LG G4 vs LG G3: What’s new?

What’s the difference between the LG G4 and the LG G3? We take a look at some of the new features and specs

LG has announced its new flagship phone, the LG G4, another Quad HD phone, squarely aimed at taking on the Galaxy S6.

Packing

some seriously attractive specs and features, the G4 seems to be

building on the solid ground laid by last year’s flagship, but plagued

by leaks, there weren’t many surprises during the announcement.

For those of you who want to know how it stacks up against Trusted Reviews Phone of The Year 2014, the LG G3, we’ve compared some of the headline features.

LG G4 has a range of removable covers that includes leather

LG G4: Removable leather back
LG G3: 149g, 8.9mm thick

The

look of the LG G4 phone is probably be one of the most divisive aspects

of it. We’ve debated here at TR about whether or not we love or hate

the leather back options, but the team are split right down the middle.

Thankfully it’s removable, but as a first impression, it’s a bit

off-putting for some — at least it’s genuine leather.

If you do

decide to take the cover off, there are other options, including up to

six different coloured leather backs at launch and some non-leather

alternatives, featuring some modern textured plastic/metal/ceramic

surfaces. We especially like the look of the diamond-patterned rear

cover.

SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia Z4 vs Sony Xperia Z3

The most obvious difference between this year’s and last

year’s model is that the G4 has a Slim Arc design, giving it a subtle

curve for greater ergonomics, and LG argues that the curve provides the

added benefit of greater durability.

Last year the G3 had a similarly mixed reception with its brushed metal back. Some people wanted actual metal, like the HTC One M8, while others were happy because the lack of metal kept the large phone relatively light.

Still

with no water proofing though, there isn’t much to choose between these

two on looks. Both carry a certain sense of style and refinement, but

we prefer the curves newer model.

The LG G4 has a brighter, more colourful Quantum LCD

LG G4: 5.5-inch Quad HD IPS Quantum LCD
LG G3: 5.5-inch Quad HD True HD-IPS LCD

After

striking out ahead of the pack and bringing us the first globally

released smartphone with a Quad HD display, LG has stuck to its guns

instead of dropping resolution for the sake of battery life.

So

once again we have a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 (QHD) display, but this year’s

model has an improved colour gamut. According to LG, the colour

reproduction of the screen has been increased by 20%, by using a new

type of liquid crystal. The new process the company is using has also

supposedly boosted brightness, sharpness and contrast. We look forward

to putting this to the test.

But with all of that said, last

year’s flagship wasn’t exactly crap, in fact it’s one of the best

screens we’ve ever seen — it made my £2000 TV look standard definition.

SEE ALSO: Camera Test: iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S5 vs LG G3

G4 gets a 64-bit hexa-core processor

LG G4: 1.8GHz Snapdragon 808 hexa-core, 64-bit, 3GB RAM
LG G3: 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core, 32-bit, 3GB RAM

Surprisingly,

LG has opted for the slightly underpowered Snapdragon 808 SoC in its

latest flagship, compared to Qualcomm’s top spec 810 unit that’s used in

the HTC One M9.

But it’s still an improvement over the LG G3,

which used the 2GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor. The 808’s

hexa-core chip brings battery performance improvements, better support

for 3D gaming and should deliver faster performance overall compared to

the 801 used previously.

The six cores of the LG G4 are arranged

in a big.LITTLE configuration, using the same 20nm process used to make

the top spec Snapdragon 810 SoC. This means that even though it may not

be quite as powerful or efficient, it is a definite step up from what LG

did with the G3 last year, and that phone was no slouch.

Compared

to the G3, the G4 should win out in the power steaks, but it may have a

tougher battle against the other 2015 flagships.

LG G4 gets a much faster f/1.8 lens and larger sensor

LG G4: 16MP rear, 1/2.6-inch; f/1.8 lens; 8MP front
LG G3: 13MP rear, 1/3-inch, f/2.4 lens; 2.1MP front

Last

year LG set a standard with its fantastic 13-megapixel camera, optical

image stabilisation and “laser-autofocus”. It was fast and produced high

quality images. It even managed to squeeze in UHD video recording at 30

frames per second.

