LG G3 vs LG G2



LG has a long history of making Android phones, but it was only last year when the company really started seeing its flagships succeed on the market with two big launches - first, its LG G2 focused on bringing the largest display of any flagship smartphone in a very compact for its screen size body, and then, Google picked LG to make the Nexus 5 out of that G2 blueprint.

Less than a year after the G2, the time has come for a refresh - the new LG G3 is here, building on the tradition of the G2. The LG G3 not only has a large, 5.5” display, but it is also the first smartphone to sport a Quad HD (1440 x 2560-pixel) resolution, bringing a nearly 80% boost in pixel count and sharpness.

LG’s new flagship also packs the latest Snapdragon 801 quad-core chip, a refreshed, 13-megapixel camera with better optical image stabilization (OIS+), and a brand new, flat and sharp user interface.

Is this all a good enough reason to upgrade over the LG G2? Let’s look at the features in-depth to find 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 LG G3 is ‘metallic’, but not made out of metal - its polycarbonate body nonetheless feels well put together and its outwards appearance is sleek. It’s noticeably bigger than the G2, though.

The LG G3 is made out of plastic and you feel that the very instant you pick the phone up. What about LG’s claims that the G3 has a ‘metallic’ skin, though? It indeed looks ‘metallic’, and in fact, the finish appears very similar to the looks of the HTC One (M8), but - don’t get confused - it’s not real metal like in HTC’s flagship, it’s just disguised polycarbonate.

In terms of construction, while last year’s G2 features a bit hollow build and a glossy plastic body that acts like a magnet for fingerprints, the G3 takes note and switches the glossy finish for a matte one that won’t smudge, plus its body is much more solidly put together. It’s admirable that LG managed to achieve this solid build, while also giving users the option to easily remove the back cover, swap batteries, and have access to a microSD card slot, along with the traditional microSIM.

The elephant in the LG G3 vs G2 comparison room, however, is the size difference. The LG G2 is compact-for-its-size, and so is the LG G3, but this isn’t telling much, since size itself has grown. In reality, the G3 feels much less wieldy and just harder to operate single-handedly. In exact numbers, the G3 is 0.15” wider (2.94” vs 2.79” on the G2) and 0.21” taller (5.76” vs 5.45”) than the G2. The difference in weight is negligible as both phones are not too heavy - the G3 tips the scales at 5.26oz (149g), while the G2 weighs 5.04oz (143g), and the two are equally thin at 0.35” (8.9mm), but it’s the more phablet-y feel of the G3 that one should really take into consideration.


5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches

146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm


5.26 oz (149 g)


5.45 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches

138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm


5.04 oz (143 g)


5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches

146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm


5.26 oz (149 g)


5.45 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches

138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm


5.04 oz (143 g)

See the full LG G3 vs LG G2 size comparison or compare them to other phones using our Size Comparison tool.


The 5.5” Quad HD display on the LG G3 is very sharp, but you’d need to stare at it from way up close to notice that.

There are two notable things about the 5.5-inch IPS LCD display of the LG G3 - it has extremely narrow bezel, and it is the first to sport a Quad HD (1440 x 2560-pixel) resolution with a pixel density of the whopping 538ppi.

As with any improvement in screen resolution, Quad HD makes smartphone screens clearer, “sharper”, and on the G3 this clarity is stunning. A Quad HD display has nearly 78% more pixels than a 1080p Full HD screen, a huge difference on paper. In reality, though, the perceived improvement is not all that big. While earlier jumps in smartphone resolution provided very noticeable improvement in the experience, getting us rid of jagged icons and pixelization, the higher resolution in the G3 does not provide any huge benefit when you look at the phone from a regular viewing distance (around 12”). A phone is used differently, though, and if you stare at the G3 from very close, you’d start noticing that it is indeed sharper.

With sharpness on smartphones reaching this level when the eye just cannot see further improvements, we can - thankfully - switch our attention more to the quality of color reproduction. The LG G2 does not have a particularly accurate display - its whites look a bit bluish, and colors are oversaturated, a look that might impress at first, but is far from accurate.

