LG G3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Smartphones come and go. New and improved models get announced all the time, as old ones slowly fade away into obsolescence. That's how things have always been, and that's how they'll stay for the foreseeable future. But while virtually all smartphones are part of this life cycle, only a handful of them get people truly excited. The LG G3 is a phone of the latter kind.
To put it simply, LG's new flagship is a technological marvel. It is the first global smartphone to brag with a QHD display, its top notch internals can make a geek drool, and it even looks good with its metallic design. No wonder that the handset has been selling pretty well in its homeland of South Korea.
A phone that we were just as excited about some 9 months ago (boy, how time flies) was the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – one of the best phones that money can buy even to this date. But it can't outpace a beast like the LG G3, can it? Well, let's stack the two up and get an answer to that question.
UPDATE (Jun 25, 2014): This comparison 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 updated the story with our new findings, affecting the display, camera and battery performance.
The LG G3 stands out visually and is easier to grasp than the Galaxy Note 3, but the buttons on the back might not appeal to anyone. Samsung's phablet is more conservative with its design and lacks the G3's ergonomic properties.
Unlike LG's previous flagship, the LG G3 is a phone that draws attention without even trying. The front of the phone is occupied by a gorgeous screen with ultra-thin bezels, while the back has a finish with a metallic look – both factors contributing to a classy, premium appearance. What's more, the matte back surface is not slippery and is virtually immune to fingerprints. In the hand, however, the G3 feels unmistakeably plasticky, lacking the cold feel that only genuine metal would provide. Still, we're quite pleased with the effort on LG's behalf to deliver a visually attractive handset.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was the first among the company's handsets to employ the faux leather design, which was eventually adopted by other Samsung products. This finish also has a sophisticated feel and it is more conservative when compared with the G3's metallic look. As a result, the Note 3 is less flashy of a handset than its rival, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. As the case is with the G3, the Note 3's back resists fingerprints really well and provides plenty of grip.
Given its size, it comes as no surprise that the LG G3 isn't easy to operate with a single thumb. But it isn't frustrating to wield either and we find it more comfortable to handle than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The narrower profile and curved back on LG's flagship have a lot to do with that. Thanks to these two factors, the LG G3 sits more comfortably in the palm. In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a flat, rectangular shape lacking the G3's ergonomic properties.
With the G3, LG is continuing its buttons-on-the back trend. The volume and power keys are placed below the camera, right where the user's index finger is supposedly going to rest. We've said it many times that we have mixed feelings towards this solution. Some users may be okay with the unorthodox button placement, others may not like it as much, and then there will be people who won't even bother giving it a try. Samsung is playing it safe with the Galaxy Note 3 – its power key rests on the right side, where it is easy to reach, while the volume buttons are on the left side of the device. Below the display of the Note 3 reside a physical home key, together with capacitive buttons for the "Back" and "Menu" functions. The LG G3, on the other hand, relies on on-screen buttons for Android navigation. These hide automatically with some apps, thus letting it use all the real estate it can get, and a swipe is enough to bring them back.
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Going beyond Full HD territory, the LG G3 delivers amazingly sharp visuals, but the Galaxy Note 3 does not lag far behind.
Yup, it finally happened. Smartphones have officially shattered the Full HD display barrier as the LG G3 is the first global smartphone to come with a 1440 by 2560 pixel display (aka QHD). Spread across 5.5 inches of screen real estate, these produce an outstanding pixel density of 538 ppi. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a 5.7-inch display, the resolution of which is the common for an Android high-end 1080 by 1920 pixels, resulting in the less impressive 386 ppi. Clearly, Samsung's phablet has the advantage of boasting a larger screen, but at this caliber, 0.2 inches don't make that big of a difference.
Now, you're probably eager to hear whether or not the higher resolution on the G3's display gives it the upper hand against the Galaxy Note 3. Simply put, bragging rights are the biggest benefit of having all these extra pixels. Sure, graphics do look a bit sharper and more detailed on the G3, but only if we take a look from up close. When the two handsets are held at a normal distance from the user's eyes, the difference in screen resolution becomes close to indiscernible.
Of course, pixel count isn't everything. The LG G3 boasts an IPS-LCD display while the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 uses a Super AMOLED panel, and the two differ in the way they reproduce colors. Saturation is boosted on the LG G3, but it is all within tolerable limits. In fact, primary colors are reproduced quite well – lively, yet still accurate enough. The screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 may look impressive with its pumped up color saturation, but color accuracy is thrown out of the window. That is especially true for shades of green, which are way off their target values – take a look at our color benchmarks and you'll get the idea. Reds and blues are also somewhat inaccurate. Color representation can be fine-tuned from the display settings menu – the so-called Professional Photo mode brings color levels closer to where they should be, although we'd still rank the G3 ahead of the Note 3 when it comes to color accuracy.
