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LG G3 Review: Inspiringly amazing

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LG is one company that I would call, in the true sense, a student of the smartphone industry. Every year, the company tries to come out with something different that it hopes would dazzle you and yet also provide you something you can aspire for, more than anything.

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The LG G3 falls in the league of ace smartphones and has the potential to charge up an ailing high-end smartphone market, in which even stalwarts like the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Sony Xperia Z2 have hardly been able to make an impact. It has to build upon the massive success of its predecessor, the LG G2, and I can safely say that it does take the baton forward.

LG has always tried to stand apart from others, when it comes to the G series and the LG G3 is no exception to this practice. The LG G3 has two new and amazing features on offer – Laser autofocus and a vivid 2K display.

Has LG truly upped the ante, when it comes to high-end phones?

Without further ado, let’s delve into the detailed LG G3 review.

LG G3 Specs:

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display
  • Quad HD (2560x1440p) resolution, 538 ppi
  • Qualcomm 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 processor
  • 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9mm
  • weighs 150g
  • 16 GB internal storage and 2 GB RAM
  • 32 GB internal storage and 3 GB RAM
  • microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 13 MP camera with OIS+, dual LED flash
  • Laser Auto Focus
  • 2.1 MP front facing camera
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • 3000 mAh battery
  • 4G / LTE / HSPA+ 21 Mbps (3G)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth Smart Ready (Apt-X), NFC, SlimPort, A-GPS/Glonass, USB 2.0

Hardware

To look at the LG G3 and think about it as just another phone too big for its britches would do a gross injustice to the phone. Agreed, this phone comes with a gigantic price tag of Rs. 47,990 (MRP) but then, it does its best to justify the price tag. The phone is designed in such a way, that it is aspirational and clicks all the right boxes on an Android lover’s dream feature list. Some serious thinking has gone in the making of the phone.

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While a  2K display is definitely the main attraction of the handset, there is much more on offer. The LG G3 comes with a 2.5-GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, 3 GB RAM, 32 gigs of memory onboard and a 13-megapixel rear cam.

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The LG G3 design, in itself, shows that LG has its ears to the ground and tries to change with every new flagship. The Brush-stroke design is something that I would actually think, is an amalgamation of the features of LG’s phones from the last year, namely the G Flex, the G Pro and of course, the LG G2.

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If the LG G2 broke all records to become the ‘phone of the year’, then the LG G3 is on a similar road. It hasn’t grown just in the terms of features, but in size too. The LG G3 comes with a 5.5-inch display, which is right around the precipice of my comfort zone.

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It is a big phone alright, but the design is such that it doesn’t feel too big. Despite its size, the LG G3 feels good to hold. In fact, the ergonomics are such that it might just be most comfortable phone made, up till now.

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Despite that, the size might make some people think twice about investing in it. My advice to those people – Go out and try it, do not go upon the perceptions of a 5.5-inch phones. The first Galaxy Note stunned people with its exuberance, despite its size, and so will the LG G3.

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The LG G3 design is, at the every least, a  bit queer. It is different from the rest of the lot since, there are actually no physical buttons on the sides. All the buttons are located below the camera at the back, which one might take time to adjust to.

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It also made it a godawful thing to take the camera screenshots, since the placement of the volume rocker and power button was such, that my fingers were covering the camera half the time and colliding with each other the rest of the time. But I braved the odds and did it, as you will find when you scroll down to the camera section. It also made scared of scratching the camera lens every time I approached the volume rocker or the power button.

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As far as the back of the handset is concerned, it makes the handset look premium. The plastic back with a metallic paint finish looks nothing less than premium. It is a thousand times better than the Samsung embossed/ leather back. The Infrared camera looks pretty suave. The back is smudge free and you will find it easy to look at as well as durable.

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It is also the main reason that the phone doesn’t feel too big. LG has used a curved arc design, which basically means that the handset is absolutely flat in the middle and curves towards the sides, ending by thinning out and merging with the soft edges.

