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Everything you'd expect from a flagship smartphone and more for the price of a mid-range one
on 10 January 2015
I've had the LG G3 for over two months now and I'm very impressed by it. The LG G3 is a great phone at a small price. You get specs as good (or very close) as the other flagships for £150 less (as of today, 10th January).
Design and Build 5/5
One thing to really take into account is THIS PHONE IS BIG. You probably won't be able to reach the top of the screen with your thumb. However you don't need to do this often in android anyway. The only time you frequently have to reach the top of the screen is to expand notifications, and you can actually add a button for this (like in my pictures). Within a week you'll be completely used to it.
Instead of using plastic like Samsung, which feels cheap, or using metal like HTC, which is heavy, LG have opted for a middle-ground: plastic with metallic paint sprayed on top! It leaves no fingerprints and the grip is good.
The phone is quite compact for its screen size, which is partially due to LG having placed all its physical buttons on the back of the phone. This seems radical, but after you get used to it you won't want to go back. The double-tapping the screen turns it on, which solves the problem of waking it when face up on a surface.
The LG G3 has a microSD card slot allowing you to increase the capacity by up to 2TB.
The first ever device to use a QuadHD display, the LG G3 is beautifully crisp. However the legibility in sunlight and contrast are a little poor. The colours aren't as vibrant and in your face as with a Samsung display, but personally I prefer it like this. The screen doesn't get darker at an angle so watching with others works fine.
I've now had Android 5.0 lollipop running on this phone since around the 20th of December. This makes The G3 only the second phone to get the lollipop update in the UK after Google's own Nexus 5, despite not being as large as Samsung and HTC, which still don't have their UK update now. I have experienced no real bugs with this update as well.
The UI is beautiful, adapting a lollipop style even before lollipop came out. The apps are colour coded and have a modern, intuitive flat look. (See images 1 through 3).
There are plenty of customisation options if you feel like taking a dive into the settings, but they aren't in you don't need to look at them if you don't want to. These include: font size and type, nav bar buttons, various lock screens and turning off most of the features if you don't want them.
There are THREE multi-tasking capabilities: Qslide, Dual Window and Recent Apps.
Qslide provides you with overlaid draggable windows of the LG apps, kind of like on a PC. These can be made translucent and clicked through. (See image 4)
Dual window allows you to literally run two apps on one screen. This is only compatible with some apps though. (See image 5)
Recent Apps: this saw a redesign in lollipop. Your (open) apps are shown as a series of cards that you can click to open or swipe to close. (see image 6)
In summary, the software is full of features and relatively intuitive, with hints popping up to explain features.
Although it isn't regarded as the fastest flagship, the G3 is currently in the top 20 or so smartphones for speed. Most users won't see any real difference with other flagships. The apps could honestly load a little faster, but it'll be better than any 2 year old phone you may come from.
The front camera is of OK quality, allowing you to do video chats in HD, but it isn't a high resolution `selfie camera'
The rear camera is great. With 13MP it is capable of taking high definition pictures and video at up to 4K resolution and 30fps. The pictures it takes are arguably as good as or better than all the competition. There's a powerful dual-tone flash and a laser auto-focus for quick focusing.
The interface is simple, but there are many features to play with. Such as:
- Gestures to take selfies.
- Holding down the down volume button when the screen is off to launch the camera app
- Voice commands (cheese!) to take a picture
- A good quality HDR mode
For such a high definition, large screen you get quite a good battery life. I can definitely make it through a day with battery to spare. You can probably make it through two with a few tricks:
- Turn off google location reporting - this stops you using fitness apps, but has few other down sides
- Turning on aeroplane mode when you sleep. Or at least wifi and data.
- Turning the brightness down or not leaving the screen on.
- Using the built in power saving mode (cripples some features though)
Wireless charging is built in, but you'll have to buy a wireless charger. The official LG one is pretty decent.
The battery is removable! This is great because it will extend the life of your phone. Replace your battery after a year or two and battery life will be restored!
A few miscellaneous features include:
- Knock Code: make a pattern of taps in 4 sectors of a box on the screen to unlock it, even with the screen off. This is safer than a pattern lock (no grease patterns) and it's easier to do.
- Infra-red Blaster: Allows you to use your phone as a TV remote! Also works for many other devices that use infra-red.
- NFC with android beam
- Chromecast and Miracast for mirroring the display to TVs.