LG has just announced the G3, its latest and great flagship Android smartphone. The handset has a screen resolution and pixel density higher than any other smartphone ever made and its metallic design is a big step forward from the plastic G2, but should owners of last year’s phone be looking to upgrade, or is the G3 more a case of evolution over revolution?
Taking a leaf out of Apple and HTC’s Big Book of Smartphone Design, LG has given the G3 a metallic front and back, replacing the plastic construction of the G2. This means a more premium feel and - in our opinion at least - a better looking device. This is probably the most attractive phone LG has ever made, and easily takes the fight to HTC for the titles of best-looking phone of the year.
But that doesn’t mean looks are everything. As its screen is slightly larger than last year’s G2, the G3 itself is a bigger phone to wrap your hand around, and with a footprint of 146.3 x 74.6mm, the phone is noticeably larger than its 138.5 x 70.9mm predecessor. Weight is also up, from 143 to 160g. This isn’t to say the G3 is a heavy and unwieldy beast, but those already struggling to use the G2 one-handed will find the G3, quite literally, more of a hand full.
The G2’s rear-mounted buttons make a return for the G3. Subtly restyled, but serving the same functions as before, the G3 has a volume rocker and power/screen lock button on its back, leaving the front and sides of the handset completely blank.
There are no two ways about it - the LG G3 is a gorgeous handset which has made some serious aesthetic improvements on last year’s G2.
The biggest feature of the G3 is its screen. Called Quad-HD, it has a resolution of 1440 x 2560 and a simply massive pixel density of 535 per inch - some 200 more than the iPhone 5s and its Retina display.
Despite the headline-grabbing numbers, you could argue the G3’s screen is too much of a good thing, when last year’s G2 had a marginally smaller 5.2in display and a Full-HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, producing a pixel density of 424 per inch.
The G2 has the same resolution and quality as the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5, but LG claims the new phone’s Quad-HD display takes the game on further and really does produce a better quality picture - even if those extra pixels can’t be seen by the naked eye. It’s a strange world we live in when our smartphone has far more pixels than our televisions and computer screens, but there we go.
Spec sheet lovers will of course want the G3, but in the real world we’re happy to report that the G2 still remains a hugely competitive handset compared to even its newest and shiniest rivals.
LG claims the Quad-HD display is the quality of a printed art book, compared to the mere magazine quality of a regular Full-HD screen.
The LG G2 had a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and optical image stabilisation - and that’s exactly what LG has given the G3 as well. The only change is a new infrared laser autofocus system which is claimed to be much faster than the competition, so hopefully your photos will be in focus more often and with less time spent waiting for the camera to decide what to do.
Processor, RAM and Storage
Big things were expected from the G3’s processor, but LG has instead opted for the same chip as used by the One (M8), Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2. That means a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor with a clock speed of 2.26GHz and 2GB of RAM. But, for those who want more, LG will also see a version of the G3 with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.
The new model also gets a microSD card slot to boost this by up to 128GB - something the G2 desperately missed out on.
Both the G2 and G3 use a 3,000mAh battery, but new for the G3 is integrated wireless charging. LG claims the new phone uses 20% less energy than the G2, and that the extra pixels crammed into the new screen do not have an adverse effect on battery life. "There is simply no compromise," the company claims.
Should I upgrade?
At first glance, the LG G3 is in a different league to its year-old predecessor, its premium finish oozing quality and those super skinny screen bezels helping to keep the screen-size-to-footprint ratio as small as possible - and who can say no to that stunning Quad-HD display?
But dig a little deeper and you realise just how good last year’s G2 was - and still is. It has a Full-HD screen, quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and the same 16-megapixel camera resolution with optical image stabilisation.
LG has worked hard to improve on the G2’s software with the G3, but the smart money could be on a G2, especially as the new phone will no doubt push prices down in the coming weeks.
However, money no object - and especially if you’re due a contract upgrade already - then it’s very hard to look past the G3, especially in its more powerful guise with the extra RAM and storage.