LG G3 – Review – Part 1

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I have now had the LG G3 32gb/3gb version for nearly 2 weeks and in that time I have been using this phone exclusively. It certainly has been a different experience to that of any Samsung, Sony, HTC, Nokia and iPhone experience.

First up lets have a look at the official specs. Just a short note, I have the 32gb storage/3gb ram and not the 16gb storage/2gb ram version, so it is quite likely that the extra storage and 3gb ram have helped improve my overall experience with this phone.

Specifications –

– Networks 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100, 4G Network LTE 800 / 1800 / 2600 / 2100
– SIM Type – Micro-SIM
– Dimensions – 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
– Weight – 149 g
– DISPLAY – True HD-IPS + LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours,1440 x 2560 pixels, 5.5 inches 534 ppi p
– Protection – Corning Gorilla Glass 3
– MEMORY – Card slot microSD, up to 128 GB
– Internal – 16 GB, 2 GB RAM or 32 GB, 3 GB RAM
– DATA GPRS Class 12 (4+1/3+2/2+3/1+4 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
– EDGE Class 12
– Speed HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 21 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL
– WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
– Bluetooth – v4.0, A2DP, LE
– NFC – Yes
– Infrared port Yes
– USB microUSB v2.0 (SlimPort), USB On-the-go, USB Host
– CAMERA Primary 13 MP, 4160 x 3120 pixels, phase detection/laser autofocus, optical image stabilisation, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
– Features 1/3” sensor size, simultaneous video and image recording, geo-tagging, face detection, HDR
– Video 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps, optical stabilisation, HDR, stereo sound rec, Secondary 2.1 MP,1080p@30fps
– FEATURES OS Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat)
– Chipset Qualcomm MSM8975AC Snapdragon 801
– CPU Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400
– GPU Adreno 330
– Sensors – Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
– Messaging – SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
– Browser – HTML5
– Radio – Stereo FM radio with RDS (D855 model only)
– GPS – Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS
– Java – Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
– Colours Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold, Moon Violet, Burgundy Red
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– SNS applications
– MP4/DviX/XviD/H.264/H.263/WMV player
– MP3/WAV/FLAC/eAAC+/WMA player
– Photo viewer/editor
– Document viewer
– Organizer
– Voice memo/dial/commands
– Predictive text input
– BATTERY – Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
Stand-by Up to 565 h (2G) / Up to 553 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 19 h (2G) / Up to 21 h (3G)

So those are the official specs. Now just one last point to highlight, I am reviewing the European D855 model.

Some of the standout features for me of the LG G3 are the Qi Wireless charging built in, Infra Red Blaster for controlling your TV etc, the comfortable design for holding in your hand, the 2.5k screen with 534 pixels per inch, the audio quality via headphones, overall well designed software and hardware integration, the simple effective camera and strong battery standby time.

I am going to work through over the next few days, maybe weeks, describing each aspect of this phone. I will say from the outset that I recommend you read the manual with the G3 next to you to make sure you understand all its unique features. I will also document some tricks not found in the manual as well.

Today, I will cover off the camera. It is a 13mp affair, with optical image stabilisation and comes with a laser auto focus system. LG have also provided a default easy mode. Just tap screen to focus and picture is taken instantly. And based on all the photos I have taken in all lighting conditions, I am really pleased with the G3’s overall photo quality. Lower light, night time, macro, people, dogs, bright light and more all have produced very acceptable images. So out of all the smartphones I have used this year, the G3 is my favourite smartphone camera. The G3 can snap panoramas up to 70mb in size which is far greater than the Samsung Galaxy S5.

So how simple is the LG G3 camera app? This simple, see below.
Screenshot_2014-07-20-11-43-58

In this mode, you just tap the screen to focus and take your shot. Just in case anyone is wondering what is in the camera viewfinder, it is my finger over the lens, pressing the power button and volume down to take the screen shot. Lets say however, you prefer a more traditional layout. LG has you covered. See below.
Screenshot_2014-07-20-11-44-15

To keep matters simple, LG has included only a few shooting modes as shown below. I will cover off each mode as well.

Screenshot_2014-07-20-11-44-30

If you tap the settings icon, you have a few more options, but not many to choose from. These are HDR on/off/auto, MP size/aspect ratio, voice control, timer, grid lines and storage options.

Screenshot_2014-07-20-11-44-42

The final screen shots shows you the various photo and video options, including 4K video recording and 120fps slow motion.

