LG G3 Review
For quite some time, LG has been struggling to rejoin the big names in the industry, but 2013 was a great year for the company. What happened was that LG released the G2 high-end smartphone in the second half of the year, overshadowing most of its rivals in terms of specs. However, there was more to the G2 than an imposing specs sheet, as the G2 also proved to be quite innovative in the design department. With a remarkable screen-to-size ratio and an off-beat key positioning on the back, the G2 delivered a breath of fresh air to the market. Needless to say, the handset was well-received, and it paved the way for something even bigger that was to happen this year.
Enter the G3 – LG's all-out attack on the Android universe that will employ all the available resources and technology in order to make a dent in the industry. That's not to say that it's going to have an easy time doing it. Phones like the Galaxy S5, One (M8), and Xperia Z2 certainly are a truly fearsome bunch, but it seems like the LG G3 has all the needed guns in order to deal with the threat. Quad HD screen? Check. Enormous screen without an enormous body size? Check. No-compromise specs sheet? Check. Elegant design? Check. Is this the phone to rule them all in 2014? Let's find out!
Note that for this review, we're using the Korean version of the LG G3, which may exhibit some subtle differences in comparison with the international model.
UPDATE (Jun 25, 2014): This review was originally based on our experience with the Korean version of the LG G3. After testing the International (European) version of the phone, we've found differences in a few areas, including display quality and brightness, indoor camera quality, and call quality. The battery section has also been edited, due to a technical mistake in the original result. We've updated the text of the review accordingly.
Rear keys meet elegance – it's a good-looking, but very big phone
The G3 borrows a lot of the aesthetic principles characteristic of its predecessor. Its form and overall appearance follow in the footsteps of the G2, but it's safe to say that the G3 builds on the heritage of its predecessor in every way. So, the exterior of the G3 is nicely curved on the back, making it sit nicely in the hand. The phone is rather big with its 5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches (146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm). Since it's equipped with a significantly bigger screen, one would expect that the G3 will be larger than its competitors, and it indeed is. For example, the Galaxy S5 (5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches (142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm)) is both shorter and narrower, while the One (M8) is about as tall (5.76 inches), but significantly narrower (2.78 inches) than the G3. The G3 is also significantly bigger than the G2, which had a 5.2” display. However, the thing is that thanks to the extremely thin bezels around the display, the G3 doesn't feel that much bigger than its opponents. What's more, the G3 has managed to retain a decent weight of 5.26 oz (149 g), so it's not really that overwhelming.
The front has that signature short top bezel, like in the G2, while the bottom one is slightly higher, but now features a splash of color that corresponds to the coloring of the rest of the phone. Frankly, it makes the whole shebang look classier and more elegant – a significant upgrade from the styling of its predecessor.
The smooth polycarbonate used for the exterior of the G3 may not be decidedly premium, but it's still a notch above your typical plastic finish. Yes, the G3 is predominantly made of plastic, but LG does note that there's a matte anti-fingerprint finish on top, as well as an extremely thin film of metal in the back cover, so it's supposed to be a bit more than 'just plastic'. As a whole, it does well in replicating the look of the brushed metal finish of the HTC One, while delivering the warmth and relative non-slipperiness of plastic. Its matte coating also does very well in avoiding those nasty smudges that are so typical with glossy plastic. It's really like you're getting the best from both worlds.
LG's signature rear keys are here, of course, positioned neatly on the back of the handset. Sure, this positioning takes some getting used to, since it's so different from what's widely accepted in the industry, but all in all, the rear keys don't come off as especially hard to use, especially after you've used them for a while. In terms of feel, they are by no means excellent. The power key is fine, with a decent amount of clickiness, but the volume rocker buttons are a bit too shallow.
The speaker of the LG G3 is placed on the back side, similarly to the Galaxy S5. It doesn't get muffled if you put the phone on a smooth and hard surface, but otherwise, it does. Right next to the signature rear keys is where the 13 MP camera resides, accompanied by a dual LED flash and a laser beam that's designed to aid it in its auto-focusing efforts. But more on that later.