Our display measurements show that the screen on the LG G3 has a color temperature of 7100 kelvins, which is not excellent, but still very close to the ideal target of 6500 kelvins. Whites do look natural as a result, without exhibiting a noticeable blueish tone. We can't say the same about the Galaxy Note 3, however. Whites shown on its screen have a blueish hue due to the higher color temperature of 7972 kelvins, and the flaw is easy to notice with a naked eye.
Outdoor visibility isn't ideal with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as it has a rather average brightness output of up to 360 nits. That's not terrible by any means, and in most cases you'll be fine with their outdoor usability, but most (if not all) other high-end phones perform much better in this respect. The LG G3 can reach a brightness level of 450 nits, which makes its screen easier to view outdoors.
We feel obliged to point out that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a glove-friendly touchscreen – useful if you live in a place where it gets cold in the wintertime – , while the LG G3 responds to input only from a bare finger. Also, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with the S Pen, which is an advanced, pressure-sensitive stylus. Resting in its dedicated slot, it is always at your disposal and can be used for taking down notes or for sketching when inspiration strikes. All in all, it is a welcome feature, although essentially just a perk that only some would use it beyond the point of checking out what it does. Because of this, the fact that no stylus comes with the LG G3 is not a deal breaker.
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|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 3||360
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 Note 3||56.1%
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. vincelongman (Posts: 926; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm
So the difference between a phablet and phone is only 5mm in height and width now days
This is why I think Android OEM need to make their flagships in multi sizes like laptops
I still prefer the Moto X's size 135x65mm
8. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3730; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Wow my 8 month old Galaxy Note 3 is STILL holding it's own VS the NEW king of the Android world the LG G3. To me that is super impressive.
My Note 3 proves that it was indeed 2013's BEST device & it makes you think how insanely BOSS the Note 4 will be when it's released in the 4th quarter of 2014.
Samsung's mighty Note series is the pinnacle in the mobile world, & this comparison CLEARLY proves it!
The Note 3 shows how future proof it REALLY is. The Note 3 will be hanging tough even in 2016...
In one word... STELLAR!
9. Diezparda (Posts: 199; Member since: 23 Oct 2013)
Note 4 need to follow lg. 1st is cartoonish icon of touchwiz i don't like it, 2nd they need to simply their apps, 3rd is OIS camera and i'm pretty sure they will nominated as a king at the end of 2014 (at least G3 doesn't have S Pen feature)
10. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7244; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Gave my Note 3 to my brother and he finally realized why I dish out money on high end phones. Getting my M8 soon, then G3, iPhone 6 if the display is bigger and Note 4 for the rest of the year. :')
17. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3730; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I am getting the Z2 for Verizon when it drops, for the wife. Me, the Note 3 is just too great to get a phone that may be barely better than it.
To me the M8, G3, & the iPhone 6 are NOT worth the investment for a marginal at best difference. The Note 3 is just too EPIC.
The only worthy phone to the Note 4 will be the LG G Pro 3 when that comes out, even though it will be S-Pen less...
26. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 960; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)
Damn right it is!! There aren't alot of phones that are as relevant as the Note 3........especially MONTHS after its release. At this rate, the only phone that can beat the Note 3 would be the Note 4 lol
Samsung has changed the way we view smartphones since the introduction of the Note back in 2011. My only concern is that I hope that the entire mobile industry doesn't plateau when it comes to design and specs
2. zuckerboy (Posts: 898; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)
I have doubts about battery life rankings bcuz at gsmarena's battery life test g3 gets low battery life than s5 and m8
3. zuckerboy (Posts: 898; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)
and z2 gets the higher than other flagships
4. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1103; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
When comparing battery life from two different test methods you're not going to see the same results. There is no standard between testers. One may test at 50% brightness while another may measure the actual brightness level. One site may run a looping game for 3 hours another may use a video. Test method A may favor one device over the other but test method B may reverse the outcome .
The only constant would be the same test performed by the same website.
5. chunky1x (Posts: 158; Member since: 28 Mar 2010)
This is tough. I like both phones. Its like choosing between Kate Upton and Andriana Lima.
23. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3730; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
No man you always take the t*ts & a$$ over small t*ts and a$$. Kate Upton WINS hands down!!!
6. medtxa (Posts: 58; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)
note 3 are suprissingly have good screen ratio maybe on par with lg and thinner just sligty taller but not wider impressive considering bigger screen huh. personnaly I like samsung leather faux better than lg metal faux.
