I remember two years ago people covering the industry scoffed at the big plans LG had coming down the pipeline. The Korean manufacturer was ambitiously optimistic about its future going forward. In 2012, LG boldly predicted that it would turn its mobile business around and sell upwards of 35 million smartphones in that year.
When I was writing over at IntoMobile, I said:
“Moving 35 million smartphones seems way too optimistic, but I’d say it’s good to see LG refocused again. The form factor has vastly improved on many of their phones …”
And as predicted, LG came up short when the year came to a close as their total smartphone sales ended with 26.5M units sold. But what perhaps was more important than the units sold, was the company had finally regained some respectability as a legit player in the market with their revamped lineup of mobile devices. They were in fact refocused.
Point is, the LG G3 is the culmination of a long rebuilding process that had the company headed to the drawing board, searching for inspiration. LG’s maturity really shows here with this impressive offering — so let’s dive into the basics, shall we?
- 5.5-inch Quad HD IPS display (2560 x 1440, 538ppi)
- Rear 13.0MP camera with OIS+ and Laser Auto Focus, Dual LED Flash
- Front 2.1MP camera
- NFC (Near Field Communication)
- Dual Window
- Too many pre-loaded apps (“bloatware”)
- Battery life could be better. 3000 mAh is not enough.
- Back cover kind of slick, can slip out of the hands easy if not careful.
Looking at the G3 you can clearly see how the company has grown over the years. The LG G3 has a sleek front-side with an even slimmer bezel to better show off the viewing angles on its 5.5-inch Quad HD display. The company says the phone is supposed to dawn a metallic black color, but I’d prefer to call it gun-metal. It took me a while to get used to LG’s button placement, as it puts the volume and power buttons underneath the rear camera in the back. But, strangely, I’ve grown fond of LG’s decision to be different by putting the buttons on the back. It’s less clutter, and without the buttons upfront, it puts more attention on the screen. As for the front-facing camera, it sits in the left corner, instead of being placed in the center above the display. Thankfully my Sprint model didn’t have their logo pasted on the back cover. Hate it when the phone companies do that.
Not sure what the official name is for LG’s custom user interface it’s using on top of Android on the G3, but I can say it is nowhere near as annoying as Samsung’s TouchWiz UX found on all its Galaxy devices. It’s kind of surprising, actually. LG’s “Enhanced UX” looks clean, as it strips away a lot of the cartoonish flare in favor of a more modern look, with transparent flourishes seen throughout the menus and drawer (or notification bar).
Now Apps. As with most Android phones, there’s so many apps that aren’t needed. G3 comes pre-loaded with many apps such as 1Weather, BaconReader, and a long list of Sprint bloatware applications, including Sprint Family Wall, Sprint Music Plus, Sprint TV & Movies, etc. Of course most of these apps mentioned can be disabled. Since it’s an LG phone many of the bells and whistles I talked about in my LG G Flex review applies the same here with the G3. So nothing too drastic of a change on the software end. The LG G3 comes loaded with Android 4.4.2 KitKat.
Now just to touch briefly on the camera. It’s okay. Not great, but okay. Again, like Samsung, LG brings similar gimmicky features like “Cheese Shutter.” I know, what a terrible name, right? This feature allows users to take a photo with one of the simple voice commands listed: “Cheese,” “Smile,” “Whiskey,” “Kimchi,” or “LG.” It’s kinda corny, but if you’re into it … whatever. Far as the photos I took, I found the shutter speed not as fast, especially during the night-time. I suggest you just take shots with HDR+ turned on the entire time. In fact I think Google’s Nexus 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 are better cameras. Just my opinion.
Sorry, but LG dropped the ball on the battery they decided to put inside the G3. The company opted to put in a 3000 mAh battery, instead of a bigger one. Granted, its top rival Samsung, decided to put a 2800 mAh battery in its flagship Galaxy S5. However the GS5 is powering a smaller display with less PPI’s (5.1” FHD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080), 432 ppi), so the battery has more than enough power to get it through the day. The G3 has lots of horsepower under the hood, with its 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 Quad-Core processor and larger screen. I noticed these factors have caused average battery life when used heavily, which is a little disappointing. If it were up to me, I would’ve jammed that same 3500 mAh battery that comes with the LG G Flex inside the G3.
Other than that, I didn’t notice any lag when transferring in and out of apps, it handled graphically intensive games like Rayman or Fruit Ninja well — the performance was smooth. Far as the network is concerned… What can I say? It’s Sprint. Like many of you already know service and data is sometimes hit and miss. Their LTE wasn’t that speedy either, as it rated slower than even T-Mobile’s LTE in my area.
I’m not going to lie to you guys, if the camera performance was a little better I’d pick the LG G3 over the Samsung Galaxy S5 any day of the week. Yeah, you heard right! The software and hardware are better. The only real downfall is LG still has some catching up to do in the camera software department — but other than that — it’s a superior choice. I was really surprised in how much I ended up liking this phone. The headline to this review says it all. Samsung will need to step it up more than ever because LG has quickly closed the gap in aesthetics and design. The LG G3 is a solid phone worth recommending if you’re in the market for something different than an iPhone or Galaxy S.
Grab it on Amazon by clicking the phone pic!