Now that the LG G3 is finally here (as in officially unveiled, because actual shipments only begin in June), it’s time we put a stop to the hypothetical debates and got down to business. No more ifs, no more what ifs, no more speculating, no more assuming.
Questions, meet answers. Did LG dish out a fresh flagship worth going berserk about it and forgetting OG top dogs for it? Will all of the OEM’s judgment calls, tough decisions and, yes, sacrifices work out for the best? Only one way to find out:
G3 vs G2 – design and build quality comparison
Simple is the new smart? Damn straight, if simple means replacing chintzy, glossy plastic with… not as chintzy, matte polycarbonate. Clearly, the brushed metal feel can’t fool anyone with half a brain. But this is one of the judgment calls I was talking about.
Could have LG mimicked HTC and delivered a “premium”, aluminum-made slab? Sure. Was it the right call? Probably not, due to a bundle of reasons. Like costs. Or potential yield issues. And ultimately, the end user doesn’t care if it’s metal, plastic, titanium or kryptonite he’s holding. He just wants something elegant, sturdy, handsome.
The G3 is all that and more, trumping the G2 with grip, an amazing form factor, just enough curves to look distinguished, not tacky, smoother rear keys, and a removable back cover. LG’s designers really outdid themselves on those bezels, managing to increase the screen real estate by 0.3 inches and keep the proportions and G2’s winning size to body ratio in check.
The G3 is a measly 7.8 mm taller than its forefather, 3.7 mm wider, exactly as thin and, incredibly, six lousy grams heavier. Dayum!
Ah, the quad HD screen talk. How I dreaded it since the very first whispers started to make themselves heard. Yet another controversial judgment call on LG’s part, though one I can’t fully defend. Apparently, the bumped up panel pixel count won’t harm battery life, thanks to special optimizations of sorts.
So I guess we can’t critique the OEM’s choice too much, despite the move from Full to Quad HD having little to no real-life benefits. The hell we can’t! Think about it. The Koreans are capable of amazing autonomy improvements via unique optimizations and they waste them on making this pointless transition smooth.
Why not keep things the way they were resolution-wise and, oh I don’t know, boost the actual running time between charges? Anyway, back to the point, G3’s display is larger (5.5 vs 5.2 inches), higher-res and all-around better… by a whisker.
Processing speed, RAM and cameras
A quad-core 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 chip outpaces a 2.2 Snapdragon 800 any time of the day, especially when paired with 3 GB RAM in lieu of 2. The thing is LG’s most controversial and potentially harming choice is to offer 2 gigs of random-access memory as standard instead of 3.
The whole RAM/storage configuration business is blurry at the moment, but rumor is the variant packing 2 and 16 gigs respectively shall roll out globally, and the one with 3/32 will get a limited run in a handful of markets. Mostly in Asia. Ooh, bad, bad call!
Moving on to the cams, they preserve G2’s megapixel counts (13 and 2.1), but add crazy features like laser autofocus, Magic Focus and a wider aperture for the secondary, front-facing unit in the mix. Also, optical image stabilization is upgraded (OIS+), and you can shoot 4K videos no problem. Neato.
LG G3 vs LG G2 – software and battery life
We already covered the battery life area, where capacity stays the same (3,000 mAh), and, regardless of Quad HD power needs, autonomy allegedly sits tight. Or does it? Well, we won’t know until the reviews start coming in, but personally, I’m fairly pessimistic.
Let’s not forget the panel is also larger, the CPU slightly punchier and thus hungrier for “juice”. I’d love for LG’s claims to pan out, but I don’t think it’s possible.
As far as software goes, the G3 naturally comes with the newest Android flavor, 4.4 KitKat, out the box, though right now, so does the G2. Both copies of Android are customized and skinned, with LG’s Optimus UI in tow, but as expected, G3’s user interface is flatter, cleaner, simpler, more minimalistic.
Fresh add-ons include a particularly useful Smart Notice personal assistant (known on the inside as LG Concierge), and some may enjoy LG’s Smart Keyboard and Smart Security functions too. While definitely not innovative, the two should come in handy for non-purists.
Pricing and others
Like I said, it’s unclear if the G3’s top configuration, featuring 3 GB RAM and 32 GB built-in storage, will ever see daylight on the Western hemisphere. If it does, expect it to be priced around $250 with pacts and $700 outright.
Meanwhile, the lower-end flavor shall cost $200 in subsidized form and roughly $600 off-contract, which is right in G2’s ballpark from last fall.
The “others” section sees the G3 trump its forerunner in two final departments, namely expandable storage (yay for microSD card slots) and audio, courtesy of a booming 1 Watt speaker.
Enough to warrant that upgrade? To be frank, LG had me at brushed metal exterior. And redesigned rear physical buttons. And then they swept me off my feet with the OIS+ laser-assisted camera. You’ll really need to blow my socks off with the S5 Prime and One M8 Prime, Samsung and HTC, to win back my vote of confidence.