LG G3 review
The year's best innovations undermined by one fatal flaw
- First 1440p smartphone in Australia
- 5.5-inch screen in 5in smartphone body
- Innovative laser autofocus camera
- Intuitive Android 4.4 overlay
- Wireless charging pad included
- Powerful innards
- Below par battery life
Almost everything about the LG flagship represents an improvement. The design and screen put LG in a league of its own, while LG’s laser autofocus technology brings genuine innovation to the stagnant smartphone camera. Unfortunately, the G3 is too powerful for its own good. The 3000 milliamp-hour battery isn’t large enough to offset the 1440p display’s hunger. Those with piqued intrigue should consider living with a phone that has half to almost one day battery life. If the sacrifice isn’t too much, then buy the G3.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
LG is readying the local release of its best smartphone to date, the G3, right when hysteria for the Galaxy S5 has tired. Innovations include a 1440p screen, a laser autofocus camera and worthwhile software add-ons, but is the G3 good enough to push LG out from under Samsung's shadow?
Raising the bar in design
Every part of the G3 looks to be pushing the absolute limits of what is technically possible for a smartphone. Simple styling brings this to the forefront.
Up until now the HTC One (M8) was our darling looker of 2014
Double tap the Gorilla Glass and a 5.5in screen powers. It’s the lack of bezel that captures our attention; no other smartphone has managed to cut the fat so savagely.
Flipping the smartphone reveals the LG’s fat-cutting method of shifting buttons to the rear. A removable back cover is studded by power and volume buttons. Placement is below a high resolution camera and adjacent to a dual-LED flash.
A hairline finish on the faux metal cover accentuates the smartphone’s ergonomic curve, which proves key in keeping the G3 phablet as comfortable in the hand as its 5in competition.
Up until now the HTC One (M8) was our darling looker of 2014. The G3 might not have the One (M8) beat on materials, but the combination of a bigger screen, thinner bezel and brushed body is enough to sway our opinion: the G3 is the best looking smartphone to launch locally in 2014.
Note: The LG G3 goes on sale in Australia on 4 August. The unit reviewed by Good Gear Guide was provided by online retailer UniqueMobiles, who is currently selling the LG G3. This review will be updated when GGG receives a local G3 for review.
Update, 15 Aug This article's battery life section has been updated accordingly.
Tomorrow’s 1440p screen, today
No other smartphone has launched in Australia with a 2560x1440 resolution display. The G3’s 5.5in display packs 534 pixels-per-inch, which far exceeds the 432 pixels-per-inch (ppi) delivered by Samsung’s Galaxy S5, the 441ppi of HTC’s One (M8) and the 326ppi of Apple’s iPhone 5S.
LG has leapfrogged leader Samsung in the display department
Technically the rich screen of the G3 has four times the pixels of a high-definition television. All multimedia, whether it’s zooming in on a high resolution photo or watching a compatible 1440p movie, is richer when it’s watched on the G3.
A 5.5in screen classifies the G3 as a phablet, but the smartphone’s fine bezels ensure it is no taller than the 5in HTC One (M8). LG integrating a display of this calibre in its G3 represents the company leapfrogging Samsung in the display department.
A likeable Android overlay
For all of the G3’s innovation and hardware, the flagship could’ve been spoiled if the software hadn’t matured. LG has fitted the current Android 4.4 KitKat operating system with an overlay closer to Android’s design language. Circular shapes are prominently featured, applications are colour coded and there’s a fashionable flatness to the iconography.
Connectivity is top notch with the G3 packing 4G, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Miracast and a microUSB SlimPort.
This is yet another way LG caters to its customers’ needs while asking of them less
Several additions have been made to LG’s rendition of Android. Standouts include knock-code and, although it may seem redundant, an intelligible keyboard.
Typically entering a password and unlocking your smartphone requires two separate steps. Knock code combines two steps into one by recognising a patterned and unlocking the smartphone simultaneously. The patterned tap can be done across the whole screen or over a fraction of it; no matter, the smartphone will be unlocked provided the pattern is the same.
LG’s keyboard earns a mention for its intuition. Swiping left or right over the spacebar grants you control over the cursor for simple editing, while the settings menu makes it possible to resize the height of the keyboard.
There’s a tact to the way the G3 handles incoming text messages. Rather than necessitating the messaging app to be opened mid-way through whatever you’re doing, incoming messages pop-up on a fraction of the screen with the added option of inputting text. This is yet another way LG caters to its customers’ needs while asking of them less.
Our only gripe with the G3’s software is the colour scheme. Some colours fail to take advantage of the vibrant screen and leave the interface looking less attractive than the colouring adopted by HTC’s Sense UI. As far as gripes are concerned, this one is an easy trade off for the many improvements.
Click over for hardware, camera, battery life and the final thought
Join the PC World newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Lenovo to integrate Amazon Alexa in Moto smartphones
- HMD's new Nokia 3310 turns back the clock -- and turns heads
- Huawei showcases new phones in Barcelona, gets mobbed by eager crowds
- Nostalgia rules as classic phone brands come alive at MWC
- Huawei's P10 camera-phone comes in more colors than the rainbow
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCSenior System AdministratorVIC
- CCData Migration Consultant - LeadNSW
- TPSpatial Science OfficerQLD
- TPe-Learning Developer (Captivate 8)VIC
- FTPMO Coordinator-Permanent Opportunity-Education/Government Background EssentialNSW
- FTLevel 3 Support AnalystVIC
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- TPSCCM SpecialistVIC
- TPIT Project Manager - Office relocationVIC
- FTTelecommunications Services Manager - Voice/Data/UCQLD
- FTIt Security and process analystNSW
- FTSenior Functional Consultant - Data Analytics - TelcoVIC
- FTInfrastructure Architect (Adelaide Based)VIC
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- TPICT Project CoordinatorQLD
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- FTSystem AdministratorNSW
- TPSenior Java Developer / DevOps - ContractQLD
- FTJunior Software Developer - SASACT
- CCSecurity Analyst - multiple rolesACT
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- TPWinforms DevelopersWA
- TPDeployment Specialist (DevOps)QLD
- TPImplementation Business Partner - Business ModernisationNSW
- CCSystem EngineerSA