The LG just announced the LG G3, the “first” smartphone to come with a QHD display (it’s not the first to pack this resolution on a 5.5-inch display, that one is the Oppo Find 7 but, it might be the first to become available to users and all around the world). After the G2 launched, LG pretty much convinced me that they could build a smartphone which was good enough to compete with the competition but the G2 had some negative points. Thinking on the next iteration and the possibility that all of those problems would be fixed on the G3 brought me big expectations to finally see the LG G3 come to the surface.
The rumors were many and soon I became familiar with what the G3 would look like and bring in terms of hardware, well those rumors were true, a big 5.5-inch QHD (2560x1440p) display packed in a small body and all the hardware we can expect to see on a flagship today, Snapdragon 801, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of Storage, etc…but the phone brought some innovations too, I will talk all about it, don’t worry. Here are my first thoughts, not only about the LG G3 but also LG and the LG’s event.
Disclaimer: I did not had contact with the LG G3, all of what you are about to read is based on what I saw on the LG’s event and some other videos on YouTube of people who had real hands-on with the device.
No, the LG G3 does not have a curved screen but it has a curved body. Like the HTC One M8 the back of phone is curved to be comfortably in our hand. LG made it very clear that they researched all about it to give the perfect curvature for the maximum comfort.
And wow! The phone looks definitively beautiful, the body with all is curviness and when we see a 5.5-inch packed on a such small body, thin bezels that make the screen almost reach the boundaries of the phone just looks awesome indeed I admit that but, could this be a problem as well? Hear me out – even better, read me out – when I hold my phone, sometimes the fingers reach the limits of the screen, if the screen is sensitive this might cause some accidental touches that were not supposed to be detected (until I grab one with my own hands, I will have that doubt). I already admitted that the phone looks nice, it looks premium, it looks like metal but it’s not metal, the phone is made out of plastic. Despite that LG putted a “metallic skin” (the texture looks like metal) and it has a mate finish (good god it’s not that hyperglaze finish). Of course that brings advantages like a removable battery and access to a Micro SD slot.
The presentation from LG had ‘3’ all over it, and we can see that when they focused to present 3 main features, Display, Camera and Design.
It’s funny when we think that LG released 3 teaser videos teasing that same 3 things.
The LG G3 brings a QHD display, 2560×1440 pixels, that 4 times the resolution of HD. So many pixels joined together to make a 5.5-inch display with a density of 538 pixels per inch. That is mind blowing.
LG said, in way that I find SO WRONG, that we will notice the difference. Yes, the problem LG is that you gave the example on a giant screen and showing a part of the display enlarged…of course I will notice the difference there! What it really matters is: can we notice that comparing a 5.5-inch Full HD display with a 5.5-inch QHD display? And comparing these in normal use! I think we can but all depends on CONTENT.
With great resolution, comes great problems…or does it?
When we improve the display resolution we only take total advantage when all we see is in that resolution, so all the images, videos, graphics and pretty much everything else needs to be in that resolution. Currently, the content available on Android is around 1080p so that might be a problem. I’m not saying that the image in 1080p won’t look better but, to take full advantage of this technology we need content with higher resolution. And believe it or not that is one more problem.
If the content has a higher resolution it has almost definitively more information to be stored or downloaded. Not only file size is important but also processing power because more pixels to process leads to the necessity to have more raw power and that one, finally, leads to what I think is the last problem, battery life.
I remember the days when I had a dumb phone. The battery lasted 2 days! This with intensive use. You could say: Yeah but in that piece of antiquity you couldn’t do pretty much anything compared to today’s technology. That’s true. Today, our needs to energy are bigger and unfortunately the battery technology has not evolved enough to keep up the pace with the rest of the technology that is packed inside of our smartphones. So when I see a QHD display I ask, what about battery life?
LG said that they solve the problem, they called it the “3A Optimization” (the A is from adaptive and look, do you see the 3?) But what is this? We have 3 ways to enhance power consumption, Adaptive Frame Rate, Adaptive Clocking and Adaptive Time Control.
