[Review] Final thoughts on the G3

As you’ve probably already read (and, if by chance you haven’t, you can catch up here on my 10 days with the G3) I’ve been using the latest flagship from LG as my new daily driver mobile phone.  I’ve really got nothing but great things to say about it, and to sum it all up, if you are in the market for a new smartphone, you should give the G3 a long look.
Having said that, I wanted to offer up a few final thoughts on the G3, especially for those who are ready to make the plunge and buy a new device soon.

I wanted the G3 because it really improved upon a great phone from 2013, the G2 from LG by fixing a few things and changing a few others.  Plus, why not get a new smartphone every 6 months, amiright?  Anyway, here are 5 additional thoughts to consider about the G3 as part of my review.

  • The size and button configuration are going to be the only major roadblocks:  While LG did an amazing (some might say magical) job of putting a 5.5″ QHD display in as small a form factor as they could, this is still a big device.  Part of the “magicalness” of LG’s design puts the lock/vol up/vol down buttons on the rear of the phone, which does seem more intuitive, but only after you’ve used it for a while.  If you are a fan of larger display smartphones, this should be high on your list (along with the soon to be released Galaxy Note 4, due out next month) – its sporting a bigger display than its main rivals the Galaxy S5 (at 5.1″) and the HTC One M8 (at 5″) but its roughly the same footprint as both.
  • The QHD (1440p) display is amazing, but there really isn’t a use for it (for now):  The display is one of the best out there in terms of sharpness and clarity – it’s not as bright as an AMOLED screeen (like the Galaxy S5) or some would say as accurate in color reproduction as other 1080p LCD panels (such as the HTC One M8) but it really is near the top in terms of viewing tech.  However, there really isn’t much content out there to take advantage of the full power of this display, and probably won’t be for at least until 2015.  While QHD is the direction most content production is going, we aren’t quite there just yet.  So could you get by with a smartphone with “only” a 1080p display?  Sure.
  • LG’s new software setup is almost good enough to let it ride as is (almost):  Everyone knows that the Two Tech Geeks are into the tinkering and the modding of just about every little detail of their phones. And on the G2, to remove both the hideous amount of bloatware and remove the almost comical icons, buttons, and other built in systems settings, I flashed a brand new custom ROM and put a new launcher on it as well (I personally prefer Nova Launcher myself) – LG not only listened to their customers issues with their hardware, but with their software as well.  The new LG UI is lighter, less comic and more muted/earthtone-y, and features more intuitive and user friendly options.  Now, for me, that’s still not enough, and back on the G3 goes Nova Launcher – but for those new to Android or looking to upgrade from an existing phone, I think you’ll find the stock software to be very cool and work in every way that you would expect it to. 
  • You never know how handy a removable back and battery are – until you need them:  I’ve owned many (many) smartphones, and the only one that didn’t have a removable battery was the G2.  Thanks to its impressive performance and terrific battery life, I never really needed to swap one out.  But when one tinkers around with tech, occasionally one may have a need to do the proverbial “battery pull.”  When you don’t have a way to do this…it can be a little scary at first.  I found ways around it with my G2…but I’m really glad that my G3 has it.  Even if the battery life is surprising good (which it is) there is some comfort in knowing that I have the ability to swap out batteries on an as-needed basis, whether its for charging purposes, or due to technical difficulties (including those I cause myself)
  • Laser auto focus on a smartphone sounds like a gimmick – but it really works:  I’ve said in my earlier review that the G3 camera was merely “as good” as the G2’s; for the most part, in terms of image quality, I stand by this.  But after using the camera on the G3 more and more over the last few weeks I can tell you one thing – its a heck of a lot easier to use than the camera on the G2.  The laser auto focus is fast and correct, and LG’s new camera UI literally takes point and shoot to a whole new level.  The old saying goes “the best camera is the one you have with you” and the speed and clarity with which the G3 takes photos is a huge plus.  Bonus point – the vol down button comes pre-set with a long press (even with the screen off) to launch the camera.  This makes capturing those spur of the moment pics that much easier, and consequently, more rewarding.
So there you have it folks – my final thoughts on the LG G3.  Now, keep in mind as with any time of the year, there are always new phones just about to be released right around the corner – the Galaxy Note 4, the rumored Nexus phone, and even the iPhone 6.  So keep that in mind if you are considering the G3 too.  But if you have any specific questions or anything else you’d like for me to test or answer, please let me know in the comments section and I’ll do my best to get you what you’re looking for.

