LG G3 review

evan kypreos




  • Recommended by TR

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Our Score:



  • Pin-sharp QHD screen
  • Good camera, particularly in low-light
  • Extremely ergonomic for such a large phone
  • Costs less than the competition
  • Slick and simple UI


  • Average battery life
  • Screen could be brighter
  • Poor speaker

Key Features

  • 5.5-inch QHD screen
  • Android 4.4
  • 13MP camera with OIS
  • Manufacturer: LG
  • Review Price: £500.00

Originally reviewed on 26 August 2014

This phone has been replaced: LG G5

Update: The LG G3 has dropped in price and that makes it a bargain

There’s a hell of a lot to like about the LG G3. For a start it was the winner of the TrustedReviews Best Phone Award 2014. Its combination of clever design, excellent camera and top-notch screen made it a cult favourite that deserves to sell by the bucket-load. In a world with Apple’s iPhone 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy S6, though, that’s a tricky feat.

Buy Now: LG G3 at Amazon.com from $200

Watch our LG G3 video review

And even though the LG G3 has now been superceded by the LG G4, it’s still a formidable phone – particularly when you factor in its new low price of £260 / $380 SIM free. That really is a bargain and here’s why.

Firstly you get a 5.5-inch screen in a phone that’s not far off the size of the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5. This really is a phablet trapped in a normal phone’s body. It’s not just the size of the screen that’s a bonus – it is also super-sharp thanks to a QHD resolution. That’s a lot sharper than the more recent 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, although the LG G3 doesn’t quite match up in the brightness stakes.

Performance is also still as good as you’ll probably ever need. The quadcore Snapdragon 801 processor in the LG G3 powered a bevy of 2014 smartphones and tablets and is still plenty fast for daily use.

The best thing about the LG G3, though, is it’s 13-megapixel camera. This is arguably as good as the ones on the newer iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy Note 4. With optical image stabilization and incredibly fast laser focusing it manages to capture moments brilliantly. If cameras are the most important aspect of a phone for you then this is a big selling point, but the LG G4 does an even better job and comes with a manual mode that makes you feel like a proper photographer.

So what’s the catch? Well we’ve already mentioned that the screen isn’t the brightest, but the LG G3’s biggest problem is that despite packing a large battery its battery life isn’t that great. It’s not bad – it’ll last you a day – it’s just not as good as we’d like.

These are minor qualms, however. It’s difficult to think of another phone that offers as much bang for buck as the LG G3 manages to at its new price point.

Related: iPhone 7

What is the LG G3?

The LG G3 might have been one of the last flagship phones to arrive in 2014, but it's by no means the least. And it's a worthy successor to the excellent LG G2.

This Android handset has an excellent 5.5-inch QHD screen and laser-focusing camera. Not only has LG caught up with the competition, but in some cases it's raced past its rivals.

Since the LG G3 arrived, the iPhone 6 has shaken up the top of the phone tree, but an update to Android 5.0 Lollipop is on its way, which should help the LG G3 become even slicker.

Watch our LG G3 video

SEE ALSO: LG G3 vs G2: What's changed?

LG G3: Design

The LG G3 is a massive phone that somehow manages to only feel big. Not too big.

For a start it’s light – just 149g. That does make it 4g heavier than the Galaxy S5, but it is more than 10g lighter than the HTC One M8 or Sony Xperia Z2. That doesn’t sound that impressive until you consider that the LG G3 packs a rather special 5.5-inch screen – almost half an inch larger than its key competitors.

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The LG G3 on the left next to the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8

The slim screen bezels and tapered edge design also help the LG G3 feel reasonably trim when held. Its height and thickness are almost identical to the HTC One M8, although it is half a centimetre wider (dimensions: 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm).

The width is one of its most important aspects of a phone, it’s what most makes you stretch and juggle to reach a corner of a screen when using it one-handed. The LG G3 is not quite as easy to handle as the HTC One M8, but it’s not far off and the benefit of the bigger screen makes the little bit of extra hassle a worthwhile trade-off. This is even more the case when comparing it to the Galaxy S5 which is just 2mm narrower but has a 0.4-inch smaller screen.