146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)
146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)
146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm
5.75 oz (163 g)
Slightly dim and oversaturated – the screen of the G3 makes up with area and resolution
The second key aspect of this IPS LCD screen is the resolution. This is the first globally-available phone to make use of the enormous 1440 x 2560-pixel resolution, or in other words – QHD. A resolution this high enables a staggering pixel density of 538 ppi, meaning that whatever comes up on screen is supposed to look extremely sharp, without a hint of pixelization. Yeah, we said the same thing when 1080 x 1920 screens arrived, but this statement is getting more and more accurate now that QHD is here. Now, we obviously have to answer the question of just how much of a benefit there is in having QHD resolution instead of 1080p in cell phone screens of such size. Well, let's just say that some difference in clarity might be there, but it is extremely hard to notice. Yes, things do look super-fine, but we can't honestly say that it looks cleaner than 1080p in some way. At the same time, the higher resolution means a bigger load on the processor and the battery, so we aren't really sure if this jump in resolution is justified.
The maximum brightness that we could achieve with the LG G3 is about 450 nits. That's a pretty decent result, on par with what most other Android flagships offer. This kind of visibility usually translates to a display that's hard to view under direct sunlight, but in most other cases, you won't have an issue reading it. In comparison with the rest of the landscape, the Galaxy S5 appears to be just a bit easier to view outdoors, while the HTC One (M8) seems to exhibit a pretty much identical outdoor viewing experience, compared to the G3. Meanwhile, minimum brightness is about 9 nits, which is a bit high – it won't be unbearable for your eyes too look at in the dark, but it won't be the most comfortable experience either.
The LG G3 is yet another phone to arrive with pumped-up saturation of its screen, or at least that's what we can make of the display measurements we've done with it. Primary colors (red, green, and blue) tend to have that slightly oversaturated look, though, thankfully, they aren't too punchy. Overall color balance is pretty decent, with the screen being a bit colder than it needs to, with color temperature standing at 7100 K. Average gamma is about 2.26, which is very close to the reference value of 2.2. It definitely would have been much appreciated if there was a “natural” screen mode in the G3's setting, but oh well ...
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|HTC One (M8)||490
|Sony Xperia Z2||458
|Samsung Galaxy S5||442
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S5||62.7%
|HTC One (M8)||79.6%
|Sony Xperia Z2||90.4%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
1. Jinto (Posts: 410; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)
Congrats PA, your first QHD phone review!
The G3 is a beast.
And a better deal that the SGS5 because I believe the g3 is $550 while the s5 is $700
8. akki20892 (Posts: 3652; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
Now, LG is master of bezels... Can't beat them....
LG getting better n better everyday.... Their phones are awesome.... Great work lg. Keep it up.
66. Feanor (Posts: 329; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)
Everybody goes crazy about slim bezels. If the phone has slim bezels, then it's the best. Did anyway notice the contrast output of the screen? This review agrees with the one from GSMArena; appalling contrast ratio. In this case who cares about bezels?
82. Shatter (Posts: 2031; Member since: 29 May 2013)
The poor contrast ratio is a huge turn off, especially if you do a lot of reading on your phone. The display max/minimum brightness is also bad.
160. Jillxz (Posts: 147; Member since: 04 Jun 2012)
No problem for me and most people. Never even notice it.
144. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 186; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
Handling the phone is also important, not just the screen. Slim bezels are just as important as screen quality.
My only gripe about the review is giving it a Con for not being waterproof. That's stupid. "Waterproof" is not a common feature, so it shouldn't be mentioned as a Con if it doesn't have this feature. Having to deal with the stupid USB flap cover thing is a turn-off, and that flap will eventually snap off anyway.
149. bob_monkeywarts (Posts: 208; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
Slim bezels are good on a phone with such a massive display. If the LG G3 had bezels as thick as the iPhone, then the entire phone would be huge. But if you take away the bezels, then you have a much smaller phone with a big display. If someone said, "Wow! the iPhone has thin bezels this year!" It wouldn't really matter, it would just make the iPhone the size of your fingernail.
148. bob_monkeywarts (Posts: 208; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
Best high-end phone maker: LG. Best low-end phone maker: Motorola. It's a fact.
11. LGisgood (Posts: 471; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
so far ONLY PhoneArena Mentioned this TRUTH!
REAL Thin METAL ON THE BACK OF G3!
Good Review !