That sensor in that camera, created by Sony,

has become a staple for many cameras that have followed in the LG G3’s

wake. So this year, the Korean tech giants have decided to raise the bar

a little higher. This time opting for a 16-megapixel unit, likely the

same sensor used in the Samsung Galaxy S6, so it should be highly

capable.

The new UX 4.0 has made the camera operation faster

too. With new Quick Shot mode, the camera can be launched and take a

picture in as quick as 0.6 seconds. But the biggest deal is that the LG

G4 can shoot in RAW format and offers full manual control.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 

The LG

G4 also has improved optical image stabilisation (OIS 2.0), laser

autofocus (as quick as 0.276 seconds) and UHD video recording, so we

would expect it to be great for video, as well as in low light thanks to

the larger sensor and f/1.8 lens. The front-facing camera has had an

even more significant overhaul, now up to fabulous 8-megapixels from a

pitiful 2.1-megapixels.

The G4 has an improved gesture shot

function that will take pictures without you needing to press the

shutter button. Selfie lovers will definitely prefer the LG G4 over the

G3.

You still get a microSD card

LG G4: 32GB, microSD
LG G3: 16GB, microSD

This

year LG has doubled the leading phone’s internal storage, now up to

32GB from 16GB. This seems to be a trend among flagships these days, so

it’s great to see LG keeping up.

But better still, LG has kept

the memory expansion slot – take that Samsung and Apple. This means that

the LG G4 not only has more in-built memory than last year’s model, but

it can also be expanded up to 128GB using a micro SD card.

Android Lollipop and a new UX

LG G4: Android 5.1, LG UX 4.0
LG G3: Android 4.4 upgradeable to Android 5.0

The

new LG G4 is running Android 5.1 out of the box infused with LG’s own

UX 4.0. The new user interface has been developed following a global

consumer trial and should offer a range of solutions that make the phone

easier to use and more useful on the whole.

But the LG G3 also

has Android Lollipop now, so not too much difference here. We’ll have to

wait until we get our full review sample before we can comment on

whether or not the new UX 4.0 represents an improvement or not.

The

new G4 does apparently have the most accurate navigation capabilities

of any smartphone right now, thanks to Qualcomm’s IZat location service.

This means it should be able to deliver improved tracking whilst inside

buildings. Retailers will love this, but will also be great for

providing G4 owners with more accurate location based notifications.

SEE ALSO: Android 5.0 Lollipop tips and tricks

Same battery as last year

LG G4: Removable 3000mAh battery
LG G3: Removable 3000mAh battery

Despite

being the same capacity, the new LG G4 should be able to get more than a

day’s use on a single charge, thanks in part to the Snapdragon 808’s

more efficient processor.

The LG G3 has a large battery, but its

power hungry screen went through it at a fast rate, meaning the phone

would often need a top up charge at least once a day. For that reason, a

few people speculated that LG would ditch the QHD display. But instead,

the company has decided to stick with it and go for greater power

efficiency.

The new intelligent battery saving features, such as

the new Graphic RAM that can put the phone’s CPU to sleep when still

images are on screen. Other power saving functions that give you greater

control over power hungry applications are also included, but these

functions at least are becoming standard on phones these days. The LG G3

handles power draining apps in a similar function, although the Graphic

RAM feature of the G4 looks like a great addition.

Early Verdict

The

real story here is the camera and the battery. The LG G4 has some

impressive specifications and although it isn’t running on a top spec

processor, it seems some great work has been done to make this phone

very power efficient.

Last year’s LG G3 was an incredible phone,

so there wasn’t too much room for improvement, at least not so soon. The

pricing of the LG G3 also makes it a very strong contender, considering

it’s still flagship quality for less than £400. The improved camera

functions, along with an better Quad HD display and enhanced battery

performance are all welcome improvements.

All things considered,

this isn’t a huge update, but LG seems to have done a good job of

making a great phone a fair bit better.