LG G3 review

LG G3 review

T3 4
  • Can the Korean brand's latest flagship take on its rivals to become the best Android smartphone to buy? Find out in our LG G3 review

    LG G3 review

    Love

    • Remarkable hi-res display
    • Laser-focused camera
    • Slick new interface

    Hate

    • It's SO big
    • Plasticky back cover
    • One-button control

    Last year, LG created the G2 with a big screen, striking design and a bunch of innovations. Now, with the G3, LG aims to change things again with a display that's unprecedentedly high resolution, a striking new OS design and a great camera - with laser-guided autofocus no less. Is this the most advanced phone yet? Read on.

    Here's the thing: there are flagship phones with big screens. They've been getting bigger over the last few years, including the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5, Huawei Ascend P7 and the G3's predecessor, the LG G2. But the LG G3 has a bigger display - 5.5 inches - than many phablets. Frankly, human evolution needs a speed bump to help our hands keep up.

    Still, LG says the key feature with this phone is that it's refreshingly simple to use.

    Last year, LG introduced its one-button design. In the middle of the back sits a power button flanked by volume rockers above and below. And that's it. No home button, no camera trigger, nothing else. While it's still a bit fiddly to get used to turning the phone off or dim the screen at the back, and though we still fear accidentally hanging up on a call if our finger rests in just the wrong place, the one-button thing is more familiar now.

    LG has created an excellent screen wake-up system in KnockOn: rhythmic taps in different quarters of the screen guide you through security to the home page. So you can start using the phone without picking it up or without reaching all the way to the edge for a conventional power switch. But to turn it off you either have to wait for the screen time-out to kick in or reach behind the display for that physical button, and that's not as convenient.

  • The latest Android handset from LG rocks a metallic-look finish plus a laser auto focus on the rear camera. Check our our LG G3 hands-on review

    LG G3 review

    Love

    • Remarkable hi-res display
    • Laser-focused camera
    • Slick new interface

    Hate

    • It's SO big
    • Plasticky back cover
    • One-button control

    According to LG, "Simple is the new smart" and that's why the new LG G3 flagship smartphone has been designed to be as simple to use as possible.

    Following on the from the LG G2, the new Android 4.4.2 KitKat handset is set to go head to head with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and iPhone 5s.

    Along with a brand new laser-based auto focus, the phone also sports a Selfie camera (LG isn't calling it a front-facing camera any more) with increased megapixel size.

    LG G3: Size and build

    The LG was criticised for its slightly plasticky build, so for the G3, LG has upped its game by introducing a 'metallic skin' that looks and feels like metal but is still lightweight. LG also claims that the coating has anti-scratch properties, but not the self-healing finish of the LG G Flex.

    The phones uses the same rear keys, as on G2, which LG has designed so that you can use them without dropping your phone - a distinct possibility when using a larger phone with controls on the edge.

    WATCH: LG G3 hands-on video

    Weighing in at 149g, the phone features what LG calls a 'floating arc design'. We don't really know what that means, but the handset was certainly very comfy to hold and the back-based button configuration makes it feel secure in the hand.

    Unlike the Sony Xperia Z2, there's no waterproofing on the chassis.

    LG G3: Features

    As with the G2, you can still tap the screen to wake it up, useful if the phone is laying flat as the buttons are all on the back.

    The new Smart keyboard has been designed based on the thinking that previous efforts were made for smaller screen sizes on earlier phones. The height of the new keyboard can be adjusted so that there's less room between the keyboard and the aread where the typed words appear.

    If you make a mistake, you can long press the space bar and you get a rolling cursor which you can place by swiping back and forth across the space bar - much easier than trying to drop the cursor in the right place manually.

    The UI has been simplified with a cleaner design and tweaks such as different colours for different functions. Graphics have been made flatter, without extra shadows or distractions, just simple squares and circles. Four of the major apps have been given their own colours so you know exactly what you're using at a glance.

    When it come to security, Samsung has a few tricks up its sleeve. Knock Code lets you unlock your phone with a preset sequence of screen taps. Content Lock lets you keep locked photos and videos hidden when someone else is using your phone and Kill Switch enables you to disable your G3 remotely in case it gets nicked.

    LG G3: Screen

    The G3 sports a big Quad HD 5.5-inch display, which LG describes as being the ideal size for a smartphone - not too big handle, but big enough to produce a great picture without draining too much battery.

    It'll probably still be too big for some, but not more so that the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the HTC One M8.

    LG has looked at the lines per inch (a standard measurement in the art world) that the human eye can see and worked out that the corresponding ppi needs to be around 540. Which is luck, because the 2560x1440 resolution here means that the screen packs a 538ppi pixel density.

    As you'd expect, the big IPS screen looks great with excellent viewing angles and clear, bright pictures.

    LG G3: Camera

    The G3 sports the same 13MP rear camera as the G2, with the addition of a laser auto focus. The laser detection unit on the back of the phone comes from the maker's robot vacuum cleaner technology. This measures the time it takes for the laser to travel between the phone and the object you're snapping. According to LG, the auto focus takes just 0.276 seconds. It was certainly pretty swift to lock onto the subject in our brief hands-on.

    The 2.1MP 'selfie' camera, as LG is calling it, no old-fashioned 'front-facing' camera here, features increased pixel size as LG reckons that most selfies are taken in a dark environment. There's also a large aperture to let in plenty of light, plus an optimised 77-degree capture angle so that you don't end up looking out of proportion.

    what's more, you can take selfies using hand gestures - we haven't had a chance to try this out properly yet, but we will shortly and we'll keep you posted.

    LG G3: Performance

    Running on the cutting edge Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quadcore processor with maximum clocks speeds at 2.5GHz, the phone felt very zippy and we had no problem zooming around the UI. It also seemed to be very fast to load up the home screen.

    LG G3: Battery

     

    The G3 has a battery with a respectable capacity of 3,000mHA while the phone is also capable of wireless charging. LG's 3A Optimization technology makes use of an adaptive frame rate, adaptive clocking rate of the CPU and adaptive timing control of the LCD in order to conserve power.

    LG G3: Verdict

    At first glance, the G3 looks like another killer Android phone. The rear control that proved so popular on the G2 still seems like the way forward when it comes to handling larger handsets, while the metal-esque chassis feels great without adding too much weight. We also like the fact that LG has made some effort with the front-facing, sorry 'selfie' cam. Stay tuned for a full review.

    LG G3 release date: July 2014 (UK), June 2014 (Europe), May 2014 (Korea)

    LG G3 price: TBC

    Hands-on review by Libby Plummer

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