13
Jun
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LG's G2 was one of the most cultishly-loved smartphones of 2013, to an extent that, frankly, befuddled me. It had a terribly ugly software layer, felt cheaply built, and ticked almost no boxes in terms of innovation. The G2 was a specification junkie's wet dream, and that's exactly the sort of buyer the phone ended up attracting. Appearance, software features, and design aren't high on such people's lists.

Even in the face of criticism, though, success with a group like that isn't something you just let go. The G3 very much builds on the G2's appeal to the numbers crowd, and seeks to one-up competitors like Samsung's Galaxy S5 and HTC's One M8 at almost every measurable corner.

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The display? It's much larger, at 5.5". It's the only mainstream QHD smartphone on the market. Its screen-to-bezel ratio almost defies belief. A 1-watt external speaker finally manages to definitively outclass Samsung for volume and clarity. The large 3000mAh removable battery will keep you going all day. 3GB of RAM (on the 32GB model, which I assume will be the only US model, like the G2) bests both of the G3's primary rivals. Despite having a .4" larger display and 200mAh larger battery, the G3 weighs just a few grams more than the Galaxy S5, and much less than the One M8 or Xperia Z2. Its camera has optical image stabilization, and a laser to auto-focus images. Its Snapdragon 801 processor isn't outclassing the competition, but no one's beating it at this point, either. And yes, the G3 has a microSD card slot.

All in all, LG's latest flagship seems made from the ground up for boasting on comment threads and forums across the web. But is the G3 more than merely the sum of its parts? I'd finally argue that yes, LG has not just made a powerful, class-leading phone, but it's also created a phone that is supremely likeable - a feeling I just never got when using the G2.

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LG G3: Specifications
  • Price: Varies by carrier and region
  • Processor: 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • Network compatibility: World LTE / 3G (specific band support may vary)
  • Operating system: Android 4.4.2
  • Display: 5.5" IPS LCD 2560x1440 (534 DPI)
  • Memory: 3GB RAM / 32GB storage (some models, others have 2GB / 16GB)
  • Cameras: 13MP rear (with OIS) and laser AF, 2.1MP front
  • Battery: 3000mAh, removable
  • NFC: Yes
  • Infrared: Yes
  • Bluetooth: 4.0
  • Ports / expandable storage: microUSB / microSD
  • Thickness: 9mm
  • Weight: 150g

The Good
  • The G3 is very fast, at least as fast as the HTC One M8, and significantly quicker than the Galaxy S5.
  • LG has toned down some aspects of its software UI and cleaned up others, like the navigation buttons, which are now in the standard arrangement.
  • 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage will be standard for models in some countries (hopefully the US is one of them).
  • Battery life is great, my G3 has easily gotten me through a day of substantial usage.
  • The improved external speaker is a huge improvement over the G2, and even bests the one on the Galaxy S5.
  • How LG managed to fit a 5.5" display into a frame this small almost defies belief - it's the most compact big phone out there.
  • The camera is awesome. Laser auto-focus really works - I haven't been able to fool it yet.

The Not So Good
  • Some parts of LG's UI still seem dated or unnecessarily cluttered (multitasking UI, app drawer), and some are just kind of ugly (settings menu).
  • LG still won't be getting much love on the build quality side, the G3 feels a bit nicer than the G2, but not by much.
  • The QHD screen isn't bright enough in some situations, and the contrast really isn't all that great, especially lined up against Samsung's Galaxy S5, or even the One M8.
  • I'm still kind of wary about LG in regard to software updates - they've tended to be a bit slower than HTC, and a lot slower than Motorola.

Build quality and design

The G3 feels moderately more solid than the G2 did, if my memory serves me well (it may not), but it won't turn any heads for build quality. It feels on par with what Samsung's putting out these days, though the G3 emits far fewer of the trademark "Samsqueaks" when you twist and torture it. But you can still tell this is a plastic phone, basically.

The faux brushed metal texture on the back of the G3 is really quite pleasant. I'm not sure if I prefer it over Samsung's dimpled and textured back plate on the S5, but it does make fingerprint smudges much less noticeable. The move away from a glossy finish, too, is definitively a good one. Glossy plastic never ends up looking nice after more than a few months, especially on something you're constantly holding, dropping, putting down on rough surfaces, and generally abusing. The plastic on the G3 is not going to be confused for any other material, though. It may look vaguely metallic, but this phone's backside still has a comfortable gap between it and the left side of the periodic table.

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The design of the G3 is relatively simple, the most divisive aesthetic point likely being the phone's "chin" along the bottom of the display. Rather than have a fully blank façade, LG's chosen to give the G3 a branded, body-color lip. Much in the way some people bemoan badges on cars for some unfathomable reason, they too are incited to rage by logos on electronics, or things that are not 100% "clean." Personally, I like the chin, it gives the G3 a distinct identity and makes it unlikely to be confused for another phone. I don't think it's perfect, but I do think LG really needs to develop a design branding for its smartphones, and the "chin" is as good a place as any to start building that identity.

Still, overall I'd say the G3 does seem a bit "blah" from a visual standpoint, and design has never been LG's strong suit. They seem obsessed with reductionism, and that's not really a very interesting direction to go in a market that is already flooded to capacity with generic-looking bricks of slightly varying shapes and sizes.

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The other brand-defining point anyone who uses the G3 will immediately notice, of course, are the rear control buttons. On the G2, I didn't like them, and that's primarily because the power button was too small and the volume rocker keys were a bit difficult to feel out. On the G3, the power button is now much larger (and circular, not pill-shaped) and as a result a whole lot easier to find. The volume keys, too, have more defined edges. As a result, I'm inclined to say I actually prefer these buttons to the standard top / side-mounted arrangements of phones like the One M8 or Galaxy S5. I don't know how I've gone from hating them to loving them so completely, but it happened. I was there.

Among the things I don't like functionally on the exterior of the G3 is the headphone jack, which is mounted Apple / HTC style on the bottom of the phone, though that's obviously a matter of personal preference.

