Interface

A neat, flat, simple, and feature-rich user experience – a notable newcomer in the Android world

Naturally, the LG G3, being the super-phone that it is, cannot afford to run on anything less than Android 4.4.2 KitKat. What's more interesting here, though, is LG's new user interface, which has been reworked in accordance with the modern software design trends that promote lightness and simplicity. While LG's strengths have never been in the field of software design, we have to say that the company has done a surprisingly good job with its new UI. LG has shied away from using a lot of primary colors, and instead, it has opted for more secondaries, such as some lighter shades of orange, yellow, magenta and cyan. This has lead to a more of a mature look for the interface, despite the utmost simplicity and cleanness. It's also a good thing that LG has preserved the remarkable amounts of functionality that typically come with its software, but has designed the UI so that nothing really stands in the way of normal, comfortable usage.

In terms of structure and organization, LG's new UI stays true to the Android way – there is a lockscreen, homescreen, app launcher... everything that you'd expect, just made more advanced and customizable. The lockscreen, for example, presents you with customizable app shortcuts, as well as widgets, if you'd like. The useful KnockOn functionality is here, allowing you to wake the phone up by just doing a double-tap on the screen. And, if you'd like to make use of the same type of gesture to unlock your phone, but with a higher degree of security, you can take advantage of LG's Knock Code. The subject of many recent marketing efforts by LG, Knock Code lets you create a knock pattern, or sequence, with which to unlock the device. The benefit of this is that it allows you to bypass the lockscreen completely, but the disadvantage is that it's not super-secure.

As we said, LG's interface is extremely customizable. For example, the G3 makes use of on-screen navigation buttons, but you can actually add a fourth button there, which lets execute one of the following features: notification bar, QMemo+, QSlide, or Dual window, with most of these being self-explanatory enough.

A notable feature here is Dual window, which allows you to run two apps in splitscreen mode. The way it works is this: you activate Dual window, choose two apps that you want to run simultaneously, and after a few moments, they pop up on screen. It's not really casual, and has a mostly niche appeal, but it's good to have either way.

There are also some new additions to LG's software. Smart Notice is one of them – it's a Google Now kind of feature that attempts to act like it's your personal assistant of sorts. For example, it will remind you about various things, like birthdays of your contacts, or that you've recently rejected a call and might want to get in touch with that person, in case you're not that busy now. Other simple examples may include reminders to take an umbrella, when the weather forecast is looking wet and gloomy. Actually, Smart Notice is also voice-recognition enabled, so you can execute various tasks using voice commands.

Some other not-that-groundbreaking new features have also been baked right into the UI of the LG G3. Such are Content Lock and Kill Switch. The former lets you secure certain directories on the phone, so that they can't be accessed by other users, while the latter enables you to remotely lock and wipe your device, in the unfortunate event of your phone being stolen. As you can see, the G3 is a truly feature-packed phone, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything missing. For instance, there isn't a one-handed mode for easier operation, as on some competing devices, like the GS5.

Phonebook


The phonebook of the LG G3 is rather extensive. It does utilize the new, lighter and flatter UI design, but that doesn't mean that's not pretty heavy on features. You get a total of five tabs, dedicated for the dialer, call log, contacts list, favorites, and groups. Some manufacturers tend to combine some of these under a single tab, and this often means that compromises have to be made. LG has obviously gone for the opposite solution – to put everything in its own separate tab. That makes for an organized interface, but of course, it also means that there's going to be a lot of tab switching. One thing that we enjoy in the contacts list is that all contacts have small 'dial' and 'message' keys next to their names, allowing you to quickly dial or message them, right from the list.

Messaging


The LG G3's messaging app is as customizable as ever. You can even change the background and bubble colors in your threads, in order to make the suit your liking. Other than that, it's just a messaging app – nothing too fancy about it, besides the abundant customization capabilities.

One thing of note here is the new Smart Keyboard. LG has designed its QWERTY keyboard so that it adapts to your writing style, trying to make it easier for you along the way. It'll try to figure out what words you're more likely to type when trying to predict your input, and such kind of stuff. It's also very cusomizable – you can actually adjust the keyboard's height to your liking. We actually enjoy the keyboard's layout, as it maintains a good balance simplicity and versatality. Thankfully, there's also built-in Swype-like functionality, for those of us who are too lazy to actually press those buttons.

Organizer


LG G3 is equipped with a host of versatile organzer tools, like a calendar, notes, and health apps, as well as some additional features designed to enhance multitasking and productivity. One of those features is Dual window, which lets you run two apps at a time. That's cool, but another feature, called QSlide, tends to be a bit more gimmicky for us, as it also attempts to let you have a number of apps running at the same time, but displaying them one over another, appliying different levels of transparancy to them. Obviously, it isn't anything that's managed to creep its way to mainstream thus far.

