LG G3: A hands-on review

Goes on sale in Australia on 4 August

Years of investment has gone into the development of the LG G3. It started with LG pulling out of the flagship race and realigning its business units before it could return to the drawing board. Now the company has put forward its best technologies in a smartphone designed to compete with the flagships from Samsung, HTC and Apple.

Rivals unveiled their smartphones during the Mobile World Congress in February. Since then, Sony has released its Xperia Z2, Samsung's Galaxy S5 has gone on sale, but only after HTC beat them to it with the One (M8).

There's no point in LG releasing a me-too smartphone when it’s this late to the party. Nor is the company playing their game with the G3 as it has a next-generation 2560x1440 resolution display. The screen is larger than its Samsung, Sony and HTC rivals at 5.5-inches, but the smartphone stands no taller than HTC’s One (M8) at 146mm.

LG is the first company to have a smartphone with such a high resolution screen in Australia, and based on a one-on-one session Good Gear Guide had, its Full HD rivals will be envious.

Content supportive of the high resolution is scarce, but according to LG’s senior marketing manager, Brad Reed, the LG’s 13 megapixel camera is capable of recording content in Ultra High Definition.

Read more: Showdown: LG G3 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

The real ace up the G3’s sleeve is how the rear camera auto-focuses. LG has improved auto-focussing times by equipping it with an Infrared laser that measures the distance of the objects in a photo. Several points of focus are generated by the camera, and taking a photo simply requires one to be tapped.

Alongside the 13 megapixel rear camera is a volume rocker and a lock key. Moving the buttons to the rear of the smartphone was imperative in keeping the bezels fine.

Australian G3s will come with a 2.5GHz quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM and with 16GB of internal storage. MicroSD memory cards up to 128GB are compatible with the G3. A version of the smartphone with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage is in production, but it won’t be made available locally.

A plastic back cover protects a 3000 milliamp-hour battery. Reed said the higher resolution screen demands 20 per cent more battery life than a Full HD panel, but the company has been able to compensate by developing clever power management software.

Read more: Free G Pad: Optus throws weight behind LG G3 flagship

The removable back cover has a wireless charging pad that supports the Qi standard. LG is releasing its own $69 charging dock.

No doubt LG has nailed the hardware, but whether or not the G3 is a great phone comes down to the software. LG's new overlay sits on-top of 4.4 KitKat and, based on our cursory hands-on, we have an inkling it’s faithful to stock Android. The changes that have been made to the software are light, such as including a new graphical user interface and a customisable keyboard.

The LG G3 will retail for $799 when it is released in Australia on 4 August. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone will range the smartphone, along with big name retailers such as Harvery Norman and JB Hi-Fi.

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