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Pop open the removable rear cover and you'll find the removable 3000mAh battery, and stacked slots for a microSIM (like Samsung, LG has not yet adopted the nano standard for whatever reason) and microSD card. On this particular Korean unit, you'll also find that the rear cover has a wireless charging coil, a feature that will not be available on US models of the G3 without buying an accessory cover.

So, the inevitable question many people have had about this 5.5" phone is one that I'm probably not going to answer to your satisfaction. That question being: Is it too big? I don't know. It's not too big for me, not at all. I happily used a Note II for quite some time, and that device, despite having a display of the same size, was much larger than the G3 in overall dimension. Here's the thing - if you think the G3 might be too big for you, go play with one at a store. That's the only way to know. I can give you comparative descriptions - for example, the G3 is actually shorter and lighter than the One M8. It's only a few grams heavier than an S5, and only a couple millimeters wider. If you can use the M8 or S5 comfortably, the G3 isn't actually all that much bigger. It may be the tipping point for some people, but it's by no means gigantic compared to the competition. That still doesn't answer the question, because it's one you need to figure out on your own.

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Display

Apart from the size, I'd actually say the screen is the G3's weakest attribute. It doesn't get bright enough, contrast isn't particularly good, and neither are the viewing angles, especially in the sun. It feels like we've taken a trip in the LCD time machine, if I'm honest. And why, exactly, does this high-end superphone have a bit of a lame duck display? Because LG had to be first. That's why. As the first major QHD (not to be confused with qHD) smartphone (sorry Oppo, you're not "major" enough), LG gets to do all sorts of advertising and gloating about how many pixels it has compared to everybody else, actual practical value of said pixels be damned.

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And do those pixels have any real value? Apparently the answer is yes... if you read a lot of content with Korean, Chinese, or Japanese characters. Because characters in these languages often feature complex shapes, and in the case of Chinese and Japanese, tapering and thickness variations, an ultra high-res display can actually make them appear appreciably sharper and thus easier to read. These advantages do not cross over to Latin or other alphabets, though, unless we're talking about truly tiny font sizes. Otherwise, no, there is no benefit to this level of pixel density, at least not any benefit worth getting excited about.

The G3's screen is by no means bad, however. It's perfectly fine indoors and despite having less than outstanding contrast and viewing angles, it's not going to ruin your day or anything. It's a very good screen, it just happens to be up against significantly better panels from Samsung and even HTC.

Still, I'd probably take the G3's display over either the M8's or the S5's, though, for one simple reason: it's bigger. I love the amount of content I can get on a 5.5" screen (or, alternatively, being able to up the font size and fit the same amount of content as a smaller phone), it's great for video, and for my fat-fingered hands it makes typing a lot easier and more accurate.

Battery life

I know, you want an objective battery life test with statistics and facts and figures, and I can't give it to you. We don't currently have a standardized battery life test because, well, we think most of the ones out there will do a better job than we would, and because battery life on Android is in and of itself a fickle, unpredictable beast. Because Android is such a sync-heavy OS, battery life experiences will vary heavily between users. That's just a fact of life. In all honesty, I'd say going by the mAh capacity of the battery is almost as good as anything I'd have to say in most cases, at least in terms of measuring actual use time potential of a given phone.

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Idle life is a little more variable. HTC's phones, for example, by default go to sleep between 11PM and 7AM every day and turn off data sync during those hours, dramatically cutting idle power consumption. I've found the G3 to have very good in-use battery life, but below average idle battery life. Sitting overnight, the G3 consistently lost between 15-20% of its charge for no good reason other than that just seems to be the way it behaves. A One M8 loses less than 5% in that time frame, and my Galaxy S5 is between 5-10% typically.

In a given day, though, I found the G3's battery life admirable when put under stressful conditions. While at E3 this week, I took my G3 off the charge on Wednesday at 10AM and by 10PM that night had racked up 2.5 hours of screen-on time (maximum auto-brightness) on a heavily taxed data network that kept flipping back and fourth between 3G and LTE. I would not have expected a Galaxy S5 or One M8 to perform similarly under those conditions, and they likely would have been dead hours earlier. Still, at the end of the night the G3 had just under 30% battery remaining, which I think is pretty dang impressive. Someone will, of course, tell me I'm an idiot, and that the G3's battery life is terrible compared to [phone X] running [ROM Y] with [kernel Z] and various settings changes specifically designed to lower power consumption. I use the phone just like it comes in the box - everything is turned on, and I don't optimize my use habits in any way to prolong battery life, or use power-saving modes. I install all my apps and away I go.

Storage, wireless, and call quality

The G3 I'm testing has 32GB of internal storage, which is perfectly adequate for most people, I'd say. There's an increasingly-made-useless-by-Google microSD card slot if you want more space, of course.

Wireless performance is something I'm reserving judgment on for the time being. I was sent a Korean-branded G3 designed for a Korean network. It simply isn't optimized properly for the US yet, and has no certification from AT&T, the network I'm using it on. When I get an American, AT&T-branded G3 to play with, I will revise this section of the review, but that likely won't be till mid-July.

As for call quality, I think the G3's earpiece speaker needs some work. It's just not loud enough, I was constantly asking people to repeat themselves. Maybe it'll get better with the US network-ready versions of the phone, but for now I'm not impressed. But hey, who talks on the phone anymore?

Audio and speaker

The LG G3 uses the same basic Snapdragon 801 you'll find in the HTC One M8, Galaxy S5, and Sony Xperia Z2, so it also uses the same internal audio processing gear. As a result, the sound from the G3's headphone jack is absolutely great - Qualcomm is doing a stellar job with its Hexagon DSP, and music is sounding the best it ever has coming out of a smartphone. You won't be let down here.

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LG's new 1 Watt external speaker is something for the company to be proud of. Going back to the original Optimus G, LG's speakers have sucked. They were too quiet, sounded muffled, and had very little dynamic range. LG has finally taken this criticism to heart, it seems, because the G3 has a beast of a little noisemaker attached to its rear. It's a bit louder than the one on Samsung's Galaxy S5, but it's the quality that stands out - the G3 has noticeably better clarity, dynamic range, and doesn't clip or muddle sound as readily. It's no BoomSound, but it's very respectable.

