Wrap Up: Is the G3 for You?
There’s a lot to like about what LG has achieved with the G3, building upon the strong foundation laid by the G2. I really like the low-bezel design of the device, which allows a 5.5-inch display to fit into a chassis only millimetres larger than its direct competitors. The curved back makes the G3 ergonomic to hold, and the back buttons are less of an issue than they may seem to present.
At the same time, I'm at odds with the choice of the 1440p panel. Undoubtedly this display is the sharpest and clearest I’ve ever seen on a piece of technology, let alone a smartphone, so the technological achievement aspect is there, and yet the appreciable difference between 1080p and 1440p is small and it comes at a price.
It’s unlikely anyone coming from a 1080p device will say “wow, that’s a lot better than what I was using” without doing a side-by-side comparison, indicative of how minor the resolution increase is.
Because the higher resolution needs more horsepower to run, GPU performance drops 32% relative to a Snapdragon 801-powered device with a 1080p display, and generally speaking you also get shorter battery life than competing flagships. Now, those metrics become relative when even gaming the Snapdragon 801 proves capable of powering the Quad HD display. Performance around the operating system is also as good as any Android flagship.
Battery life is serviceable, never dying prematurely on me during a day’s usage, and still falling in the upper echelon of phones I’ve tested. You just have to be aware that battery life isn’t going to be as good as the Galaxy S5, Xperia Z2 and, to a lesser extent, the One M8.
With the obligatory display discussion out the way, I was impressed with almost every other aspect of the LG G3.
The 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization is capable of some fantastic photos and videos through a simpler camera interface. Laser autofocus is more than a gimmick as well, delivering a noticeably quick focusing experience with near-instant capture.
Android 4.4 is still the standard for all new Android smartphones, despite the impending launch of Android L, and LG has made a range of useful additions that extend upon that experience, in particular Knock Code, Smart Notice and the Smart Keyboard. Most importantly, their custom skin is no longer complete rubbish, now giving the G3 a stylish interface that looks modern and blends well with elements of stock Android.
The question now turns to whether you should buy the LG G3 if you’re in the market for a high-end Android device. At $630 unlocked for the base 16GB model, it falls in a similar price range as the Galaxy S5 ($630), Xperia Z2 ($650) and One M8 ($640). Reminder: You can get $10 off any order over $50 by entering the code ‘TECHSPOT’ into MobiCity’s checkout.
All devices also fall in the same on-contract price bracket, $99 in the United States, so differentiating on price is a hard prospect.
Instead it comes down to features, and this is where the G3 makes a really good case. You can’t really go wrong with any of the four smartphones I’ve mentioned extensively throughout this review, but the G3’s solid hardware offering and strong software feature set is enough to make it one of the better premium handsets available today.
Pros: Ergonomic design with thin bezels around the great display. Fast camera takes top-notch photos. Software is simple, visually pleasing and packed with features. Performance is still good, despite the high resolution
Cons: Display resolution affects performance and battery life to an extent. 'Metallic skin' on the back is made of plastic.