Ever since the introduction of the LG G series way back in 2012, LG Electronics has been slowly but surely eating up shares in the smartphone market.
Once considered a second-fiddle to Samsung, LG has been on a tear lately after winning numerous design awards and racking up robust sales of its smartphone products.
In fact, in its native country South Korea, the LG G3 had outdone its competitors on its initial launch. Can the LG G3 further solidify LG’s position in the international mobile market race?
The LG G3 is one of those rare phones that looks best with the display turned on than with it shut off. The G3 received positive remarks when I showed it to a few friends of mine. They were very impressed particularly with the display and how it’s almost “edge to edge”.
The 5.5-inch QHD (Quad HD) display, a first among smartphones, has a pixel resolution of 2560×1440 with 538ppi. It packs a whopping 3.6 million pixel compared to the Galaxy S5’s 2 million pixel, resulting to a much sharper display. The gorgeous display is being protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3.
Some argue that the deployment of a QHD display on the LG G3 is an overkill. They say that most, if not all, developers have yet to make games and apps that fully maximize the QHD displays? potential.
For those that aren’t familiar with QHD, this type of display is usually reserved for high-end monitors and televisions. Personally, I’m not complaining as it translates to a more engaging experience overall.
Icons are very sharp and even at close up, you won’t see pixilation. The gaming and viewing experience are superb and the QHD display offers a natural color.
When you are informed that the phone features a 5.5-inch display, one would think that the LG G3 would be one ginormous phone. It’s not. Thanks to its design, LG has managed to trim down display bezels. The side bezels are almost non-existent, while the top and chin part are very minimal as well. In comparison, the HTC One M8 is a few millimeters taller than the LG G3 even though the One M8 only has a 5 inch display.
The front part of the phone is very minimalistic. Located above the display is a 2.1-megapixel camera, the LED light notification and the earpiece while the LG logo is located just below the display.
Flip it over and it gets interesting. Just like its predecessor, the G3 features the power button and volume rockers at the back just below the 13-megapixel camera.
Also, you can find the dual LED flash and the laser focusing sensor just besides the camera. An opening on the back case makes way for the speaker grill.
The LG G3 has a removable, NFC chip-embedded back cover that protects the battery, the micro-SIM slot and MicroSD slot. Because the LG G3’s back is slightly curved, using the phone against a flat surface will make the phone wiggle a bit.
The G3 has a metallic frame and the back cover, though plastic has that metallic finish to it. It’s also quite resistant to scratches from every day wear and tear. A slight creaking sound is apparent when pressured is applied and we can point that to the removable back cover. It is also quite light at 149 grams.
Overall, the build is very good and solid and the materials used makes the phone premium but not the same premium build quality seen on the HTC M8 or the iPhone.
Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset paired with Quadcore CPU clocked at 2.5 Ghz. Pairing those with the Adreno 300 GPU and the 3GB RAM and it equates to a very pleasant user experience. Several apps and HD games I threw at it ran very well on the LG G3. For benchmark geeks who swear by the numbers, here are the results:
Though the G3 is able to run applications with little to no lags, I did notice a very slight delay (almost non-noticeable for average users) on the UI when the phone wakes up. My research suggests it has something to do with the amount of pixels the phone has to power up.
Maybe a software update release might address this problem. Since I had tested this phone, I had received a software update once so it’s safe to say LG is still working on incremental updates. Also, the phone runs Android 4.4 Kitkat right out of the box.
Other notable features includes the Knock Code functionality (double tap screen to wake and sleep) 4G LTE compatibility, NFC, IR Blaster, FM radio support, and a microSD slot that can read supposedly up to 128 GB.
The LG G3 features a more flat, matured UI. The icons and toggle switches have all undergone makeovers resulting to a more professional look compared to the cartoony interface of the LG G2.
The LG G3’s keyboard is also height-adjustable which makes sense especially for those with big hands. Also, LG enhanced the G3?s multi-tasking ability by introducing “Dual Window”, a feature first seen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
The Dual Window replaced their “Q-Slide” feature which we saw first on the LG Optimus G and LG G2. I personally find this as an improvement as it allows users to multitask and maximize the screen’s real estate rather than floating windows concept of the Q-Slide.
Users are also allowed to resize the panes according to their preference. Sadly though, only a few selected apps are capable of being shown in the Dual Window.
What separates the LG G3 among the 13-megapixel shooters is the addition of a laser auto-focus never seen before on a mobile camera. We know most cameras struggles to focus on low light condition, this is where the laser focus comes into play. The question is, is it just a marketing gimmick or does it actually help capture better photos? It certainly does.
In low-light conditions, the LG G3 was able to focus and capture photos very quickly, at par with taking photos on a well-lit environment. Pictures produce are also more acceptable and post worthy compared to other phones we’ve tested so far. Below are sample shots from low light conditions:
On the other hand, pictures below are taken on well-lit environments. Colors are more natural, well balanced and warm.
Besides the voice activation control, the 2.1-megapixel front facing camera also comes with a gesture control to facilitate capture. Just lift your hand in front of the phone, close it to make a fist and a three-second countdown shall begin, enough to strike that perfect pose.
The LG G3 packs a large yet slim Li-on battery rated at 3000 mAh. Though removable, it does not actually add much bulk to the phone. The battery is sufficient for everyday use and we can sufficiently say it’ll only last you a day and you’ll probably end up charging the G3 daily.
The QHD display definitely has something to do with the big hit on the battery. The G3’s battery life is not that bad, just average. Occasionally, the phone tends to heat up particularly on the back where the camera is located with heavy use.
Call and sound quality
The G3’s earpiece and mouthpiece is loud and clear during our tests. It helps that a second mic is present for active noise cancellation.
The phone’s speaker is good, not great. It?s not as loud and lacks depth compared to other flagship phones. Plug in an earphone and the LG G3 will totally make up for the somewhat average speaker.
Sounds produce are very good with good bass and treble. The native music application even has an equalizer and a pitch and speed modifier so you can listen to your songs and podcasts in chipmunk fashion.
Last year’s flagship phone, the LG G2, was an impressive phone. While the LG G3 pretty much borrowed everything from the LG G2, the company decided to give what many users felt lacking with the LG G2 such as the removable battery and a micro SD slot.
Also, with innovations such as the laser-assisted camera and the use of QHD screen, not only has LG caught up in the smartphone race, but in certain aspects, it is slowly surpassing the competition.