Camera

A no-nonsense 13 MP shooter – jack of all trades, master of none

LG hasn't gone crazy with the number of megapixels in the G3, keeping it at 13, which, as we know, is more than enough to produce super-detailed and great-looking photographs. But is that the case with the G3?

The 13 MP camera doesn't differ much from that of the G2 when it comes to specs. The sensor size is still the standard phone affair – 1/3.06", which is the same as on the iPhone 5s and the One (M8). Meanwhile, some other flagships, like the Xperia Z2, have bigger sensors (1/2.3"), allowing them to achieve higher resolutions, while still preserving a decent pixel size. Additionally, aperture of the G3's camera is F2.4, so, as you can see, these are the kind of specs that don't sound great on paper, but we all know that it has never been only about the specs. Plus, the G3 has some tricks of its own, like its optical image stabilization (OIS+), so great results should definitely be expected from it.

The LG G3 has another ace up its sleeve – laser-assisted autofocus. By shooting a laser beam, the G3 can quickly determine the distance towards the subject in the frame, allowing it to lock the correct focus in an extremely quick manner. Since we got to play around with the G3's camera for a while, we can admit that it's really super-fast in locking a focus, however, we can't really say that feels faster than, say, the Galaxy S5 and its phase-detection autofocus. The HTC One (M8) is also perfectly competitive in terms of camera speed, so all we can say is that the G3 has a very fast camera, but not necessarily faster than those of its rivals.

The camera app of the LG G3 is surprisingly similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S5, at least in terms of graphical user interface. It's not the most straightforward layout possible, with numerous settings scattered across a number of different menus. It's nothing that you can't get used to, though.

The good news, however, is that the LG G3 allows you to take great photographs without having to tweak any of the settings. You can just take the handset out, fire the camera up, and take the shot. In most cases, you'll end up having a rather good-looking image. Overall quality of the G3's camera is up there with the best propositions at the moment, but that isn't to say that it's not without any issues whatsoever.

When it comes to colors, we have to point out that the G3 often goes for an image that's good-looking, but also a bit too warm. As a matter of fact, the G3 camera handles colors in a very similar manner to the iPhone 5s, which also tends to overwarm things, making them appear slightly yellowish/reddish. In that field, the GS5 is the phone that manages to deliver a more realistic, well-balanced image quality. The G3 also likes to pump things up, making colors look a bit too vibrant and cheerful. The phone also has a useful HDR mode, which works as intended for the most part, but doesn't always manage to balance out the dark and bright areas as much as we'd want.

Detail level in the images of the LG G3 is very good, but it's ever so slightly worse than that of the Galaxy S5, which manages to capture a bit more with its 16 MP camera. Still, if you don't look too closely, you'll find that details and sharpness with the G3 are more than sufficient.

Indoors, the camera leaves something to be desired. It often opts for slower shutter speeds, instead of using the LED flash, causing images to come off a bit blurry at times. Be sure to keep your hands extra steady! Should you manage that, it'll present you with above average pictures, although it appears to get somewhat confused by our controlled studio lighting, delivering unnaturally warm results. Thankfully, it tends to exhibit natural color reproduction in other indoor scenarios. Meanwhile, the front camera of 2.1 megapixels doesn't insprire us that much, a pictures taken with it lack fidelity and resolution.



Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
LG G3 2.7
4.3
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy S5 2.5
3
300
243
HTC One (M8) 2.3
No data
444
363
Sony Xperia Z2 3
No data
452
398


1080p video recorded with the LG G3 is mostly fine, but suffers from the same drawbacks as the images. Namely, it's a tad too saturated and contrasty. Switching to 4K video recording, image quality gets noticeably better and more detailed, but the warmer-than-normal color balance remains. Video footage moves at a smooth pace, while the sound captured with the handset's microphone is mostly loud and clear, though it can get a bit too harsh at times.



Multimedia

Nonsurprisingly, the 5.5" display is perfect for multimedia and games

Do we even need to say that the quality 5.5" screen is just spectacular for... pretty much anything you're going to enjoy on your phone, including video, images, and games. The massive diagonal will let you play even some more intricate games in a convenient manner, though we have to admit that the presence of on-screen navigation buttons is quite annoying. Thankfully, those aren't visible when watching video or viewing images, so you can enjoy the massive, high-resolution display to your heart's content.

The music player of the LG G3 is visually-impressive, as it displays music art throughout its different screens and filtering options. Of course, it's all combined with the new simplistic UI style, making for a truly modern and well-organized music experience.

The loudspeaker of the phone is quite powerful – it may not be the cleanest one yet, but it sure packs quite a punch, which is very important. The G3 arrives with the familiar Quad Beat 2 earphones, which deliver a clean and well-balanced sound, though the highs are slightly more present than needed, while the bass frequencies could be a bit more pronounced.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
LG G3 0.57
Samsung Galaxy S5 0.43
HTC One (M8) 1.28
Sony Xperia Z2 0.29
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
LG G3 81
Samsung Galaxy S5 81
HTC One (M8) 75.2
Sony Xperia Z2 71


FEATURED VIDEO

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: 1315; 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: 960; 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

Posts: 508; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

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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