[Review] 10 days with LG’s newest flagship – the G3

While I’m not ready to give my full review of the “latest and greatest” Android flagship to hit the market, I have spent 10 days now with the G3 as my daily driver.  So what you will be getting in this installment from the Two Tech Geeks is more like a first impressions and mini-review, with a little more in depth info to follow in the coming days.  But for now, sit down and hold on – you are about to be taken for a ride by one of the most powerful Android devices to hit all the major carriers in some time.

I’m gonna try something new: in the past, you’ve gotten a chance to hear my thoughts on how new devices we’ve reviewed Look, Feel, and Work.  Sometimes that’s not good enough to describe all the things I like (or don’t like) about a particular device, so I’m going to try a more expansive thumbs scale – each of the Two Tech Geeks have two thumbs, so I’ll have essentially 5 points to give:  2 (geek) thumbs up, 1 thumb up, no thumbs, 1 thumb down, or (the worst of all possible worlds) 2 thumbs down.  If you stuck with me this far, then good on you.  So let’s dive in:

2 Thumbs Up

The specs are cutting edge for mid year 2014, with the G3 sporting a Snapdragon 801 processor, Adreno 330 GPU, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and an astonishing Quad HD 5.5″ display (2560×1440) – just for fun LG tossed in a 3000mah battery and an external micro SD card reader supporting sizes up to 128GB.   Its almost like someone at LG said “what does everyone say the superphone of the future should have?” and then went and put all the replies into one device.  Needless to say, this thing is a monster.  The display boasts amongst the highest ppi count of any device on the market, and has an almost unnatural sharpness with text to it.  Several other sites have commented on this “artificial sharpening” effect in greater detail, but suffice it to say you wont miss any detail of anything that’s viewed on this screen.  

Improvements to the internal specs weren’t the only upgrades LG did.  Most folks biggest gripe with the back of the G2 was the way the polycarbonate picked up fingerprints and oils like a magnet.  The metallic skin on the back of the G3 corrects this problem, and the so-called “floating arc” curve to the back makes for a much more pleasant user experience.  And even though it is a fair bit larger than the G2, LG did an amazing job of jamming this 5.5″ display into a form factor not much bigger than the Galaxy S5.
 1 Thumb Up
*Battery Life
*Overall Size

The battery life of a necessity took a hit coming from the G2.  The battery capacity is the same from G2 to G3 (3000mah) and even the optimization of the S801 can’t help the sheer size and pixel count of the G3’s display.  Now, this doesn’t mean the G3 gets terrible battery life; in fact, far from it.  Its in the “almost but not quite as good” as the G2, but all but the hungriest power users will get a full day off of one charge, and still have juice left before throwing it back on the charger.  I’m typically seeing between 4-5 hours of screen on time and usually 16-18 hours off of one charge, which is slightly less than the G2 but still well into the “very acceptable” territory for battery life of a flagship phone.  Especially one where you are getting an upgrade in most ways from the G2.
Overall size of the G3 is impressive based on the screen to size ratio, with it comparing favorably to the Galaxy S5 in footprint, even though the S5 bears with it only a 5.1″ display.  It IS big, don’t get me wrong, and its more of a 2 handed device than a 1 handed.  This may turn off some folks, and there is a segment of the market that won’t go above a 5 inch display in their phone.  Still, there is a demand for large screen “phablet” phones and if you are one of these, the G3 might be right up your alley.  The camera is excellent, and compares favorably to the G2, but it isn’t an upgrade really, and the OIS+ is impressive but benefits video takers mostly, not still shooters.  It garners only one thumb up for being only “just as good” when so many other things about the G3 are better than its predecessor.
I would move on to the no thumbs and thumbs down, but honestly, there really aren’t any other things to dislike here.  Things like keys on the back of the device, laser auto focus, and colors available are all personal preference items, or items that are mostly irrelevant to how well the G3 does what it does.  It’s available on all 4 major carriers and should honestly be a strong candidate for “Smartphone of the Year – 2014.”  I will take a more detailed look at how the G3 does what it does in the days to come.  Anyone who isn’t put off by the footprint, size, and form factor should absolutely be impressed by LG’s G3, and I encourage everyone to check it out.   Cheers!