Jun 23 AT 5:07 PM Nick Sarafolean 19 Comments

Review: LG G3

LG G3 (9) (JPG, Resized)

Over the years, LG has developed a reputation for creating well-specced phones that are marred by gaudy, clunky software and poor design choices. For 2014, LG took a step back to take a look at what really needed to be done to create a great flagship. It then took that information and used it to create one of the finest flagship phones to date, the LG G3.

Last week, we gave you a review of each of the five main aspects of the LG G3 to give you an in-depth look at the phone and how it performs. Now it’s time for the big one. The full review. Read on to find out how the LG G3 stacks up in today’s competitive smartphone world.

1. Hardware

LG G3 (10)

Great hardware alone doesn’t make a great phone, but it’s nearly impossible to have a great phone without great hardware. The LG G3 excels in this department, offering one of the most impressive specs lists we’ve ever seen. LG packed the G3 to the gills with a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, Adreno 330 GPU, 3GB of RAM, 32GB storage supplemented by a microSD slot with support for 128GB cards, 13-megapixel camera with laser auto-focus and optical image stabilization, a 3000mAh battery, Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and Android 4.4.2 KitKat. All of that is packed inside a 5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inch body that weighs just 5.26 ounces. The crown jewel of the G3, though, is its 5.5-inch 2560×1440 QHD IPS display that adorns its front.

Without a doubt, the LG G3 gets a big thumbs-up for hardware.

2. Design and Build Quality

In most cases, we’re not overly excited when a manufacturer uses plastic as the material of choice for its phone. LG has done it right, though. The LG G3 is a beautiful phone that uses minimalism to its advantage. The floating arc design of the back allows the device to fit comfortably and naturally into your hand, with your finger automatically resting on the rear power button. LG did more than make G3 comfortable; they also made it logical, with an anti-fingerprint coating that works surprisingly well.

The G3′s build quality isn’t the most durable we’ve seen, but it isn’t trying to be. The G3 isn’t designed as a phone for people heading outdoors and going off-road. It’s designed as a high-end device for the average consumer that won’t be looking for the most rugged device money can buy.

On both looks and feel, we can give the G3 great praise. Yes, the design is plastic, but it’s incorporated so that it simply feels premium. In the looks department, the G3 is beautiful. It may not receive any “Most Beautiful Phone” awards, but it’s certainly a contender.

LG G3 design and hardware: third time’s the charm

3. Display

LG G3 (16)

The G3′s display is what sets it apart from most other smartphones. It’s the first of the flagships to launch with a 2560×1440 display. Is the extra resolution necessary? No, but there’s no denying that it makes a great selling point. The G3′s display is a pleasure to look at, showing that it’s not all about the specs on paper. The colors are bright and vivid, with a touch of added saturation for extra pop. Viewing angles are some of the best we’ve ever seen. The G3 earns itself a solid “A” when it comes to display.

4. Software

The LG G3 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box, including LG’s UI over top. With this latest iteration, LG toned down its software significantly, trimming out the vast majority of the gaudy elements, though some of the animations retain the over-the-top style that was once present. The new software resembles stock Android but with a few design tweaks here and there to set it apart.

While LG has included handy features like QMemo and QSlide, we can’t help but feel that there may have been a better approach to take. The software on the G3 would be perfect if LG had followed in Motorola’s footsteps and left the design as stock Android, merely throwing in a few of its own nifty features on top. Throughout, LG’s software design still feels old-fashioned in comparison to stock Android and other UIs like HTC’s Sense 6. Nonetheless, the G3′s software works well, which is the most important matter. It just didn’t leave us feeling wowed.

LG G3 software experience: simple really is the new smart

5. Performance

You’d assume that with the hardware that the G3 possesses, it would have exceptional performance, right? Happily, we can report that this is indeed the case. The G3 flies through every task thrown at it, handling power usage like a pro. Scrolling, especially on the web, is smoother than on any other Android device we’ve used. The only flaw to pick out is that occasionally the tiniest stutter will pop up when you’re quickly switching, scrolling and generally pushing the phone to its limits. We’re going to call out the extra pixels on the display for causing this one, but it’s not an issue in performance, so we can hardly knock the G3 for it.

If you’re into benchmarks, check out the table below to see how well the G3 performs.

Benchmark Test Score
AnTuTU 35487
Quadrant 24331
Geekbench 3 989 (single-thread) 2495 (multi-thread)
AndEBench Pro 7628
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 17,028
SunSpider 1.0.2 931.9ms

LG G3 performance: benchmarks vs reality


LG G3 (7)

In past years, LG has had major camera struggles. Its cameras were generally considered to be at the bottom of the pack for flagships. With the G3, LG aimed to turn that around and it accomplished its goal. The G3 uses a 13-megapixel sensor to snap photos with ease. Optical image stabilization improves the G3′s low-light performance and also aids those with shaky hands. The real key is the laser auto-focus, which works extraordinarily well and allows you to focus on a subject nearly instantly focus and then snap a picture.

The camera UI is extremely minimal and lacks any sort of clutter. The G3 also features HDR and Magic Focus, both of which worked well. Check out the camera samples in our camera review to get an idea of the G3′s camera performance.

