LG G3 vs Google Nexus 5
The LG G3 is all the rage right now, and that's not surprising in the least. Boasting latest generation hardware, including a Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixels) resolution display, there's a lot about the G3 that causes a drool to form at the end of the lips of fans. And while the G3 has already proved itself fit to compete with top shelf devices from rival manufacturers, how does it handle a device from its own camp?
Indeed, the LG-made Google Nexus 5 is a very different device from the LG G3 in a very major way: its price tag typically reads less than $350 nowadays. That's about half the asking price of the G3. As importantly, this massive discount doesn't entail as massive a sacrifice in overall performance, as the Nexus line is all about great hardware at affordable pricing.
So how do they compare? Let's check them out.
UPDATE (Jun 25, 2014): This comparison was originally based on our experience with the Korean version of the LG G3. After testing the International (European) version of the phone, we've updated the story with our new findings, affecting the display, camera and battery performance.
The Nexus 5's gravitas is undermined by its relatively humble looks. The G3 is definitely the more stylish, but less practical choice.
While the Nexus 5 is far from a bad-looking device, it has no choice but to concede at the face of the G3. Indeed, the G3's metallic back makes short work of the rubberized rear on the Nexus 5, which feels decidedly less high end and is characterized by its oversized camera unit. And though there's no arguing that, it should be noted that, from a purely utilitarian point of view, the Nexus 5 is the better pick, as it's more grippy and comfortable to hold. And that's despite the more aggressively-rounded back of the G3, which is nevertheless a bit slippery.
But the N5's win in terms of ergonomics isn't simply a byproduct of a comfier rear shell – the affordable flagships' dimensions also come in play. Indeed, while the LG G3 has super-slim bezels all around, the Nexus 5 is not far behind, and its much smaller, 5-inch display means a more manageable footprint: 137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm (5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches) versus 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm (5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches) for the G3.
The Nexus 5 also has the more rigid, uncompromising build of the two, and we especially like the use of ceramic for the power and volume rocker, both of which are conveniently placed on the sides of the phone. In comparison, the G3 makes use of rear-placed keys, and these will take some getting used to before you feel right at home. In terms of clickiness and overall feedback these provide, we tend to prefer the Nexus 5, though that's definitely not a con for the G3 – it's just that the N5 is in a league of its own when it comes to tactile feedback and travel.
For all the extra pixels and inches the G3 has over the Nexus 5, the reality is that it produces a less color-accurate image.
The LG G3's extraordinarily pixel-dense, 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 (QHD) resolution display is by far its most standout feature. In reality, however, this super-crisp IPS panel falls short in certain regards when compared with the more standard, 5-inch 1080 x 1920 (FHD) resolution IPS display on the Nexus 5.
For example, the G3's color temperature of 7100 K (6500 K is the reference value here) is good, but not impressive, especially compared with the excellent 6800 K of the Nexus 5. This results in image reproduction with a slight bluish tint (noticeable with whites and grays) – an issue the N5 suffers to a smaller degree from. What's more, the average error in color reproduction with the G3 is greater than that of the Nexus 5 -- colors are over-saturated, compared with the very color-accurate N5. As for gamma, the G3's measurement reads 2.26, while the Nexus 5's reads 2.05. With 2.2 being the reference value, these discrepancies in practice mean that the G3's screen is just a tad more contrasty than it should be, while the Nexus 5 looks slightly washed out.
Moving on, outdoor visibility is an area of stalemate. Put in numbers, the maximum achievable brightness of the G3's panel clocks in at the decent 455 nits versus the even healthier, 485 nits for the N5. Speaking from experience, this makes the Nexus 5 a slightly better-suited device for use outside, but that certainly doesn't disqualify the G3, either.