LG G3 Review
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.
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.
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.