LG G3 Hands-On: First Impressions

Following Sony, Samsung and HTC, LG has finally shown its hand and announced the G3 smartphone at a press event in London. The phone had leaked heavily before the grand unveiling - and even made an appearance on LG's own website - but now it's here, what do we think?

The G3's screen is what dominates the first time you pick the phone up. At 5.5 inches it treads a thin line between smartphone and phablet, but thanks to super-skinny bezels and a curved back which is under 9mm at its thickest point, tapering to less than 3mm, the phone feels surprisingly good in the hand.

But the screen isn't just big - it is absolutely beautiful, and the world's first Quad-HD display to be seen on a smartphone. The resolution of 1440 x 2560 and 535 per inch pixel density make it by far the sharpest screen I've ever laid my eyes on.

Icons are pin sharp, text is rounded and smooth (although sometimes a little too small), while colours pop and a tiny gap between the Gorilla Glass 3 cover and display panel itself make it feel like you're dipping your finger into the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system and pushing those millions of pixels around.

It's still undeniably a large phone, but I can't wait to see if the curved back and slim design make it more useable than the comparatively chunky Sony Xperia Z2.

An eye for design

The HTC One (M8) and iPhone 5s made names for themselves by mating the best technology with an industrial design that not only looks goods, but feels good too. This is something Samsung has never quite managed - a shortfall no more obvious than with the Galaxy S5 and its plastic cover and fake chrome bezel.

For the G3, LG has aimed for something in between plastic and aluminium. Brushed metal to look at, and very nearly metal to touch, it is in fact plastic. But it feels more metal than plastic, and if it stays that way without chipping or becoming shiny with age, then LG has done a good job. We love the One (M8), but if a handsets looks and feels as good, but without the unibody aluminium chassis to back it up, then that’s fine by us.

Snappy and smooth

In the short hands-on time we spent with the G3 we found it to be as responsive as any other high-end smartphone. Like the Z2, M8 and S5, the LG opens apps pretty much instantly and scrolls through web pages with buttery smoothness.

We spent some time with the G3’s camera, which the company claims can focus in less than 300 milliseconds - less than the blink of an eye and, apparently, less than the time your brain takes to send a message to your hand. This is possible thanks to an infrared ‘laser’ sensor on the back which uses similar technology to police radar guns to focus infinitely more quickly than any other smartphone on sale today.

LG has entered one of toughest and closely fought markets in recent memory, but it does so with what - on first inspection at any rate - appears to be one of the very best smartphones of the year. We can’t wait to see more of the G3, and how it stacks up against its rivals.

The G3 will go on sale in the UK on 1 July as a 16GB model and is expected to be free on contracts from £38 per month.

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