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The back opens up to bring out the 3000 mAh battery, but doesn’t have too much else to show inside.

The 2K display, about which I am going to talk in detail later, is maybe the best display in the market right now, without the shadow of a doubt.

Overall, the handset ticks all the right boxes when it comes to design. It is suave, sturdy, unique and most importantly feels premium.

Display

The LG G3 is one of the two Quad HD phones that the world has seen, other being the Oppo Find 7. Before you embark on a monologue on how a 2K display is just too much, is not worth it and isn’t much different from a normal display, let me cut you short here. The LG G3 display is literally the best one out there!

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The LG G3 2K display is no joke, no marketing gimmick, but an actual 2560 x 1440p display with a 534 ppi screen density.

Wait, doesn’t the Find 7 have the same specs and comes around 10K cheaper?

Yes, the Find 7 does have the same kind of display with the same specs, but LG is the master here.

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It has actually nailed the 2K display logic and should be an inspiration to the newer generation of smartphones which aspires to do the same.

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The display lights up as if it is already Christmas in August. It is clear. Peer all you want, but you won’t be able to locate any pixellation. The viewing angles are good and so is the sunlight visibility. I would pitch it as straight off competition for the Apple iPhone and this one actually ranks above the iPhone in terms of the display and might be the first Android phone to outrank Apple’s ‘Retina-display’.

The display will be the thing that you will appreciate most about the LG G3. There is nothing the display cannot do, it can actually play videos flawlessly and show sharp images. Colors are vivid and vibrant, yet balanced. 2K videos are like, the best kind of videos out there and it was more than a pleasure playing them on the LG G3.

The only contention with the display is that to take full advantage of it, you will need access to 2K videos, which aren’t too many. They are also very hard to download since they need a huge amount of space on your phone. A 32/64 GB smartphone just isn’t enough, if you are fond of watching and creating videos, which can be a little bit of a hassle. Another thing – apps are still shaping up to take full advantage of 2K displays, which might be an issue. So, you might have to wait for some 2K apps to take full advantage of display.

Software

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In terms of hardware, it seems that the LG G3 has picked up the baton from the company’s G Flex smartphone and it is good. It is simple to use and elegant to look at. But, in terms of software, the LG G3 faces a little bit of competition from the likes of Xiaomi.

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The simplest piece of the software is the camera app. It is easy to use, simple to click and mostly easy to take care of, when it comes to determining what kind of shot you would like.

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As far as the Android mainstay is concerned, there is a lot on offer. Let me start at the beginning – the lockscreen. LG has put up a simple lockscreen with a good looking clock, but that is not where the magic lies. It shows when you unlock the lockscreen – the animation is so beautiful!

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As you maneuver towards the homescreen, you are greeted by an elegant display with a Google Now-esque functionlity, called Smart Notice. This will suggest you what to do, like switch on battery saver, when the battery is below 30 percent.

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There are three homescreens along  and ‘G menu’ which shows the G Health (Eerily reminiscent of Samsung’s S health) and a Smart Tips feature which is more like a user guide for the LG G3.

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The Smart Health app is pretty accurate at giving you health related information and measuring stuff such as how many steps you have taken. It will also let you know your vitals, during say a session at the gym. You can easily pull stats to let you know how you are doing.

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As you delve into the menu, you will notice flat icons which make the UI feel pretty light. There is other ‘smart stuff’ in tow, such as the LG Smart World which gives you app bundles, themes and more.

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There is also a Remote Call service which is an app that will give you easy access to LG Service centers and vice versa. Let’s say you are facing issues with the G3 and don’t want  the hassle of visiting the service center. The Remote Call app will actually give Teamviewer style remote access of your phone to the LG team, who might fix the issue via the app, unless it is a pertinent hardware fault.

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Other apps such as Quick Remote (The best remote app on smartphones currently) and Quick memo are good. There is also a Tasks app onboard, which will let you take care of your daily chores and remind you of stuff such as buying groceries.

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Think Free viewer is a stylish way of viewing your documents on the phone. There is also a Box app onboard for cloud storage.

