LG G3 review

LG G3 review

The new interface on the LG G3 is a big improvement. Gone is the skeumorphism in favour of a new flat tile look. The icons are redesigned. The different applications have their own colour scheme for easy recognition and the colour palette is more muted than before.
It's a much more fluid system that shows LG has grown up, taking the problems of before and making it into a more intuitive way of navigating through the handset.
LG has definitely taken touches from HTC, Samsung and Apple with the new interface. The home screen features a separate section for the pedometer and tips videos (where Samsung's pointless magazine option is on the Galaxy S5), the colours are very similar to HTC's on the M8 and the flatter design owes more than a tip of the hat to Apple.
The interface is still a little cluttered, but overall it's a tick for LG updating something that sorely needed a new look.

Metallic shell

As mentioned the other big problem with the G2 was the fact it had a really glossy plastic shell. The phone was well packaged, but still didn't offer the same premium quality as the HTC One, iPhone or Sony Xperia Z1.
So with the LG G3, the South Korean brand has gone for the best of both worlds. It's created a 'metallic skin' that supposedly looks and feels premium, but offers the lower weight and added connectivity benefits of polycarbonate.

LG G3 review
It might look similar, but the feel in the hand is very different

The problem is, LG hasn't really managed this lofty goal. The G3 certainly looks the business, bringing a more iconic look of brushed metal and some cool colours (black, silver and gold) to make it stand out on the shelves, which makes sense given it's mostly screen otherwise.
But the second you pick it up, the plastic nature jars with the look of the phone, which is a disappointment. It actually feels cheaper than the G2 thanks to using a removable back, which lowers the tightness of the packaging and makes it feel more hollow.
The upside of this is you've got a removable battery and microSD slot, both of which are a big win for a certain section of the customer base. That said, there are better ways of doing this, as you can easily have a slot for a microSD card without needing to remove the back.

LG G3 review
The battery and back cover are both removable

And I know a few people disagree, but a unibody phone feels better in the hand and a portable battery pack is much more useful than being able to swap in a new battery - it's easier to charge, for one, and 98% of users will never swap the battery in and out anyway, so why bother when an integrated unit can offer more capacity and better design?
So again, LG has stepped forward with the G3 – but it's still not quite got all the pieces together when it comes to design.

Simple camera with laser autofocus

The 13MP camera on the LG G3 is also another big talking point, both in terms of the new look to the interface and the additional technology on board.
I'll start with the latter point: the laser auto focus, which is designed to make it the fastest-focusing smartphone on the market. It seems to be true at times, but I'm not sure shaving another 100 milliseconds off makes that much of a difference when boot-up speed is more important..
It's possibly a bit unfair to say that the extra speed isn't warranted – if the system worked perfectly, chances are you'd take 10-20 more high quality pictures that capture the moment compared to the competition, but without being able to fully test the system it's hard to comment.
The laser works by sending out a conical infra-red signal (using technology nabbed from a robo-vacuum cleaner from LG's home appliances division) and absorbs information from the surroundings to create an instant and clear picture for the camera to use.
This means it doesn't have to look for contrast shifts like before, and offers a sharper image.
The interface is really scaled back too: it's nothing more than a back button, a menu icon and the viewfinder. Tap the screen and it focuses and takes the picture, designed to be simple and effective.

LG G3 review

It also doesn't let you focus to check the shot composition before taking the photo, which would be nice – but then again, tap that menu icon and you get all you need in terms of shutter, options and video recording.
The G3 is all about simplification, and this kind of technology really works. It's a little too scaled back for the camera, but it's the right idea.
The front 2.1MP camera is now cringingly called the 'selfie' camera – it seems that dreaded word is here to stay, at least for a few years. The lens is a wider angle, so you can get more friends into the photo (or more actors at the Oscars) and features clever gesture recognition to take the photo.
Hold your hand out, make a fist and it'll start the G3 self-portrait timer. It's a clever system and it works, which is great for those moments when you can't use both hands and don't want to tap the screen.
Another cool feature is the ability to have a front-facing flash, although it's not an LED light. Instead, part of the screen goes white, which illuminates faces and takes better pictures. LG has even white balanced this screen to correct skin tone imperfections – and it really gives some nice front facing snaps.

LG G3 detailed specifications

Alternate namesD855
Release dateMay 2014
Form factorTouchscreen
Dimensions (mm)146.30 x 74.60 x 8.90
Weight (g)149.00
Battery capacity (mAh)3000
Removable batteryYes
ColoursMetallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold, Moon Violet, Burgundy Red
SAR valueNA
Screen size (inches)5.50
Touchscreen typeCapacitive
Resolution1440x2560 pixels
Pixels per inch (PPI)538
Processor2.46GHz  quad-core
Processor makeQualcomm Snapdragon 801
Internal storage16GB
Expandable storageYes
Expandable storage typemicroSD
Expandable storage up to (GB)128
Rear camera13-megapixel
Front camera2.1-megapixel
Operating SystemAndroid 4.4.2
Java supportYes
Browser supports FlashYes
Wi-Fi standards supported802.11 a/ b/ g/ n/ ac
BluetoothYes, v 4.00
Wi-Fi DirectYes
MHL OutYes
Charging via Micro-USBYes
Proprietary charging connectorNo
Proprietary data connectorNo
Number of SIMs1
Compass/ MagnetometerYes
Proximity sensorYes
Ambient light sensorYes
Temperature sensorNo
LG G3 review LG G3 review Reviewed by Rakesh Soni on July 09, 2014 Rating: 5

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