LG G3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3: first look

Turn up the music, pop the champagne, and let that confetti fly! The highly anticipated LG G3 smartphone is now official, and we just had the pleasure of taking it for a spin around the block. What's more, we've put together a "first look" comparison between LG's new flagship and one of the smartphones that it is going to compete against once it is released, namely the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Read on to learn how the G3 stacks up against its rival.


This time around, LG has put more effort into designing a visually appealing flagship device. Although plastic at heart, the LG G3 sports a metallic finish applied to its surface, which contributes to a premium look. Furthermore, the matte coating makes it really hard for fingerprints to stick to the handset's back. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 falls into the same league of design with its plastic build, and the faux leather finish on its back has a nice, sophisticated feel to it. We have to say, though, that the LG G3 is relatively easier to handle as it is shorter and narrower. Both smartphones have been designed with removable back covers – flipping these off provides the user with access to the handsets' batteries and slots.

With the G3, LG is continuing its buttons-on-the back trend. The phone's 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 rest 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. 

The S Pen is one of the perks you get along with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. In a nutshell, the accessory is an advanced, pressure-sensitive stylus used mostly for note-taking and sketching, although Samsung has come up with further uses for it. The LG G3 does not come with a stylus out of the box, but few would consider its lack a serious drawback.


It is amazing when you think about it: the LG G3 boasts a 5.5-inch LCD display with a jaw-dropping resolution of 1440 by 2560 pixels. Punching these numbers into a calculator gives us a record-shattering figure of 538 pixels per inch. This explains why graphics and text look so sharp when displayed on the G3. But stacked up next to it, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 does not lag too far behind with its 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen. Its resolution of 1080 by 1920 pixels is sufficient for a consumer's needs with its pixel density of 386 ppi. When the two screens are placed next to each other, differences in detail reproduction are very hard to spot.

As is usually the case with Super AMOLED panels, the display on the Note 3 outputs saturated colors with a colder tone. They look impressive to the naked eye, there's no doubt about it, but their accuracy leaves some room for improvement. The best LCD panels tend to be better than their AMOLED counterparts in that respect, How well the G3 fares will become known once we get to benchmark its otherwise amazing screen, but if our eyes are to be trusted, LG's flagship is a leader in this department.


The LG G3 will be released running the latest version of Android that is available – Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The very same OS version has already started rolling out for the Note 3, which puts Samsung's phablet on par with its rival when it comes to software updates. 

On the LG G3 we find a new flavor of the company's custom interface. The UI now has a flatter look, as is now the trend among smartphone interfaces. Feature-wise, LG has thrown in a smarter keyboard that is programmed to adapt to the user's typing style and habits, thus delivering a more pleasant messaging experience. We're looking forward to testing this thoroughly once we get the chance. On a related note, the keyboard on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a single-handed mode, which condenses its keys to the side for easier reach.

Multitasking on the LG G3 has been taken to the next level with the ability to run two recent apps simultaneously. For example, you can have a YouTube video playing with your favorite notes application opened next to it. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3, however, is no less capable of a multitasker. Its Multi Window feature lets you open two compatible apps side by side for true multitasking. Additionally, Samsung's phablet supports a number of hovering apps that run in a window floating above the UI. 

The so-called Smart Notice feature on the LG G3 is meant to serve as a personal assistant, providing suggestions and recommendations based on a number of factors, including the user's behavior, phone usage patterns, and current location. Yup, it reminds us of Google Now, but there are a few neat twists. For example, Smart Notice will prompt you whether you want to remove large, unused files stored on the device's memory. It will also remind you of missed calls at a later time.

One trick that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has up its sleeve is called My Magazine. Basically, it is a news feed powered by Flipboard, presented in a user-friendly, magazine-like layout. News and articles are always available at a swipe's distance – a swipe up from the bottom of the screen brings forth the My Magazine feature.   

The LG G3's set of security features has been enhanced with the addition of Knock Code – a user-defined unlocking pattern built as an alternative to lock screen PINs and passwords. Furthermore, a feature called Content Lock limits access to specified files when the handset is connected to a computer. And last but not least, the Kill Switch option on the G3 allows content to be wiped remotely in case the device is lost or stolen.

