LG G3 review

The LG G2 took us by surprise: not even future-gazing Stuff staffers predicted its 2013 reign over our Smartphones Top 10 and its Gadget of the Year win.

However eight months older and wiser we will not probably be shocked by its successor, the G3. In any case, we’re prepared for it now; anticipating nice issues from it, even. Plus, with phones of the calibre of the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5 already on the shelves, it faces more durable competitors than final yr’s model.

That is the speculation at the very least – nevertheless it’s all garbage. As a result of by some means, the G3 has shocked us once more. It is shocked us with its pixel-loopy 2K display screen, with its bezel-much less design, with its pretty metallic-that is-actually-plastic construct. And most of all, it is shocked us with simply how a lot of an enchancment over the G2 it’s.

BUILD: PLASTIC THAT’S ALMOST FANTASTIC

How does it do that? By all-however disposing of the bezels. The G2 was already fairly good on this regard, however the G3 takes it to a brand new stage; from the front, it is virtually all glass.

It is also surprisingly simple to carry and use regardless of that huge display. That is due to the noticeable curve around the again, which makes it simpler to grip and fools your hand into pondering that it is smaller than it’s. You will not have to stretch your fingers as a way to attain the highest of the display screen.

Talking of the again, it is a principally plastic affair however once more you would possibly effectively be fooled into pondering in any other case. Although the G3’s body is technically 80% polycarbonate, the 20% of metallic combined in with it offers it a premium look, even when it might probably’t fairly match the HTC One (M8)’s premium really feel. We might definitely select it over the Galaxy S5’s plaster-like again, and whereas the Sony Xperia Z2‘s slab-of-glass design is likely to be prettier, you’d quite have this in your hands (or pockets) than Sony’s hefty handset.

The G3 can also be significantly lighter than each the M8 and Z2 – and in contrast to both of these phones has a detachable rear cover too. That enables for a battery swap-out, must you want one, and in addition offers you entry to the microSD slot, which might in any other case have to sit on the G3’s pristine sides. Plus, it makes wireless charging attainable, in case you crew it with an appropriate charger.

In case you do juice it up by way of the normal microUSB port, you will discover that there is no pesky detachable plastic cover; after all that additionally signifies that it isn’t waterproof in the best way that the Sony and Samsung phones are, which has to earn it a tick within the minus column.

Beloved the rear buttons on the G2? You’ll adore the G3’s improved variations. The place the ability and quantity controls on the G2 have been considerably unpleasant, they now have a pleasant textured finish and a classy design, which makes them each simpler to find and to work out which is which.

G2 upgraders will adapt to the G3’s new design like a fish to water, however that’s to not say first-time customers will probably be baffled by the rear placement. Positive, you would possibly wrestle to seek out them the primary few occasions however in our expertise new customers get a few 90% hit fee inside seconds of choosing the cellphone up. Utilizing your index finger, to be trustworthy, will quickly really feel extra pure and fewer strenuous than stretching your thumbs to the edges of the Galaxy S5, One (M8) or Xperia Z2.

DISPLAY: PIXEL ASSAULT

That is the place the G3 actually shines – that amazingly sharp 2K display. It is larger and sharper than these on any of its rivals, whereas becoming in an identical dimension physique. Fairly cool, huh? With 2560 x 1440 pixels adorning its IPS+ panel, your peepers are going to get one heck of a deal with. When it comes to pixel density it equates to 534ppi – increased than any phone we have but seen.

So how a lot distinction does it make in actual life? A good bit, really. Whereas its true worth is felt solely once you press your nostril in opposition to the display, or have the best 2K content material, even the bare eye can spot how positive the perimeters of app icons are on the G3 when in comparison with these on the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8) and the Sony Xperia Z2.

It additionally signifies that it will look simply nearly as good when seen from additional away, and keep in mind that if LG had caught with a 1080p display on a screen of this dimension, it will lack sharpness in comparison with its barely smaller rivals.

We positioned the G3 aspect-by-aspect with the Galaxy S5, with out revealing the decision of the 2 gadgets to anybody. Practically 100% of the individuals we requested noticed the distinction in display screen high quality nearly instantly, declaring the sharpness of the G3’s show.

So far as the color palette goes, the G3 goals for the pure look. It is noticeably cooler than the Galaxy S5’s warm AMOLED display, and never fairly as punchy both. Grass seems to be like actual grass, as an illustration, slightly than some extremely-inexperienced alien selection.

