The only thing I can say to myself while I write this review is that I don’t want to give it up. And if I do, its for a carrier specific LG G3. LG has created a masterpiece in this next rendition of their flagship device. It corrected everything people thought was wrong with the device as well as all my gripes with the last flagship, the LG G2. Heres the review:
At first glance, you may think the LG G3 was made out of aluminum or a similar material to the HTC One M8. Fortunately, and unfortunately, that was not the case. It’s actually a hard plastic with a brush metal finish to give it that metallic appeal. It’s unfortunate because everyone was definitely thinking we were getting a super device with some real premium hardware, which we sort of did, but it wasn’t the metal that it was depicted to be. Thankfully though, because of the material it is extremely light for its size. For a phone that carries a 5.5-inch quad hd display, you’d think that it would have bit of a heft when it comes to carrying. Despite its size and weight, you still have some of the best specs on the market today with a Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM and a huge 3000 mAh (removable) battery with expansion for the micro SD (up to 128GB).
One of the biggest accomplishments that LG has with this device is how successful they were in fitting the QHD (1440 x 2560, 538 ppi) display into the form factor. 5.5-inches sounds extremely intimidating on paper and you’d think the device would be gargantuan in hand. Most of that is possible because the buttons on the rear have returned and are welcomed in my book. The rear buttons have been improved for a more responsive click and a better overall feel. I don’t think of myself as having extremely huge hands but the device fits very well in my hand. I didn’t have much trouble maneuvering the device at any point in time and much less when reaching across to the opposite side of the screen. It’s really close, if not better than the G2 when it comes to comfort in the hand though. You also don’t have any physical buttons on the front of the device.
It seems that LG found the perfect formula for using a 5.5-inch display because it uses the on screen buttons and doesn’t have much of a chin. It’s just enough size for the LG chin. Overall, it is one of the more attractive devices this year has to offer in my opinion. The design is intuitive, unique and extremely appealing to anyone.
It was no doubt that the LG manufacturer skin was all over the device. Feature heavy and not exactly the best on the market. LG decided to go with a more minimalistic and flatter design with their new flagship. Colors aren’t as in your face and it just looks like a more simplistic design overall. It runs very smooth (thanks to the help of that 3GB of RAM loaded into the device) and I didn’t have any problems running programs or running through screens. LG also brought Multi-Window over to this device to take advantage of the real-estate that you get to work with. So much like Samsung devices, you can run a YouTube video and chat on Hangouts at the same time without having to switch from app to app. The selection of applications that you can Multi-Window with is rather small but the more important thing is, I actually found myself using it.
Most of the old features are back as well like QSlide, QMemo and QVoice. I don’t really understand why they added two hot buttons when you long press the home button, as if I wouldn’t use Google Search over QVoice. I guess it’s nice to have options? The new widget which includes the Smart Bulletin is nice on paper, but when it comes to more realistic use, it gives extremely vague descriptions of the weather or it just lets you know if it’s a friend’s birthday. It doesn’t really solve anything and just seems to be….there. You can always just watch the notification appear in the drawer which would probably end up getting dismissed anyway. No software is ever perfect enough but this is a huge step forward.
There are some things that LG has done that I would love to see on every device. Biggest example would be customizing the navigation buttons to have it the way you prefer. It’s usually something you would see on rooted devices; which is pretty awesome to see that those little useful features are coming over to the unrooted side of the Android world. It could also be something as small as answering a text message while having another application opened without having to actually leave the application your currently on. Again, it’s a feature you would see in third party apps or rooted devices.
Some of the older features are back like QSlide and QRemote, both I use on a regular basis when I’m not just multi-window-ing (multi-tasking). As a whole, I think this is a significant improvement over last years software. They did research and removed the super useless slide aside and kept more important things like the copy and paste clipboard; which remains to be the #1 feature that I use on this device. And how could I forget the best manufacturer keyboard that I’ve ever dealt with. I think this is the first time I didn’t resort to the Google Keyboard or SwiftKey to solve frustrations. You can resize the keyboard to your liking and with the screen size, you have a ton of room to work with. It also allows you to change the theme of the keyboard as well as setting hot keys so if you use a lot of “!!!” and “***”, you can set those so that you don’t have to long press. Very nice stuff LG, very nice.
