LG G3 Review: QHD High Res Android Power

Design and Build Quality

The LG G3 definitely has a premium look and feel to it, and it maintains good serviceability with a plastic removable backing. The shape of the device is what LG refers to as a "floating arch."  This shape does trim the phone down somewhat compared to other 5.5-inch and larger devices and it also affords slightly better "pocketability." 

This contoured shape also cradles better in your hand with more surface contact area intrinsic to the G3's shape.  Though the G3's smooth backing has a slick feel, the shape of the device lets you keep a better grip on it.  Our G3's removable plastic cover has a pewter color (LG calls this "Metallic Black" but there are white and gold versions too), and brushed aluminum look to it.  Interestingly, this metallic painted skin has a better feel in the hand and minimizes fingerprints really well, compared to many other flagship smartphone designs on the market currently that employ a similar plastic backing.

Our demo unit was a Korean model, so don't mind the unfamiliar logo.  The G3 will be available soon on all of the majors networks including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.  On the rear of the device you can see the power and volume rocker button assembly LG pioneered with the LG G2.  With the G3, however, this setup is a bit more refined, offering even easier control with a slightly less prominent bump out but larger button surface area overall.  If you're skeptical of the G3's unconventional volume and power button layout, don't be. After spending a day or so with it, it begins to feel like home and ultimately works just as well.  Though it's personal preference, I had no problem making the transition from the dozens of devices I've used with edge-mounted button and rocker controls.  Coupled with LG's screen "Knock-On" technology, some might even argue that it's a touch more convenient, actually.

Popping the back cover off the G3, you'll find a dual-tray, combination microSIM and microSD card slot. The G3 supports up to an additional 128GB of storage via microSD, over and above its existing on-board storage.  The G3's 3000mAh battery is quite large but the added weight doesn't bring a tangible difference to the product, versus say a 5-inch device with a smaller battery, like the Nexus 5, for example.

The key differentiator with LG's new G3 flagship Android phone is of course its 5.5-inch IPS display with a native resolution of 2560X2440.  Pictures and video can't do it justice, you have to see the level of sharpness and detail in person to appreciate it.  That said, versus the dozens of smartphones on the market with 1080p displays, it's questionable whether or not the extra screen resolution offers a significant advantage. Text does look super crisp and viewing UHD content (pics or video) looks fantastic.  However, other than LG's high res app icons, which do have a bit more pop, there really aren't any Android apps that take advantage of this much screen resolution, with the exception of web browsing.  At 2560X1440 res, you can get a lot more of a page on screen but text can be really tight and if you're not blessed with 20/20 (fortunately, I am), you may find yourself turning up text zoom settings in the browser control panel.

Conversely, the G3 is built with a very trim bezel assembly and more than many other smartphones on the market, this device feels and looks like it's just all screen area.  The G3 has a very "spacious" feel overall.  Finally, viewing angles on the G3 are solid, colors are vibrant with good contrast and a balanced default screen temperature setup as well. However, the G3's display could be a bit brighter and outdoor viewing in sunny settings can challenge the G3.

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