Camera

The G2 had a very, very good camera. Better than the Galaxy S4, Note 3, and HTC One, I'd argue. It wasn't perfect by any means, but it was a huge leap forward from the rather crappy sensors and processing LG had been known for at that time. The G3 just keeps on pushing ahead, it would seem, because this camera is just great.

The downfalls of the G3's camera, for what they're worth, though, are substantial. First, LG has stripped out almost every setting in the camera app. No, really. Here's what's left.

  • HDR on / off / auto
  • Flash on / off / auto
  • Front / rear camera toggle
  • Picture / video resolution
  • Voice shutter mode
  • Shutter delay timer
  • Grid toggle
  • Modes: auto / magic focus / panorama / dual-camera
  • There's a slider thingy for "beauty mode" when taking selfies (because Korea)

That's it. That is literally every setting in the entire camera app. LG has decided that most of its customers have no interest in advanced settings like EV values, ISO, shutter modes, white balance, or other tweaks. It has also decided against including novelty features like filters, most effects, and similar things in the camera app. Instead, if you want to fine-tune your photo, it all needs to happen after the fact in the Google Photos editor app, which the G3 directs you to if you select the 'edit' option in the Gallery.

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Taking pictures has been simplified as well. By default, the camera app is in a minimal layout with no shutter button. Just tap anywhere and the camera will focus then take a photo. Pressing the 3-dot overflow in the top-left will bring up the full camera UI with a standard shutter button. In the minimalist mode, there is no option to go to video or do a burst shot. You switch to the front camera by swiping anywhere on the screen. Pinch to zoom in and out.

The second issue with the camera is the almost laughable amount of over-processing the sensor undertakes in night / dark photos. Don't get me wrong, at social media sizes (eg, less than 600 or so pixels across), the night shots from the G3 look outstanding. Really, really good. Take this photo, shot at 10:30PM on a busy street, without flash.

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At this size, this looks like an awesome photo. Sure, the light pollution is a little overemphasized, as is the greenness of the grass, but overall, this is an amazing night shot for a smartphone that isn't a PureView or a Galaxy K. I have deliberately resized this image such that you can't zoom in on some of the details... the most interesting of which I will now show you.

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I don't call what LG does to its photo "noise reduction." That seems like an understatement. I prefer to think of it as noise annihilation. The G3's image processing software basically turns some parts of night photos into oil paintings. It's kind of hilarious, really. And yes, this obviously does show that some of the perceived quality of the G3's photos is software processing that makes things look nice at lower resolutions, at the expense of sacrificing detail (sometimes to an extreme degree) at full crop.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say I don't really care. No one's doing night photos on a normal smartphone camera better right now; in fact, I'd say no phone without a giant lump on its back is doing this any better than LG. Yes, there are obvious sacrifices, but even HTC's UltraPixel camera doesn't consistently turn out such beautiful night shots. The photo below was shot in what is probably the darkest bar I've ever been inside.

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If you zoom in, some of the detail has obviously been mashed up, but I honestly wouldn't have even bothered to take this photo with something like a Galaxy S5 - it'd just come out as a noisy, purple pile of crap. With the G3, you still have a sense of scene, of light, and at a reasonable zoom, convincing detail. Of course, there's the flipside, like the fact the people on the right in the below photo do not appear to have legs anymore, but rather brownish leg-like blobs.

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During the daytime, the G3 is much less aggressive with its noise reduction. Have a look.

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The one gripe I'd make about the photos is that they can be a little washed out at times. Going side by side with the S5, I noticed Samsung's images were consistently more vibrant (on my monitor, not on the phones) and tended to have a better representation of a given scene's white balance. LG's, on the other hand, seemed to gather more detail and always had the correct focus, but often looked a little dingier and less colorful.

Which brings us to lasers. LG has added a pulsing laser to the G3's camera array in order to assist in auto-focusing. I'm not clear on exactly how this works, other than to say it works. Really, really well. I have not yet been able to fool the G3's auto-focus system. Samsung made a lot of hooplah over being the first smartphone with phase-detect AF, but unfortunately it also so happened that it was the first smartphone with really awful phase-detect AF. I can't count the number of screwed-up, out of focus photos I've taken with the S5, and it drives me nuts. The G3 gets it right. Every. Single. Time. Even in the dark, as I demonstrated.

Software

Performance and stability

I'm really not sure how much faster the G3 is than the previous-gen G2, but given that the G2 is a Snapdragon 800 and the G3 merely an 801, I'm guessing the difference isn't huge. The result, I find, is that while the G3 is appreciably quicker than the Galaxy S5, it doesn't feel any faster than HTC One M8. LG had the advantage of a newer chipset in its flagship last year, while this time it's basically on a level playing field with its competitors. Rumors that the G3 would have a Snapdragon 805 didn't end up panning out, to the disappointment of some who expected that the phone's display of many pixels would demand a more powerful processor.

The good news is that said display doesn't seem to drag down performance in any noticeable way, at least that I've observed. While I'd say the HTC One M8 feels a bit quicker in basic UI navigation, that could come down to a difference of built-in animation draw times and delays, not actual speed. Opening and navigating apps, the G3 is very, very quick, and there is no appreciable distinction between it and HTC's phone in this regard. Opening apps and multitasking is substantially faster than on Samsung's Galaxy S5, though, and I've found my S5 has become slower and slower as the days go on, even with much of the carrier and Samsung bloat disabled.

I've experienced no odd crashes or other stability issues on the G3, a testament to LG's continued refinement of its firmware. I recall just a couple of years ago that a number of LG Android phones I reviewed often had strange app compatibility issues and various glitches, which did unfortunately color my perception of their products for some time. Since the original Optimus G, though, the company seems to have gotten its act together.

