Interface and functionality

Loaded with tons of features out of the box, the LG G3 and the Galaxy Note 3 are ready to serve. But the former's Android experience is the one that truly stands out.

The LG G3 will be released running Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The very same OS version has already started rolling out for the Note 3, which puts Samsung's phablet on par with its rival when it comes to software updates.

On the LG G3 we find a new flavor of the company's custom interface. The UI now has a flatter look, as is the current trend among smartphone interfaces, with subtle animations, toned down color palette, and an all-through consistent presentation. At the same time, it has retained the typical Android feel and functionality as everything is where you'd expect it to be. You get your app drawer, notification panel, home screens with widgets, personalization options, the whole shebang.


TouchWiz, – the interface running on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – is also organized in a standard Android manner, but as a whole, the UI's presentation is a bit cartoonish. Unlike the G3, the Note 3 does not come with built-in support for interface themes.


Multitasking is one of the aspects that both Samsung and LG have improved upon. The two phones have the neat ability to run two apps side by side – a feature called Dual Window on the LG G3 and Multi Window on the Note 3. There is one notable difference between these two solutions, however. Note 3's Multi Window has to be toggled on in order to be used, and when active, there's a tab permanently sticking out from the side of your screen. G3's Dual Window, on the other hand, can be triggered at any time simply by holding down the “Back” key for a couple of seconds. Other than that, the two work in a similar fashion and let us enjoy true multitasking. For example, texting while watching a YouTube video or browsing two websites at the same time, is possible on both phones.

One trick that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has up its sleeve is called My Magazine. Basically, it is a news feed powered by Flipboard, presented in a user-friendly, magazine-like layout. News and articles are always available at a swipe's distance – a swipe up from the bottom of the screen brings forth the My Magazine feature. On the LG G3 we find Smart Bulletin, which is a home screen dedicated to providing tips on using the device, as well as activity information – how many steps we've made today and such. Too bad that the use of LG's bulletin seems too limited to justify occupying an entire screen with it.

The Smart Notice feature on the LG G3 is meant to serve as a personal assistant, providing suggestions and recommendations based on a number of factors, including the user's behavior, phone usage patterns, and current location. Yup, it reminds us of Google Now, but there are a few neat twists. For example, Smart Notice will prompt you whether you want to remove large, unused files stored in the phone's memory. It will also remind you of missed calls at a later time. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a voice-guided virtual assistant that seems to have been inspired by Apple's Siri. It is called S Voice and it is triggered with a double press on the home button. Uses include calling or texting a contact, entering a new note or event in your schedule, playing a music track, sending a tweet, opening an app, or simply performing a web search.

The LG G3's set of security features has been enhanced with the addition of Knock Code – a user-defined unlocking tap pattern built as an alternative to lock screen PINs and passwords. Furthermore, a feature called Content Lock can be used to limit access to specified files when the handset is connected to a computer. And last but not least, the Kill Switch option on the G3 allows content to be wiped remotely in case the device is lost or stolen.

Messaging

From texting to sending emails, the two phones deliver a no-compromise messaging experience.

The LG G3's messaging app is as customizable as ever. You can even change the background and bubble colors in your threads to your liking. Other than that, it's just a messaging app – nothing too fancy about it, besides the abundant customization capabilities. The messaging app on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 might seem simple at a glance, but it has a handful of neat extras to make it stand out, including scheduled messages that are sent at a specified time and the addition of the option to lock certain messages.

It is nice to see that LG has tweaked its on-screen keyboard in a way that makes it easier to use than ever. The LG Smart Keyboard adapts to our texting style and provides more accurate word predictions as a result. Plus, we're free to resize it vertically. We actually enjoy this keyboard quite a lot, and we're confident that you'd be feeling the same way once you try it.

The Note 3's keyboard is spacious, accurate, and no less likeable. We're finding it very comfortable for typing on using two thumbs, be it horizontally or vertically. It is responsive, too – our high input speed has never been an issue. To make single-handed typing possible, Samsung has added the option to squeeze keys on the left or right side of the screen for better reach.


Processor and memory

Although hardware specs suggest otherwise, the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are on the same level when it comes to real-world performance.

LG has equipped the G3 with a flagship-worthy SoC – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, model MSM8294-AC. This mighty piece of silicon sports a quad-core Krait 400 CPU, which can run at up to 2.5GHz, while an Adreno 330 handles graphical computations. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a Snapdragon 800 SoC. It is slightly less capable than the G3's system-on-chip, but at the time of the Note 3's announcement some 9 months ago, this was the best that Qualcomm could offer. The quad-core Krait 400 CPU on the Note 3 has a slightly lower top frequency of 2.3GHz, which puts Samsung's phablet a step behind the LG G3 when it comes to raw processing power.

