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LG G3 review: Hail to the king, baby

Perfect is a strong word to use when describing a piece of technology. It’s a subjective term that can only be qualified by whatever the device’s user wants out of said technology.

But I’ll go ahead and say it: The LG G3 is a perfect smartphone.

LG is, in a way, playing catchup with the other dogs in the yard. Samsung, for example, releases new devices faster than anyone can take a breath. LG is more methodical in its releases, like the company was in 2013 with its G2 device. Even then the G2 wiped the competition board clean, save for a few handhelds.

Now, enter the G3, which arrives less than a year after its predecessor. That’s a new move for LG, but with some fantastic devices currently ruling the market, it’s hard to blame LG for dropping a new phone in our laps.

The company also dropped the mic with this release, letting the G3 speak for itself with its clean lines, fantastic smooth feel, incredible screen and (enter flowery adjective here) new interface.

The most impressive thing about the G3 is, hands down, its screen. It’s 5.5 inches of Quad HD goodness, coming in at 2560x1440 resolution. In layman’s terms: It’s a big, beautiful display.

Truth is Quad HD is overkill for phones, but boy does it look nice. And, considering it’ll become “the” thing in the near future, Quad HD is a tech everyone will have in their pocket within three years’ time anyway. While you don’t need such a display, you’re not going to say no to one, either.

As big and beautiful as it is, the G3’s display lacks in a few departments when compared to the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5: colors, brightness and viewing angles. Colors aren’t as accurate as they can be, brightness isn’t as bright as it could be and the device’s viewing angles are a bit drab.

Still, this is the first time the public has seen a Quad HD display on mainstream device, and the tech will no doubt get better as time goes on, just as Full HD displays did over the last couple of years.

What’s nice about the G3 is that, despite its large size, the device never feels too big or uncomfortable in the hand. It’s on the slimmer side for modern phablets, and transitioning from my Samsung Galaxy S4 to the LG G3 didn’t faze me a bit. I’m also fond of the rear placement of the physical buttons — it just feels right.

Powering the device is a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, complete with 3GB of RAM, up to 32GB internal storage and 128GB expandable storage via microSD, a 13-megapixel camera, a chunky 3,000mAh battery and Android 4.4.2. It’s a suite of noticeable evolutionary steps over the G2, and users moving up from even months-old technology will notice an increase in snappiness and responsiveness.

Another thing worth comparing to the G2 is the G3’s interface, which has been revamped like whoa. Gone is the cartoonish look of the G2’s interface. Now users have a beautiful flat, detailed look, one that’s toned down on the color palette which goes hand-in-hand with the device’s muted yet classy exterior.

The G2 is a unibody device, meaning things like the battery aren’t easily accessible by popping the back panel off the phone. The G3 didn’t adopt the unibody nature of its older brother, instead opting to allow users to access the battery and microSD slot. I think that’s a major plus, though I appreciate the aesthetics of a unibody design. I’m just more of a utilitarian user who wants to be able to swap in a fresh battery when I want to.

The G3’s camera is a real shooter, and completely capable of most anything you throw at it. It’s a fast shooter, too, and quick launching the camera by long pressing the volume-down button worked as it should. And thanks to the laser auto focus, I was able to snap photos in a jiffy and with ease.

Adjusting the camera’s settings is also painless, but for the more advanced photographers wanting to dial in every single setting, look elsewhere. The G3 has just four shooting modes and gives surprisingly little manual control to users. Even so, this camera is is perfect for the quick Instagram snaps everyone is into taking these days, even in less-than-optimal lighting conditions.

Making phone calls, texting, surfing the Web and all of that is a pleasure on the G3. Nothing slowed down for me while putting the device through its paces.

That said, the device’s battery does take a beating thanks to the Quad HD display. With really heavy use (Web browsing, YouTubing, Netflixing, music-ing) I got about 10 hours out of the G3, which didn’t surprise me all that much. I actually expected less. However, while testing the device for normal everyday use, I got about 16 hours of up time, which is on par with other current devices.

But, heck, the battery is now swappable, so if you’re a power user to the max, then invest in an extra battery and you won’t have to worry about being drained earlier than expected.

The LG G3 is the perfect smartphone: Despite the Quad HD display’s slight (and I do mean slight) drawbacks (because the average user won’t notice them), the G3 is the next evolutionary step in the Android smartphone. It’s a workhorse with a fit feel, a charming interface and solid camera. And for $200 with a two-year contract at AT&T, the price is just right, too.

Richard Hall

Richard Hall is an award-winning newsroom developer, editor and blogger for NewsOK. He was born in Austin, Texas, spent his childhood in southern California and has lived in Norman since 1999. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008. Read more ›