Processor and Memory

The QHD resolution slows things down a bit, but the G3 still packs quite a punch

Snapdragon 801 is the name of the game for all globally-available high-end smartphones in the first half of 2014, and the LG G3 is not an exception. Similarly to the Galaxy S5, the G3 is equipped with the slightly more powerful 801 variation – 8974-AC. This chip makes use of a super-fast 2.5 GHz quad-core Krait 400 CPU. Of course, this is complemented by the tried and true Adreno 330 GPU, as well as the plentiful 2 or 3 gigs of RAM (depending on whether you got the 16 or 32 GB vartiant, respectively). As you can see, that's one mighty configuration that should be able to force its way through anything you throw at it. To an extent, it does, but unfortunately, there's a substantial amount of lag and choppiness as you browse through the interface. This can be attributed to two main possible causes: it's either because of the high QHD resolution, or bad software optimization. There are just slight hints of slow-down every now and then, while executing simple tasts, such as browsing through the menus, opening and closing apps, etc. If the screen was 1080 x 1920, performance would have probably been considerably better. Anyway, to be honest, the LG G3 doesn't seem to lag more than the Galaxy S5, for example, so its not really that bad.

The synthetic benchmark tests we did proved that the QHD screen does present the chipset with a rather heavy load, as the results achieved by the G3 are comparable to those of the G2 or the Xperia Z1 – phones that are one generation older. Not that it's slow – quite the contrary – the G3 is still a speed demon, but that's mostly because mobile software can't quite catch up with mobile hardware yet. So, at the end of the day, performance of the G3 is still very good, although the extraordinary number of pixels stuffed in its screen mean that its performance is limited to sub-S5/M8/Z2 levels.

No compromises have been made when it comes to storage space. Internal space comes in 16 GB and 32 GB varieties, and if this doesn't seem to be particuarly spacious for you, you still have the option to insert a microSD card of up to 128 GB. This way, you'll be able to keep anything you want right on your phone.

Quadrant Higher is better
LG G3 23551
Samsung Galaxy S5 25041
HTC One (M8) 19139
Sony Xperia Z2 18584
AnTuTu Higher is better
LG G3 30634
Samsung Galaxy S5 36603
HTC One (M8) 31075
Sony Xperia Z2 34088
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
LG G3 1322
Samsung Galaxy S5 1186
HTC One (M8) 1171
Sony Xperia Z2 1177
Vellamo HTML 5 Higher is better
LG G3 1626
Samsung Galaxy S5 1632
HTC One (M8) 1673
Sony Xperia Z2 1584
Sunspider Lower is better
LG G3 947.2
Samsung Galaxy S5 777.3
HTC One (M8) 693.1
Sony Xperia Z2 925.4
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
LG G3 7.5
Samsung Galaxy S5 11.7
HTC One (M8) 11
Sony Xperia Z2 12.4
Basemark OS II Higher is better
LG G3 951
Samsung Galaxy S5 1054
HTC One (M8) 1071
Sony Xperia Z2 1207

Internet and Connectivity


As you can imagine, the larger-than-life 5.5-inch display is simply perfect for internet browsing. With the G3, LG is supplying its own browser, but we'd rather stick with Android's stock browser, Chrome. After all, Chrome has reached a very mature level, plus it's getting tons of support from Google, so it's really hard to come up with an overall better browsing solution on Android.

Needless to say, we had zero issues while surfing the web on the G3. Everything loads as quickly as possible, while navigation actions such as scrolling and zooming are performed in a snappy and fluid fashion.

The Snapdragon 801 chipset inside the LG G3 comes with support for all kinds of GSM and 3G bands, allowing it to be usable almost everywhere around the world. Naturally, there's also LTE support for areas where such is present. It wouldn't be a true LG smartphone, though, if it doesn't pack almost all the connectivity features known to mankind. Those include Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac, NFC, DLNA, and SlimPort. The latter is TV-out technology typically used by Nexus smartphones, while its more popular alternative, MHL, is usually found in devices by Samsung, Sony, HTC, and other companies. If you prefer to wirelessly stream your content to a big-screen TV, though, you can always resort to DLNA, or for wireless mirroring purposes – Miracast.

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176 Comments

1. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 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: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 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: 1379; Member since: Jun 20, 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: 2036; Member since: May 29, 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: 149; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

No problem for me and most people. Never even notice it.

144. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 969; Member since: Feb 02, 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 unregistered

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 unregistered

Best high-end phone maker: LG. Best low-end phone maker: Motorola. It's a fact.

11. LGisgood

Posts: 833; Member since: Jun 23, 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 unregistered

Don't forget s5 is water resistant, and that's a huge feature you can't not ignore.

21. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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! +1

154. William13

Posts: 27; Member since: Mar 10, 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: 170; Member since: Feb 06, 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: May 29, 2014

s5 also have wolfson at least the exynos version.

45. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Yeah but the Sharp is not sold worldwide like the Samsung's, LG's & Sony's are.

75. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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.

161. Jillxz

Posts: 149; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

That's not a deal breaker for me .

56. LGisgood

Posts: 833; Member since: Jun 23, 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: 833; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

GENERAL INFORMATION! 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. THE FACT! 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: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

I can't answer that question. Maybe you should ask GSMA for that.

118. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 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: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 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: Apr 14, 2014

Pros: Thin bezels Good design OIS (Advanced OIS) Cons: No isocell No oled Small camera sensor Plastic body No waterpoof qhd (bad for battery and soc)

113. sar44

Posts: 278; Member since: Apr 14, 2014

116. BaffledTruffle

Posts: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 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: Apr 14, 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: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 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: Apr 14, 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.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

G3
  • 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)

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