The LG G3, in comparison, is an improvement - it no longer looks all that noticeably blueish as the G2, with a color temperature of 7100K, close to the 6500K reference point. The G3, however, is not a complete fix in terms of display color accuracy, as the screen is still slightly oversaturated, but still more accurate than the G2.

Outdoors, both handsets are a bit too reflective for convenient viewing, but the G3 is a slight step forward as it has the slightly higher peak brightness.

Interface and Functionality

The LG G3 swaps the intense cartoony looks of before with a mellow vibe with pastel colors and modern, flat icons.

The LG G3 arrives with the latest version of Android, 4.4.2 KitKat, and while the LG G2 has now also been updated to this newest Android version, the difference in the user experience is huge. This is all due to LG’s new UI that is a very comprehensive redesign that puts focus on more balanced color toning, flat and modern icons, as well as less clutter and pre-installed apps.

We’ve often mentioned that LG’s Android skin (pre-G3) features very intense colors and a cartoonish feel. With the new G3, LG puts an end to those cartoonish looks, overhauling the feeling of the user interface completely towards a much more mellow feel.

To achieve this overhauled aesthetic, the new LG skin works cleverly with color palettes, and has a distinct preference for pastel tonalities. Nearly all first-party apps are also neatly color-coded, each with a distinct tone and with flat icons of contrasting white and black. As a result, the whole user experience feels very unified and… simple, easy.

LG unveiled the G3 as its crusade towards simplicity, since the years of adding apps and features to Android had already started making it feel cluttered. And after the aesthetic ‘cleaning’, LG has also tackled the sheer number of first-party apps by reducing them in number, and combining apps that used to do different things in one-app hubs. With the G3, you can now also remove first-party apps, a welcome option for those who might not like everything that comes on board the phone.

But even the new additions in the G3 - features like the Smart Notice assistant that is meant to remind you to take your umbrella before you go out on a rainy day, or prompt you to return a missed call - feel subtly embedded so that they don’t get in your face too much. Other improvements like the enhanced Knock Code that allows you to set 3- to 8-tap codes that you can tap away to get to your homescreen without ever seeing the lock screen, feel like an inambiguous improvement. You also have Guest Mode that you can access via a separate knock code - a very convenient option for those times when people ask you to see something on your phone.

Switching to apps, the most notable new app is the Health hub that tracks your exercises and daily activity: as long as you have your phone in your pocket, it’d map and track every step you take, as well as your cycling exercises.

It goes without saying that the core apps on the G2 and G3, are similar, but the G3 also has a few aces up its sleeve with features like the Dual Window split-screen multitasking that allows you to run two apps at the same time. The G2, in contrast, only has a limited selection of QSlide apps that can run on top of the main interface, while the G3 multitasking features feel way more advanced.

In terms of basic functionality, you have similarly capable phonebook and messaging apps on the two. The difference in visual style follows what we’ve already said about the overall difference in UI between the G3 and G2. The difference is even bigger in the keyboard on the G3 that you can now adjust in size, and that adds better word correction via QuickType for instance, is now also with flat keys, and due to the larger size, it’s easier to type on.

Processor and Memory

The Snapdragon 801 system chip aboard the G3 along with its 3GB of RAM is perfectly capable of handling the new load of the higher-res display. The LG G2 is a great performer as well.

Being the newer device, the LG G3 also has the latest and most powerful Snapdragon 801 system chip out there that gives it a slight edge over the performance of LG G2’s yesteryear Snapdragon 800 chip. Both are quad-core chips with a slight difference of the maximum CPU performance - the G3 can run at up to 2.5GHz, while the G2 works at up to 2.3GHz, but those slight variances can barely be felt, as the G3’s higher-res processor-hungry display makes up for the difference. This higher-res display can also be felt in synthetic benchmarks where the G3 is outscored by last year’s G2. In daily use, though, apps open fairly quickly on both, and the G3 seems as fast, and even a bit better optimized and snappier.

In terms of pure specs, the exact model of the system chip of the G3 is the Qualcomm MSM8974-AC, while the G2 has the MSM8974 version, and both are build on the 28nm node with HPm technology. In terms of RAM, the basic G3 has 2GB, as much as the G2, but it also has a model with 3 gigs. The graphics chip on both is the Adreno 330, running at up to 578MHz, which makes for a similar performance in games.