Note: The device does heat up. Its only happened to me once where I couldn’t turn the brightness all the way up but it wasn’t a huge deal to me since I usually keep it at around 80% which I find sufficient enough for a complete experience. I’m not to sure if this will be a common occurrence for those who like using the device at full brightness, but I’ll keep an eye out and update this post accordingly.
The selling point of the average consumer usually revolves around one, battery life and two, camera. The LG G3 features a 13-megapixel camera with OIS+ (Optical Image Stabilization) and a laser auto-focus. With the laser auto-focus, it has a significantly improved auto-focus time to snap your photos. The laser is used to bounce off the of object to help the camera focus at a faster rate and in the LG G3, this proves to work very well. The auto-focus is very quick, it reminds me somewhat of how fast the HTC One (M8) is.
They’ve eliminated a lot of modes and kept a core 4 of shooting modes which would be Dual Shot, Panorama, Magic Focus, and Auto. There is also a mode where you can just tap any part of the screen where you would like the camera to focus and it will automatically take the shot. Very useful if you’re in a rush or there seems to be a lot of action you want to grab. Picture quality is among the best I’ve seen that LG has had to offer yet. The colors are a bit more saturated but this is definitely not a complaint. The colors pop for really vivid shots and the 13-megapixels comes in handy for filling in all the details and this display is nothing but a compliment to that.
I actually had a lot of fun using this camera. Everyone I’ve shown really seems to like the open hand to fist selfie shot. It makes it super convenient to take a selfie (not that I am much of a selfie person). I do find it quiet hilarious that it’s so easy to photo bomb a person using that feature just having your hand to fist in the shot. Coming back to the rear camera, I did find that night time shots came out a bit fuzzier than I’d like them to be. The details were there but the fuzz was noticeable. It’s also worth noting that the HDR (not so much auto HDR) is really good. It’s not very often where a camera would have a better HDR mode but this is one of those rare cases for me. It almost always found the right balance in color and for subjects that are in a shadow to get the most out of the shot.
It’s really difficult to get into the nitty gritty of battery life since this isn’t a US carrier variant. For the duration of my review, I used T-Mobile service as well as AT&T since I received different internet coverage with each. With T-Mobile, I only got as far as 3G services that maxed out at 4mbps down which is not too bad (who am I kidding?) and with AT&T I actually got some LTE coverage in some areas. While using the T-Mobile sim, I was getting some really good battery life. My first few days of using the device actually hit 15-16 hours of usage before it begged for some juice.
Note: I consider myself a heavy user with a lot of social media usage as well as Hangouts chatting, text messaging and emails. As for what the battery life was like with the AT&T sim, my projected usage was about 16 hours but it was closer to 12-13 hours depending on how much strain I put the phone through. It wasn’t a huge difference in battery and I was able to safely get through the workday without actually having to plug the cable on my desk. We’ll get more on this when we get a hold of the US variant.
LG has put together their best flagship yet. The size of the display is nothing more than just an intimidating number that shouldn’t keep you away. With the addition of a removable back, battery and micro SD expansion, it’s a nice improvement over the LG G2. Going against other flagships on the market, you’re looking at a pretty serious contender here.
I’m already a huge fan of the device. It’s also good to quickly point out that the LG G3 will have support for wireless charging back plates in the future, as we did notice some wireless charging pins on the back of the device – good stuff LG!
The device will be available Mid July for Sprint and T-Mobile, while AT&T and Verizon have yet to give a release date. Are you looking forward to it?
*Stay tuned for our review update once US variant models come in!
- QuadHD display is amazing
- Very light design
- Removable back, battery and microSD expansion!
- Brushed metal...paint?
- Overheat (not often but does occur)
- Fuzzy night photos