Running the usual set of synthetic benchmarks, however, suggests that the G3 isn't leading by much. In fact, its performance drops behind that of the Galaxy Note 3 when it comes to performing GPU-heavy tasks, such as playing video games. That phenomenon can be attributed to the greater resolution of the G3's screen since the SoC's graphics processing unit has almost 80% more pixels to move around. Just don't get us wrong – both the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will have no troubles running even the latest games at the Play Store. It is just that you'll most likely get higher framerates with the latter.

When it comes to UI responsiveness, the LG G3 exhibits some slight lags and dropped frames every once in a while. These aren't annoying by any means, but at the same time, they shouldn't be present on a top-of-the-line smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 isn't perfect in that respect either. The typical for Samsung lock screen lag is present, but overall, the phone handles UI navigation without any major issues.

LG is launching the G3 in two versions – one with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, and another sporting 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The latter is definitely more future-proof, but even the 2GB model should prove capable enough when it comes to multitasking. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 packs a solid 3GB of RAM and it has no troubles switching back and forth between recent apps. Storage space on the Note 3 is plentiful at 32GB built-in. Both handsets come with microSD card slots for storage expansion.

Quadrant Higher is better
LG G3 23551
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 22270
AnTuTu Higher is better
LG G3 30634
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 31543
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
LG G3 1322
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 1214
Vellamo HTML 5 Higher is better
LG G3 1626
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 2766
Sunspider Lower is better
LG G3 947.2
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 599
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
LG G3 7.5
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 9.77
Basemark OS II Higher is better
LG G3 951
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 1033.6

Internet and connectivity

With their huge screens and a fast browsers, the two handsets are ideal for surfing the web.

Needless to say, browsing the internet on either of the two handsets is a pleasure. Their large, high-resolution displays and their excellent performance make surfing the web an effortless task.

With the G3, LG is supplying its own customized web browser. What's new here is that there's a navigation bar at the bottom, although we don't find it all that useful. But the option to have a web page open in a dedicated window above the UI, with other apps accessible in the background, is neat. Overall, this app gets the job done and we don't have to say anything bad about its performance.


Samsung's own pre-loaded Internet browser on the Galaxy Note 3 also handles even heavy pages swiftly, and we like how it goes into full-screen mode on its own, using as much screen space as possible. Switching between opened tabs is a straight-forward process.

Keep in mind that if you're not satisfied with any of these apps, using an alternative is always an option. Chrome and Firefox, for example, are excellent substitutes.

As any high-end phone should, the LG G3 and Galaxy Note 3 support a plethora of cellular bands and frequencies, which makes them usable throughout the world. LTE is also present, should your carrier provide this type of connectivity. In addition, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac, NFC, GPS with Glonass compatibility, and DLNA have all been added. Of note is that while the G3 relies on a SlimPort interface for TV output, the Galaxy Note 3 uses an MHL TV-out. The latter is also USB 3.0-enabled for faster transfers to and from a computer.

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37 Comments

1. vincelongman

Posts: 5814; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

LG G3 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm Samsung Galaxy Note 3 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm So the difference between a phablet and phone is only 5mm in height and width now days This is why I think Android OEM need to make their flagships in multi sizes like laptops I still prefer the Moto X's size 135x65mm

8. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Wow my 8 month old Galaxy Note 3 is STILL holding it's own VS the NEW king of the Android world the LG G3. To me that is super impressive. My Note 3 proves that it was indeed 2013's BEST device & it makes you think how insanely BOSS the Note 4 will be when it's released in the 4th quarter of 2014. Samsung's mighty Note series is the pinnacle in the mobile world, & this comparison CLEARLY proves it! The Note 3 shows how future proof it REALLY is. The Note 3 will be hanging tough even in 2016... In one word... STELLAR!

9. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

Note 4 need to follow lg. 1st is cartoonish icon of touchwiz i don't like it, 2nd they need to simply their apps, 3rd is OIS camera and i'm pretty sure they will nominated as a king at the end of 2014 (at least G3 doesn't have S Pen feature)

10. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Gave my Note 3 to my brother and he finally realized why I dish out money on high end phones. Getting my M8 soon, then G3, iPhone 6 if the display is bigger and Note 4 for the rest of the year. :')

17. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I am getting the Z2 for Verizon when it drops, for the wife. Me, the Note 3 is just too great to get a phone that may be barely better than it. To me the M8, G3, & the iPhone 6 are NOT worth the investment for a marginal at best difference. The Note 3 is just too EPIC. The only worthy phone to the Note 4 will be the LG G Pro 3 when that comes out, even though it will be S-Pen less...

26. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010

Damn right it is!! There aren't alot of phones that are as relevant as the Note 3........especially MONTHS after its release. At this rate, the only phone that can beat the Note 3 would be the Note 4 lol Samsung has changed the way we view smartphones since the introduction of the Note back in 2011. My only concern is that I hope that the entire mobile industry doesn't plateau when it comes to design and specs

2. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011

I have doubts about battery life rankings bcuz at gsmarena's battery life test g3 gets low battery life than s5 and m8

3. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011

and z2 gets the higher than other flagships

11. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Not S5 or M8.

4. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

When comparing battery life from two different test methods you're not going to see the same results. There is no standard between testers. One may test at 50% brightness while another may measure the actual brightness level. One site may run a looping game for 3 hours another may use a video. Test method A may favor one device over the other but test method B may reverse the outcome . The only constant would be the same test performed by the same website.

5. chunky1x

Posts: 270; Member since: Mar 28, 2010

This is tough. I like both phones. Its like choosing between Kate Upton and Andriana Lima.

23. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

No man you always take the t*ts & a$$ over small t*ts and a$$. Kate Upton WINS hands down!!!

6. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

note 3 are suprissingly have good screen ratio maybe on par with lg and thinner just sligty taller but not wider impressive considering bigger screen huh. personnaly I like samsung leather faux better than lg metal faux.

7. Mowlamania

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Please do one of these comparison articles for the LG g3 and the Sony z2

12. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

G3 > Z2.

13. KingDingaLing

Posts: 324; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

Nailed it.

19. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I am sorry but read post 18. The rules have changed & what you say is not accurate.

16. maherk

Posts: 7065; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I ll take the Z2. Better screen, and better battery, not to forget the ip58 certification.

18. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

No way! The LG G3 is not water proof so no the G3 can't be greater than the Z2. To be a TRUE flagship, you need to have an IP certification... The screen of the LG G3 is impressive because of the pixel count, but it's too dim. The Z2 has a remarkable 1080p screen... The G3's camera is on par with the Z2 based on the S5 & Z2 comparison, BUT the Sony can literally go places the G3 would die in. Thus making the Z2 an overall better device hands down. AGAIN you can't be a true flagship & NOT have an IP certification. The rules have changed & this HAS to be taken into consideration when making that type of comparison.

33. preetmalhotra

Posts: 114; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

you are sh!t

28. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

note4 >note3>everything else

14. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Now its clear, N3>S5>Z2>G2>M8>G3. And yes its IMO with my reasons.

21. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I like Z2>S5>G3>N3>M8>G2, my reasons is that a true flagship now a days has to be IP certified. The Z2 looks & has a better IP certification than the S5. The G3 is the newest & best of the non IP certified devices. The N3 is freaking STILL epic & has a WAY better camera than the M8. The G2 is the oldest of the bunch & gets last because it doesn't look & doesn't have the stereo speakers of the newer M8. That sums it up pretty well. Guys the rules have changed in the mobile game. To be a FLAGSHIP you NEED to have IP certification, no if and's or but's. It is what it is, plain & simple.

29. 8800-Arte

Posts: 50; Member since: Jun 05, 2014

I like S5>G3>M8>Note 3>Z2>G2>N5

30. jellmoo

Posts: 2678; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

I disagree completely. IP cert should be on niche devices, not a flagship standard feature. It adds bulk and size to devices, as well as irritating port covers. It's great to have the option of things like the Samsung Active line, but that's the way it should be, an option so that those that want it, have it. And my take would be: N3>S5=Z2>G3>G2>M8 (If the G3 had a 1080p screen it would probably jump to second place. If it had a 1080p amoled screen, it would probably jump to first)

31. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I am sorry a true flagship has to have IP certification. The game has changed whether you like to believe it of not!

32. jellmoo

Posts: 2678; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

And again, I disagree. The game hasn't changed, it's still the same game. IP cert is a fringe feature that two manufacturers have embraced. It isn't a needed feature by any stretch of the imagination, and considering the tradeoff for it, it is better left to fringe devices where people who need it can have it.

15. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

but at this caliber, 0.2 inches don't make that big of a difference. Not true at all. Since the G3 has the menu buttons ON SCREEN, that .2 inches becomes much more - they certainly take up valuable screen space. I much prefer Samsungs buttons under the screen - I don't want to give up any of the gorgeous displays for buttons!

22. Gatorsrule52

Posts: 103; Member since: Mar 18, 2013

Uhh no how bout g3>everything else especially the note 3. I know the note 3 is great and all but it's older now and the g3 is better in most every respect. Ip certification doesn't mean anything to me. Imo it's a gimmick because I'd never endanger my phone with water anyway. One thing I don't understand about this review is how the note 3 camera is "just as good". How can that be when the s5 camera is about the same as the g3 one, even inferior in some ways?

24. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

IP certification has to mean something if you want a flagship. Because the IP certified devices can go places where the non IP certified devices would die in. Plus the additional protection is always welcome even if you are meticulous with your devices.

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