Interface and functionality

Prefer as much control over your Android? The G3's for you. Want a simplistic, out-of-the-box user experience and quick software updates? Pick the N5.

Looking at the Android 4.4 KitKat-based interfaces of the G3 and the Nexus 5, the two could hardly be any further apart in terms of their goals, achievements, and underlying philosophy.

The G3's software, for example, is all about offering as feature-rich a user experience as humanly possible. To that end, LG has added a gigantic layer of extra functionality on top of the stock Android core, which allows for a wide degree of customizations. So you have extras like Dual window, which allows you to run two apps simultaneously, editable lockscreen app shortcuts, double-tap-to-wake functionality, and a whole lot more.

In a stark contrast, the vanilla Android software powering the Nexus 5 has an altogether different approach. For starters, it's an incredibly simplified version in comparison. The fact, however, is that this is the way Google sees Android, and showcasing that type of Android is the very reason the Nexus line exists in the first place. Put simply, customizations are scarce, and the idea behind the software is that it's good to go out of the box, with zero input from your side.

Of course, while the stock Android on the N5 offers no extra features, it's not without advantages, either. For one, it's much snappier in its response times, and lag is virtually non-existent. The same can't at all be said about the G3's skin. Moreover, being a Nexus-line device, the N5 is among the first in the world eligible for software updates to the latest Android version. This, more than anything else, is one of the defining points of the Nexus 5.

Processor and memory

Despite its more potent chipset, the G3 is unable to secure as fluid a user experience as the Nexus 5.

The LG G3 sports a superior, quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip by Qualcomm when compared with the now older, Snapdragon 800 silicon of the Nexus 5. And while the differences between the two are there (i.e. much faster image processor), it would be misleading to claim that the SD801 offers a very significant boost to performance. Indeed, both phones handle the heaviest pieces of app code ever devised with ease, and that includes sophisticated, graphics-intensive 3D gaming titles.

When it comes to the native Android user experience, however, we've gotta give it to the Nexus 5 – its interface is rendered in a consistently quick manner, and without a hitch. The same can't be said about the G3, which encounters minor to moderate stutters in the settings menu, the app drawer, and elsewhere.

In terms of memory, the LG G3 comes in two versions – one with 16GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM, and another, with 32GB of storage and 3 gigs of RAM. The Nexus 5, on the other hand, simply comes in 16GB and 32GB versions, and the RAM is kept constant, at 2GB. That said, the G3 does enjoy support for microSD cards, while the N5 does not.

Quadrant Higher is better
LG G3 23551
Google Nexus 5 8455
AnTuTu Higher is better
LG G3 30634
Google Nexus 5 26340
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
LG G3 1322
Google Nexus 5 1166
Vellamo HTML 5 Higher is better
LG G3 1626
Google Nexus 5 1524
Sunspider Lower is better
LG G3 947.2
Google Nexus 5 723.9
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
LG G3 7.5
Google Nexus 5 9.4
Basemark OS II Higher is better
LG G3 951
Google Nexus 5 891.3

Internet and connectivity

Quick page rendering, and snappy navigation with both. But we like the 5.5-incher of the G3 better for the job.

Habits are hard to break, and that means we usually stick with Google's Chrome browser, even when manufacturers include their own, in-house solutions. That said, we should note that LG's own browser is very much acceptable in terms of performance, and even offers some extras, like Capture all, which allows you to take a screenshot of an entire web page, and not just the part you see. Beyond that, however, the built-in browser differentiates itself with little else.

Going back to Chrome, that's what you'll find on both the G3 and Nexus 5. As can be expected from this type of hardware, both devices render pages very quickly indeed, and navigation (panning, scrolling) is easy and lag-free. With that in mind, we have to give the edge to the G3, as its larger, 5.5-inch display makes for a comfier browsing experience on a touchscreen.

As for connectivity options, the two are chock-full. They both have support for Category 4 LTE, of course, but also offer Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, NFC, and support for TV-out technologies (SlimPort in this case). Unlike the Nexus 5, however, the G3 5 features a handy, embedded infrared blaster which can control home electronics. That's a bit unfortunate for the Nexus 5, as we've come to really enjoy the type of use case scenarios it unlocks.

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