A Quick Hands-On Review of the LG G3

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LG announced the LG G3 a few weeks ago to much fanfare.  In fact, there wasn’t much we didn’t know about the smartphone prior to its official announcement thanks to a continuous series of leaks, but Android fans were wowed by the device nonetheless. Boasting a Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM and a 5.5 inch Quad HD display, Apple could find themselves in trouble by the time the iPhone 6 lands in the fall. The LG G3 was and continues to be a smash hit in Korea, selling like hotcakes in LG’s home country, and is poised to do so upon its release in the U.S.

We received a Korean version of the LG G3, and although we’re still working on the full review we wanted to give you a quick look at what could possibly be the best smartphone ever. The G3 oozes quality from every pore, with a slim and light body with a beefy spec sheet to boot. I’ve only had the G3 in my grubby hands since last Friday, and its allure has all but convinced me to throw all of my cash at LG as soon as the G3 launches in the U.S. Why, you may ask? Read on to find out!

Specs

Saying that the G3 packs a punch is a bit of an understatement. On par with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and just a tad below the HTC One M8 in the performance department, the G3 quickly whizzes through apps and anything you can throw at it. The G3 packs 3GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz, a 3,000mAh battery, 13MP rear-facing camera with OIS+ and laser auto focus and runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The G3 comes with 32GB of internal storage which can be expanded up to 128GB via an included microSD card slot. The G3 boasts NFC, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE and a 1 watt speaker placed on the rear.

Design

The G3 follows the same design aesthetics of the G2, with minimal bezels and a slightly curved backside – or “floating arc” as LG calls it – which makes for a great feel when holding the device in the hand. Yes, the G3 is a large device, but it can be operated with one hand without any fear of slippage. Weighing in at 149.8 grams, the G3 feels light for such a huge device, and is quite a bit lighter than the G2. The G3 features a polished metallic backside, a departure from the G2′s plasticky back. While the G3′s backside is not all aluminum like the M8, it helps add a sense of durability to the device, and helps keep the G3 from scratches and bumps. That’s a good move on LG’s part, as the back of the G2 picks up tiny scratches like nobody’s business. You’re still going to want to buy a case for the G3 though, as a direct drop will most certainly ding up the edges. And besides, who’d want to scuff up such a pretty screen?

 

The G3′s back panel can be popped off, revealing the SIM card tray, microSD card slot and a removable battery. Taking the back panel off is a cinch, but does require a little muscle. Rear buttons ala the G2 and G Flex show up on the rear, sporting a slightly recessed disposition. It’s a little touch, but one that pays off in spades. The recessed buttons ultimately make for a more comfortable fit in the hand, and doesn’t feel awkward like the G2′s rear buttons do.

Camera

Aside from the display, the G3′s camera is easily one of the devices best features. The 13 megapixel OIS+ rear-facing camera is hands down the best I’ve used so far on any smartphone, blowing the GS5, HTC One M8 and Nokia Lumia Icon out of the water. Pictures come out clear and crisp, giving colors just enough pop to look sharp and not blur out like most other smartphone cameras do. The G3 takes amazing nighttime shots even without the flash, and features a laser to help auto focus pictures. While laser auto focus may sound like a gimmick, it’s anything but; just snap one pic with the G3 and you’ll be drooling all over LG’s new Android device.

Gesture controls play a huge part in the G3′s camera. Switching cameras is super easy thanks to the ability to swipe up or down in the camera app, and selfies can be snapped by holing up your hand and making a fist. Once the camera detects your fist, it starts a three-second timer, giving you some time to pose for your big moment. Speaking of selfies, the G3 will brighten up your shot with a soft light, single-handedly ending the era of dark and blurred out profile pics. The front-facing camera only packs 2.1MP, but pictures come out clear and lack pixelation which happens all too often when using a front-facing camera. The G3′s camera also boasts a tap to shoot feature, a simplified camera viewing area which rids your screen of those pesky camera setting icons when taking a picture.

 

Software

The LG G3 runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat, although you wouldn’t think so given LG’s redesigned UI. While that’s usually a bad sign, it’s quite the contrary on the G3. LG’s customizations are actually welcome here, bringing a light and airy feel to the G3. LG managed to pack its proprietary features into the G3 without any sacrifice to screen space or performance. As you’d expect, KnockON, and KnockCode are included in the G3, as well as a smart keyboard and a new feature called SmartNotice which is basically LG’s answer to Google Now. While it doesn’t boast as many features as Google Now, it signals the beginning of a personal assistant for LG devices that can only get better with time. SmartNotice can be accessed by navigating to the left-most home screen window.

So far the LG G3 is the most impressive Android device I’ve ever used, and after almost a week I’ve still got some features and goodies to discover. There’s plenty more to the G3 than I’ve covered here, so be sure to check  back next week for the full review.

Start saving up some cash folks. You’re gonna fall in love with the LG G3.

 

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