UI, software, and features

The G3 is a marked departure from the G2 in several visual respects. First, LG has finally given up on its utterly absurd attempt to make a software menu button a thing. There's now a dedicated multitasking button, as there should be, and all is right with the world. You can still adjust the order, layout, and color of these buttons, though, and even add dedicated keys for quick access to the notification bar, QMemo (why), QSlide (why), and dual window mode (why). You can have up to 5 buttons in your navigation button area (why).

LG has also adopted the white / gray status bar layout Google introduced in Android 4.4, and everything looks much cleaner for it, too. The notification bar itself has been cleaned up, and no longer passively displays the status bar when pulled down, freeing up some space. The notification controls for volume and brightness enabled by default on my Korean review unit can be disabled, as can the QSlide app bar. Once you do that, you actually have a reasonable amount of space!

Just take a look at the notification bar with stupidness turned up to 100% on the left, compared to 0% on the right, and breathe a huge sigh of relief.

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Granted, you can probably expect persistent Wi-Fi notifications on AT&T and Verizon carrier variants, and possibly some configuration options removed and random useless crap inserted, because carriers hate you and wish only supreme sadness upon you and everyone and thing you love.

You'll also notice that the aesthetic of LG's UI layer has changed to, you guessed it, embrace flatness. I'm not in love with the new look (especially the settings menu, which is really, really ugly), but it's also perfectly usable and far from offensive. One area where LG has not modernized is the app drawer, which remains unfortunately Ice Cream Sandwich-esque. Compare it to Samsung's clean, modern drawer devoid of anything but a menu overflow and a page indicator, and the G3 seems a bit behind the times.

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Like HTC, LG also seems unable to let go of a legacy method to add apps to homescreens from somewhere other than the app drawer, which I wouldn't exactly call an attempt to "simplify," as LG's new 'simple is the new smart' mantra would suggest. And like HTC's Sense, there is yet another UI dedicated to editing and managing homescreens. Samsung's newest TouchWiz combines all of these features, like stock Android, into a single interface, keeping everything relatively easy to discover. It's not a big deal, but I think it's indicative of LG's reluctance to fully embrace modern Android UI and navigation paradigms, while Samsung seems to be more willing (apart from navigation buttons, of course). The same, though, is true of HTC.

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The multitasking UI on the G3 is simply baffling. I don't understand what led them down this road, but it's just not very good. LG has copied HTC's grid-style layout from Sense, but instead of swiping up to remove an app from the list, you swipe left to right. Swiping up or down scrolls through the grid of recent apps, while at the bottom there is a button to remove all apps from the list, and one to engage dual window mode. This Korean model also has four apps sitting in a tray along the bottom, which are there presumably just to waste space and time. I don't mean to suck up to Samsung here, but once again, I point you to a comparison of the S5 and G3 side by side, just to let you take in the ridiculous disparity.

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Some people say LG likes to copy Samsung. Based on what I've seen so far on the G3, they haven't done a very good job of it. And I'm sorry, this is definitely not simple. It is a huge, ugly mess and someone needs to beat it back with a stick.

Moving on to the settings menu, while I'm not at all a fan of the tabbed layout (too slow to get around, in my opinion), I applaud LG for, like Samsung, including a list layout mode as an option. The list is much easier to navigate, I find, and it doesn't have so many items as to get dizzyingly confusing to memorize. Samsung's settings UI in list mode, by comparison, is way too long to wrap my head around.

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Like Samsung, LG now has split screen multitasking. It works. 3rd party app support seems poor at this point, though Chrome, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, and Hangouts are in there. There's not a lot else to say about it, other than that I pretty quickly turned it off.

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Going to the lockscreen, LG's standard Knock-On wake-up feature is still here, and I don't find it works much more reliably than it did on the G2. Given the easier access to the power button on the G3, I've taken to using than more often than not, because Knock-On just isn't there in terms of 100% reliability, which is kind of something you need for a feature like that. Knock Code, LG's rather ridiculous secure unlock method based on Knock On, is there if you care to try it. You set a pattern of tap locations on the screen, and you unlock the screen by tapping it out.

Finally, LG has a new keyboard that is basically SwiftKey but not really as good or interesting. So yes, you should probably just still install SwiftKey or, if you prefer, the Google Keyboard. Word replacement suggestions on the LG keyboard take far too long to appear in order to be effective for whatever reason, so I pretty quickly ditched it after receiving my review unit.

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Otherwise, the G3 doesn't really tick any of the crazy software feature boxes. Like the G2 before it, LG has focused on making a fast high-end phone with premium components, not on providing a complete software and content suite out of the box. The G3 assumes you know what tools and apps you need, and that you already have services and accessories integrated into your life that you use, as opposed to trying to be a be-all, end-all solution. In that sense, the G3 is minimalistic. There's no big fitness suite, no card-based news reader app, no overwrought camera effects or editing features, no chat service they're trying to push, and even their S Voice / Google Now competitor Q Voice is gone.

Oh, and speaking of Google Now, the G3 does have hotword detection from the homescreen. Yay.

Conclusion

The LG G3 is a consistent phone. It is consistently quick. It gets consistently good battery life. It takes consistently great photos. And it consistently allows you to let the software get out of its own way. While not perfect, LG's UI layer has been significantly reduced in complexity and bloat, and of the things LG adds, many of them can be replaced or removed. Sure, some stuff is there to stay, like that ugly multitasking UI, but if you see something you don't like, most of the time you can fix it. The same is typically true on the Galaxy S5, to be fair.

Where the G3 pulls ahead of the competition, for me, are the screen size (I'll gladly take a bit wider of a phone for .4" more screen), the camera, the speed, and the battery life. No single element really puts it ahead of the pack, but taken together, the G3 has a number of advantages (some, like display size, being subjective) that make it difficult to ignore. Couple that with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage (some models), and the small but significant usability refinements to the rear control buttons (which I've come to enjoy), and there's a lot here to like.

