Hands-on: LG G3 [VIDEO]

LG G3 IMG_5365

Last year’s LG G2 came as a pleasant surprise, rear button and all. In 2014, Korea’s other major smartphone maker brings the innovative design back for round two, today unveiling the highly-anticipated (and highly-leaked) LG G3. Does the successor to the 2013 sleeper hit once again knock (pun intended) one out of the park?

For anyone that has seen or used the G2, the G3 is immediately familiar, yet it retains a fresh feel with a redesigned rear button and brushed metal finish. That finish uses a metal layer to achieve the look, but it comes with a matte coating to aid in its durability and make for easy cleaning and care. The back cover is removable, revealing a 3000mAh battery within the belly of LG’s beast.

But back to the back button. The G3 does away with its quick functions by default, relegating its use as the power/standby button and volume rocker out of the box. Fans of the selfie shortcut and one-button access to Quick Notes will be happy to know that these functions can be restored easily via the settings menu. Unfortunately, the buttons can still not be mapped to other user-defined functions.

Moving around to the front of the device comes another cornerstone of the G3’s design — its Quad HD display. The G3 offers four times the resolution of a phone with a standard HD display, and the display is built around IPS technology for solid color reproduction. It looks great, but the extra pixels might be a little wasted on the 5.5-inch display. It’s hard to say whether the higher resolution really makes a difference, and the advantage is arguable, but we liked what we saw. Is it the smartphone display to beat? Time will tell.

Given the color and clarity of the Quad HD display, it’s a wonder LG went with a more muted color scheme for the G3’s user interface overhaul. Don’t get me wrong, this is perhaps the most welcomed change to the G3, but if it were any other manufacturer bright colors would have no doubt been the emphasis to really showcase the screen technology. That’s neither here nor there, though. We don’t want to undersell the extreme improvements LG has made to their user interface with the G3.

In past releases, LG’s take on Android was perhaps our biggest gripe. Here it is one of the phone’s key advantages. This still isn’t the super stock implementation we would like, but it’s the closest it has ever been on an LG phone. As is the trend, flat, simple design cues can be found throughout.

Let’s touch on the G3’s camera for a moment. It turns out the mysterious sensor located to the side of the 13MP camera that was spied in leaks is a laser blaster. Why include a laser blaster? To offer super fast image focusing. And it is fast. We tested it out around the demo room floor and found it to be quite adept at quickly focusing on and snapping impressive shots. Advanced optical image stabilization further adds to the camera’s abilities.

This all, of course, is merely scratching the surface of what LG has accomplished with the G3. Will its allure outlast our initial excitement? That is the question we hope to answer when we get a chance to further review the handset. For now, check out our above hands-on video for a bit more about the new G3. Release dates aren’t quite clear yet, but one thing is certain. When the G3 touches down, it will come as a worthy competitor to other current Android powerhouses like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8.

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  • AbbyZFresh

    Reminds me too much of the Galaxy S5 interface. Especially with the sliding to the left.

    • Phaz0n

      This is my biggest gripe with this device, and why I continue to stick with Vanilla Android.

      • InfDaMarvel

        I personally couldnt care about software at all, considering I always install a Custom Rom such as CM11. Which is your a Vanilla guy, you should think the same.

        • Phaz0n

          I’ve never been into rooting or modding much. It hasn’t been an issue since I’ve pretty much stuck to the Nexus line.

  • a) youth.in.asia

    IPS is soooo much better

    • New_Guy777

      In what sense? Sorry, but Amoled seems to be the best offering currently. The S5 got the best rating in color matching, brightest in direct sunlight (granted, auto needed to be turned on), dimmest (again, only with auto), truest blacks, highest contrast ratios, best viewing angles, and beats LCD in the battery department all hollow. Maybe I’m missing something, but looking at the above list, I don’t think so…

      • a) youth.in.asia

        LOL iPS …must be an Apple thing

        • Guillaume

          They have a patent on the i ?

  • aranea100

    how much is it?

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    I love the battery life on the g2. Hope this beast can match or better it. It looks gorgeous, lets hope it performs great as well. I am so over Samsung. Google Edition would be great.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      I think the only way I’d consider getting this phone is if LG makes the smart move by introducing a Google Play edition.

      • Guillaume

        I’ll get it regardless, but I’ll definitely stick an AOSP ROM on it the moment I see one coming.

        • j7981

          I’ll give LG’s UI a good try first (although I’ll still probably go with a ROM)

    • Ana

      Yes, it would be very cool to see a google play edition!

  • jackdubl

    How does that metal back cover vibe with being removable? Seems like that would need to be flexible and elastic, i.e. plastic.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Well, LG says it’s a “metallic” material meaning plastic made to look/feel like metal.

  • noelsito

    i love it. it looks like a grown up LG Optimus :)

  • harold

    Why is it black on top and white on bottom?

    • Dwight

      To make the bottom bezel look smaller. I think it looks nifty ;)

      • j7981

        I’ll admit I didn’t like the design at first, but it’s starting to grow on me

  • UMA_Fan

    Look where we are today. I remember getting weirded out hearing about how LG might make an Android phone one day and again when I saw a LG made Android phone. Heck, I was weirded out when I heard Samsung might make an Android phone!

    • Guillaume

      I was weirded out when I heard Google would make an OS for phones and call it Android

  • Robabobbob

    Can you disable the G-screen without installing an alternative launcher?

  • Adam Berg

    I am no fan of this design. Looks like a Htc and it looks like it has a plastic film over the metal just as the M8. Even the carbone on s5 looks less plastic. Carbone (especially on the Note 3) is far better then metal when it comes to call and wifi reception, less prone to scratch or break, isn’t freaking hot or cold when not used and it definitely makes the phone lighter.
    The screen is a nice stop up and easily beats the M8, but it doesn’t come close the S5 screen or even the oled on Note 3.
    If you want a phone around 5.5″ I would still recommend the Note 3, the only exception being if low light pictures is your no 1 priority.