LG G3 Review: QHD High Res Android Power

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LG is probably getting a little tired of scraping for brand recognition versus big names like Samsung, Apple and yes, even Google.  However, the company is also likely taking solace in the fact that their smartphone sales figures are heading for an all-time high in 2014, with an estimated 60 million units projected to be sold this year.  Part of that success probably comes from private label sales of devices like the LG-made Google Nexus 5, though the LG G2 certainly sold its fair share as well. So, at the end of the day, LG is sort of the "sleeper" of smartphone makers and as a major OEM display manufacturer, they've got the chops to compete with the best of breed in the race for superphone dominance.

LG's third iteration of their popular "G" line of flagship smartphones, simply dubbed the LG G3, is the culmination of all of the innovation the company has developed in previous devices to date, including its signature rear button layout, along with cutting-edge IPS display technology that only a first tier manufacturer can muster.  In fact, the G3's 5.5-inch QHD display drives a resolution of 2560X1440 with a pixel density of 538 PPI, one of the highest density smartphone displays to hit the market to date.  With high-end, flagship smartphones, the display is a major-league part of the experience. 

Does LG's G3 break out and deliver?  Let's take a look in our hands-on demo and then put it through its paces...


LG G3 Android Flagship
Specifications & Features
  • Display: 5.5-inch Quad HD IPS (2560 x 1440, 538ppi)
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 801 Quad-Core processor up to 2.5 GHz
  • 13MP OIS+ (Optical Image Stabilizer Plus) camera with Laser Auto Focus
  • Polished metallic skin and "Floating Arc" form factor
  • Memory: 32GB eMMC ROM / 3GB DDR 3 RAM / microSD slot (128GB)
  • Camera: Rear 13.0MP with OIS+ and Laser Auto Focus, Dual LED Flash / Front 2.1MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android™ 4.4.2 KitKat
  • Size: 146.3 X 74.6 X 8.95mm
  • Weight: 149.8g
  • Network: LTE / HSPA+ 21 Mbps / CDMA
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (APT-x), NFC,
  • SlimPort, A-GPS/Glonass, USB 2.0
  • Color: Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold
  • Redesigned graphic user interface (GUI): "Simple is the New Smart" concept of the LG G3
  • Other: 1 Watt Speaker with Boost Amp, Smart Notice, Smart Keyboard, Knock Code™

Running down the G3's spec list, we're looking at a feature-complete assortment of the latest technologies in the handset space, including Qualcomm's powerful quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor at 2.5GHz.  This is the same SoC found in Samsung's Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 and LG has backed it up with a healthy 3GB of RAM on the 32GB device we tested, no doubt to help with buffering for rendering images across the G3's super high res 2560X1440 display. 

Also on board is 802.11ac WiFi connectivity and a large 3000mAh battery to support that 5.5-inch high res display, but perhaps more notable is the phone's 13MP high resolution camera with optical image stabilization and laser auto-focus.



What's interesting about the camera is that LG boasts exceptionally fast auto-focus times afforded by the G3's laser targeting system.  Essentially, the rear-mounted laser paints the subject in the shot to allow the phone to determine depth and range.  In theory it sounds like a great idea and in practice we found it to work impressively well, but more on this later.

For now, let's take a closer look at the build quality and design aesthetics of the LG G3...
 

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