- 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
Originally reviewed on 26 August 2014
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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