For now, I'd have to say the G3 is my favorite phone of 2014. It may not stay that way (I admit to a small bias for Samsung's Note devices, which I've consistently really liked), but as far as the mainstream flagship category goes, I think LG's done a great job here. The G3 is an outstanding all-rounder with very few true weak points, and it's that lack of weakness that, I'd say, makes it so likeable.

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David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Matthew DiGiacomo

    2015?

    What year is it!? :P

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I actually just came back in time and changed it 2014. They'll never suspect a thing.

  • http://tommydaniel.com Tommy Thompson

    LG's noise reduction is oil painting mode.

    • dogulas

      I think it looks both hilarious and fantastic. I'm a fan

  • Rovex

    Never understood the 'cheaply made' thing, when the same people praised the N5. The N5 was far nastier than the G2 because it wasnt just hollow and cheap feeling, but it looked cheap and some of the components were awful.

    LGs skin was easy to cover if you didnt like it, and easy to change even without root.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Agreed, the N5 got really crappy over time. But the G2 wasn't great either.

      • Rovex

        My G2 was absolutely solid (until I broke it and it came back from being repaired with a creak). I dont equate 'shiny' with cheap, i always liked the G2s back cover. I guess its cultural since a lot of stuff I see Americans liking i think are cheap and nasty.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          I had 3 G2 review units. They all creaked just as much as my Galaxy S4. Maybe some people really baby their phones. I do not baby review units. I will sit there and twist them in my hands to see if they become loose, and inevitably, all Samsung and LG phones do. Putting it in a case also completely negates any findings in regard to build quality, since it acts as a rigid shell around the phone. My G2 units also got ridiculously scratched up over the time I had them.

          • Rovex

            Well i do that to. My HTC M7 lost a speaker grill from me flexing it and a friends iPhone 5 creaked like mad. Ive never had or seen a phone that didnt creak.

            I will say that my M7 survived being dropped of a bridge onto concrete, so it was strong..

          • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

            If that's the case, AP should do drop tests too. Anything plastic-y and hollow will have more tendencies to get loose and fragile. People are more likely to drop phones than sit there and twist them.

          • Kostas

            Except dropping a phone will most likely break 99% (nothing new to see here) of the time (and there is always the randomness of the side/way it will fall) and will cost the reviewer a phone . On the other hand, twisting the phone doesn't cause any damage.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      My wife said the Nexus 5 is a cheap plasticky piece of shit worse than she'd ever felt with her hands and refused to even look at it.

      • Rovex

        Your wife sounds like a smart woman! It makes a change to here of someone that doesn't think the N5 fell from heaven on Gold pillow surrounded by Angels. Its the most over rated POS in living memory.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          On the other hand, she's pretty excited by the OnePlus One and pretty much claimed the first unit I bought. Going to need to look for another invite to buy the 2nd for myself now.

      • PhilNelwyn

        Wow...
        Is it, really?

      • Cory S

        N5 felt great at first...but that plastic is softer than hot butter. It did not hold up well.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          I personally could see where she was coming from but I didn't think it was this but. On the other hand, she just abhorred it.

          • Rovex

            Did she hate the Screen? I thought it was the worst screen I had seen on a 'high end' phone in many years

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I don't think she got as far as the screen. It was just OK, though much better than the N4's which has got to have one of the dullest screens I've ever seen.

          • andy_o

            You have issues, man. Did a Nexus 5 kill your dog or something?

          • Rovex

            No just cost me £300 it wasnt worth and put me into the endless task of trying to get a refund from Carphonewarehouse (which is never easy).

            Its over rated junk, nothing about it is good, it was the worst big release of 2013 by a mile.

            Hey, it was my own fault, I fell for the hype..

          • MG

            And my Nexus5 still amazes me how such a good phone can be so reasonably priced. It's only real failing is the rubbish speakers, but then I never use them anyway, there is always something Bluetooth to hand to use.

          • grumpyfuzz

            Nothing about it is good? Come on...

          • Rovex

            Best way to argue is to state what you think is good. I dislike the build, its cheap and nasty. The screen is awful, the sound output, both speaker and headphones is poor. The camera is average at best. Its fast, but nothing special for an S800 device (the G2 is a match with ART). The software is dull, featureless and frankly buggy. KK is worse than JB.

          • grumpyfuzz

            Some of your arguments are subjective - "KK is worse than JB", "The software is dull, featureless and frankly buggy", and what you said about the build. I think the build is really nice. Also, I can state what I think is good ;). The performance was top of the line when it came out, it was one of the smoothest if not the smoothest phone out. And putting the N5 on dalvik vs G2 on ART isn't really a fair comparision. The Nexus 5 has a great dev support, like all other Nexuses.

          • Rovex

            Performance was good yes, because the software was so light, however as with all AOSP or near AOSP phones as soon as you install apps it slows. I was actually comparing the G2 on ART with the N5 on ART, the N5 is no faster and surprisingly when set up the same way with the same app and widgets the free RAM at boot is almost the same.

            We will just have to disagree about the quality, even for the price its pretty poor.

  • Qbancelli

    I'm still waiting for one of these reviewers to declare this phone to be the best one out yet.

    If it is not, tell us which is better.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      "For now, I'd have to say the G3 is my favorite phone of 2014."

      I'm not sure how much more you want from me there.

      • Cory S

        Time traveling again?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          YOU SAW NOTHING

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Alleh G? that's new,

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Something something Korean something something.

    • Runny

      Alleh G, as in hayfever? Pollen levels are up I guess.

    • Josh Perlstein

      Olleh and an O. Olleh KT is a Korean carrier.

  • Kazahani

    I disagree with everything you said about the G2. As a fan of polycarbonate materials, I don't think it felt cheaply made, and as for not being innovative? It was the first flagship device to minimize bezels to that extent, and the "fish eye" OIS camera was a first. It also set the standard for battery efficiency. I don't really care about specs anymore and I got quite jealous when the G2 came out. (Galaxy S4 owner)

    • Kazahani

      Shit I typed all that from my phone do you think it knows I'm cheating on it???

    • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

      Build quality is fine on the G2, it was that nasty glossy finish that they used. Within 15 minutes of owning the G2, I ordered a EXO Skin for the back.