Processor and memory

LG is not making any compromises here as the G3 packs a flagship-worthy SoC – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, model MSM8294-AC. This mighty piece of silicon sports a quad-core Krait 400 CPU, which can run at up to 2.5GHz, while an Adreno 330 handles graphical computations. A respectable 2GB of RAM are tucked inside for a seamless multitasking experience. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a slightly less capable, but still pretty powerful Snapdragon 800 SoC. Its quad-core Krait 400 CPU has a slightly lower top frequency of 2.3GHz, which puts the Samsung's phablet a step behind the LG G3 when it comes to raw processing power. With a whopping 3GB of RAM, however, the Note 3 could prove the better multitasker. All in all, we're not expecting to encounter much of a performance gap between the two devices. At a glance, both are equally fast and should handle any heavy game or app you feed them.

A base LG G3 model will offer 16GB of on-board storage, which isn't much. Thankfully, the microSD card slot behind the back cover can accommodate cards of up to 128 gigs. On the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 we find 32GB of built-in storage along with a microSD card for storage augmentation.


Knowing how capable of a shooter the G2 smartphone was, our hopes for its successor are pretty high. On the back of the LG G3 we find a 13MP camera with OIS+ optical image stabilization for steady videos and blur-free images. In addition, LG has added a laser beam for rapid and accurate auto-focusing and a two-tone LED flash for improved color accuracy. A 13MP camera sensor graces the Note 3's back as well, but its image stabilization relies on software only, and the flash contains just a single LED. Still, the Galaxy Note 3 was among last year's top cameras, which is why it could prove capable of giving the G3 some heated competition in this category. Both smartphones offer a rich array of video recording features. The LG G3 and Galaxy Note 3 shoot 1080p videos in 30 or 60 frames per second, as well as 4K videos at 30 fps. 


We don't want to be in the shoes of someone torn between the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, mostly because both are well worthy of attention with their drool-inducing hardware specs and lengthy lists of software features. Yet ultimately, LG's flagship appears to be the better-equipped smartphone overall, which is expected given the fact that it is a brand new model. It has a faster processor, a more pixel-dense screen, and an optically stabilized 13MP camera, among a long list of notable highlights. Sure, the Galaxy Note 3 still has a lot going for it even though it has been out for over 8 months, but in an all-in race against the G3, Samsung's phablet is likely to be outpaced.

Related phones

  • Display 5.5" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(21h 3G talk time)
Galaxy Note 3
  • Display 5.7" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 3200 mAh(21h 3G talk time)



1. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

G3 display is so gorgeous....

2. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

You don't need to splurge an extra $100 plus for the 32 Gig variant (or on ANY phone that is) , all you need is a cheap microsd, a root and an app called Foldermount , does exactly the same thing. 2 gigs is still a plenty of ram, imho.

3. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

3200mah on a 1080p display will easily outlast 3000mah on a QHD display by a huge margin. Camera wise not a huge bump on LG's part. G2's camera was pretty subpar too. Price wise Note 3 will be cheaper. Software wise touchwiz goodies like S-pen and Multi-window seems a better choice, IMO

13. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"3200mah on a 1080p display will easily outlast 3000mah on a QHD display by a huge margin." Any numbers?

18. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Yeah...... Its called common sense.

21. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Common sense =/= Fact Common sense is a subjective thing and may be far away from reality especially when it comes from biased person or blind fanboy.

4. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1175; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Note 3 still makes more sense. 3GB RAM in all variants S800 with a FHD display means less work for CPU/GPU Minimum variant is 32GB The Premium Suite of features with SPen etc... Or just wait for Note 4. :)

9. Jishnusur

Posts: 173; Member since: Oct 07, 2013

You people seem to be the tech geeks in the whole world. And LG engineers being dumb and should learn from you LOL!