SEE ALSO: Best Phablets 2015

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For such a big phone the LG G3’s ergonomics are impressive. The rear power and volume buttons that first made an appearance on the LG G2 are back, and they’re much better. Using buttons you can’t see on the rear of a phone takes a little getting used to. Once you do, though, you’ll really begin to value that there are no awkward side or top buttons that can be accidently knocked or that feel lumpy under your fingers as you hold the phone. The controls are also easy to reach with either index finger so there’s no difference to using the G3 whether you’re a lefty or a righty.

The buttons themselves are elegant, with the power button recessed into the vertical volume rocker making it easy to tell the difference by feel alone. The power button is circular with a faint concentric circle pattern while the volume rocker is oval and comes with a dotted texture. And while there’s no dedicated camera button you can get quick access by pressing the volume down button for two seconds. Do the same with the volume up button and Quickmemo pops on screen. LG has thought about the button design very carefully and it shows.

SEE ALSO: LG G3 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

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With the buttons hidden away on the back there’s nothing to break the clean lines of the LG G3 aside from a 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB port at the bottom. This doesn’t just help with holding the phone comfortably. It is also more aesthetically pleasing.

It’s a bit of a shame, then, that the phone as a whole doesn’t feel quite as premium as it could. There’s nothing wrong with plastic, it doesn’t feel as slick to hold as metal but it can be a fine material to use for a phone. The Nexus 5 is a good example of a plastic phone that feels more expensive than it actually is.

The plastic rim that goes around the whole of the LG G3 and the plastic that surrounds the screen both feel like the same kind of material you find on cheaper phones. The removable back-plate that hides the microSD, micro-SIM and removable battery is a lot better, though, and is a big step up from the glossy plastic on the LG G2. Although also made of plastic it comes with a thin metallic coating that gives it a slight sheen and texture. You won’t mistake it for metal when you’re holding it, but it looks good, is suitably grippy and does a fantastic job of avoiding greasy finger marks.

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The LG G3’s design is a safe one that won’t polarise opinion as much as the dimpled back of the Galaxy S5 does, but at the same time won’t gain the plaudits of the solid and refined metal HTC One M8. And while LG has managed to keep the G3 as trim as possible for a phone with a 5.5-inch screen it is still a very big phone. If you’re used to sub-5-inch phones we recommend you go in store and try it before buying, particularly if you’re planning to add a case for protection.

Prem Desai

June 24, 2014, 3:15 pm

Looks interesting, especially for the price. Still a lot of money though.

If it was around £300, this would be THE phone to have.

LG need to get rid of the split screen nonsense or do it properly.

Why are you expecting an extra 1Gb of memory to make any difference? This is only used when running several apps at the same time.


June 25, 2014, 12:15 pm

It is a fair amount of money but it's cheaper than other phones of this spec. There are very good phones around for less but they all tend to have quite a serious disadvantage somewhere along the line. The Nexus 5 for example is £300 but I'd pay the extra for the camera on this because I take a lot of phone pics and video.

We didn't expect an extra 1gb to make much difference it's just a little explanation that it's not something to worry about too much, especially as it's only going to the South Korean market (to start with anyway). A German site did some tests and found it to be a few percent faster in most tests (around 5% overall) https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Edit: The test was with no other apps running so there is a small benefit even when running a single app.

Prem Desai

June 25, 2014, 4:31 pm

Agree with you about the price - it is cheaper than the competition.

I'm just saying that if it was £300 or thereabouts, it would define a whole new price point and sell exceptionally well. A bit like the Moto G which went on to become THE phone to buy at that price.

LG prices usually come down after the initial release so let's see ....


June 25, 2014, 4:48 pm

Yup - someone needs to "do a Moto G" at this end of the spectrum.


June 29, 2014, 7:23 am

Can you put the main specs in table on the first page. I don't like to wade through to find out about removable battery and microsd.


July 1, 2014, 11:16 pm

Great phone.. Gonna wait till September..

Btw, which stand to you use?
Please provide with a link if it's possible..


David T

August 21, 2014, 7:15 pm

I'm late to the party but the 3GB wouldn't really change the benchmark results and should not be expected to. What it should help is with the smoothness of the phone during daily use; switching between apps which may use a lot of RAM. It's possible that apps may use memory due to the ultra high resolution.

