LG far from reinvented the wheel when unveiling the funky-looking, slim-bezeled, rear physical button-toting G2 last summer, but somehow the gigantic 5.2 incher felt like the biggest mobile innovation in years.
Sure, it nowhere near challenged Galaxy S4 or Note 3’s booming sales numbers. Yet it once and for all put LG on the map, building on the (mild) successes of the Optimus G and Nexus 4. Then came the equally as spectacular, cheaper Nexus 5 and, just like that, LG became Sammy’s main rival in the Android décor.
Forget HTC, forget Sony, forget Motorola. This is the battle right here. LG against Samsung. G3 against Galaxy S5. Probably, also against S5 Prime before long. But first things first, the actual, formal announcement. T minus 24 hours.
Proving it indeed has what it takes, the G3 has been making the rumor rounds constantly (as in almost every day) for the good part of the last two or three months. And no one’s bored. Or uninterested in the formality that is tomorrow’s unveil.
Design, build materials and dimensions
It’s odd, isn’t it? I’ve lost count of all of G3’s revealing photo shoots, including in press-friendly form, yet we’re still not sure if it’s full metal we’re dealing with, an aluminum-plastic blend of some kind, or plain old polycarbonate.
Whatever it is, it looks outstanding. Thin, elegant, distinguished, with a personal, unique identity and personality, no longer similar to Samsung flagships and unmistakable, even when compared to its predecessor.
Back to materials, plastic made to resemble metal is the safest bet. Or maybe plastic with actual metal on the sides. Dimensions? Incredibly enough, 146.3 mm long and 74.6 mm wide. At 5.5 inches of usable screen real estate. For contrast, the 5-inch HTC One M8 is 146.4 mm long and the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5 72.5 mm wide.
Oh, and let’s not forget the wasp waist (8.9 mm thick), or the smoothly redesigned rear keys, seasoned with a one-of-a-kind laser focus camera sensor.
Rumors? What rumors? It’s a guarantee. The G3 sports a vibrant 5.5-inch LCD panel with 2,560 x 1,440 pixels resolution, aka Quad HD, or 2K. End of story.
CPU, RAM and cameras
Last we rounded up the speculation, we were still hoping for a Snapdragon 805 chip while fearing an S800. Ultimately, it looks like we’ll have to settle for what’s in between – an S801 with four cores, each clocked at 2.3 GHz.
Technically, that’s a tad less punchy than what the Galaxy S5 packs (a 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801), but the G3 will no doubt up the memory ante, to 3 GB RAM. A 2 GB variant is also possible, in a combination with 16 GB built-in storage (the 3 GB model shall feature 32 GB of space).
As far as cameras go, I already slipped the biggest innovation. Laser auto focus. How exactly does it work? No idea, but LG will probably explain it over and over again, trying to make up for the fact the rear-facing camera’s megapixel count (13) is inferior to GS5’s (16) or Xperia Z2’s (20.7).
Front snapper? Not that it makes much of a difference, but apparently, a run-of-the-mill 2.1 MP sensor is in the cards.
Software, battery life and others
Pre-loaded Android 4.4 KitKat was obviously a guarantee right off the bat, but what’s interesting to see is exactly how much LG plans to customize and tweak vanilla KK. A few LG-specific features popped up in the rumor mill here and there, along with some of the UI modifications, yet all in all, I presume there’s more to come.
More accessories too, in addition to Quick Circle cases and wireless charging docks, plus maybe a 2 TB microSD card. Wait, what? Sorry, I was dreaming with my eyes open and thinking out loud. Yes, the G3 might technically support 2 TB of external storage. But the most you can add nowadays is 128 gigs and that won’t change anytime soon.
What else? Ah, battery life. Rumor is G3’s cell will tip the scales at 3,000 mAh, 400 and 200 mAh north of M8 and S5’s tickers. But exactly as large as G2’s juicer, so I wouldn’t anticipate drastically improved autonomy. Maybe drastically damaged, due to the Quad HD display. Guess that’s one risk LG needed to take.
The good news is the battery will be removable. No confirmation on fingerprint recognition or water protection yet, so they’re automatically long shots, while a complex Dolby sound enhancement solution with 1 watt speaker is a must.
Pricing and availability
The “when” of the equation is, as usual, the last tidbit expected to break cover, although LG can’t afford to wait. Ideally, they’d launch the G3 immediately after its intro. But we don’t live in an ideal world, so at best, I assume the big guy will see daylight in late June. Worst case scenario, July.
What LG also can’t afford is raise the pricing bar too much. A premium compared to the G2 is a certainty, but let’s hope the Koreans will manage to keep outright costs below $700 stateside. $650 would be positively dreamy. As would $200 with 24-month Verizon, AT&T and Sprint contracts. Can they pull it off? Stay close and you’ll find out here first.