14. hipnotika

Posts: 353; Member since: Mar 06, 2013

stilllllllllll are u talking about note 3 ? pehhh

5. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I will still want a note 3. I use s-pen a lot. Physical buttons is also preferred. 32Gb base model is a must for 2014. Sick of 16g model. Too little storage after a hefty system and bloatware tax on the storage.

8. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Sayin it again, if you're rooted , 16 Gigs is no big deal. There are simple workarounds that only take a couple oc minutes or so to make your phone capable of storing apps on both your Micro SD and internal storage. Been enjoying the 64 GB + 16 Gb internal combo on 3 of my devices since I discovered Foldermount

19. jellmoo

Posts: 2588; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

I get that it's an option and that's cool, but any solution that voids your warranty is one that should be thought of *very* carefully.

27. Blazers

Posts: 742; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Just try and root a Note 3 on 4.4.2. It's impossible at this time.

20. drazwy

Posts: 355; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

I used to use the pen a lot when I first got it. It was awesome. I haven't touched it in the last 3 months though.

6. brasstax

Posts: 542; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I am nit too sure I agree that the G3 will outgun the Note 3. IMHO both are great devices but the extra GB if RAM on the Note is more likely to aid in better multitaskung when compared to the 200 Mhz advantage in cpu speed for the G3. We have now reached a stage where flagships have more than the required CPU grunt. Most kags are due to insufficient RAM, bloatware or poorly optimized skin (i can see you hiding under the table Touchwiz). On a side note I wonder why anyone will opt for either of these 2 devices at this time of the year when we are just a couple of months away from Snapdragon 805 sporting phones being released.

17. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Do you realize that there is two variants of LG G3, one with 16 GB of internal storage and 2 GB of RAM and another with 32 GB of internal storage and 3 GB of RAM.

7. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2264; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

fast laser focus, OIS blur free images 2.5 clocked on a 801 S.dragon processor top it off 1 watts of power amp speaker..is all i need...

10. skatrdie0

Posts: 37; Member since: May 09, 2014

The g3 does come with 3gb of ram. The 16gb model comes with 2gb of ram. The 32 model comes with 3gb of ram.

11. skatrdie0

Posts: 37; Member since: May 09, 2014

Just wish they could have at leave made the battery a little larger but they claim they have optimized battery parts from metal to graphite to give better battery life. We shall see

12. nnjerzy

Posts: 126; Member since: Jun 19, 2013

The LG G3 is also 3gb ram

15. hipnotika

Posts: 353; Member since: Mar 06, 2013

lg want to sell 32 gb also more than 16 gb. so they give 3gb ram to 32 gb. selling point.

29. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Where's the 64Gb 4Gb Ram version…?

33. neeraj3342

Posts: 5; Member since: May 28, 2014

coming soon :p

16. drazwy

Posts: 355; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

The Note 3 does not have a top notch camera. Your own last huge camera roundup proved that. It finished down the list. As the owner of a Note 3, it's one of the worst cameras I've used. It's Software image stabilization is garbage. Awful in low light. If the G3 can't beat it, it's not worth me moving to the G3. I upgrade every 4-6 months so I usually like to jump manufactures to get different experiences. On that schedual the feature updates are every minimal usually so I have to nitpick abut more than the average user. Oneplus and G3 is on my short list. Likely will come down to which one I can get first because i've really got the upgrade itch. It's been over 6 months since something has come along to compete with the Note 3.

22. sergiobr

Posts: 718; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

Note 3 anytime ! Heading to Note 4

23. farhad_per

Posts: 128; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

Despite S3 is simply the beast but note 3 for me...! Bigger screen must have a better usability and S pen is a game changer for me...of course still love amoled much more than Lcds..!

24. redmd

Posts: 1936; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

AMOLED and S pen for me.

26. hellonerds

Posts: 334; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

I have a tmobil note 3 on att and my contact ends on june.. finally after iphone 1 on att im leaving expensive att rip off. . Might get the G3 on tmobile and go back to note 4..I dont use the s pen much but its so handy..its a must for me lol..

28. AustinPaul

Posts: 152; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

Can't imagine that I won't be wowed by the Note 4. That's what I'm waiting for.

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