Terrel Thompson

August 22, 2014, 3:21 am

Average battery life!?!?!?
you might want to do another test on that lol

David T

August 22, 2014, 5:45 pm

Err they have, it's called the Nexus range...


August 24, 2014, 2:39 pm

Loving this phone, I just bought it and I'm already in love with it! The 3GB RAM is absolutely a killer, its almost as much as my laptop!

The Laser Focus has to be the fastest focus I've ever encountered! The camera delivers brilliant quality pictures too!

Check out my own review here: http://tech-xyz.com/which-s...

Charles Ha

August 24, 2014, 11:30 pm

can anyone tell me what the setting is under the front facing camera and press the settings (wrench). theres 2 heads facing outwards and if you press it, they both face left. i cant seem to find out what this does... anyone???


September 11, 2014, 12:40 pm

I just bought mine a week ago and boy oh boy is it a brilliant phone so far..... in the first 2 days that i had the phone i saw it needed a software update, i thought it was strange because we did all the updates in store, but non the less i did the update and one of the features for the update was a battery performance enhancer, after doing that my battery is 10x better!!! Not that it was bad before but now it lasts even longer!!

Joshua Cooper

September 12, 2014, 4:40 pm

I love this phone, but the battery life is below average. I have uninstalled a few apps and tried monitoring my battery life. After 6 hours of ONLY texting about 20 times, 20 minutes of music, and the rest on standby the battery has went from 100% to 29%. How in the world did you do all those things and the battery last ALL DAY? Wow, this is some kind of joke right?

Andis Zvanbergs

September 16, 2014, 9:21 pm

About 15-20% battery per hour than display is on with avarage brightness. 1% - 4-6 hours on standby than wifi is on, mobile data on and bluetooth on. I am not gamer, for me this phone holds 2 full days, 2 hours on display per day (web browsing, some youtube video, messages and calls). Also this phone have very good network reception, possibly one of the best antenas in world, not sure but i am happy enough.

Andis Zvanbergs

September 16, 2014, 9:23 pm

Dont buy phones on ebay, mostly sellers selling refurbished phones, whats why they are cheaper than in shops and sometimes faulty.

Andis Zvanbergs

September 16, 2014, 9:24 pm

Perhaps you got faulty phone


September 16, 2014, 11:22 pm

I don't know about you guys but my phones battery life sucks, I am a big widget user but haven't added any because of this. I also get told that they can NOT hear me. I have traded my phone thinking that it was a bad one but NOPE its not. I am disappointed with this phone. My G2 was better call quality and battery life was too (i know its because of the screen quality).

Joshua Cooper

September 17, 2014, 2:10 pm

Perhaps! I really hope that is the case, and if it is, I REALLY hope verizon will let me try another one out. :/

Kanishka Ray

September 24, 2014, 4:45 am

A full day of use off a full charge and my battery is still over 70%. Light use, I've seen it in high 80% area. If I tether and use the camera a lot....I've seen it go as low as 58%. The battery life is superb.


October 24, 2014, 11:57 am

I got this phone in early August - had a Nexus 5 before that and previously iPhone 5 and 4S. The LG G3 is by far the best of the lot, much better battery life than the Nexus 5, great screen and nice thin bezels, which in my opinion, make it look much more elegant and streamlined than any iPhone or Sony phones, both of which have unattractive wide bezels top and bottom. I really can't imagine how this phone could be better for my use. I mainly read news and sports apps, kindle ebooks, emails and web browsing - no graphics intensive games or videos. I have no regrets with this phone, the first time I can say that, so I highly recommend it.

Hakki Döngel

November 7, 2014, 4:50 pm

wow , i could only dream of that...
i have the 32gb - 3gb ram version and today i only got a lousy 2.5 hrs of screen on time. havent watched any vids, i was on wifi for an hour or so... there certainly is something wrong


December 7, 2014, 2:27 am

Just curious: have you solved this problem somehow?

Prem Desai

December 11, 2014, 2:15 pm

It is £300 now and I have got it.



December 13, 2014, 9:24 pm

I think it's a "beautify" button. It makes your skin tones look better in different lighting.

Basket of Winning ✓ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖ

December 18, 2014, 12:39 am

You have settings and apps that are generating too much activity.
Learn to phone.

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