The One (M8) and Xperia Z2 fall someplace between the two extremes, and which you favor will depend to a big extent on, erm, which you favor. The G3 could be our decide for movies, on account of the extra sensible hues – significantly in the case of skintones – however for video games and net shopping the S5 will look extra vibrant. The G3’s additionally barely missing within the distinction division, and doesn’t have the deep black tones that you simply’ll get from the One (M8).

Outdoors, it is a first rate performer. Its auto-brightness tailored swiftly, beaming crystal-sharp photographs, movies and textual content to our pupils. But it surely undoubtedly would not go as shiny because the S5: a very good factor when it comes to battery life, much less so when you’re viewing it in shiny sunshine. Plus, the default video participant robotically dims movies to a decrease brightness stage – so you may need to use another similar to VLC.

CAMERA: LASER-SHARP FOCUS

You in all probability already learn concerning the laser-focus camera, however let’s simply make it clear: it is a work of genius.

The laser permits the G3 to focus extra swiftly than any of rivals and in addition means which you could take a sequence of pictures just by tapping the display screen repeatedly. That is proper – no must do one faucet to focus/refocus and one other to truly take the picture: simply let the laser do the work, faucet and also you’re executed.

Admittedly, the Galaxy S5 comes shut by way of autofocus and pace, and the One (M8) and Xperia Z2 aren’t that far behind both. We’re speaking milliseconds both means – however that may make the distinction between a crisp shot and a blurry mess from time to time.

So far as the 13MP images themselves go, count on minimal noise, sharp particulars and nicely-balanced colors. And this isn’t simply the work of the 2K display screen. We used a 13in MacBook Professional (non-Retina Display, by the best way) to view images taken on the G3, S5, M8 and Z2 on, and the G3’s photographs had been each much less blurry and fewer noisey.

If daylight shots are nice, the G3 is equally unbelievable in low gentle. That is partly down to the laser – which grabs focus extra precisely in murky circumstances than a traditional autofocus – but additionally all the way down to impressively noise-free pictures. Plus, with the twin-LED flash deployed, human topics look much less washed out, although there’s nonetheless a tinge of overexposure when the flash tries to compensate for much less nicely-lit environments. The M8 beats it when there’s virtually no gentle, however in most situations the G3 fares very properly.

Just like the G2, the G3 is armed with optical image stabilisation. Sharper images are a given, because it’ll fight any blurriness induced by shaky palms; we discovered it notably helpful after we have been making an attempt to steadiness the phone whereas trying to take a macro shot. However like its earlier phablet cousin the LG G Pro 2, the G3 is armed with OIS+ quite than the usual OIS. This makes use of software program tips to additional ramp up the stabilisation impact, and it seems to work very effectively.

OIS+ additionally serves one other function – particularly enhancing the after-image focusing choice, or Magic Focus in LG’s lingo. It is a characteristic that is additionally discovered on the One (M8), however the place that phone has a devoted second lens for that goal, the G3 as an alternative takes a number of photos at totally different focal lengths with the one lens. The outcomes aren’t fairly as spectacular as these from the M8, however in some conditions it really works fairly properly, enabling you to alter the main focus of an image after you have taken it.

All that jazz with the completely different taking pictures modes that the G2 has? Gone with the wind. In comparison with the G2, the camera interface is an easy affair, with solely 4 principal modes – twin, panorama, magic focus and auto. It is fantastically clear and primary.

LG G3 16

In fact for those who do need extra management, you possibly can have it. And once you do dabble with its settings, there’s much more you are able to do with it. The aforementioned cheese shutter has its moments, and is most correct after we uttered “kimchi” to activate the shutter.

The front 2MP camera is designed for each video calling and, in a really 2014 method, selfies. The excellent news is, you gained’t should faucet the display screen to activate the timer. In a transfer considerably impressed by the gwiyomi viral video, you’ll be able to maintain your hand in entrance of the camera, clench your fist, and it’ll activate the timer. It is sensible, because it reduces the possibility of you shedding your grip and watching the G3 plummet to its loss of life.

High quality-sensible it is clear, although not wonderful in poor gentle, and possibly about on a par with the HTC One (M8) for Skype duties.

Elsewhere, there’s additionally 4K video, which is usually very easy. Nor does it make the handset get too heat, because the Xperia Z2 tends to do.

