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Review: LG G3 smartphone

- August 6th, 2014

If you’re looking to upgrade to a premium smartphone, you can’t do much better than LG’s latest offering, the G3.

Released in North America on Aug. 1, the LG G3 is a lightweight, slim and sleek device that can satisfy even the most hardcore smartphone user. Taking its design cue from the LG G2, the G3′s only physical buttons (power and volume controls) are on the back of the device, leaving the front of the device almost entirely free for the touchscreen.

The battery is amazing. The G3 comes with 3,000 mAh battery which offers up to 21 hours of use and 26 days on standby. And while phones rarely live up to the stated specs on this, I was surprised that I could leave unplugged for a few days at a time without losing a significant amount of power.

(It reminds me of the old-school BlackBerry Curve 8310 I use for work, which can also last for days without charging. Of course, that’s because it runs on the Edge network and I basically only use it for e-mail.)

The LG G3, which runs on the 4G/LTE network, probably has the best battery around for smartphones, and will likely continue to do so until a company buys and implements that four-day battery researchers at Stanford are working on.

LG G3

LG G3. (Supplied)

At 5.5 inches, the G3′s IPS display provides quite a lot of screen real estate to view videos, play games or even just sort through apps on the menu screen. And its quad HD (2,560 pixels x 1,440 pixels) screen resolution is higher than most smartphones on the market today. (The upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has the same resolution for its 5.7-inch screen. But it’s the only I can think of off the top of my head.)

Granted, I’m not sure I can really tell the full quad HD resolution of the screen that size, but the G3 offers a bright, crisp, detailed image that, unlike some smartphones, isn’t oversaturated in colour. High resolution images look great and HD video plays  smoothly, with the 1 watt speaker (with 1.5 watt boost amp) offering a surprisingly rich sound for a mobile device. Music also sounds great on the device.

The LG G3 uses a 13 MP main camera with a 8x zoom and a 2.1 MP front-facing one and the camera software includes various features. In addition to the standard “laser” auto focus, you can use the magic focus mode which allows you to change the focus after you’ve taken the pictures.

There’s also a dual camera mode which takes a picture with both cameras at the same time, creating a picture-in picture of the 2.1 MP camera’s image superimposed on top of the 13 MP camera’s image. You can even drag the box of the smaller image around in the frame before taking the picture, to see where it best fits.

And there’s a panorama mode, which like most smartphones, only works as well as your steady hand.

The front-facing camera also has a feature that allows you to take selfies without touching the screen. You simply raise your hand in front of the lens, make a fist and it does a countdown from three and takes the pictures.

While I can see the hands-free selfies mode would have some uses and it might be occasionally fun to play around with the dual camera or panorama modes, I had mixed success with the magic focus.

In some instances, I was able to change the focal point by either picking a point on the screen or using a slider on the side, other times I could only seem to change the overall focus of the picture, not changing the focus point of it. It had the same effect as adding a simple blur filter in Photoshop.

The way the magic focus mode works is that the camera takes a series of photos at different focal lengths and then you choose which one works best. So if your subject isn’t stationary, it’s not the best feature to use.

But the quality of the images are quite remarkable. While the front-facing camera offered decent quality web photos for a 2.1 MP camera, the 13 MP camera offers a full colour palette for its bright images with not too much graininess even in low light situations.

Park photo

Here’s an example of a photo taken with the LG G3 using the basic laser auto focus feature.  It’s not the greatest light balance as the sun overexposed the background. But the trees and other foliage in the foreground have good detail. (Adam Swimmer/QMI Agency)

The main camera also shoots video and you can take photos at the same time. The G3 is far from the only camera that offers this functionality, but it’s always a nice feature to have.

Videos shot with the device have the same high image quality as photos and the sound is relatively good too, though it can be a little airy, depending on the background sound.

And the phone is fast too. Running on Android KitKat (4.4.2), the phone has 3 GB of RAM, uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor and runs at a clockspeed of up to 2.5 GHz.

This, once again, puts the LG G3 near-to-the-top of the heap. Apps load quickly and the screen is quite responsive to touch. And the 3 GB of RAM allows for several apps to be running at once with very little issues.

With the dimensions 146.3 mm-by-74.6 mm-by-8.9 mm and a weight of 149 g, the LG G3 might be a little awkward for people with smaller hands to carry around, but I found it easy to hold and use.

The LG G3 uses enhanced security, using a knock code as a screen lock, a kill switch to wipe the phone remotely and a content lock to allow you to lock individual files when sharing the phone with your friends.

It also comes with various other apps installed, such as the LG Health app which will count your steps during the day – if you’re one of those people who likes to keep track of how far you’ve walked in a day.

Really, there’s very little to criticize about this phone. Even calls are relatively clear. At least, they’re about as good as you’ll find on a cellphone nowadays. There’s the occasional tinniness but provided the person you’re talking to isn’t on a crap phone, the call should be clear and easy to make out.

Scooter, the newt

Here’s an obligatory phone review photo of Scooter, the newt shedding in its tank just to break up the text. Taken using the magic focus feature, in this instance, the feature worked well as it managed to compensate for the water and glass. (Adam Swimmer/QMI Agency)

My only real complaint about the phone is a design one. For some reason, LG put the headphone jack on the bottom of the phone instead of the top.

If you’re listening to music and the G3 is in your pocket, it will likely be upside down so the earphones don’t get caught underneath it. So if you have to pull it out to look at a text of something, the screen would also be upside down, which can be a nuisance

But this is a relatively minor complaint.

The LG G3 comes with 32 GB of internal memory and has a microSD slot to allow for additional storage of up to 2 TB. It is available through Bell, Rogers, MTS, Sasktel and Videotron. Bell has the best price for a two-year plan at $149.95, while Videotron has the best price with no contract at $599.95. (Though, Rogers is a close second at $599.99.)

"Review: LG G3 smartphone", out of 5 based on 1 ratings.
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1 comment

  1. JT | August 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    I can’t stand all these massive smartphones.

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