I would try to explain. So Adaptive Frame Rate is controlling the rate that the screen is refreshed, so if you look to a still image the screen does not need to refresh so often. Adaptive Clocking is controlling the CPU clock speed, to give only the power needed to that moment. Adaptive Time Control I have no idea of what this might be. The only thing that matters is that they said that the battery is 20% more efficient thanks to these 3 things and when we look to a battery that has 3000mAh we might be looking to a good battery life (let’s hope so).
We have an awesome display on this phone so consuming content like seeing videos should be awesome, well, if you want a nice audio experience too I think you need a nice pair of headphones. LG is keeping the only speaker on the back of the phone. It might be loud but the sound firing to the back it’s not the best way to have a nice audio experience.
The beauty inside
The LG G3 comes with the latest version of Android to date, 4.4.2 KitKat. On top of that we see a redesigned Optimus User Interface.
The Optimus UI looks more flat, where the squares and circles are predominant. It’s a refresh, it looks snappy but like the TouchWiz UI from Samsung, the heavy personalization that LG made worries me. When I see such UI with so many personalization I worry essentially on two things, space occupied on the internal storage and performance.
The flagships most common to buy have 16 GB of storage, that looks to be enough but when a great part of that storage is occupied by the system and the UI we pay for what we don’t have, storage.
Many of you may have noticed that TouchWiz, even on flagships, is laggy sometimes and I fear for LG that the LG G3 may become laggy with time due to the heavy skin they put.
LG put a great deal talking about the keyboard, now you can resize it very easily to adapt it to your preference and it has some great features but I’m not sure if, in my case, I would use it in a daily basis. For what I saw, word correction and suggestions were pretty bad so I would stick to a third party Keyboard (Swiftkey is awesome and you can resize it as well).
LG brings news and updates concerning security. LG presented 3 ways to keep the G3 safe, first, an update to Knock Code. Knock Code is basically a tap to unlock feature, where the screen is divided in 4 quadrants. You can setup a pattern from 3 to 8 taps and when the screen is off you just need to tap that pattern and the phone automatically unlocks. That’s a nice feature, what I need to know now is if this works properly and if it doesn’t affect much battery life (the digitizer needs to be active all the time).
Second we have Content Lock who keeps content like photos, videos, documents and others encrypted so only you can unlock it.
Finally we have a kill switch. Many phones are stolen every year so LG decided to do something about it with this feature that allows you to wipe it remotely (remote wipe) and lock it remotely (remote lock). I’m not impressed with this, Android Device Manager does already that!
Keep your energy going
I already said that LG put a great effort to keep the display efficient so the battery would not drain so quickly and we have a 3000mAh battery. But LG simplified the way of charging giving the user Wireless Charging.
There are different protocols for wireless charging and here we have what seems to have become the standard, QI wireless charging. The phone does not need a separate back cover to have this capability (unlike the Samsung Galaxy S5) and it works even with the Quick Circle Case.
This is good news, so if you have a wireless charger (QI enabled) you can put the G3 on top of that and start charging. Of course the speed of charging is going to decrease (normally by half).
What I was expecting to see was some kind of power saving mode but LG didn’t introduce it.
Ok G3, do I need an umbrella?
So LG introduced what is called Smart Notice. This has the function to act like Google Now and give contextual information on your home screen. You can’t ask anything! It’s like a widget to Google Now. I would much prefer a better integration with Google Now (like Motorola does)
Pricing and availability
So the price is not yet known officially but some sources points to a price around £499 and it will become available around early July. LG didn’t talk about that in the event, and storage options or whatsoever so I don’t know what to expect but, I wait with much expectation.
The LG G3 is in another level, a level higher than current flagships like the HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2 and the only competition I see is the not yet released Oppo Find 7. For many, the G3 would be the smartphone to get, if you want the latest features and better specs available, of course there are some not so good points here but I think in the overall this is the smartphone to beat.