When LG launched their new flagship phone, the LG G3, they promised that simple was the new smart. Designed to be easy to use and full of features to make your life simpler, the LG G3 was a top of the range device. Now LG has released the mid-range version called the LG G3 Beat (Or LG G3 S) – is it still excellent and simple, or does it lose its simple charm?

Look and feel

LG G3 beat 1

The LG G3 Beat is a rather gorgeous phone. It’s meant to be a smaller version of the L3 G3, but with a 5″ screen it certainly isn’t small. It designed to fit in smaller places than the L3 G3, though, which it certainly does, fitting easily in jeans pockets or smaller pouches in a handbag.

The smaller size also makes the phone much easier to use with one hand. Thanks to a curved and brushed back, the Beat doesn’t slip out of the hand and instead feels comfortable whether using with once hand or two. The rear button controls are fantastic when the phone is in use – I loved being able to adjust volume or turn the screen off with my finger where it naturally rests when holding the phone.

With a screen resolution of 720 x 1290 pixels (~294 ppi pixel density) you can get some pretty good image reproduction on the screen. Websites and apps look vibrant and clear.

Look past the pretty face

LG G3 beat

Of course, beyond looking and feeling good, the phone needs to have excellent features and perform well in other ways. Running Android’s Kit Kat, the Beat has all the benefits of Android – it’s easy to switch over from iOS, and mind numbingly simple to set up if you’ve ever used an Android phone before. Thanks to the power of Google, all your favorite apps will simply appear and be good to go, and it’s easy to find more apps via Google Play if you’ve previously been on other devices. So, what does LG bring to the table that’s new?

First up, we have the knock code. The phone is unlocked using a series of taps on the screen. This can be done whether the screen is turned on or not, allowing quick, easy and secure access to your device. It is surprisingly quick and easy to use and allows for a sequence of up to nine taps (I opted for the simplest with four taps). It also avoids people around you figuring out your unlock code simply by looking at the common swipe fingerprint on your screen.

One of the most touted features of the phone is the selfie. While using the secondary camera, simply show your hand, make a fist and a countdown from three will begin. This allows you to take the perfect selfie without worrying about getting your finger on the button or those last second camera movements. This feature was a whole lot of fun, and worked most of the time… except in darker environments. However, LG has a solution to that, too – they found a way to make a selfie flash. It’s not nearly as dirty as Darryn would hope; when you turn on the flash while using the secondary camera, the frame of the picture gets smaller, while the surroundings on the phone go bright white to help light up faces and see your hand gestures. This should help your nightclub selfies.

LG G3 beat 2

However, the selfie camera does leave quite a bit to be desired with its 1.3MP camera. The main camera is much better, featuring an 8MP laser autofocus. With touch focus and face detection, taking pictures of others (which we really should do more of instead of selfies) is quick, easy and results in some excellent images.

While the phone is slick and full of fun features, it also lasts. The LG G3 was known for dying before your lunch break, while the G3 Beat actually survived with me through rAge despite all my tweets, messages and Instagramming. That said, the more time I spent with the phone, the shorter my battery life seemed to be. It still always made it to the end of the day for me, but I did find that it seemed to run apps and updates in the background, leading to some unexpected battery levels.

Similarly unexpected is the speed of the phone. The LG G3 Beat is a mid-range phone; inside is a Quad-core 1.2Ghz processor, and you can notice some lag when moving between apps or even just turning on the screen. It hangs for about a second before taking your desired action. That doesn’t sound like much, but it makes the “simple is the new smart” phone seem more simple than smart.

Specs

Body

  • Dimensions: 137.7 x 69.6 x 10.3 mm (5.42 x 2.74 x 0.41 in)
  • Weight: 134 g (4.73 oz)

Features

  • OS: Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
  • CPU: Quad-core 1.2 GHz
  • GPU: Adreno 305
  • Battery: Li-Ion 2540 mAh battery (Standby time: 550 Hours Hours;
    Talk time: 15.8 Hours Hours)
  • Internal memory: 8GB, 16GB External Memory Card Included
  • RAM: 1GB

Camera

  • Primary: 8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, laser autofocus, LED flash
  • Video: [email protected]
  • Secondary: 1.3 MP

 

RRP: R4999

 

Last Updated: October 22, 2014

LG Beat 3
Summary
While this smaller version of the LG G3 doesn't live up to the flagship phone's performance, it is still a pretty decent phone for the price point. Looking for a smaller, cheaper Android phone that will help you take selfies in dark places? The LG G3 Beat might just be your best choice.
Rad

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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