In my unending quest for the perfect smartphone, this month I’ve been testing the LG G3, a large screen smartphone with voice control, a high spec camera and a decent amount of power under the hood. So, let’s get started…
The LG G3 weighs in at a feather-light 149g, and measures 146.3mm tall, by 74.6mm wide, by a slender 8.9mm mm thick.
It feels great in your hand and looks slick with a brushed metal look to the plastic back, which houses a microSD slot that accepts cards up to 128GB (enough for 100+ HD movies), a micro-SIM and a 3,000mAh removable battery with an advertised 16.5 hours of talk-time.
Display-wise, it has a Gorilla Glass 5.5-inch screen with a 1440 x 2560 pixel resolution providing 538 pixels per inch. This compares favourably with the iPhone 6 Plus, which has also has a 5.5 inch screen, but a lower 1080 x 1920 resolution and a pixel density of 401 ppi.
The LG G3 runs on Android, so if you have a Google account you’ll be up and running in no time. I have to admit, I’m not in love with the look of the icons and the colour scheme on this device. Out of the box it has a drab, beige and rather old fashioned look to it.
Even the browser bar is a dull shade of blue-grey. I need to learn how to change the skin, clearly.
Anyway, on to more important things…inside its slim shell, the LG G3 houses a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, which runs at up to 2.5Ghz, backed up by 2GB of RAM for the 16GB version and 3GB RAM for the 32 GB version. That’s a lot of power under that thin hood.
What that means, in everyday terms, is that the LG G3 runs fast and smooth. It’s also part of what makes the phone capable of running one of its stand out features: split screen, activated by pressing and holding the back soft key. This is very cool if you want to, say, look up cinema locations on a map and check film times at the same time, rather than swapping back and forth. I didn’t find the experience all that comfortable in portrait mode, but in landscape mode it’s quite easy to use.
The LG G3 also comes with Google Now which means that you can speak to your phone (“OK Google”) to ask it to open apps, tell you what the weather is going to be like, or set up an email to be sent. It’ll also track your geographical location and push notify you of relevant events (eg “You’ve just arrived at your office. Would you like to switch on Wi-Fi?”) with Smart Notice, if you set it up to do so. This is basically the same software you might have seen showcased in Google Glass and feels more integrated and seamless (dare I say, smarter?) than Apple’s Siri, although still not perfect – we’re not in full Artificial Intelligence territory just yet.
When it comes to security, the LG G3 offers the PIN-based lock you’d expect, but also has the option of a Knock Code, where the user divides the screen into four invisible sections and then taps out a sequence of three to eight “knocks” to create a pass code. This is fun, but probably not all that useful. It’s also quite conspicuous to execute, so probably too easy to mimic should a snoop fancy stealing your code.
For the photographers amongst you, the LG G3 has a 2.1 mega-pixel front facing camera, and a dual flash 13 megapixel rear facing camera.
I’m pleasantly surprised with the camera performance and highly amused by the voice command function. You can say ‘OK Google, take a picture’ and the camera app will open, then say ‘cheese’ or ‘smile’ and it will take a picture. Lots of fun, good for reducing motion blur (as you don’t have to tap anything) and great for natural looking pics.
If voice activation doesn’t float your boat, you can also try gesture control – just hold up your hand until the camera recognises it, make a fist and you’ll get a 3 second count down. Add to that the front camera ‘flash’ that works by making the screen bright white, and the slightly unnerving slider that smooths out your skin to a greater or lesser degree and you’re on your way to the perfect selfie.
As with most smartphone cameras, you can tap on the screen to choose your focal point, but the LG G3 also boasts laser auto-focusing which essentially means it’s ready to take a pic really quickly – great for capturing those fleeting moments.
The LG G3 camera also boasts Optical image stabilization, Face detection, Smile detection, Burst mode (allows you to take many shots in succession), Geo tagging (which, using GPS, marks a video, photo or other media with a location), High Dynamic Range mode (HDR) and Panorama options.
Alas, there’s no way to manually control the ISO, aperture or shutter speed, but it’s a very decent camera for a smartphone and comparing it to the iPhone 6, the focal controls and resolution make it comfortably superior.
So they’re my thoughts on the LG G3 – do you have it? Do you like it? Let me know in the comments.
I was sent the LG G3 for this feature.