LG is still very active in summer and this year was no exception to the rule since last July presented a first variation of its latest flagship. The LG G3s , that's its name, looks exactly like the original model, with a more compact size and (unfortunately) downgraded technical specifications. However, he has been with me for a week now and the time has come to take stock of the operation.
The mobile telephony market has changed a lot in recent years. If you were born in the 1980s, or even before, then you will no doubt know that our manufacturers have long been keen to reduce the size and bulk of their mobile phones.
But everything changed with the arrival of smartphones. There, suddenly, the biggest firms in this world began to wipe out the past. Most terminals on the market now have a diagonal of between 4.5 and 5 inches. It's great for multimedia, a little less when it comes to using your phone with one hand.
It is precisely for this reason that manufacturers have a habit of launching “Mini” versions of their high-end phones. LG is no exception to the rule, of course, and the LG G3s follows precisely that tradition.
As indicated a little above, if the LG G3s looks a lot like the G3, it does not inherit the same technical data sheet and that is ultimately a shame because its characteristics place it more on the middle range.
He is thus entitled to a 5-inch screen limited to displaying a definition of HD 720p type , for a resolution of 1280 × 720 and a pixel density of 296 ppi. Largely sufficient in most cases. After a certain stage, the eye is no longer able to see the difference.
On the processor side, we have to be content with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 composed of four cores clocked at 1.2 GHz , with a 1 GB of RAM behind. The chip still passes. The real problem is in the RAM and we will have the opportunity to talk about it in more detail later.
The storage space does not rise above 8 GB , but it will still be possible to expand it through the onboard micro SD card port . A port that will accept cards of 32 GB at most, for a total of 40 GB. Finally, this is not quite correct because the weight of the platform and the overlay is not included in the lot. We must therefore remove a few gigabytes.
Is this sufficient? It all depends on how you use your terminal, but I think 95% of users will be happy with it. With the G3s, you won't be able to run too big games either, eh.
Photo level, well we will be entitled to an 8 million pixel BSI sensor capable of filming in Full HD 1080p at 30 frames per second. With a Flash and the famous Laser Autofocus introduced with the G3. It doesn't sound like much, but thanks to it, the LG G3s will only need a few tenths of a second to focus on your subjects. Otherwise, well we can also count on a front camera of 1.3 million pixels which does not necessarily shine by its performance.
Good point, however, the G3s will be perfectly able to connect to 4G / LTE type networks. You will therefore be able to taste the joys of very high-speed mobile internet, on the express condition of taking out a dedicated subscription. Another advantage is that the terminal's battery is removable, so you can change it on the fly. For capacity, it's 2540 mAh.
On this, well we are also entitled to WiFi 802.11 b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC and DNLA, all in a compact box (137.75 x 69.6 x 10.3 mm) and for a weight not exceeding 134 grams.
There remains the question of the price and there is no miracle, the LG G3s will cost you more than a OnePlus One and you will have to spend on average 349 € to enjoy it. Without subscription, and therefore without operator subsidy.
Design & Ergonomics
Unsurprisingly, the LG G3s inherits the lines of the original model. The same goes for materials elsewhere. Its shell plays the card of plastic, and only plastic. No glass, no metal, no cryptonite.
Is this a bad thing? Not at all, and even less on a terminal positioned in this segment. So yes, it is true that plastic is not very glamorous, but at least it has the merit of being light, not very slippery and resistant to shocks and deformations. LG has done things well and the manufacturer has applied a nice texture to the entire shell. Brushed aluminum style.
The screen is quite large and it occupies a good part of the front of the terminal. Above, we will find the speaker and the front camera. It has no button, but the manufacturer has still taken care to affix its logo at the bottom. As on the G3.
The headphone jack and the charge / sync port are both located on the bottom edge of the device. On the other side, we will have the infra-red thing. I know some of you are fond of it but I am not and I haven't been taken to test it this week. Sorry for those who were waiting for a topo on the issue.
The edges of the LG G3s are obviously devoid of buttons. These are all placed at the back of the hull, in a row under the photo module. A configuration that is not trivial, it is true, but which proves to be formidable on a daily basis and especially during calls. Otherwise and be aware that the optics of the sensor are in very good company and it is thus stuck between the Flash of the device and the famous Laser Autofocus mentioned a little above.
To access the ports of the device, it must be opened from the back. LG, however, had the good idea of placing them much higher than the phone's battery, so you won't need to remove the battery to change your SIM card or micro SD card.
Is the LG G3s a good product? It's rather subjective but I found it very pretty to watch.
Screen, Power & Autonomy
If there is one thing to take into account when buying a cell phone, it is the size and quality of its screen. And for good reason since we will spend several hours each day with our eyes riveted on it.
Let's start with the screen size. With its five inches, the LG G3s is placed in the upper limit. However, its manufacturer has also made great efforts to reduce the size of the bezels (borders around the screen) as much as possible, and the phone can thus be operated with one hand. The only hard-to-reach area is the upper right corner.
I mentioned it a little earlier but the G3s screen is limited to a HD 720p type definition.
Is it embarrassing? It all depends on how you use your terminal. If you just do some research on the web and hang out from time to time on the main social networks of the moment, then this definition will be more than enough. Same thing if you play, by the way.
On the other hand, if you consume a lot of media (photos and videos), then you may be hungry.
In any case, the screen of the LG G3s remains very bright and has good contrast. The colors are natural and pleasant. IPS as we like.
Now let's move on to the raw computing power of the processor built into the phone. What is the Snapdragon 400 worth compared to the main benckmarking solutions on the market? Very good question, and here are the results obtained by the terminal under Geekbench, AnTuTu and all the others:
- BenchmarkPi: 398.