PERFORMANCE: AS GOOD AS 2014 GETS

The G3 examined right here packs a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor working at 2.5GHz, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. That model will not be out there within the UK although (at the very least not for some time), so we’ll must put up with a 2GB RAM/16GB storage model. Will that make a distinction to efficiency? It is attainable. However then once more, the G2 additionally has 2GB of RAM, and we by no means seen a lot as a stutter on that.

Anyway, again to the G3. Let’s begin with the numbers: AnTuTu scores of between 30,981 and 32,844 for this unit place it barely decrease than the M8, whereas Geekbench 2 returned 2427 (higher than M8) and Sunspider 884.1ms (about the identical because the G2 and lower than the M8 – and lower is best). There’s not a lot between the G3 and its rivals, principally.

In follow, the overview unit confirmed not one of the stutters we skilled on the pre-manufacturing unit we tried out final month: so, no lag from the dialler or when swiping by means of contacts. Extra importantly, apps loaded in a mere 2-3 seconds and even graphically intensive video games equivalent to Injustice: Gods Amongst Us have been dealt with by the G3 like a professional.

Simply because we might, we threw as much as 16 apps, which included Lifeless Set offInjustice and the latest Watch_Dogs mobile game, into the fray. None of that fazed the G3, at the same time as we made brief work of enemies with characters from the DC universe. Admittedly, there was some slight lag within the menu transition, and new apps loaded barely extra slowly, however general it carried out in addition to we might’ve hoped given what we have been doing to it.

Internet shopping is a pleasure: on a 4G connection, pages load blazingly quick, filling the display screen in only a few blinks. It additionally handles full HD movies with aplomb – there’s completely no lag and we didn’t spot any frames dropping throughout motion sequences. Keep in mind that pupil-searing display screen and you have a prime-notch film participant. The speaker can be vastly improved over that on the G2 – it is now a 1W affair situated around the again of the phone and whereas it is inferior to the twin audio system on the M8, it is on a par with the Z2 and S5 and is thus completely usable.

OS: SIMPLE AND CLEAN

The G2’s pores and skin was a little bit of messy affair, however LG has stripped out an entire load of options for the G3 and it is a massive enchancment.

LG G3 19

Flip it on and also you’ll be greeted by a a lot cleaner consumer interface. Essentially the most distinguished change is in its notification display screen – clear as a whistle, with nary an indication of the muddle and cartoonish icons that plagued its predecessor.

We nonetheless desire the HTC M8’s Sense 6 skin total, however the place the G2 was held again by its OS, the G3 faces no such issues. It even has just a few good new options of its personal.

Take Sensible Clear as an illustration, which clears up cache recordsdata that will in any other case deplete valuable cupboard space. OK so area should not be an issue given the microSD slot, however a bit of housekeeping will all the time assist maintain the consumer expertise easy. One warning although: Sensible Clear will take away downloaded recordsdata, so if you happen to’ve been swiping images from the net, you’d greatest hold them saved someplace else, like Google Drive.

Then there’s Good Discover, which is like Google Now in that it serves up playing cards that includes recommendations equivalent to activating your battery saver when the G3 is operating low on juice. It additionally works seamlessly with the LG Well being operate, providing you with a day-by-day replace and reminder that it’s time to get off your lazy bottom and shed these amassed energy.

LG Well being is itself a great tool. It makes use of the phone’s sensors to measure the variety of steps you’ve got taken, then works out what number of energy you’ve got burned. It is in all probability not fairly as correct as a Jawbone Up or different fundamental health tracker, nevertheless it’s shut sufficient that you just will not discover a lot distinction over the course of a day. Lugging the phone for a fast run is not a significant chore given how gentle the G3 is, though you may need to strap it to an armband to deal with the run.

Out of all the enhancements, it is the Sensible Keyboard which can make the largest distinction. Very like Swype, the semi-sentient keyboard picks up in your most regularly typed phrases, and learns which autocorrect phrases are those you’ll want extra usually. And sure, you possibly can merely swipe throughout letters fairly than painstakingly sort each. Correcting your messages can also be a lot simpler – merely press and hold the spacebar, and you’ll scroll alongside the message to the place the correction is want. Plus, there is no have to stretch your thumbs when the autocorrected phrase seems – simply swipe alongside the left or proper aspect to pick the fitting phrase.