The smooth polycarbonate used for the exterior of the G3 may not be decidedly premium, but it's still a notch above your typical plastic finish. It's your typical plastic affair, but LG does note that there's a matte anti-fingerprint finish on top, as well as an extremely thin film of metal in the back cover, so it's supposed to be just a bit more than 'simply plastic'. As a whole, it does well in replicating the look of the brushed metal finish of the HTC One, while delivering the warmth and relative non-slipperiness of plastic. Its matte coating also does very well in avoiding those nasty smudges that are so typical with glossy plastic. It's really like you're getting the best from both worlds.
19. oister85 (Posts: 409; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)
Don't forget s5 is water resistant, and that's a huge feature you can't not ignore.
21. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4408; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
You are right, the LG G3 is an EPIC phone, where Samsung beats it with the S5 is with the water/dust proofing.
Both are excellent phones but to me the Samsung is all around the better device because of the water/dust proofing.
When the LG G4 comes out then I will certainly bet it will be water/dust proof for sure.
GREAT review Ray S!
154. William13 (Posts: 25; Member since: 10 Mar 2011)
As someone who sells these phones everyday and deals with constant feedback, I can tell you the S5 isn't a better all around phone than any other premium phone. Sure it has a great screen and camera and it's waterproof, but limiting the phone to 2GB of RAM is absolutely absurd. After about 2 months, every user that has the S5 comes in like clockwork complaining that their S5 is lagging, or the battery life is horrible. First place I check? Running apps, and even without their additional installed apps, the S5 is using about 1GB of that RAM out of the box with all of Samsung's bloatware. Every Samsung fan coworker of mine can't help but agree that the S5 sucks in usability, even if your average user doesn't understand RAM.
158. KFear (Posts: 137; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)
I wouldn't confuse customers so much on RAM usage. Don't have them freak out about running apps either. KitKat manages those on it's own. They aren't really "Running", per say. But it is good to clean that out at the beginning of each day. I feel that Android now managers memory quite well. Remember the 2.1 days of android. Geeeeesh
162. jgalvez21 (Posts: 21; Member since: 29 May 2014)
s5 also have wolfson at least the exynos version.
45. pwnarena (Posts: 974; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)
and don't forget the sharp aquos 32sh (featured here before) is also water resistant but it has bezels smaller than that of lg g3.
49. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4408; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Yeah but the Sharp is not sold worldwide like the Samsung's, LG's & Sony's are.
75. SuperMaoriBro (Posts: 348; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
I hate my s5 waterproofing. That usb flap is annoying and feels so cheap and flimsy, im sure it wont last. I regret buying it tbh. Still prefer samsubg but i have to admit im dissappointed with my s5
76. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4408; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I personally like the Sony Xperia Z2 WAY better than the Samsung Galaxy S5.
Should have bought the Xperia Z2...
+1 to your honest comment.
56. LGisgood (Posts: 471; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
REMINDER! REMINDER! REMINDER!
"Note that for this review, we're using the Korean version of the LG G3, which may exhibit some subtle differences in comparison with the international model."
LG can easily fix any bad issue from this review model
77. LGisgood (Posts: 471; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
GsmArena battery test for G3 IS DOUBTFUL!
according to GsmArena LG G3 managed @ 9;57 hours in VIDEO PLAY BACK and there is still a 10% remaining of G3's battery.
IPS LCD Display is actually doing better in Browsing than on a Video play back?.
then HOW COME? G3 Manged ONLY 6:40hours in browsing?
105. BaffledTruffle (Posts: 114; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)
I can't answer that question. Maybe you should ask GSMA for that.
118. Diezparda (Posts: 215; Member since: 23 Oct 2013)
I hope they are wrong, because G3 maybe my next phone. The verge said the same thing about how good G3 battery life is.
121. BaffledTruffle (Posts: 114; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)
I kind of get now. It's not just the screen that you're powering. You're actually using the antenna as well. You are browsing the web and powering that pixel-dense and that must be the ultimate reason why it's very easy to deplete the battery. If many reviews agreed with GSMA's scores, then maybe G3 is not really that power-efficient. That is a shame though, my P6 got only 10 minutes less on their battery test.
111. sar44 (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
OIS (Advanced OIS)
Small camera sensor
qhd (bad for battery and soc)
113. sar44 (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
116. BaffledTruffle (Posts: 114; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)
Not having an ISOCELL camera is not a con.
OLED is a matter of personal preference.