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But the most stylish thing is the Notification and shortcut menu, which has a translucent feel and cool animations which makes icons fill up with sky blue color. You can also edit this menu and put in your choice of icons, which is great. The gallery app is equally good and simple to use.

The new Knock Code, is another thing that LG keeps showing off. What is it? Well, it is an evolved version of the Tap to Unlock feature of the LG G2. Now, you can actually set a tap code to unlock. So basically, you can just tap your screen three times to unlock. Just in case, you might forget the tap pattern, LG has ensured that you back it up with a passcode.

Camera

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The camera app, as I have stated before, is the simplest I have ever seen. It is minimalistic and easy to use. You can, in fact, take photos just by tapping the display. You can choose whether to keep or discard the on-screen shutter button. There are only four modes on board – Dual, Panorama, Magic Focus and auto. In case, you are unnerved by this and want more control of the camera, you can just tap the setting buttons and determine everything you need about a shot you are going to take.

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But, a simple camera app does not entail that the camera is not a great one. It is one of the high points of the LG and rightly so. The LG G3 comes with a laser autofocus. What is it?

Well, it is a technology developed single-handedly by LG and uses a laser to give you one of the fastest autofocus ever – an absolutely amazing 220 ms which blows even well known smartphone camera such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Sony Xperia Z2 out of the water. Well, this is what the company claims. But in real time usage, I found the autofocus not just fast, but also pretty decent. It will be a bliss for an average consumer taking clicks.

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The pics, as you can see for yourself, came out pretty damn impressive. The only issue being that light interpretation in extreme conditions could have been a tad better. The OIS also is good generally, but rarely, you will feel that it could have been a tad better.

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Before Beautification

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After Beautification

The selfie camera is something different, it actually lets you beautify yourself. I have to admit that the extent of beautification which you can determine, was pretty good. Selfies did not feel unnatural to look at, which was pretty damn great.

You can shoot up to 4K videos on it. You actually to see 4K videos to know what they really are. The videos I shot on the LG G3 were amazingly clear for a smartphone camera and I think 4K videography is definitely worth the hype.

The only small issue, if you use the camera for a long time, the phone tends to heat up a bit, but that happens only if you have been clicking for a long time.

Performance and Battery Life

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For LG G3 to be a totally compositive device, it is essential that it delivers, performance-wise. Thankfully, it does.

The LG G3 is a fast device, owing not only to the Snapdragon 801 processor and 3  GB RAM, but also to the lack of bloatware on the device.

Despite possessing a 2K display, the LG G3 is a well-optimized device. Everything is smooth as silk and there are no lags at all. Whether you play 3D games, watch videos or do almost anything else, the phone works pretty well.

LG sets the benchmark for other devices and hosts a clean and easy philosophy when it comes to both the hardware and software (Samsung, are you listening?).

Battery Life might be something to worry about with so much on offer, right?

Well, the LG G3 manages to surprise us in this department too. The LG G3’s 3000 mAh battery is more than enough for a regular day’s usage. This has possible due to extreme optimization on the phone, which is not visible at the start, but is implicit in regular usage.

Verdict

When you invest in a Rs. 47,990 smartphone, what do you think mostly? Common sense deduces that it should be specs, performance and premium feel. Well, the LG G3 performs well in all these departments and has more on offer. It is more of a phablet than a phone and there is some stuff that requires adjusting to such as the physical buttons on the back.

But, once all these issues have been taken care of, and the handset seems to lusting after your love.

LG G3 might be the only smartphone that has actually utilized the plastic form factor to the max.

What more would you desire in a high-end smartphone? The display is amazing, the camera is great, the internals are awesome and software is good.

The LG G3 builds on the foundation laid by its predecessor, the LG G2. If I weren’t waiting on the Xiaomi Mi4 and if the software was a tad more interactive (The bias only comes after experiencing the Xiaomi MiUi ROM), I would have called this the smartphone of the year. Nonetheless, it is the strongest contender for the tag, as of now.

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