The LG G3 is here, we’ve played with it, dropped it (sorry LG) and have come up with what we think you’d really want to know. In the LG G2, they had, arguably, one of the best smartphones on the market that was further ahead on specs and quality than their competitors, but to be honest, just never achieved the popularity of its peers. Why? We think its a few factors, but really it looks like LG are hitting back with the G3 to push ahead one again. LG aren’t known for producing smart, sleek and sexy phones with popular appeal, but we think they’re taking a real leap forward here with the G3…

LG G3: What you Need to Know

Design

Its a pretty smooth and sophisticated looking handset. Whilst the other guys are moving towards boxy, squared designs, LG are changing things up with their arc shaped back to the G3. Ergonomically this makes sense, who has a perfectly flat hand when they’re holding a phone anyway? The HTC One (M8) has that solid metal back, and although the LG G3 has that appearance, we feel slightly cheated that it is only plastic, even if it is hard to tell. Its also pretty handy at avoiding nasty finger print smears. Those back buttons are still there, and if you’ve not used them before, take some getting used to, but having them on the back means the front of the phone remains remarkable clean and sleek. At 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9mm and 14g heavy, its pretty slim given how big the screen is and even lighter than you’d expect. Mostly because it looks like premium metal, but feels light like the cheap plastic it is.

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Display

This phone has a ridiculous 5.5 inch display. Its not the inches that make it ridiculous, but rather the phenomenal pixel count that make Apple’s ‘retina’ nonsense look like a grainy picture from a 1960’s TV. Called a Quad HD Screen (not 4K) 2560 x 1440, it produce 538ppi. That is more than anything else out there. Now you can view your instagrammed food in intricate detail and enjoy your Super HD Netflix stream with vivid details. This screen beats the pants off of its main rivals, with the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 only having 1080p screens. But will that be enough? Probably not, but there’s more in the LG G3’s locker.

The Camera

Camera phones have changed the world, and in the G3, LG are hoping to up the camera game and keep theirs more relevant than the rest. If you think about how you use your camera, probably 50% of the time its when you want a quick snap: “Oh god, look, there’s Jay Z and he’s about to fall over a poodle!”. You need a quick camera with a quick focus. The G3 has a laser auto-focus system to bring pictures into shot faster than the blink of an eye. Lasers, yes, you read correctly. When we were testing this, it was really good. Really, really good. Coupled with its excellent 13mp camera, you’re going to be catching that celebrity making a fool of himself in excellent quality and detail without a dodgy focus getting in the way. The camera on this is so smart, you’d expect it to be able to fry your eggs in the morning without overdoing the yolk. But, from smart features for smart people… we go to smart features for selfies.

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Selfies

The camera at the back with an auto-focus is damn cool just thinking about it, but that isn’t going to appeal to the masses. People use their phones more and more for that vanity check, the scourge of facebook and instagram, the selfie. Its so shockingly popular its even a word in the OED now (shame on you all). The front camera on the LG G3 has been tweaked substantially so that it captures pretty sharp and well lit pictures. Top prevent missing yourself or getting your finger in the way, you can take a selfie by raising and closing your hand in front of the screen. Simple. 3 seconds. Selfie snapped. Its ridiculously gimmicky and only good for one thing, but will this make the phone popular? Possibly. But we hope not.

Keyboard

An odd selling point for a phone these days is the keyboard, especially an Android based phone where there are loads in the app market if you don’t like the stock one (Swift anyone?), but LG are pushing the G3 keyboard as being something a little bit better. The keyboard here is adjustable, meaning you can stretch it up the screen by about half an inch. It also learns from what you type, adapting the more you use it. You can also add custom buttons. Apparently, this means you can type up to 75% faster. We gave it a whirl, it worked, but to be honest, its barely noticable if you’re using a third party keyboard app already. You can edit using the space to drag back and forward, meaning you don’t have to click on the text to find the exact error you want to fix, that was a nice touch actually, but hardly a selling point!

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Smart Notice

Siri? Cortana? Here, LG have a bash at a form of personal assistant in your phone. It can figure out where you are, where you’re going and tell you of interesting things you might like. It’ll also remind you to call back the person you fobbed off 2 hours ago when you rejected their call. That’s handy. All in all, we find these features a little bit pointless and realistically add next to nothing to the phone. In LG’s case, the call back feature is handy, but not worthy of going out and grabbing the phone specifically. Hell, most of this stuff comes from Google Now anyway, so why bother right?

Lock Screen

When the Galaxy S4 launched, its smart cases were a hard sell, and LG have followed suit on the G3 with a smart case. This one allows the use of a menu, where you can take photos, make calls, and edit a few settings. Its quite basic, and although we can see it having its uses, they would be few and far between to be perfectly honest. Still, they’re taking the idea and technology in the right direction. You can also still unlock the screen with the knocking pattern rather than a password, slide or code. Just the added little bits to make it different.

Everything else…

3000mAh battery, 4k video, 16gb onboard memory and MicroSD up to 128gb optional. 2GB of ram with the 2.5Ghz Qualcom Snapdragon 801 processor. It comes in black, white and gold(ish).

Verdict

The G3 is good. Probably even great. We’d prefer the more powerful version in the UK (32gb memory with 3gb RAM), but we won’t know if it will be released here just yet. However, the screen and camera make the LG G3 a real competitor, the odds and sods around it add to that, and quite frankly, its the best looking phone out there at the moment with this kind of power. That being said, we doubt it’ll ever reach the popular levels it hopes for. We’ve heard that Phones4U and EE aren’t picking the G3 up, already a bad sign. Maybe this phone is just too darned expensive, potentially priced around £500? What do you think?

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