I have been using the LG G3 for about a month now and I have a lot to say about this phone. When I first saw the leaks from the Internet, I was attracted by the beautiful design and the QHD display. However, I was sceptical by LG’s slow and unresponsive flavour of android. We all know the G2 have one the worst flavour of android last year. In the end, I’ve decided to give it a try and sell my HTC M7 with the updated sense 6.0.After a month, I am convinced that the G3 will be one the most improved successor among all the top manufactures.
LG have made a tremendous User interface (UI) change, making things simpler, less cluttered and more enjoyable to use. At the same time, they’ve also added some useful features which users can really enjoy. On the hardware side, LG had made a very bold move and introduced one of the world’s first QHD display (2560X1440). A snappy 801 processor which flies through every single task and a 3000mAh battery. They have claimed a 1 watt speaker with boost amp which didn’t really impressed me. On the camera side, they have introduced a new focus system (laser auto focus) which made focusing and taking a quick shot really fast. Their new simple camera app is a great addition.
Let’s us first dive straight into the software. The new design philosophy by LG is great. Every aspect of the phone made new users easily adaptable to the device. All of LG’s features are hidden from android. Like the Qslide apps. Previously, on the G2, it is impossible to remove this feature from the notification drawer which made viewing notifications a headache to users. Now, there is a toggle to enable and disable this feature. In addition, you can also choose to hide the display and volume toggle on the notification. The circular toggles and removal of lines in the notification drawer gave the UI a simpler look and it is very consistent throughout the skin, from settings, individual stock applications like the phone, calculator and music apps. The new multi window feature have a great potential however, it is limited to certain google and LG apps.
The settings app is a mess, with a badly categorised tab system and a lack of a search feature. However, there is an option to replace it a more traditional android settings app in the option settings. The new skin is probably one of the most customizable skin from a manufacture. You have the option to change the screen-off effect, the colour and button combination on the navigation bar. All of these features are not available on other manufacture’s flavour of android. The addition of a smart cleaning option is a great addition which gives you the option to clear up unnecessary data space. LG talked a lot about knock code. It’s a new way to unlock your device by tapping a code sequence on your screen. The phone can also be unlocked without the need to wake up your phone! It’s a fun and smart way to unlock your device. However, unregistered touches by my pocket will misunderstand the touches and recognises them as attempts to unlock the device. It will cause the operating system and use my backup pin to unlock the device. In a nutshell, knock code is a great addition to the already many options of securing your device, it will definitely wow your friends.
However, I have a few complains. The navigation buttons have a few flaws which can be improved over an OTA (over the air) update. The multitask button will take up to over an second to load. The triggered buttons is in cyan which was the old themed android from jelly bean. I would like if they replace it with white which will match the status bar.
Here are some screenshots:
It’s hard to get a slow phone in 2014, every phone will perform quick enough to please users. The battery on the G3 is surprisingly good despite having a QHD display. The G3’s design is well designed with a few smart implementations which users will overlooked.
The finish on the G3 is a good mix between metal and plastic. It is not too slippery like all metal phones and the plastic back will allow the phone to camouflage scratches better than metal. The white model gives a more textured feel whereas the black model feels more like metal however, there is an addition glossy coating which can get scratched up more frequently. The metal frame on the phone gives the G3 a more sturdy and solid feel. The back buttons are better than every single rear buttoned phones. The power button is made of metal and it will get really hot when gaming or after a long usage. I was curious and decided to take the phone apart. Then I’ve realised the processor was right below the rear buttons.
What users might have overlooked is that the power button. Let me explain, metal is a better conductor of heat as compared to plastic. The HTC m8 is completely made of aluminium, hence the entire phone will feel really hot when gaming or after a long usage. This can be very uncomfortable for the users. On the other side, plastic phones like the Samsung GALAXY series phone feels are not able to dissipate the heat as well as the HTC one m8. This will cause the phone to throttle and lifespan of the device will be reduced. This is where LG’s design really shine. The use of a metal button can dissipate heat away from the phone without causing the device to heat up like metal phones. The use of a plastic back can allow removable battery and expandable SD card slot to exist.
The QHD display is more of a gimmick for now than an actual improvement. Don’t get me wrong, the display is great but it is just not noticeable as 531 ppi( pixels per inch) is way overkilled for a 5.5 inch display. In addition, many apps are just not coded for a QHD display. However, in the future, where eventually QHD displays becomes more mainstream, developers will then optimise their games and applications to take full advantage of the display. Games may look better, character based pages will be better and 1440p/4k videos will look stunning on this QHD display. The tiny bezels has allowed LG to squeeze in a 5.5inch display into a form factor.
QHD displays is still at their infancy, only time will tell how this display will benefit users. LG made a very bold move to introduce to the market.
Despite having a QHD display, the battery on the G3 is surprisingly good. The standby time is great as well. I unplugged my phone to school at 6:30 in the morning and with a screen-on time of around 2hours, I can reach home with 40% of battery.
The G3 is fast, however, it is bottlenecked by their skin. It is a great improvement from the G2’s skin, however it is still no match for pure android and HTC’s sense. Occasional lags and hangs will be observed and the retardation while switching between apps is annoying. Changing the runtime to ART will significantly improve the app opening time and switching time. Can’t wait for android L! If you know what I mean :P.
Let me be frank, I am no camera expert. I’ll try to be as technical as possible. The laser auto focus is really good. Shots are almost instant, the 13 megapixels camera is awesome, you’ll be able to zoom in without making whiteboard notes in class look like poop. The camera app is simple, without many options though. The 4k recording feature is welcoming as well.
Here are some samples
The speaker is poop, weak bass, back firing speakers and lack of details. This made me use my earbuds more frequently. Front stereo speakers on all phones!!!! However, the speaker is surprisingly loud. The music application comes with an included equalizer. However, it is no match for 3rd party solutions from the play store.
My unit came with an included qi wireless back. I believe that wireless charging is the future of charging. It haven’t really took off because big names like Samsung does not want to ship with it and they are selling at a hefty price which users. Therefore, there are not many people adopting this solution. However, not all variants comes with the module, nonetheless, they should be praised to include this module in some variants.The back buttons on the phones is surprising tactile and it is very enjoyable to click on it every moment .
The quick circle case is a nice accessory to complement the phone. You’ll be able to view some of your notifications from the circle. The glowing effect while turning on the phone is nice and it will wow your friends. The case is designed as such as it won’t affect block the camera while using the case, I’m looking at you HTC. However, the case is rather expensive and like all cases, it disrupts the beauty of the phone.
The LG G3 is a great flagship for 2014, since I’ve got my phone, I have received two OTA updates. Even though I they are minimal software revision, it is good to see that LG are more devoted to improve their software. Most of LG’s 2013 have gotten a 4.4 kitkat update, hence I am convinced that LG will release L to the G3 when it’s launched later this year. The G3 really does comes in a full package and people should really consider this phone. In my country, the G3 is the most affordable flagship.