QHD is both a con and a pro. (Pro side is the sharpness, con is the average contrast ratio, being such a battery hog)
120. sar44 (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
isocell have better color, better dynamic range, better detalization. watch link
oled have ideal black color, ideal contrast, ideal viewing angle, ideal response speed, all much better than lcd
oversaturaturated colors only on bad calibrated displays
qhd bad for battery and soc. I do not see any difference between 400ppi and 500ppi, a lot of people do not see any difference between 300ppi and 400ppi.
122. BaffledTruffle (Posts: 114; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)
Dude, the reason why the S5's ISOCELL camera is excellent is that their image processing is very good as well. It's not just the sensor that's good, it must be the software as well. Look at Z2's camera. It's a monster on paper but not on the field.
Not everyone likes AMOLED displays. You should accept that. And finally, not everyone is like you who is contented with a 300-400+ppi displays. Pixel peepers will agree with you. I personally am fine with my phone with 312 ppi. It's enough not to see individual pixels.
Not everyone will agree to your "facts".
123. sar44 (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
Facepalm. You are troll? Such images are obtained immediately at that moment. With more accurate colors, better dynamic range, better detalization. Watch link, also watch tests and reviews. Where is your proof? Z2 have usual BSI sensor.
About screen i answered.
126. BaffledTruffle (Posts: 114; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)
Yeah yeah sure, the ISOCELL is better. Also, the G Pro is much much smaller than the S5! And M8's camera is 16 MP! Awesome, right?
I shouldn't have wasted my time on explaining.
132. refillable (Posts: 673; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
Leave this guy alone, The only guy who deserve to fight with him is 'LGisGood'.
136. 3rdDegree (Posts: 171; Member since: 13 Jul 2013)
Haha this review is ridiculous. I don't see a lack of stereo speakers as a con. Just because one company implements them on their phones, it becomes an industry standard? Last I heard, the handset wasn't bulky. In fact it's similar in form to most of its competition which is a true testament to the design team at LG. And lastly we arrive at IP certification. Personally, I couldn't give two f*cks if my phone wasn't water proof / resistant. I doubt the average consumer will as well. Just like hardly ever using the loudspeaker, I will never accidentally drop my phone in water. LG justified their choices concerning the IP standard, props to them for not blindly following the "leader"
And PhoneArena is still using the same opening in their reviews, about how LG is still not up there with the big dogs. Ever since the original Optimus G back in 2012, LG had become a force to be reckoned with. So in conclusion, PhoneArena need more authors, who are unbiased.
139. partylikeaninjastar (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Jun 2014)
Don't take it so personal? Listing those cons is essentially saying, "Well, we couldn't find much wrong with this phone, but feature X and Y would have made it even better than it actually is." Read between the lines: those cons (except for the dim screen which actually is a problem) are saying that this is the phone to get if you're okay with owning a large phone.
165. craigy72 (banned) (Posts: 41; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)
Interesting here in the UK according tohttp://www.comparephonemarket.
co.uk: G3 is £499.99 and the S5 is £494.95
2. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2058; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
One of the best smartphones this year. Keep it up LG. :D
12. ihavenoname (Posts: 1519; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)
I'd not be so sure, after all they are (most likely) going to make it cheaper. However, if it comes as a Android silver device, you might be on a right track.
15. Jinto (Posts: 410; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)
The nexus 5 got a 9.5 score, mainly cuz of the price
140. partylikeaninjastar (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Jun 2014)
Doubtful. The G2 was a better overall phone than the Nexus except for its price. The only reasons why I got the Nexus 5 over the G2 was because I knew I could have it rooted within seconds of taking it home and also because of the price.
If there IS a Nexus 6 and it's similarly based on the G3 design, it will be a dumbed down version with problems of its own. But with an awesome price.
If they're still doing the Nexus line this year.
22. Scarambay (Posts: 44; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)
A phone with a "just" good display and a cartoonish UI is being touted as one of the best smartphones of the year. Sure, why not!
79. Sauce (unregistered)
Agreed! One thing that I'm laughing at though is the lack of hate comments because this was rated above a 9.
Fandroids hate to see that other brand rated above 9 and all hell breaks loose lol, but when it's their turn: crickets.
All I see now is "Samsung is better. GS5 is better. "etc etc etc.
Why can't haters accept the fact that this phone is sexily designed and well made (internally and externally)?
