LG G3 rumor round-up: specs, price, design and release date gossip
LG nailed it last summer, with the innovative G2 flagship, that had its physical buttons placed on the back for the first time. Now, with the upcoming G3 successor, the company will seemingly have the last word for the first half of 2014. The G3 is slated to appear in May or June - after Samsung, Sony, and HTC's top-shelf offerings. It is supposed to bear at least three codenames internally - LG D-850 (allegedly heading to AT&T), D-851, and Verizon's VS985.
Given that the LG G3 will be released after the competition has had its say, the expectations towards it will naturally be somewhat higher. Judging from the barrage of recent leaks, LG is not going to disappoint us, so let's recap what has been speculated so far about the G3's shot at smartphone glory.
G2 has one of the best screen-to-phone-size ratios in the industry, as LG kept its size on par with the 5" flagships, despite that it has a 5.2" display. This year, LG is rumored to increase the panel even further, towards 5.5 inches, so it's logical to assume that it will again try and keep the bezel as minimal as possible.
In fact, recent pictures that claim to be of the G3 itself, show a similar approach, but the shape of the power/lock key, and the volume rocker, are quite different than what we have now. They jibe with the render mockup we saw not long ago, that speculated a 5.5" Quad HD display will be stuffed in a very compact for the screen size polycarbonate body, imitating brushed metal coating.
The volume keys are again situated on the back of the handset, which is not surprising, given that LG's new G Pro 2 and G2 mini handsets keep that unique design proposition, which commenced with the G2. There are also rumors that LG is mulling the perennial fingerprint sensor, which might be placed on the back, too.
In addition, LG has allegedly followed in the footsteps of its fellow countrymen from Samsung, and made the G3 chassis water-tight in its turn, and will offer a gold color variation of the handset, too, if a leaked box of the G3 is any indication.
One possible solution is to go with a minimal top bezel, like in the leaked picture of the LG isai LGL24 handset - a brand that the Koreans use to market exclusive handsets for a Japanese carrier. Last year's LG isai LGL22 was based on the G2, so this pretty boy might hint at the final G3 design, too. Sharp has a 4.5" phone with the so-called EDGEST design, which is as big as a 4" iPhone 5s, so if LG G3 follows this trend, it might fit into the footprint of its predecessor, which would be a pretty ordeal.
In addition, on the back of the LG isai LGL24 handset, we see a small sensor of sorts, next to the volume keys, just like on the G3 pics on the right. This elliptic opening seems to be an assist auto-focus light that will help you achieve sharp, in-focus images even in nearly complete darkness. We've seen this before on Nokia's Symbian smartphones, but not in the latest couple of years.
tipped that the G3 will sport a 5.5" 1440x2560 pixels LCD panel, and this breathtaking Quad HD resolution was also listed on LG's own website, as well as in a leaked benchmark screenshot. This will make LG the first brand name smartphone vendor to break the 500ppi barrier, as Samsung, Sony, and HTC are keeping it 1080p for now. The Chinese Vivo Xplay 3S, and Oppo Find 7, have also been announced with 1440p displays, but they are coming from much smaller vendors. If the Quad HD rumor holds water, the company is perhaps going to utilize its record-shattering 5.5" panel with 538ppi pixel density, that LG Display announced last August.
At the time, LG called it the "slimmest and narrowest" mobile display, as it sports 1.21mm thickness - a 12% reduction from the G2 panel - and just a 1.2mm thin bezel. Of course, since then, the Galaxy Round and the LG G Flex happened, and those sport much slimmer display packages, but the narrow Quad HD LCD screen might still result in an excellent screen-to-phone-size ratio for LG.
Despite that the 5.5" display sports four times the number of pixels that a 720p HD screen has, the record 538ppi pixel density hasn't affected its brightness, claims LG. The company cites 430 nits of peak brightness, which is quite the achievement when you have nearly 3.7 million pixels crammed on such a small area. LG used Low Temperature Poly-Silicon (LTPS) substrate for the display, resulting in improved backlight transmittance, and larger aperture opening size. LTPS is reportedly as frugal as Sharp's IGZO technology, so the Quad HD panel shouldn't draw much more power than a 1080p display to boot. Check out the GIF image on the right, which visually represents how much better the pixel density is on a 5.5" Quad HD display vs a 5.5" 1080p screen, as found on the Oppo Find 7/7a.
Processor and memory
Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8974-AB processor, the same one that is in the Xperia Z2, and come equipped with 3 GB of RAM. This will put it on even footing with Sony's finest, and futureproof it at least until a Snapdragon 805-equipped device pops up. The 801 processor, however, has the same image processing prowess as the 805, so the gains with an 805 chipset will mainly be in 3D gaming, but the 801 is plenty powerful for that as it is. The G3 is expected to come with 32 GB of storage out of the box, but the exact internal memory capacity, and the presence or absence of a microSD slot for storage expansion, will likely depend on the region it is sold at.
LG G Pro 2, will find its way into the G3 flagship as well. The 13 MP shooter on the back of the G Pro 2 combines optical with software image stabilization for rather stellar results indeed, as we demonstrated recently. We don't expect a sensor with higher than 13 MP resolution, as that's plenty already, and LG can differentiate itself enough with the OIS tech, which the 16 MP Galaxy S5, and the 20 MP Xperia Z2, don't offer. Still, a speculation that the G3 camera might shake it up with 16 MP of resolution, was also making the rounds at some point. There's a user agent profile straight from Sprint's website, which in fact lists the G3 with a 16 MP shooter, so that might be the final resolution, or there could be different versions for various markets. There was a photo leaked not long ago, which you can see on the right, claiming to be from the LG G3's camera, and if it turns out legit, the snapper is shaping up to be quite good already.
A new, flatter LG interface overlay is primed for the G3, painted on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. Flat iconography is all the rage now, with Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, and even Google going in that direction, so we won't be surprised to see a redraw of the venerable Optimus UI.
We've been tipped that the interface of G3 will also feature "advanced personalization." LG apparently wants to go beyond Google Now's personal assistant options, like location-based reminders, calendar organization, traffic alerts, and intelligent push of news and location-based recommendations. The feature is apparently going to be called Concierge-Board, as the leaked G3 UAProf on Sprint suggests. The addition of PayPal and LG Account apps there also seems to sync with the fingerprint sensor rumor, as it might be used for payment authentication.
The G3 software will allegedly learn your usage patterns and adapt to your habits, in order to serve you "helpful ideas" on better productivity. It is said that the user interface itself would adapt and change based on your usage and needs, which sounds a bit like Aviate, but as of now there is no clear notion how this might have been implemented in a useful yet unobtrusive manner.
Price and release date
The LG G3 will be announced on May 27th at an event held simultaneously in San Francisco, New York, and London. Last year LG lifted the veil from the G2 on August 7, but the earlier release of Samsung, Sony and HTC's 2014 flagships, seems to have forced LG's 2014 flagship launch date earlier than last year. As for the pricing scheme, with these stellar specs that are rotating in the rumor mill, we don't expect anything less than the usual $200 on contract, or $600+ without carrier subsidies. Are you excited about the LG G3 from what we've heard so far? Do you think it will be better than the Xperia Z2, Galaxy S5, or HTC One (M8)? Chime in with your take in the comments below.