Camera

No clear winner here. The LG G3 is the faster shooter, but the Galaxy Note 3 takes better videos. But if ease of use is a priority, we'd go with LG's flagship.

The LG G3 has a 13-megapixel main camera with a sensor size of 1/3.06". So does the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. This is where the technical similarities between the two snappers end, however. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a slightly wider aperture of f2.2 versus the G3's f2.4 aperture, which could prove beneficial for the former in low-light conditions. The G3, on the other hand, takes advantage of optical image stabilization, or OIS+, as LG calls it, for steadier videos and blur-free photos when longer shutter speed is used. What's more, LG has equipped its flagship with a two-tone LED flash. This is to improve color accuracy when the flash is used. The Note 3 offers only software-based stabilization, should you choose to enable it, and a single LED flash resides on its back. But what's most interesting, the LG G3 boasts a laser-assisted focus system for shorter focusing times.

The camera UI on the LG G3 is straight-forward to use once you get used to the arrangement of the items in its options menu. Yet we find it strange that LG has stripped its snapper off of modes and options we had on the G2. This time around there is no ISO control, no exposure fine-tuning, and most surprisingly, no 60fps video. On the bright side of things, the lack of clutter in the camera app make it more suitable for casual photographers – you just point and shoot without worrying about modes and scenes. The camera app on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is definitely more rich in terms of manual controls, scenes, and adjustments, for those who may need them. What's more, we're free to modify the two shortcut slots, where a toggle button with a frequently used setting can be set.



But enough with the theory; let's comment on some real-life photos from these two bad boys. The good news is that both the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 take presentable photos, be it in day- or night-time. Some irregularities, however, are noticeable. In daylight, the LG G3 tends to produce warm images with pumped up colors. They look fine,, but are slightly detached from reality. The Note 3, on the other hand, often skews hues towards the colder side, so its photos are pretty much equally inaccurate color-wise. As far as details go, the LG G3 uses a more aggressive noise reduction algorithm. Details in its photos are soft, but natural. The Note 3 relies on increased sharpness to artificially boost the detail presence in its photos, and while the results are fine, we wouldn't call them life-like.

Indoor photos from the LG G3 are high on detail and low on noise, but sometimes are inaccurate when it comes to color. The casual shots that we took around the office turned out fine, albeit slightly warmer in most cases, but the ones shot in our studio, where light is not as abundant, had their colors way too messed up. Apparently, the LG G3 can't nail the proper color balance in low-light situations. In contrast, it produces great photos when its flash is used, while the Note 3's flash photos are noticeably colder. When no flash is required, Samsung's handset snaps pretty indoor pictures. And when it comes to detail in indoor shots, the Galaxy Note 3 performs about as well as the LG G3. At night, the results are a mixed bag. We like the color tones in the Note 3's night-time photos, but the LG G3's images look slightly better when looked at from up close.

Focusing times are shorter with the LG G3, that we can't deny. Because of that, the phone is really good at taking photos instantly, without any special preparation. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 focuses almost as quickly, but if you just take it out and shoot, there's a lower chance of ending up with a decent, properly focused photo.


Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
LG G3 2.7
4.3
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 2.7
No data
494
353

Of course, both handsets can take 1080p video with their cameras, and even 4K video at 30 frames per second is an option. The two perform really well when shooting videos, but it looks like the Galaxy Note 3 has the upper hand this time. Its footage is a tad more detailed and natural-looking, while the LG G3 takes artificially sharp and contrasty videos. Same goes for night-time videos – the Note 3 produces clearer, smoother footage, while the G3's leaves something to be desired. The sound recorded by both phones is loud, but the G3 adds unwanted digitizing artifacts to it, presumably in effort to reduce noise.


Multimedia

The LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are excellent multimedia devices. Music, movies, games – the two handle it all pretty well.

On the LG G3 we find a gallery app that's intuitive to use, especially if you've owned an Android device before. We like the option to delete photos with a swipe up, and we appreciate the added sharing shortcut with a swipe down when in filmstrip mode. Thumbnails can be resized, which is very nice. The app is short on built-in editing tools, however. All we get out of the box are the options to crop or rotate an image. The Gallery app on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 gets the job done, but the sharing menu is a bit annoying – instead of bringing the most recently used apps to the top of the list, as stock Android would, it displays a static list with dozens of apps listed alphabetically – to get to Twitter, for example, you have to scroll to the very bottom. At least the image editor is a versatile one, with effects, stickers, frames, and a drawing mode.



Functionally, the music players on both phones have all the basics covered. The UIs share a lot of similarities, with tabs for song, artist, and albums at the top, a playlist occupying most of the screen space, and playback controls at the bottom. On the Note 3 we find a broader array of music enhancements, including a 7-band equalizer, a bass booster, and Samsung's own AdaptSound feature. The G3 lets us pick an equalizer preset, or we can adjust the frequency levels manually if we want to. Pitch and speed can also be controlled, although that seems useful only for fans of audiobooks.



On the back of the LG G3 is placed a single, 1-watt speaker of good (for a phone) quality. Sound coming out of it is very loud and relatively clear, without any crackling even at high volumes. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a single loudspeaker at the bottom edge, which means that your ringtone won't get muffled if the handset is lying flat on the sofa. Sound produced by it is loud, but lower in quality when compared to the G3's speaker.

To no surprise, the two phones are ideal for playing games and watching movies thanks to their huge displays. By default, videos on the LG G3 are played back via the Gallery app, and while one can always grab a third-party solution from the Play Store, doing so isn't necessary. LG's phone plays back all popular video formats along with subtitles, when available. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a separate video application, which helps with finding the video files stored on the device. Like the G3, Samsung's phablet reproduced our test video files without problems. Of note is that both phones can play back videos in a window hovering above the UI.

Both smartphones come with built-in IR blasters. These turn them into universal remote controls for many of your home appliances, including your TV, set-top box, air conditioner, or Blu-ray player.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
LG G3 0.57
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 0.43
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
LG G3 81
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 76


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37 Comments

1. vincelongman

Posts: 5806; 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: 7054; 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: 2674; 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: 2674; 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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