August 20, 2014

LG G3 review: Great hardware meets simplistic interface

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NOTE: We’re giving our readers an early preliminary preview of our LG Optimus G3 review. Currently, star ratings of this product are disabled and as we spend more time with the device, we’ll update this page. 

The LG G3 will begin the global roll-out on June 27th, which will go first to Asian countries in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Then it’s headed to the remaining Asian markets, Europe/United Kingdom, and the Middle East with other regions in July. Although a date has not been officially announced by any major carrier in North America, speculations say roll-outs will take place beginning in Canada and the United States in upcoming months. Shipments from LG being sent to these carriers should be received in early to mid July, with official carrier releases by the middle of August, however this is just speculation.

This phone is going toe to toe with the top devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, Sony Xperia Z2, OnePlus One, etc.

At First Glance & Design

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The G3 features a clear display with thin bezels. On the rear is a metallic back plate, with an interesting camera/flash setup. Top of the line hardware and software make this beauty something incredibly irresistible.

On the back, sadly there are no healing properties, such as on the G Flex. The same styled rear-facing buttons are drastically improved. The rear battery door is mostly plastic, but features a very thin layer somewhere inside the plate.

Great hardware is met with a simple interface, leaving the drama behind for a better User Experience.

Display

The LG G3 utilizes a beautiful crisp 2K/Quad HD (4x 720P) [2,560x1,440/538ppi] display. Colors are wonderful, even if not perfectly accurate yet slightly over saturated. Viewing angles are decent. Not all content is really optimized for such a sharp display, however pixels are nearly invisible to the naked eye. Surprisingly, QHD doesn’t have the same ‘WOW!’ factor such as when 1080p mobile devices were released, however there is slight noticeable improvement over a 1080p screen.

Hardware and Processors

The Quad Core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC, 32GB internal storage, 3GB RAM, and Adreno 330 GPU ensure that can power through almost anything without delay. The AnTuTu X Benchmark rates this model at about 35,500 with 3rd party background processes running.

The removable battery and expandable SD storage enhance the options that users have, especially compared to the G2 and Nexus 5 among others.

Audio Quality

Sound is super clear for both the earpiece and 1 Watt speaker. Callers were able to hear us perfectly fine, and vice versa. LG has added HD Voice capabilities to this handset.

Music playing from the speakers is loud and clear, however we truly wish LG would have opted to put their speaker on the front of the device. For volume, the 1 Watt speaker out performs the Samsung Galaxy S5 and is surprisingly close to the HTC One M8.

Software & UI/UX

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LG has really toned down their user interface a lot. The icons are flat and somewhat minimalist, while featuring the common add-on apps such as LG Health (fitness tracker), QSlide, and QRemote that you commonly see variants of this with other flagships. The LG themed Android 4.4 layout is very clean.

The KnockOn feature is one we found to be really handy – it allows you to knock twice on your screen to wake it up. Knock code is a security feature that allows you to use up to 80,000 combinations in different quadrants.

Camera

There is a 13MP camera with laser focus and optical image stabilization on the rear, which does surprisingly well with low light scenarios. The laser auto focus is met with timing of less than a blink of an eye. Images taken have been pleasant but not perfectly crisp when zooming in.

On the front of the screen, you’ll find a 2.1MP camera. LG made a neat little feature that allows you to have “flash” for a “selfie” by shrinking your view area, and creating white boarders to brighten your environment.

Battery Life

We should note that our testing was done with the Korean F400K variant unlocked on T-Mobile USA, so that can hurt battery life, as the device is not optimized for T-Mobile, which is something you should take into consideration.

Battery life has varied quite a bit. Our earlier figures have been updated as we’ve determined battery drain was caused by a 3rd party add-on. While more intensive than a Full HD display, the Quad HD/Wide 2K display is not as power hungry as we previously thought. The device has lasted an average of 4 hours of heavy screen on only usage, 12-14 hours with normal moderate usage and 14-18 hours with light usage. The 3000mAh removable battery is quite large, but until we get our hands on a US version, we can’t say for sure what will be common in our region. It was quite impressive to see that on a day with lightly moderate usage, the battery lasted over 16 hours.

There are options for LG’s battery saving mode which will turn off NFC, WiFi, Brightness, and more. All of these settings are user configurable for when your battery reaches a certain point per your settings. While not as extensive as battery saving options found in the HTC One M8 or Samsung Galaxy S5, they still help save that precious battery power. We wish LG would really learn from Samsung and HTC when it comes to power saving.

Overview

What we’ve noticed is that LG has taken the form factor of the G2, improved it, and seemingly taken cues from the best flagships yet and combined them. The best of LG G2, Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, and OPPO’s (secretly owned) OnePlus One, have been spun into the LG G3, with the only thing left to wish for is out of the box wireless Qi charging (available almost everywhere but South Korea and the United States), and an IP67 rating. The G3 pretty much has it all.

We’d like to thank our sponsor and talk a little bit about 28Mobile, a Hong Kong based consumer Mobile Retail and Wholesale outlet that ships worldwide, and only sells unlocked devices. Backed by Hong Kong Wholesale Limited, and the PayPal guarantee, you can find recently released devices and more. 28Mobile also supports Amazon and eBay resellers as a wholesale distribution company as well as individual sales. They offer a 28 Day Money Back Guarantee along with high quality care and shipping standards so your order reaches you safely.

We have been completely impressed by LG here. They have finally proven that they can compete with the tough high-end Android mobile market. You can find the unlocked international version of the amazing LG G3, jack of all trades, at the 28Mobile Phone Shop.