- Quadrant: 8673.
- Linpack: 198,899.
- Geekbench: 323/1072 .
- AnTuTu: 17,797 .
There, the best is still to launch these applications on your phone to compare performance.
Unsurprisingly, the LG G3s is far from being able to compete with the tenors of the genre, but it still does quite well in most cases. If you intend to play very greedy titles, it is sure, it risks showing its limits very quickly, but it will be more than enough for all the common tasks.
What about the videos? There, everything will depend on the format. I managed to play 720p videos stored on my Plex server without (too many) issues, but experienced some slowdowns on 1080p movies. It remains to be seen whether this comes from the telephone, or from the still deplorable state of my home network.
Its autonomy pleasantly surprised me, however. The LG G3s can easily last a day and a half without too much effort, and for normal use and on the express condition of not pushing the screen brightness too hard.
Photos, Videos & Sound
LG has worked a lot on the photo and video part in recent years and the G3s does not have to be ashamed against other terminals on the market.
While it won't do as well as a G3 or Z3, it will still be able to produce very good quality shots, even when ambient light is poor. This is what surprised me the most with this little phone, if you want to know. In terms of definition, there is something for everyone and we can shoot in 3, 5, 6 or 8 million pixels.
But its best asset is its autofocus. It works really well, and it is extremely precise. Fun fact, LG has integrated voice commands to its application and it will be enough to swing a little “cheese” to immortalize the scene unfolding before our eyes. Selfie enthusiasts will appreciate.
The video convinced me less. The quality of the sequences is correct, but the stabilizer leaves much to be desired. Which is not really surprising on a terminal of this range. Otherwise, for the formats, we can shoot in 1080p or 720p, as desired.
What about the application? She is doing pretty well, with an interface that is both pretty and easy to learn. It's nice but it is not free from flaws so far and its biggest problem is ultimately in the shooting modes. There, it must be admitted, it is very far from revolutionizing the genre. Pity.
The sound quality is pretty decent. The built-in speaker lacks a bit of a trunk, it's true, but it's more than enough for chatting with friends. Not much to say on that side, then.
Ecosystem & Applications
We now move on to the ecosystem and applications. The LG G3s inherits the overlay from its big brother and is therefore entitled to the same specificities and the same functionalities . The new interface is also in the game and that's quite a good thing since the latter is really very successful.
All these points having been mentioned in my test of the G3, I will not go into too much detail here and I will therefore be as concise as possible. Which is not going to be easy. If you want to know a little more, I refer you to reading this article .
New overlay, and new interface. Flat, obviously and this is not surprising because “flat design” has been particularly fashionable for some time. Some will appreciate it, others less, but I find it rather successful for me.
Especially since the functions are not left out. The Knock On is naturally there, and the same goes for the Knock Code.
No particular changes on the notification center. He will always give us control over the main settings of the phone and we will also be able to access QSlide Apps. They are very practical, but unfortunately they are limited to the native tools developed by LG and that's a shame. Sony is doing better.
Notifications will be displayed directly in the center, but also through interactive tooltips. For example, it will be possible to reply to an SMS without opening the associated application.
Multitasking is great to use, too. It thus displays all the open applications in the form of thumbnails arranged next to each other. No multi-windowed mode on the other hand.
Positive point, however, it will be quite possible to customize the touch buttons specific to Android. You are free to reorganize them as you see fit, therefore.
Like all terminals on the market, the LG G3s comes with a battery of applications. With an email client, a music player, an alarm clock, a calculator and much more.
They all have the right to an interface as minimalist , stripped down and flat as that of the overlay. Everything therefore forms a homogeneous whole and LG has even pushed the defect to the extent of implementing a color code. The agenda is orange, the dictaphone is gray, the text messages are yellow and it is therefore possible to identify our applications at a glance without having to rack your brains.
The image gallery is well designed, and if it gives its hand over the photos stored in the memory of the phone (or its memory card), it will also allow us to search for content on a network device or even on the “Cloud” since it integrates Box and Dropbox. The same goes for music, of course.
QuickMemo + is doing quite well too, although I much prefer Evernote. It must be said that the latter has the good idea of being available on all the platforms of the market so this perhaps explains that.
The device settings screen is structured around several separate tabs. Navigation is fluid and intuitive. We obviously find all the current options, with two or three more odds and ends.
There is of course the Knock Code, but not only because it will also be possible to ask the LG G3s to keep the screen on when our face is in front of it. Behind it there will also be the smart gestures to quickly switch the terminal to silent mode, to snooze or stop the alarm and to pause videos.
On the sidelines, we can also have fun with the guest mode, and even take advantage of all the functions provided by the Quick Circle since the manufacturer has launched a cover specially adapted to the size and size of the phone.
The time has come to give you my verdict.
If you are looking for an ultra powerful phone capable of running all the games in the Play Store and all your emulators, then it will be better to go your way because the LG G3s chip will not allow it to work miracles. On the other hand, for surfing, hanging out on social networks, taking pictures and all the other common tasks, well you will be more than enough.
I also think that it is really this idea that must be kept in mind. The ideal terminal does not exist and it all depends on your expectations, your desires and your needs.
Otherwise, the G3s is also a beautiful object, which you can show off without feeling the slightest shame. The finishes are perfect, and the terminal inspires confidence. It also has the merit of not being too bulky and you can handle it with one hand without breaking your wrist, and without risking to drop it.
Afterwards, and despite all its qualities, I also think that its price positioning does not plead in its favor. At 349 €, it will cost you less than most terminals on the market, it's true, but we are still very far from the prices charged by Chinese manufacturers and that could well play tricks on it.