Screenshot_2014-07-20-11-44-52

Lets look at some of the camera options in more detail. First up, the LG G3 has no hardware buttons on the sides. They are all on the rear of the phone, which are easy to adjust too. One of the options when the phone is off, is too long press the volume down key to launch the camera app. Selfies – these are easy to take, as all you need to do is raise your hand, clench into a fist and a countdown timer appears. Magic focus mode lets you change the focus after taking the shot (bokeh style). Only issue is once focus mode is selected and saved, you cannot re-edit the shot. Dual mode uses both the front and rear cameras at the same time. You will see your face in the shot in a little rectangular box which is moveable. Panoramic shots are fantastic with file sizes up to 70mp possible. You can use your voice to take a photo. Commands accepted are cheese, smile, whiskey, LG, and kimchi. For me kimchi worked the best.

The timer option gives you 3 or 10 seconds or off. The G3 has up to 8 times digital zoom. I found this works fairly well up to about 3-4 times zoom. Clearly not optical zoom but better than nothing. If you have recorded video at 4K, whilst in the LG video playback mode, go into settings and turn on screenshots. Now you can take photo stills of your video footage. This can be done at any resolution of video. The G3 also supports dual play over 2 screens using miracast or using the slim-HDMI port on the phone.

If you are shooting video, you can take photos at the same time. Whilst playing back your video, you can live zoom in to the video. In terms of picture quality, do keep looking back at the LG G3 flickr album which will increase over the next few weeks in content. Currently 19 shots. Flickr album link https://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinfabl100/sets/72157645618979801/

But what if the LG G3 camera app is too simple. Well I have the Google Camera and A Better Camera app installed. It seems that LG have allowed access by Third Party camera apps to the manual options within the camera. As I have more time, I will test these apps further, but initial results over the last few weeks have been fine. But being honest, the G3 camera app just works really well for most shots, so this is getting used the most.

So I am sure you all want to know how does the G3 compare to other current top tier smartphones. Lets start with the Lumia 925 and 1020. Both the optics on these phones have the ability to take better quality shots but not all the time. They are let down by software and processor strengths. The G3 takes higher resolution shots than the HTC One M8, so it has the edge. The Z2 has the ability using manual settings to take some very good photos but in auto mode the G3 wins. However, the Z2 does have some snazzy camera modes but be warned it can get too hot so may shutdown the camera. The Samsung Galaxy S5 – if the weather is lovely bright sunshine and HDR is used or macro, then the S5 wins. However, the G3 shoots photos in all conditions, so really is the better option. G3 vs iPhone 5S. Winner here is the G3. It provides the iPhone’s simplistic user experience but with better quality photos. However, the iPhone 5S is no slouch, in fact it’s one of the strongest features of the phone.

I want to reserve my judgement on the G3 camera until I have had at least one month using it. I found with the Samsung S5 my shots improved considerably after 3-4 weeks as I was becoming very familiar with the software/hardware limits.

That’s all for now, but if you have any further questions on the camera please let me know.

Part 2 coming soon.

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18 thoughts on “LG G3 – Review – Part 1

      1. Got it. Thanks. Think my Note 3 and home wifi don’t seem too happy with each other. Mac Book Air very quickly downloads and renders your photos compared to the Note 3.

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  1. Nice breakdown Gav! I have both 5S and G3 and I find myself reaching for the G3 more often than not. But that could be just the honeymoon effect (new gadget). LG’s really causing Samsung some major grief right now I reckon! Can’t wait to hear you discuss more about the G3 on your audio podcast!

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  2. Yes, I will definitely agree the camera which I thought due to it’s lack of manual controls would be it’s downfall: Yet here I am with my G3 using auto mode with confidence ~ a mode I never ever ever touch on any other camera be that dedicated digital or smartphone cameras.

    One area that I can not find Gavin is where you kindly mention:-
    “whilst in the LG video playback mode, go into settings and turn on screenshots. Now you can take photo stills of your video footage”.
    When I go into the G3’s Play mode all I see is Play, Display, Subtitle, Tools & Help.
    Of these if I press Tools it then shows Settings but I can not see anything related to taking photo stills of video footage shot.

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  3. I’m wondering if it may have something to do with differing models ~ as in you have the 32/3GB against my 16/2GB device?

    If anybody else is reading this could they please check….. Thanks.

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      1. My Bad………. Sorry Gavin.
        I’ve sent you an email explanation but for the benefit of others I had MX-Player selected as my default video player.

        Walks away with tail between his legs…………

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