LG G3 camera experience: megapixels and lasers


The most important part of a smartphone is its battery. LG took this to heart when designing the G3, and its hard work has paid off in the final product. While a 3000mAh battery isn’t much larger than the average smartphone battery, LG incorporated plenty of tweaks to make the battery perform better than most others. The G3 can easily make it through a full day of moderate usage. The battery takes a long time to charge and you should probably keep the display on auto brightness, but we can safely say that the G3 performs better than most other flagships in the battery department.

LG G3 battery: fully up to the challenge

LG G39.5 / 10

LG G3 (2)

Stacking the LG G3 up against the competition reveals the ultimate flagship for 2014. A blend of sheer speed, power, and simple beauty, the LG G3 delivers almost everything we could possibly want in a smartphone. Our only real knock against it is that its software isn’t the prettiest. It is extremely usable, though, effectively negating the beauty aspect.

While it’s not yet available on US carriers, it’ll be here soon. If you can’t wait, here’s a link to buy the unlocked version.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we can recommend the LG G3 to nearly anyone that’s shopping for a new smartphone.

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A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @nsarafolean.

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  • Nigel

    $750 ? No thanks

    If your content needs that many pixels why squeeze into a 5.5″ screen? Get a $300 phone and a $400 tablet instead

    Its performance is indeed good for its size and specs but its still basically a too-good screen in a too-expensive phone.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Nick Sarafolean

      Remember, it’ll be at a lower price once it hits the states. Both on-contract and most likely off-contract as well. That $750 pricetag is for the international, unlocked model.

      • BL

        $200-$249 on contract in the US. $750 full retail price idiots.

        • Sweat

          wrong bro. If you go to the carriers, the most is $600 no contract. $99 with 2 yr contracts.

  • William Chesterfish

    Does anyone know if this phone works with 3rd party IR blasters. I know that the G2 did not due to closed drivers, but haven’t heard if this was remedied by the G3.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Nick Sarafolean

      Not sure about this. Sorry!

  • Subx

    This is 1 ugly phone. The front is not to bad but the back, WOW! seriously ugly!
    Why put buttons on the back again? This is stupid!
    And where are the speakers?

    Sorry LG. You make sub par phones. Horrible design and horrible quality.

    • austin lyons

      FYI lg put the power button the back because your finger naturally
      rests there when you hold the phone

    • http://www.androidandme.com Nick Sarafolean

      Just one speaker on the back. It looks better in person, by the way.

    • LOL

      Terrible comment, sorry Subx but projecting your preferences onto others doesn’t really add any credibility to what you post.

      • SubX

        It’s my opinion. The poster asked so I gave it. We are all entitled to it and express it.
        As I said, LG make terrible quality phones and products. I have said before. Every LG product I have ever owned has failed just outside of warranty. Everything! TV, Microwave, Washing machine and phone.
        So again, my opinion and experiences is what I am expressing.

        • http://www.androidandme.com Nick Sarafolean

          That’s cool, man. Everyone has an opinion. :-)

        • SGB101

          To be able to get your product to fail just outside of warranty is excellent control over your products quality.

          You wouldn’t want them all failing just within warranty would you ;)

          BTW I love the look of this phone. The back angle I don’t see, so don’t care what it looks like.

  • Tiger

    Stuttering is a hardware issue. This means that LG rushed this phone out with a processor that cannot keep up with the display. That is PURE FAIL. Typical of Android OEMs.

    See a more comprehensive review: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/06/lg-g3-review-a-great-phone-with-way-too-many-pixels/

    What does LG do now? Well, there is rumor of LG G3 Advance with 805 chip. That is just pure stupidity and again typical of Android OEM recently.

    For big companies like LG and Samsung, this type of half-assed rush to beat the crowd is pure fail for consumers!

    If anything, you ALWAYS want hardware to be a step ahead of software! This allows for half decent future proofing…remember, for some folks, they are stuck with this phone for 2 years. So, what happens when Android 5.0 comes out with 64-bit/ARMv8 optimization? What happens when more intensive graphic games come out?

    What will happen to this utter-useless 2k display and the wimpy 801 processor?


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  • SGB101

    I have been looking forward to this phone, I like the style of it alot, and as much as I moan about high res phones, I’m intrigued to see this one
    But after reading the Ars review,I’m now going off it. I won’t gamble on a device with questionable battery, not when they are just becoming acceptable.

    It’s a shame, could you add anything to the Ars findings?

  • John Wong

    I am waiting for the availability of LG G3 in the US which is rumored to be introduced by Verizon around 17th of July. I will consider purchasing its 32GB internal storage along with 3GB of RAM for smooth operation. Well, I am impressed with its 3000mAh battery that after fully charged on wireless charging pad, runs throughout the day, according to previous article published here.

  • 99steven

    Just got one for 525 with taxes on kijiji. 32 gb version man this phone kicks ass. The remote worked right away. Best customizing. Without root i have ever seen. And the back buttons rock. Better camera than the wifes z2. Truly happy. Knock code is sick

  • 99steven

    My onky complaint. Is battery. It’s. The screen. But just as fast as my nexus5