The LG G3 was officially presented by its manufacturer last May. It is in line with its predecessor, with neat lines and particularly original ergonomics. Suffice to say that there is no shortage of arguments to seduce us, far from it. However, it has now been a little over a week that he accompanies me on a daily basis and the time has therefore come to draw up a complete assessment of the operation , and to tell you the story of this astonishing experience.
First of all and as usual, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this test is not intended to be pure technique. This is a simple report written by an enthusiast, and therefore by your humble servant.
However, be aware that you will find a lot of things throughout this article, including videos, photos and even the results of some benchmarks to be able to compare the performance of the terminal with your own smartphone.
If you pass by regularly, and if you happen to read my tests from time to time, then you probably know the song. Before going any further and before presenting the terminal in length, width and direction, we will start by recalling its technical characteristics in order to refresh our memory.
And also because he fully deserves it, no but!
- 5.5 inch multi-touch screen.
- QHD type definition.
- Resolution in 2560 × 1440, pixel density of 538 ppi.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5 Ghz.
- 2 GB of RAM / 3 GB of RAM.
- 16 GB of storage / 32 GB of storage.
- Port for micro SD cards (128 GB maximum).
- 13 million pixel sensor.
- OIS + optical stabilization system.
- 4K video recording at 30 frames per second.
- 2.1 million pixel front camera.
- WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC, GPS.
- FM radio, DLNA, infra-red port, headphone jack, Micro USB 2.0 port.
- 3000 mAh battery. Wireless charging (Qi standard).
- Dimensions: 145.5 x 74.6 x 9.1mm.
- Weight: 153 grams.
- Android KitKat 4.4.2.
- Average price: 600 € for the basic model.
It's quite strange but the two versions of the LG G3 vary depending on their storage space, of course, but also depending on the amount of RAM on board. The worst is yet to come because the high-end model – the one with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage – will not be available in all markets, and we will not be able to take advantage of it immediately in France.
At least initially.
As far as I'm concerned, LG lent me the first version. All the measurements were therefore carried out on the latter.
To finish off in style, it should also be noted that the LG G3 will be released in Europe in July. Bouygues Telecom should also offer special packs bringing together the terminal, but also the LG G Watch.
Design & Ergonomics
It's not really a surprise, but the LG G3 looks a lot like its predecessor and ultimately takes over most of its peculiarities. I am thinking in particular of the delicacy of its borders or the arrangement of its physical buttons.
However, the guy does not stop there and he finally sublimates the concept with simply flawless finishes.
Like the texture of its shell which imitates brushed aluminum to perfection. Who only imitates it since it is entirely made of plastic. Disappointing ? Maybe, or not, but one thing is certain: despite its 5.5-inch screen, the terminal is very light in the hand . This impression is not only due to its weight, but also to the width of the borders framing its screen.
To be a little more precise, and just to have a point of comparison in mind, the LG G3 is shorter than the Xperia Z2, but it is also a little wider and a little thicker. The difference is not obvious, however, as Sony has put a lot of effort into reducing the compactness of its latest flagship as much as possible.
As on the previous model, all the physical buttons are grouped together at the back of the shell, in a row under the photo module. Unlike the G2, the volume control buttons do not have a pictogram. They are also a bit longer. The same goes for the unlock button.
The optics overcoming all this pretty little world is accompanied by a double LED Flash , but also a laser autofocus capable of focusing in a few tenths of a second. In any case, this is the promise made by LG and we will of course have the opportunity to talk about it in a little more detail a little later.
Otherwise, well it will also be necessary to compose with the logo of the mark, and with an opening concealing the loudspeaker of the terminal.
Importantly, the LG G3 shell is removable and it will thus be perfectly possible to remove it to access the battery of the device and its various ports (Micro SIM, Micro SD). The battery is also not welded to the body of the device and we can change it on the fly if the need arises.
Finally, the headphone socket and the Micro USB 2.0 socket are located on the lower edge of the device.
The whole is rather well balanced and as much to say that the new spearhead of LG does not really lack charm. Like what, the materials used in the design of a phone are not everything.
Screen, Power & Autonomy
The screen is without context one of the strengths of the LG G3. Not all high-end terminals on the market can boast of having a QHD type panel.
Far from it, even.
But is it really useful on a daily basis? It's hard to say, and it all depends on how you use your smartphone.
If you're sticking to the bare minimum – calls, texts, web searches, social media – then you don't necessarily need them. On the other hand, if you like to look at photos or videos on your phone every now and then, then the situation will be radically different.