119. refillable (Posts: 673; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
But, I'm laughing at your attempt to defend your favourite smartphone. iPhone is overpriced and likely to always be. It doesn't deserve to get 9.4, and we know why.
14. Jinto (Posts: 410; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)
iPhone 5s got 9.3 review scre while g3 got 9.2
64. adwienc (Posts: 135; Member since: 26 Mar 2014)
Oh c'mon, these ratings mean nothing, GSMAren doesn't give any ratings, so You can judge by yourself which phone is better and it's good way to write reviews. Highr score doesn't mean better phone. Nexus 5 got 9.5 cuz it was cheap but it doesn't make it better than G2 or G3. These ratings always were only to start fanboy wars. It all comes down to preferences.
103. BaffledTruffle (Posts: 114; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)
That's why you shouldn't ever take PA's ratings into consideration. It's more subjective than objective, since it is based on what the reviewer thinks of a device, much like how would you rate it yourself.
Reading the review is all you need to do.
142. 3rdDegree (Posts: 171; Member since: 13 Jul 2013)
I wonder if PA ever reads these comments and strive to better themselves based on our comments. Hey PA, do you guys read our comments about the review process itself and listen to the criticism? If so, do you take the feedback on board?
26. dratomic (Posts: 476; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)
PAs rating sux. iphone is like a toy compared to this beast and gets a higher score. g3s cons are not iphones cons. typical iPA. this is why i trust gsmarena for a fair and unbiased review to any other site.
46. pwnarena (Posts: 974; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)
don't forget the lg g2 got a 9.4.
9.2 is not bad considering that you get a dimmer display with bumped up resolution but with almost every other part similar to its predecessor.
6. LGisgood (Posts: 471; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
G3 IS THE SMARTPHONE OF THE YEAR!
LG G3 has better battery life than s5 based on my personal experience
we did a test actual comparison here in Korea using the same carrier provider !
for the straight browsing S5 lasted for 8;06 hours
while G3 lasted for 9:21hours.
in video testing
we watched the same two movies(spiderman & hunger game 2)for both devices s5 & g3
s5 wentdown @ 21% while G3 @ 32%.
im using three korean phones Pantech vega iron, Samsung s5, LG G3
all great devices. but G3 is ahead of the two!
94. pyradark (Posts: 783; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)
Video playback: 12hrs.
Web Browsing: 11hrs.
Smartphone of the year your face
7. Anshulonweb (Posts: 362; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)
from this review and gsmarena review I think it is clear that Qhd screen is not that great....the contrast and brightness is just not flagship standard...... despite pixel density the screen is just average in other aspects ....
17. LGisgood (Posts: 471; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)
the most important are color accuracy, viewing angles, sharpness, overall quality of the display.
83. Shatter (Posts: 2031; Member since: 29 May 2013)
1440p is pointless on a phone, it is a waste of battery life, it will lower gaming performance and the 1440p panels are not up to the standards of an FHD flagship in terms of brightness/color accuracy/contrast ratio/etc.
Multiple sources have already tested it, at normal phone viewing distance the 1440p panel has no advantage over a 1080p display.
135. gaara6775 (Posts: 511; Member since: 20 May 2014)
You're right. No need for 1400p panel there is not much content available for that high resolution. If this was 1080p panel it would have lasted almost 11+12hrs of video play back. Need more screen time than high resolution.
91. Furbal (Posts: 401; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
Gorgeous phone, but can't ignore that dim screen. Being in the US SW the S5 and 1520 are actually readable in sunlight.
Brightness is more important than all of those to me...if you cant see it you cant read it.
Rest of the G3 makes me jelly being a s5 owner. May have to sell my nexus 5 to fund part of the g3 when it gets here...
141. partylikeaninjastar (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Jun 2014)
While I like basically everything I've read about this phone, the QHD screen is what I dislike the most. Sure, it's cutting edge, but I'd rather have the standard 1080p screen and the better battery life that comes with it. Also, it sounds like this screen has a bunch of other cons that we all really wish we could do without (ie a dim screen).
|Display||5.5 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (538 ppi) IPS LCD|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 8974-AC, Quad core, 2500 MHz, Krait 400 processor
3072 MB RAM
|Size||5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches|
(146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm)
5.26 oz (149 g)
|Battery||3000 mAh, 19 hours talk time|