Keyboard changes, similar to splitting for two-handed use or swiping the keyboard to a facet for one-handed operation, are retained. A brand new addition is peak adjustment, which both offers you extra display screen area to learn your typed messages or permits thicker thumbs to get extra space between letters, and thus scale back typos.

Options smart, the standard suspects are nonetheless round. Knock On is current and proper, and we love having the ability to double-faucet the display screen and look at your notifications reasonably than having to select up the G3 and click on on the rear energy button. However the M8 and Z2 even have that means now – whereas they do not have LG’s Knock Code. This allows you to set a mixture of faucets to unlock your phone, and it rapidly change into important.

There’s additionally a Twin Window operate which works with LG and Google apps and which makes good use of all that screen space. The Samsung S5 can do the identical factor, however is a bit bit higher in that it additionally works with third-get together apps similar to Evernote and Fb.

ACCESSORIES: A WINDOW OF SHORTCUTS

This yr, LG’s including a complete load of equipment to enrich the G3. At the beginning is its flip cover, which adopts a round porthole to show transient data fairly than the G2’s rectangular-formed window. Much like its predecessor, important capabilities such because the music player, camera, name logs, messaging and LG’s well being tracker will seem within the small window. With the digital camera, it’s notably helpful when it is advisable to take a fast snapshot, whereas LG Well being will guilt-journey you into strolling dwelling to shed these further energy after that indulgent dinner.

LG G3 22

As for wireless charging, something that conforms to the Qi normal will work, however LG’s personal wireless charger is sort of a nifty little factor. Whereas we didn’t handle to attempt the unit on this overview, we positively like the thought of inserting the phone upright and studying our emails whereas the wireless charger juices it up.

BATTERY: GOOD, NOT GREAT

We’re taking a look at a 2K display. That’s far more pixels for the 3000mAh battery to power, and regardless of LG’s assurances on the contrary, it does not fairly have the stamina that the G2 has.

On common, we acquired about 15 hours from it. And on condition that our day by day utilization contains loads of net browsing, Fb and YouTube-watching, plus the standard calls and WhatsApp messages in-between and a few intensive use of its 13MP camera, that is nonetheless fairly good

As standard, we gave in to our sadistic streak, activated the G3’s Wi-Fi connection and ran a full HD video at half brightness to emphasize take a look at its uptime. Inside the first hour, we observed a 10% dip, and as soon as we’d converted to a 4G connection on the 50% mark, the G3 managed a complete mileage of practically 9 hours.

So, whereas it does not fairly handle the practically invincible 19 hours of actual world utilization we obtained from the G2, the G3’s 15-hour mileage comes fairly shut, and is a testomony to the ability-saving options that LG has applied. It additionally compares favourably to its rivals. We might put it on a par with the Z2 and S5 and barely forward of the M8. However they’re all fairly shut, and the very fact is that as with most smartphones you will get a day’s use out of it then cost it up in a single day.

On that entrance, its charger can stand toe-to-toe with The Flash, juicing up the unit to a full cost underneath two hours. Plus, with the battery now being detachable, you may at all times carry a spare with you for emergencies.

LG G3 VERDICT

As we stated in the beginning of this assessment, the G3 shocked us. Whereas we hoped it might proceed the good work began by the G2, we weren’t anticipating it to show fairly a lot of a leap ahead. Most phone upgrades as of late are incremental, in spite of everything, however the G3 is manifestly higher than its predecessor.

And that is the case in nearly each regard – from little touches such because the sleeker again buttons to the subtle look of its 20% brushed-metallic body and main adjustments similar to the larger, higher 2K display screen and laser-assisted camera.

The one approach by which it is not higher than the G2 is on battery life, however contemplating all that LG has crammed into the G3, the truth that it nonetheless lasts 15hrs is to be applauded.

Finally, there’s barely a single factor improper with the G3 and so, a lot that’s proper with it. Good luck making an attempt to shock us with the G4, LG.

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LG G3 Tech Specs

Operating System: Android 4.4 KitKat

Processor: 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor

RAM: 3GB (2GB version available)

Screen: 5.5in True HD-IPS + LCD with 2560 x 1440 resolution (534ppi)

Camera: 13MP rear, 2MP front

Storage: 32GB internal (16GB version available), plus microSD up to 128GB

Data: 3G / 4G/LTE

Battery: 3000mAh

Size: 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm

Weight: 149g

Compsmag