There, it's simple, you will simply take huge slaps across the face. The G3 does not just display photos or clips, it manages to sublimate them to a level rarely reached to date.
And no, it is absolutely not a purely literary style effect.
So what about the power? The Snapdragon 801 does its job pretty well, and it doesn't lack resources. On the other hand, on the RAM side, the basic model must be satisfied with 2 GB and that's a real shame. It's a shame because the platform and the overlay are rather greedy.
As usual, I shot a few story benchmarking solutions so you can compare the performance of the G3 with your own mobile:
- BenchmarkPi: 197.
- Quadrant: 15,940.
- Linpack: 369,883.
- An3DBench: 7592.
- Geekbench: 721/1813.
- AnTuTu: 21 204.
So the LG G3 is doing fine, as you can see for yourself. Except on AnTuTu, where it comes well after the HTC One (2014), the Samsung Galaxy S5 or even… the LG G2. This is what prompted me to launch the test three or four times in a row. To be completely sure.
And for its autonomy, then?
Despite the definition of its screen, it gets away with all the honors and it will be able to take a little more than a day for moderate use. As often, its worst enemy are these good old videos. Be careful not to push the brightness too much.
Photos & Video
LG was for a long time behind on the photo part, but things have changed a lot in recent years and the G2 was already doing well in this area. The good news is that the same goes for his successor.
Without also a Z2 or a Lumia 1020, it is capable of producing very good quality shots, and included in complicated lighting environments. To be honest, on this ground, it is doing even better than the HTC One (2014).
But its real strength, ultimately, is its laser autofocus. It works smoothly, in all possible and unimaginable conditions. Focusing is done in an instant , chrono in hand. And as much to say that it is really very practical, especially when you want to immortalize a fast subject. Like my daughter, for example.
LG has also pushed the concept quite far since it will be possible to associate the focus with the shutter release. It will then suffice to lift your finger from the screen to immortalize the scene unfolding before our eyes. Radical.
Little to say about the quality of the photos captured through the terminal. The rendering is crisp, and clean. The colors are rather natural. The noise management works well and the processing chip is even able to push the depth of field effect a bit.
Sharp level, on the other hand, it is far behind the Z2 but this is not surprising because the latter embeds a beautiful optics, a beautiful sensor and a BIONZ processing chip as a bonus. Sony and photography is a long love affair after all.
And the video? As you may know, the LG G3 is perfectly capable of filming in 4K, or Ultra HD depending on it. Needless to say, these sequences will take up a lot of space on the terminal. Very much. If you want to take advantage of this feature, then it will be better to invest in a large capacity micro SD card.
Regardless, the videos captured with the G3 are relatively decent, with some issues with aliasing and nasty artifacts sometimes appearing when the light is not bright. I even prepared a little story clip for you that you can see for yourself what it's worth in the field, a clip integrated a little later in the article.
It remains to mention the application in charge of all these functions.
Basically, when you launch it, an empty window will appear before your eyes. Or almost, since you will find three buttons hidden in the corners of the screen. The one positioned at the top right will give you access to the last photo captured with the tool. If you click on the arrow at the bottom right, then you will quit the application.
And if you want to access the shooting options, well it's not complicated, just tap on the three small dots hidden at the top, on the left.
The double trigger will then appear on the right. In a few seconds, you can start capturing a photo or recording a video as if nothing had happened. Want to go further ? No problem, a toolbar on the left will give you control over all the usual options. It will then be possible to activate or deactivate the flash, switch between the main sensor and the front camera, change the mode or access the advanced settings.
Only four modes are offered: automatic , magic focus , panorama and double . If you are wondering, know that the second will simply allow you to change the focus of a shot after recording it. Exactly like what the Lytro offers, and many others.
In the options, you will find a lot of different odds and ends, including a button to change the recording format, and another to activate the famous composition grid. No advanced settings relating to the shutter speed and the aperture of the diaphragm, however.
We end with the video promised a little above, and with a gallery as a bonus. Photos can be recovered here in their original format.
Ecosystem & Applications
Producing beautiful smartphones is no longer enough. Mobile users are more and more attentive to the ecosystem of manufacturers, and their application offer.
On this ground, the LG G3 does not go there either with the back of the spoon and it is thus entitled to the very last version of the overlay house. Added to this is an update of native applications.
The first thing that strikes you, with the new version of the overlay, is its flat and minimalist interface. After Microsoft, Apple and Samsung, it is therefore LG's turn to switch to “flat design” and it is doing it quite well. On the program, therefore, new icons, new widgets and visuals that are ultimately very pleasing to the eye.
