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LG G3 review: An impressive smartphone with a WQHD display

Christopher Minasians Katharine Byrne
31 Jan 2017
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
490
inc VAT

With its huge 2,560x1,440 display, innovative apps, excellent camera and fast performance, the G3 remains an incredible smartphone

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Screen size: 5.5in, Screen resolution: 2,560x1,440, Rear camera: 2.1-megapixel, Storage: 16GB, Wireless data: 4G, 3G, Size: 146x74x8.9mm, Weight: 149g, Operating system: Android 4.4.2

LG G3 review: Performance

In terms of performance, the G3 is right up there with the HTC One (m8) and Samsung Galaxy S5. With a quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, it completed our Sunspider JavaScript benchmark in a lightning-fast 649ms using its default browser, and we saw no signs of lag or hesitation whatsoever when browsing the web. Image-heavy pages were quick to load and scrolling and panning around zoomed-in pages was incredibly smooth.

The G3's graphics performance wasn't quite as good on paper as the One (m8) and S5's, but this isn't surprising given the G3 has to render almost double the number of pixels. Taking this into account, the phone's Adreno 330 GPU coped brilliantly with our graphics benchmarks, as it scored a respectable 8,552 (roughly 34.9fps) in the Extreme version of 3DMark Ice Storm. It even managed a smooth 28.9fps in the Epic Citadel benchmark on Ultra High-quality settings at a resolution of 2,392x1,440, so the G3 should be able to handle any game available in the Google Play Store.

Of course, powering such a large screen is going to take its toll on the G3's battery life, but the handset's huge 3,000mAh battery still lasted an impressive 13 hours and 12 minutes in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to half brightness. This is just 16 minutes shy of the HTC One (m8) under the same conditions, so you should be able to get a full day's use out of the G3 without having to charge it up during the day.

LG G3 review: Camera

According to LG, the G3's 1/3in camera sensor has laser autofocus technology. This means the camera supposedly takes just 0.276ms to focus on a subject, which is less than a blink of an eye. When taking landscape shots, the camera took no time at all to focus and the resulting images were well exposed and showed plenty of fine detail. This fast focus is great news, as shots often present themselves quickly and if you or your camera aren't ready to go, then you stand a good chance of missing out on the shot you want.

Part of the challenge with snapping off a shot quickly is getting to the camera app on the phone. Most handsets have a shortcut on the homescreen, but the LG G3 goes one step further. All you have to do is long-press the volume down button and the phone will wake itself and jump straight into the camera app. It will remember your last shooting settings, too, so you're ready to go extremely quickly. 

High Dynamic Range is set to Auto by default, but unlike those from other phone cameras with HDR modes, we found the G3's HDR effects were well balanced. Colours didn't look too harsh or unnatural when we switched on HDR, and bright skies didn't suffer from overexposure. LG's promise of tapping anywhere on the screen to take a picture is a little misleading, though, as you can only do this once you've got rid of the menu overlay. Otherwise, you have to press the onscreen shutter button.

^ When HDR is turned off (above), shots are well exposed and show plenty of detail. When HDR is turned on (below), the sky is better exposed but colours don't look quite as rich

The G3's camera also has a Magic Focus mode that lets you tweak the focus of an image after you've taken it. It's a similar feature to the One (m8)'s U Focus mode, but as well as letting you tap the screen to focus on a subject, the G3 has an onscreen slider you can use to switch between five possible points of focus.

It doesn’t work as quickly as on the One (m8), or give you as many points of focus (the One (m8) has two cameras for this purpose) but the results looked great. Macro and portrait shots really stood out against their backgrounds, but there were often only two points of focus that really worked. The rest blurred out the entire image, so judging how close to get to your subjects can be a bit tricky.

^ Above, we focused on objects in the foreground. Below, we switched the focus to the wall in the background

LG G3 Camera Test Magic Focus

Action shots were also a little fussy to get right, even with the G3's super-fast laser autofocus. We'll be testing the G3's autofocus more thoroughly against other flagship phones in the coming weeks, but from our initial tests, shots weren't quite as blur-free as we might have hoped. The blur that was present was admittedly quite minimal, but moving subjects were clearly less defined than the static objects behind them.

LG G3 Camera Test Motion Shot

The front-facing 2-megapixel sensor also has a few tricks, as you can initiate a timer by raising your hand and then clenching your fist to take a selfie. It's a little fiddly in practice, as you've got to make sure the camera recognises both your hand and the shape of your fist, which didn't always work when we tried it out. There's a Dual camera mode, too, allowing you to take photos with both cameras simultaneously. For more practical advice, see our how to use the LG G3 camera guide. Continues on Page 3

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