      • bearballz

        Have to agree. The build quality on my G2 is fine, no better or worse than the S4 or other "plastic" Flagship phones from 2013. The problem is that glossy finish. But I use a case so big deal imo.

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      • volodymyrqa

        GOLD and RED G2's are with textured back covers :) Just saying.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I'll concede to the camera and battery life being great. The materials? No. Just as bad as Samsung's. It's plastic. It's not the end of the world, but for some reason, people just refuse to accept criticism on the subject. The phone is allowed to have some low points. The exterior material and use of plastic are two of the low points. It's not a big deal, it's just a fact.

      • Rovex

        Its not a fact.The G2s back is fine, it has a very subtle texture to its feel. Its shiny yes, just like glass, or metal, or any other hard polished surface. I really dont see the problem, its not flimsy plastic, its not soft or translucent like genuinely 'cheap' plastic.

      • http://dev.bomilanovich.com Bo

        I don't like my phone being made out of metal. I prefer plastic. Therefore, plastic is better. There. That's just a fact.

        • Grayson

          Some plastics look better, feel better, and are more durable than other plastics. And the G2 had the worst kind of plastic. The cheap looking, slimy feeling, easily scratched, finger print magnet kind. That's a fact.

        • THE SAMSUNG GUY

          It's called plastic !

      • NBM

        I think the Moto X's polycarbonate feels the best out of what's available right now, and the contours in it's design give it a more sleek modern appearance than other devices... I've noticed bad drops cause the material to shift/dent which I imagine is showing the polycarbonate's impact resistance at work.

      • Bob Hart

        Low point...subjective to the personal likes and dislikes of the owner.

        I also don't mind "plastic".

        A very subjective review mostly basted on the likes and dislikes of the reviewer.

        Just the facts please.

        Carbon fiber would be a nice alternative to polycarbonate material but then again some reviewers and iphone/M8 owners will harp about it too.

    • SAMSUNG_POWER

      people prefer SAMSUNG brand over LG brand, no doubts.
      --------------------------------------------------
      SAMSUNG is a tech brand.
      LG=home appliances.

      And yes, SAMSUNG is going to release QHD S5 this summer.

      And it can even put laser autofocus in it.)))
      And if SAMSUNG manages to make it feel more premium, I don't know WHAT EXACTLY WILL SELL G3.

      • Todd

        I recall when SAMSUNG was an appliance brand.
        LG is turning their product line around and I think it is great. I like the competition and having a choice of good products to select from.
        Having said that I will buy the G3 later this year to replace my G2. All phones have inherent flaws depending on what the user needs or wants.

        • enoch861

          When Samsung was? For all intensive purposes they still are.

      • Alberto Blasi

        And if this, if that, if whatnot...

    • David Martin

      I agree with you as you're right in some extent but there are lots of other points that must be kept in view while observing a high-end device. I went through a post http://www.cheapmonthlymobile.co.uk/lg-mobile-phones/lgg3blackmobilephone.asp#reviews that given me thorough knowledge about this high-end black colored device.

  • Rovex

    Hmm. Will this replace my G2.. Not sure. Id need to see the screen first, I hated the N5 screen, so much that I couldn't live with it, so im not jumping in head first again. It had the problems the article says the G3 has.

    Everything else seems like a winner though. The camera shots seem better than the G2, which had too much black crush for me. Dark areas were just over dark, although it was correctable in lightroom.

    • Cory S

      The N5 screens had a lot of light bleed around the edges that drives me nuts. But, it's one of the most accurate displays in a phone ever otherwise.

      • Rovex

        Colour accuracy isnt much good when the black levels are so terrible. I measured them with a colorimeter, they were awful. It also has the worse off axis washout of any device I have ever seen apart from some of the total junk Chinese clone phones. IPS screen do tend to have some, but the N5 was a very bad joke..

        https://www.dropbox.com/s/19p8ybz8q7y2amw/Nexus-5-display-viewing-angles.jpg

        • alexis orms

          I think you got a faulty unit. I got several so I was able to compare the screens of 5 RMAs and none was nearly that bad. Anandatech also praised the screen and their display analysis are fantastic.

          • Rovex

            That's not my phone, its from the Phandroid review. I had 3 N5s ( I swapped them out because of faults) and they were all like that.

  • John

    Nice review. Not too long and not too short. Fuckin A.

    I may have missed it, but how long were you using this phone before you wrote the review?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I've had it since last Thursday.

  • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

    Are you going to update this post for the US carrier G3s? Battery life, changes in software, bloatware etc.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Depends on what changes.

  • GreatNews

    I don't know what you have against this phone or LG but the entire article/review was one big negativty, no good word what so ever, if you hate it why bother making even a review? Or maybe the negativty is because of Friday the 13th???

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I'm sorry, did you not read the same review I wrote?

      • GreatNews

        Sorry David but on every thing you talked about you made sure to say something negative, I got no idea why but that's the fact l.

        • Cory S

          cant argue with the fact Is.

        • Rovex

          I didn't see negativity, I saw honesty. Even if i didn't agree with his opinion i can see why he thought it.

      • Kurt Schultz

        I see it in the full review but can you guys start adding if the phone has wireless charging to the list of specs? Maybe if that catches on then more customers will realize it is a thing and request it...causing carriers to buy the phones with it. Long stretch, I know but it should really be part of the spec list!

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Maybe, yeah. In this case, it varies by region. EU will have it, basically everywhere but SK / US.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

      Wow, really?
      "I'd have to say the G3 is my favorite phone of 2014."

      • GreatNews

        Same here, and I am planning on getting this phone the day it cones to T-Mobile and that's why I asked him what he has against this phone or/and LG that he kept on bashing it in this review/article

        • Rovex

          Um.. that was what HE said. I think you have read the article all wrong.

          • Kazahani

            He's obviously a troll. A bad one. Everyone move along. Don't feed it. Nothing to see here.

        • Tired

          She's quoting the very review that you're bashing as being wildly negative... Shill, tard, or aggressive fan boy, how shall we classify thee?