Both phones come with 16GB and 32GB models (we had the 32GB G3 version where around 24 gigs are user-available), but the G3 also has expandable storage via its microSD card slot that supports cards of up to 128GB, a feature that the G2 does not have.

QuadrantHigher is better
LG G323551
LG G220654
AnTuTuHigher is better
LG G330634
LG G235376
Vellamo MetalHigher is better
LG G31322
LG G21229
Vellamo HTML 5Higher is better
LG G31626
LG G22951
SunspiderLower is better
LG G3947.2
LG G2932.8
Basemark OS IIHigher is better
LG G3951
LG G2772

Internet and Connectivity

Both come with 4G LTE connectivity and a choice of two browsers on board - LG’s custom one and Chrome.

LG includes both its custom browser and Google’s Chrome to surf the web on both the G3 and G2. The browsing experience itself is excellent on both devices - pages load and render quickly, and scrolling around and zooming in and out is virtually free of slowdowns and stutters.

In terms of connectivity, both the G3 and G2 support 4G LTE, but the G3 has the latest modem that allows for faster download speeds of up to 150Mbps, while the G2 supports up to 100Mbps. Other connectivity options include dual-channel Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC on board of both.

Neatly, both also have an infra-red (IR) blaster located on the top, and you can use it as a remote control for your TV, or other electronics. It’s a welcome addition that every once in a while will save you time looking for the TV remote.


The 13-megapixel OIS+ camera of the LG G3 comes with a quicker, laser-assisted auto-focus and captures sharp and detailed images, with better color fidelity

Both the LG G3 and G2 come with a 13-megapixel camera, with an average-size 1/3.06” sensor. The two also have identical optics: a wide, 29mm lens with ‘slow’ f/2.4 aperture. The most notable difference in specs is the different optical stabilization - the G3 uses a combination of mechanical and software stabilization in what it calls OIS+, while the G2 has just optical stabilization.

In terms of ergonomics, the conveniently positioned rear buttons come in handy for quickly snapping pictures with just one hand, making even the larger G3 easy to use for snapping photos.

The camera app on both the G3 and G2 opens fairly quickly, and you have the option to go from a locked device directly into the camera by holding the volume down key. The actual interface, however, is different - LG’s G3 defaults to a very plain screen with just the image capture button and no additional settings, something that shows confidence in the camera’s auto-shooting capabilities, while the G2 does not hide all its options. Manually adjusting the settings of your camera, though, is possible on both devices, and most options are just one tap away. One of the hallmark features of the G3 is its laser-assisted auto-focus (you cannot actually see the laser beam) that works in concert with traditional contrast-based focusing to speed up the focusing process. And locking focus is indeed faster on the G3.

The actual quality of captured photographs on both is great, but the images differ noticeably. First, though, let us say that both 13-megapixel cameras offer photos with good detail and very reasonable noise levels in regular lighting conditions. The G2 images are just a bit too cold and inaccurate in terms of colors, while the LG G3 captures photos with much better color fidelity. However, LG has gone just a little overboard – often, G3 photos look too warm, with a yellowish tint, which is also not accurate.

Indoors, in low light, the G3 is very aggressive in its efforts to reduce noise, which often results in a smudged detail and a slightly unnatural, oil painting-like look. Colors are a bit of a hit-and-miss in our studio shots as we see some inaccuracies (notice the way too pink-looking studio sample), but in most others indoor shots colors are actually fine, so we think that for the most part, color representation is okay. The G2, on the other hand, captures indoor images that are just a bit too cold and also often inaccurate in terms of colors.

Up front, the LG G3 and G2 both have 2-megapixel cameras that you can use to snap a selfie, or for a video chat with friends or family, but the quality of snaps is definitely not among the best we've seen.

