intense gaming sessions but no overheating and shutting down from my side.

      • Jaimesha Davis

        I have the g3 and it does heat up when I play simple games such as pool or table hockey. If you put it to your face it burns. It’s upsetting that it overheats but it rarely happens; just occasionally.

      • spg210

        My wife had a G3 for a week. The battery was poor. It overheated constantly while watching videos. Once a warning box appeared on the screen during a video and the screen immediately dimmed to almost unusable while the device attempted to cool down. The screen is dim and looks washed out unless you crank up the brightness to over 80% but then the battery suffers greatly. The screen is almost impossible to see outdoors. After we returned our G3 we saw reports about cracks appearing on the device where the microphone is. Seems like LG tried to cut costs with cheap, brittle plastic. We read through message boards and saw that our issues were widespread. The device has way too many flaws. It asks you to make too many compromises. I’m not willing to do that at a premium price.

    • You sure lucked up. I can’t even get into the afternoon with my G3 and I DON’T play games or anything like that. The battery life sucks.

  • Infinite

    This is a decent review. However I have had my G3 for close to a month now and I can say with great certainty, I get at least a full day out of the battery! I am not a gamer and probably the most taxing thing that I do is is run occasional benchmarks :). That said, I was not getting that with my GS4 that I traded in for this. Admittedly, I am rooted and have no bloatware, no carrier IQ and don’t use the stock LG launcher.

    I can understand that maybe most users will not want to root their phone and fool around a bit. I personally care more about what’s under the hood and enjoy tweaking. Chrome pages are snappy, no lag as some other reports out there and most importantly, the LG G3 personally is the best Android design. The Note 3 and 4 still feel very clunky in comparison. The M8 has way too much wasted real estate making the device unnecessarily large without as great of a display as a trade-off. The LG is the perfect in between Phablet and large Smartphone. No wasted space, just a large beautiful screen with tons of raw horsepower.

    My summary: Excellent phone in design, SCREEN is gorgeous, weight and form factor superb and battery life is excellent (see notes). I was initially lured into Samsung products being a previous iPhone user, however now that I am well versed in Android, there are few phones that provide such a balance of design/horse power than the LG G3 IMO.

  • Benchmarks etc?

  • I concur. The battery life on the G3 is AWFUL!

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