    • Mike

      It's a standard Ruddock review. Every phone seems like the most horrible piece of shit he's ever seen up until the point that he tells you its his favorite phone of 2014. You would really have no idea based on the text of the review.

      A lot of tech reviewers are too positive, David is really almost too negative.

      • Tom Vera

        I sorta have to agree. He opened the review with how awful the G2 was....... Whole first paragraph rehash of how bad G2 was before even talking about G3 .I will wait till I can see and try one before deciding. A Happy rooted and romed G2 owner with a feather case on and the plastic still on the back of the shiny back. lol

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

    Old credit I never used. Only a tiny fraction is survey money.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Aw man, can you imagine how awesome can Nexus 6 potentially be if LG turns the G3 into one?

    • KenanSadhu

      Then it's a nexus 5.5, I guess

      • supremekizzle

        It is not based on screen size for the phones

        • http://pocketnow.com/ Rithvik Rao

          It's based on screen size rounded down to the whole number below it.

          • supremekizzle

            Using that reasoning, then the Nexus 5 should've been rounded down to 4 as well due to the screen being 4.95". The name does not coincide with the screen size like it does on the tablets.

          • http://pocketnow.com/ Rithvik Rao

            lol, I knew someone would argue the 0.05". It's negligible.

            By this logic, you expect the 2015 phone you be the Nexus 7? :p

          • grumpyfuzz

            No, it will have it's own unique name. Not based off of screen size.

          • Cole Raney

            The nexus 4 was still closer to 5 inches than 4 inches. I thibk it was 4.7

    • AndroidSilver

      holy sh*t this again and again.:D

      Nexus WAS NEVER SUPPOSED to be a hi-end premium smartphone.
      Nexus was NEVER supposed to be "based" on any vendor's premium TOP product.

      Nexus is a mid-range mid-specs PURE ANDROID phone for enthusiasts and DEVELOPERS.
      Android Silver WILL replace Nexus after the I/O 2014.

      • http://ignaciozippy.com/ Ignacio Zippy

        ...and that's what we wanted. But Google will take it away from us. They will destroy everything that Android offered and make it "just another iOS".

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        *gasp*
        You better wash your mouth after these words, young man!

      • talhamid

        Nexus 5 is midrange? Nexus 4 was mid-range? I guess that makes a lot of sense

        • Jasper Guerrero

          he said "was"

        • krudl3rx

          Even the Galaxy Nexus was more like a Galaxy 2.5, i.e. high end for the time.

      • Cole Raney

        But the nexus always was high end...

    • http://ignaciozippy.com/ Ignacio Zippy

      I'd buy this if it had good open source support. I'm thinking of replacing both my Nexus 4 and iPad mini (!) with something like this.

  • supremekizzle

    So. Should I buy a G2 or hold off for the G3? Is it worth the $300 price gap?

    • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

      G2 right now is a steal, especially if you can get one used.

    • dogulas

      Buying off contract? Well that's a no brainer. G2. As long as you don't mind the software.

  • raddacle

    Anyone know what wallpaper is in the screenshots?

  • Vincentio

    Good review David, Realistic and honest..I like it, waiting for it to launch to check it out.

  • http://rootzwiki.com/news Max M.

    GPE and I'm sold.

  • HitoShura

    Why would anyone not prefer headphone jack at the bottom?? Do you like wires in front of your screen? Do you like having to rotate your phone every time you take it out from your pocket?

    • Ashish

      I hate having the headphone jack on the bottom. I have a tylt wireless charger and with headphones plugged in my phone sits all retarded or I have to put it in landscape.

    • JaySee

      Headphone jack at the bottom is stupid design. I like to stand my phone up and listen to music. Not possible with the headphone jack on the bottom. My wire never goes over my screen it goes down the back or to the side.

    • r0xp0x

      The headphones are in the way when you're holding it if the headphone jack is at the bottom, it's just awkward to have it there.

    • Darrien Glasser

      *sniff* Someone finally understands.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      You do realize you can put the wire behind the device, right?

      Jack at the bottom is the fucking worst - I can't put the device vertically that way, because the fucking plug sticks out, absolutely inconvinient. And if you have it plugged in and put the device in, let's say, a pocket - the jack will be stuck against the bottom of the pocket

      • Alan

        You do realize you can put the phone in your pocket the other way, right?

    • Cole Raney

      I don't have those problems when the headphone jack is on top.

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  • koolbluez

    Missed the whole point there. We expected a comparison the great G2, not the htcs & Samsungs. Screen, sound, size, battery comparison with the G2 would have been great. They were the G2's best features when released, right?

  • ben

    how does the display on this match up with the xperia z2?

  • MeCampbell30

    I refuse to buy a QHD screen for the sake of QHD. I don't hold my phone 2 inches from my face.

  • Pratik Holla

    The camera is one area where i dont mind an OEM cramming features. Power users will dig into it and change stuff. Regular users will won't and will just snap a picture. So, I hope LG adds this back later.

    • dogulas

      So say we all

  • Trysta

    Great review! I'm not really in the market for a smartphone. Was just curious because I also consider the G3 the most interesting of the current 2014 flagships. But your review was both amusing and very informative. I especially appreciated a very honest opinion of the screen. Thanks!

  • Rawffle2

    Pinch-to-zoom on your multi-tasking screen and then consider revising the article. From someone who doesn't own the device but jealously wants one (or something modern).

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Yeah it still looks awful.

  • dogulas

    That's truly disappointing they took out the extra camera settings. I really loved the manual focus slider on the G2. Couldn't they have at least made some hidden way to access advanced settings

  • JaySee

    The 4 apps in the Task menu are carrier apps. This has been around since last year in all LG phones, and I would bet Samsung as well, in Korea. Korea passed a law banning carriers from making pre-installed apps system apps so that users can uninstall these. If you root and uninstall the apps, they disappear from the Task menu and give back all that space.

  • CyberPunk

    How's multi-language support on that LG keyboard?