7. Mowlamania (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Jun 2014)
Please do one of these comparison articles for the LG g3 and the Sony z2
19. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3730; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I am sorry but read post 18. The rules have changed & what you say is not accurate.
16. maherk (Posts: 780; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
I ll take the Z2. Better screen, and better battery, not to forget the ip58 certification.
18. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3730; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
The LG G3 is not water proof so no the G3 can't be greater than the Z2. To be a TRUE flagship, you need to have an IP certification...
The screen of the LG G3 is impressive because of the pixel count, but it's too dim. The Z2 has a remarkable 1080p screen... The G3's camera is on par with the Z2 based on the S5 & Z2 comparison, BUT the Sony can literally go places the G3 would die in.
Thus making the Z2 an overall better device hands down. AGAIN you can't be a true flagship & NOT have an IP certification. The rules have changed & this HAS to be taken into consideration when making that type of comparison.
14. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 2545; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
Now its clear, N3>S5>Z2>G2>M8>G3. And yes its IMO with my reasons.
21. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3730; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I like Z2>S5>G3>N3>M8>G2, my reasons is that a true flagship now a days has to be IP certified.
The Z2 looks & has a better IP certification than the S5. The G3 is the newest & best of the non IP certified devices. The N3 is freaking STILL epic & has a WAY better camera than the M8. The G2 is the oldest of the bunch & gets last because it doesn't look & doesn't have the stereo speakers of the newer M8.
That sums it up pretty well.
Guys the rules have changed in the mobile game. To be a FLAGSHIP you NEED to have IP certification, no if and's or but's. It is what it is, plain & simple.
30. jellmoo (Posts: 610; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
I disagree completely. IP cert should be on niche devices, not a flagship standard feature. It adds bulk and size to devices, as well as irritating port covers. It's great to have the option of things like the Samsung Active line, but that's the way it should be, an option so that those that want it, have it.
And my take would be:
(If the G3 had a 1080p screen it would probably jump to second place. If it had a 1080p amoled screen, it would probably jump to first)
31. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3730; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I am sorry a true flagship has to have IP certification. The game has changed whether you like to believe it of not!
32. jellmoo (Posts: 610; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
And again, I disagree. The game hasn't changed, it's still the same game. IP cert is a fringe feature that two manufacturers have embraced. It isn't a needed feature by any stretch of the imagination, and considering the tradeoff for it, it is better left to fringe devices where people who need it can have it.
15. McLTE (Posts: 636; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
but at this caliber, 0.2 inches don't make that big of a difference. Not true at all. Since the G3 has the menu buttons ON SCREEN, that .2 inches becomes much more - they certainly take up valuable screen space.
I much prefer Samsungs buttons under the screen - I don't want to give up any of the gorgeous displays for buttons!
22. Gatorsrule52 (Posts: 34; Member since: 18 Mar 2013)
Uhh no how bout g3>everything else especially the note 3. I know the note 3 is great and all but it's older now and the g3 is better in most every respect. Ip certification doesn't mean anything to me. Imo it's a gimmick because I'd never endanger my phone with water anyway. One thing I don't understand about this review is how the note 3 camera is "just as good". How can that be when the s5 camera is about the same as the g3 one, even inferior in some ways?
24. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3730; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
IP certification has to mean something if you want a flagship. Because the IP certified devices can go places where the non IP certified devices would die in. Plus the additional protection is always welcome even if you are meticulous with your devices.
20. rayman173 (Posts: 58; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
Hmmm..... I wonder what the Note 4 will bring to the table.
25. dsmboost (Posts: 43; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)
The Galaxy Note line only brings significant innovation to odd numbered releases. The Galaxy S line brings innovation with even numbered releases. Just like how the S5 is considered an incremental upgrade to the S4, don't expect much from the Note 4.
34. jeimkle (Posts: 5; Member since: 11 Feb 2014)
Doesn't the LG G3 look alot like the Google Nexus 5 with some buttons moved around and a larger screen etc. or is it just me?
35. Gussy2000 (Posts: 3; Member since: 07 Apr 2012)
This article was very helpful. I go on Friday to get a new phone. Two people in my office have Note 3's and really like them and they are not phone geeks/power users. I think I'd be happy with either phone but will probably go with the LG. I've NEVER been a first/early adopter of any tech and, I think for once, I'm going to break that cycle. I have an LG OG now and have very little complaints. I would just like a better camera and larger screen which both of the phones above deliver on. Thanks PA.
37. denmcdon (Posts: 87; Member since: 07 Jun 2009)
Hey Nick T if you set the Note 3 screen brightness to auto outside screen brightness on the Note 3 goes to 600 nits or better.There was a whole article on this.