Taking a picLower is betterTaking an HDR pic(sec)Lower is betterCamSpeed scoreHigher is betterCamSpeed score with flashHigher is better
LG G32.7
No data
No data
LG G24

In terms of video, the LG G3 has the advantage of being capable to record 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels) footage at 30 frames per second, while the G2 can only shoot at up to 1080p 60fps. The 4K option has a clear advantage and sharpness, and it is also great for those who do post-processing, but fact remains that you’d need a 4K monitor or TV to fully enjoy it, and 4K displays are just not all that common yet. What about the quality of the actual footage? It’s smooth smooth and sharp on both devices, while in terms of colors, we see the same tendency for warmer tones on the G3 and colder ones on the G2. Apart from the color difference, probably the biggest improvement in the G3 is the new OIS+ system that stabilizes footage much better than the OIS on the G2. Continuous auto-focus works on both, but it is not very sensitive and it often takes quite a while for the handset to refocus (slower than devices like the Xperia Z2, for instance).


LG G3 offers bigger, higher-res screen, great for video consumption. For music, its speaker is much louder than the quiet and tinny one of the G2.

Тhe super high-res and vivid display of the LG G3 makes it great for enjoying videos on the go, and if you happen to find Quad HD-resolution videos, you can fully enjoy its 5.5” display. At the moment, though, this is quite the challenge, as most videos are still released at 1080p, so that resolution benefit is not very usable for video. The video player apps differ in their visual style - the new flat and pastel-tone one on the G3 versus the cartoony one on the G2 - but they are equally well-versed in playing back your video content.

The gallery on both is also similar in functionality, supporting neat features like pinch to zoom in and out of your photo collections, but the two, again, have different visual appearance. We should also mention that the gallery is one app that reaps all of the benefits of the Quad HD display, as images appear sharper on the 5.5-inch G3 display.

The same visual distinction is true for the music app, but at its core the G3 and G2 are similarly good in organizing your music by artists, album, genre, and so on. Sound quality via the loudspeaker, though, is where there is a marked difference. While both cannot boast about record-setting sound clarity, the G3 features a powerful 1-watt speaker located on the back that can get really loud, a welcome change from the quiet, bottom-positioned speaker of the G2.

Headphones output power(Volts)Higher is better
LG G30.57
LG G20.29
Loudspeaker loudness(dB)Higher is better
LG G381
LG G266

Call Quality

Call quality is above the average for both handsets. The LG G3, however, is the better performer that sounds clear and loud enough in the earpiece, allowing you to easily recognize callers with their natural voice tonality and little other distortions.The microphone output of the G3 is even better, crisp and again sufficiently loud. The G2, on the other hand, is still above average, but its mic sounds a bit unclear to callers, and that drags it down. The earpiece on the G2, though, is fine, sounding clear and loud enough.


The LG G2 shook our ideas of long battery life on a flagship smartphone, so we were really looking forward to testing the LG G3. Both ship with a 3000mAh battery, but the G3 comes with a larger and much more power-taxing, Quad HD display that drives a nearly 80% increase in the amount of pixels. And this is indeed reflected in the actual battery life - the G3 scored 6 hours and 14 minutes on our intense custom battery test that runs a real-life-like load non-stop, until the phone dies. In comparison, last year’s G2 scored a respectable, and actually higher, 6 hours and 48 minutes.

What does this mean in real life? If you don’t use the phones for playing games non-stop, you can still easily expect them to last you a full day, but not much more.

It’s also worth mentioning that the G3 comes with a user-removable battery, a liberating option for, say, travelers who can get a second battery and swap them on the go. The sealed construction of the G2, in contrast, does not allow this.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script,designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage.All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.
hoursHigher is better
6h 14 min(Poor)
6h 48 min(Average)


All in all, the LG G3 is a huge upgrade over the G2 in almost every way: starting with the sharper and better Quad HD display, the more solid build of the device, the faster Snapdragon 801, and the better 13-megapixel camera. Not just that - LG’s 2014 flagship features an overhauled interface that no longer looks cartoonish, and feels modern and snappy.

With all this said, the LG G3 seems like a clear favorite, giving you more than enough reasons to upgrade from last year’s G2. The G2, however, has aged nicely, and offers an excellent value for the money, as it costs around 40% less than the G3. It’s also more compact and easier to use with a single hand, while the G3 - as compact as it is for the size - feels much more phablet-y.

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