  • Jeffrey Fazal

    Yes agree with the fact that it would have great battery life. Well I am waiting for its release in the US as I would like to buy its 32GB internal storage with 3GB RAM version model. Its 3000mAh after fully charged on qi charger seems to be performing all dong long. I can’t wait much for it.

  • alex0000000001

    Are they going to do a "play" edition without all that crap on it? Or will it be another Samsung-esque nightmare; great hardware but gimped with a disk/cpu full or unwanted and unremovable crud.
    Most importantly, although reviews never seem to investigate this element, can it be hacked easily and replacement software put on it, or is it all pointlessly bootloader locked and protected?

  • Renaldo Johnson

    Seriously, we're debating the merits of a phone that has a 2.5 GHZ QUAD CORE processor because its "not the 805"??? Our community (and journalists) need to get the sticks out their bums. As it is, my G2 turns on from cold boot in less than 10 seconds and its a heavily bloated 1.5 GB carrier ROM.. I just don't see why people are bemoaning the lack of an 805.

    Excellent review otherwise, I just think downplaying the 801 is unnecessary.

  • talhamid

    Favorite phone? So software counts for nthing apparently. Yes it has horrible ui, clutter, not so good camera, low contrast screen, but ita the best. By constantly comparing it to s5 only you disservice your readers who should know that a far more superior, refined and speedier experience is available on HTC one m8. Except for the camera and screen size (not the quality of the screen) you yourself termed it superior in every respect. I guess you just wanted to like the G3 very badly

    • dogulas

      I prefer this UI to other OEMs personally.

  • Christopher Bement

    Any word on the bootloader?

  • zaki67

    How does the battery life compare to that of the htc m8 ?

    • dogulas

      If you read the article, you notice that he says it is better than the M8 and S5. At last he definitely suspects so. Look elsewhere for techy quantitative battery comparisons.

  • David

    Great review David. Thank you. I currently use a Nokia 1020 and before that the Galaxy S4. I have come to realize that most of the little perks on my phones are wasted. I have been waiting and wanting basic - simple. Honest to God...when I saw the streamed launch, I knew LG (that meant nothing to me) had me pegged. Perfect in every regard. My only concern was the camera and most reviews have me feeling good about that as well. God Bless LG and thanks for your thoughts!

  • Sean

    I'm not reading past the first paragraph and I'll be giving this website no more clicks on the future either. You can't just declare that the G2 hardware and software are ugly and only a spec junkie would like it. Those are opinions and they are not shared by everybody. The G2 was the most innovative phone of 2013 and only a moronic jacka*s wouldn't realize that. The G2 software looked much better than the S4s software. Just go away.

  • Sebastian Jena

    I don't understand these ===> (why).
    Just what is wrong with these features? Okay, QSlide isn't much usable, at least for me, but Dual Window is awesome on my G2 (custom rom, huehue)

  • catiremedina

    Nice review, made me laugh a few times and reminded me of PCXL for some reason. I liked the g2 the couple of months I had it (well except the menu button, jesus H. crist LG why? and not even the option to change it! why? ) kept it in a case so the build quality was not something I thought of much, camera took a bitch of a long time to focus at low lights. I used it until those two gentlemen pointed their guns at me and I handed them my phone.

    "There's no big fitness suite"

    Didn't your device come with LG Health? The one they sent Engadget did, also your device does not have a "G" as one of the home screen dots either but you probably removed it.

  • shlk7

    On G3's multitasking window, pinch to zoom in and I think it turns into a vertical flow style (similar to the samsung/google stock) instead. Please let me know if that works.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Yes, and it still looks terribly cluttered.

  • Kirk Kinnell

    Samsung fans hate to see there brand fail as I've noticed these reviews by Samsung fans. Samsung is going to get left behind if they stay.......boring.

  • Swankieltd

    Best review on the G3 thus far. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586820069 steadymobb

    I know you don't like the keyboard, but to not talk about it's features is a bit... amateur, no offense. At least for a proper review. The quick edit with the space bar (how has no one else thought of this?), and the height adjustments you can make, along with replacing specific keys to your liking wherever you want. I think that's worth mentioning.

  • George Varghese

    "I love the amount of content I can get on a 5.5" screen (or, alternatively, being able to up the font size and fit the same amount of content as a smaller phone)" It would have been nice if you could show a text heavy page displayed on G3 with a side by side comparison of phones like Galaxy S5, iPhone and MotoX

  • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

    I'll get this phone next year when it got heavily discounted like maybe 50% off (LG usually do that right???) ... this is by far my favourite phone this year. Unless the next iPhone got glowing logo, tired with this POS iPhone 5.

  • Ranger29

    What settings did you use for the night photos? I know the night photos still have their issues, but that's one of the main things I'm interested in, as night photos on the G2/G3 seem way better than the S5 and M8. However, it seems that the G3 doesn't have a "Night Mode" setting, something that the G2 does. Did you have to do the settings manual? This based on some reviews that state the "simple" camera settings, and a look at the Sprint User Manual.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      It's automatic.

  • THE SAMSUNG GUY

    As long as the industry standard - DisplayMate - proves that S5 has the BEST SCREEN EVER , and CNET proves G3 to be BEST CAMERA EVER ! , you should buy S5 !

  • RichHomieGuan

    the part about 5.5", the most big compact phone and how amazing of LG to fit such a large screen into a smaller frame... yeah you now have my attention... but I'll also wait for the X+1 haha

  • George

    i love my G2, and im going to put G3 software on it ...

  • Bacon

    How much of the 32gb is actually useabal?

  • Bacon

    How much of the 32gb is useable?

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  • Thunder18

    The multi-tasking UI is adjustable. You can "pinch" out to make is show the standard single column of apps as would be seen on a Nexus device. pinching in brings it back to the 3 column interface you have disdain for.

  • Eddy

    Its size won’t be for everyone, and we do wish LG would take a closer look at the audio side of things, but there’s no denying that its high-res capabilities, mixed in with a stunning video performance, great design and superb user experience make it a very tempting choice.