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LG G3: First Look Review

LG's best phone yet, and a high contender for the smartphone top spot
LG G3: First Look Review© 2017 LG

Boasting a dizzying line-up of specs, the new LG G3 puts up a great fight against popular devices like the S5 and the HTC M8, but is it enough to steal top position? 

Design

A key feature of the G3 is its smooth metallic skin (check out a video of it here) which, although technically made of polycarbonate plastic, has been given a sleek and stylish brushed-metal finish. Although this plastic, sorry, “metallic skin” exterior has been vastly criticized due to its susceptibility to warping and cracking, its definitely not all bad. Unlike metal, the plastic is anti-scratch and fingerprint resistant, and not only decreases its weight to about 150g, but also allows for wireless charging and battery removal. Which in my opinion, is enough reason to risk the possibility of having to buy a new 10$ plastic cover for it after a year. And it would seem that LG’s chief designed Chul Bae Lee agrees. Defending the plastic coating in a pre-launch event, he stated that his “personal aspiration [was] to make the phone out of metal” but faced with the decision between either a metal coating or thin bezels, he felt that the latter would be more rewarding. Structurally impossible to have both bezel and metal frame, Lee instead used this “metallic skin” effect, in order to replicate the look and feel of the material as close as possible, which he accentuated with a curved back and soft corners. The G3’s tiny bezels result in the front consisting of 76.4% display, in order to facilitate its whopper of a screen. 

Display

Well into the phablet territory, the G3 features a massive 5.5-inch IPS LCD true quad HD display which only continues into the ludacris with its unrivalled 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution. Thats 534 pixels per inch, 65% more than the iphone 5s. The LG literally towers over its other rivals too, succeeding both the HTC One’s 5-inch, and the Samsung Galaxy S5’s 5.1 with plenty of room to spare. But does the packing in of all these pixels make any real difference to your user experience? This is no longer 2006; the difference made by their addition is tiny, and potentially even unnoticable. So unless you’re some kind of pixel connoisseur,  I doubt pixel density alone will have you reaching for your bank card. And personally, me and my small hands would struggle stretching across a 5.5 display, although I guess my tiny fingers would limit me with most decent devices these days. Negativity aside, the sharp, bright screen is inarguably beautiful, and provides the perfect platform for its attractive, flat-icon display.

Software/OS

The G3 will be powered by Android 4.4.2 Kitkat, with LG’s Optimus on top. Finally realizing that you don’t need the kitchen sink as well as everything else, this time LG has decided to focus on just three main additional apps. Firstly, Smart Keyboard. Instead of having to download a Google keyboard to your new smartphone, LG has done it for you, giving you a much more unique user experience, where the keyboard can be altered to reflect your individual style. This could even be the answer to my small-fingers + phablet issue, as users are able to change the height of the keyboard, making optimal use of the smartphone’s giant screen. It’s also intelligent, recognising typos and applying corrections based on your own frequent mistakes and lexicon.

LG’s less-persistent version of Google Now, named Smart Notice is also on board, offering suggestions and reminders based on your smartphone activity. Examples include callback reminders, or whether you want to turn wifi on as you step into work, as well as suggesting adding unrecognised numbers that you regularly speak to to your contact list, or whether you want to delete a certain app that you haven’t used in a while. Finally, Knock code provides a more secure smartphone experience. Rather than a simple pin, the lock-screen has been split into four quarters, and selected files can be easily hidden in a “Guest-mode”, or if times get really bad, you can permanently disable the phone through an added kill switch. The G2’s double-tap feature to turn the phone on and off also still remains. However, the hideously annoying bloating issue with the G2 has thankfully been removed. 

Hardware

The G3 follows suit with its Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, 32GB of internal storage and 3GB of RAM. Unlike pixels, the G3’s extra gigabyte of RAM makes a massive difference to its speed, and helps the LG G3 qualify as one of the most top-end smartphones currently available.

 

Camera

However, the most talked-about feature of the smartphone deservedly goes to its 13MP OIS+ laser (yes, you read that right, LASER) camera. And it doesn’t just sound cool, it actually does cool things too. The laser-assisted focus gives the G3 superiority through its ability to take pictures much faster than other phones. Not only does the camera app open faster than the S5 seems to due to its extra RAM, but the cone-shaped laser that emits from next to lens, allows the G3’s autofocus to quickly establish distances within the frame, and work faster than the blink of an eye (or 276 milliseconds if you want to be precise). Its dual-LED flash produces natural colour tones, but even without it in low-light, it provides strong competition against the HTC One’s excellent image capabilities. A personal favourite of mine is the added abilities that the G3 features. Voice commands can be used to capture photos, as well as making a fist in front of the lense in order to trigger a countdown and capture those all important selfies. The camera screen itself isn’t too bad either, with just two buttons obstructing the screen and thus shutter release key. There is also a 3840x2160 UHD video capture, with the ability to produce slow-motion video, a clear deal-breaker when it comes to choosing the right smartphone.

Battery Life/Extras

Next to the microSD card slot you’ll find a massive 3,000mAh removable battery which when tested, provided 8 hours and 16 minutes of full usage. Weirdly, LG places all the G3's buttons on its back, such as power and volume but when considering its size, does make them much more easily accessible.

The Low-Down

Overall, the only major issue I could find with the LG G3 is its phablet-ness, an issue that could potentially be overlooked considering all the great specs it possesses. The smartphone retails at approximately 680 Euro, about standard issue for new release handsets right now.

 

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