In addition, the manufacturer has also implemented new particularly interesting functions. If the Knock On is still in the game, it is now also possible to count on the Knock Code .
The idea, finally, is quite simple since it involves allowing the user to unlock his terminal by tapping on his screen. By tapping, yes, but not just any old way since it will be necessary to define a specific sequence based on an invisible square made up of four distinct zones. This is a change from the ordinary.
The notification center, it does not move a hair apart from the new icons. We will always be entitled to a first scrolling bar grouping together shortcuts pointing to the usual settings (WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth, etc.) as well as to QSlide Apps.
They will allow us to open certain applications in floating windows, then to move them , to resize them and even to play on their opacity . All this at your fingertips. It's not bad, but only native tools developed by LG are supported. Pity.
Also from the notification center, it will also be possible to adjust the brightness of the screen or the sound volume. Notifications, they will be displayed in a row, at the bottom.
As on the LG G2, the manufacturer has opted for an interactive tooltip system. When a friend sends us a text message, for example, it will show up in a small window at the top left. All we have to do is type in the area that looks good and type our message to respond to it, without having to launch the associated application.
The multitasking of the G3 is very similar to that of the HTC M8. Running applications appear as thumbnails placed on a grid consisting of three rows and three columns. Just drag a thumbnail left or right to close the associated tool. LG has thought of integrating a button to close all programs at the bottom, to go faster.
This is also where we will find the button to access multi-windowed mode . A system relatively close to what Samsung offers on the Galaxy Note. Basically, through it, we will be able to place two applications next to each other. If necessary, we will even have the possibility to resize them on the fly with a simple button.
The icing on the cake are the customization options linked to the touch buttons specific to Android. If desired, the user can modify their layout, change their color and even add new shortcuts pointing to functions specific to the constructor's overlay.
Finally, the only black point concerns the screens displaying the list of applications installed on the terminal. They are way too conventional and they lack a bit of madness.
The LG G3 comes with a full suite of apps. From the mail client to the music player, via the dictaphone, the clock or the reminder manager.
These tools form a coherent whole , with visuals close to each other and a rather efficient color code. The dominant color of the agenda is orange, for example, against gray for the dictaphone, yellow for text messages or purple for the music player.
I have not tested all the applications up and down and across. However, in the lot, I still found some pearls.
Like LG Health, the smart pedometer imagined by the manufacturer. Smart, because it will be perfectly possible to change activity on the fly , to let it know that we are running or even cycling.
The dictaphone, it also works very well and I admit having a lot of hooking to its interface. Like what, we can do pretty things in "flat design".
The web browser is quite fast, and its interface pleasant. However, it failed to replace my Chrome. It's because we are very attached to each other, eh. No, and it's still very practical to retrieve your history and favorites from one machine to another.
The weather app sends harsh too. She is really beautiful and the forecast over several days seems to be working well.
Same thing for the virtual keyboard which pushes the delirium far enough by integrating new “gestures”. By sliding your finger on the "space" key to the left or right, you can move the selection cursor without taking your head.
Better, if necessary, we can even specify its total height. The swype will also be there, of course.
The time to deliver my ruthless verdict has arrived. Drum rolls. Trumpets. Tambourines.
I really enjoyed these few days spent with the LG G3. It is a beautiful object, it is light and the extreme delicacy of its borders helps us to forget the telephone as an object to concentrate on the images delivered. Images, and therefore our content, the web, games and all those little things that are now part of our daily lives.
At the time, I wrote that the LG G2 felt like it was holding a screen in the palm of your hand. The same goes for his successor. It doesn't sound like anything said like that but it's really nice when we glide on YouTube in front of our favorite channels. Or even when watching the last episode of a series on the train, or on the plane.
Well, given its screen, it would be a shame to do without.
The presence of a micro SD card port is also good news since it was ultimately the only flaw of the G2. Once again, LG proves that it is perfectly capable of taking the opinions of its customers into account.
Nothing to say about the power of the processor. However, it is not the same for RAM. Why decline the terminal in two versions? At what point did the senior officials of the firm say to themselves that it would be a good idea to cut off the first model by a third of its memory? From my point of view, this is really the biggest black spot of the LG G3.
There remains the ecosystem and there again, well we have something that really holds up. I like the universe of the firm and the new version of Optimus UI is really successful. The interface is consistent, well thought out and quite accessible. A treat to use.
And then there is the laser autofocus which is a real bomb. Of all the terminals that have passed through my hands, none is as quick to debug as the latter. He is ruthless, and he leaves no chance to those blurry villains who will disappear from your life the instant you take the phone out of its box.