LG G 3

SCI-FI SU­PER­PHONE THAT’S BIG­GER, BET­TER, FASTER – AND RATED

Australian T3 - - FRONT PAGE -

Last year LG un­leashed the G2, with a big screen and in­no­va­tive de­sign that moved the one lone but­ton to the back. Now, with the G3, the com­pany’s got even big­ger ideas: 5.5 inches to be pre­cise. This flag­ship’s screen edges nearer to ph­ablet ter­ri­tory than ever be­fore, but does it have the ti­tan-like spec to war­rant its new size?

That 5.5-inch screen cer­tainly looks fan­tas­tic, with a 1440x2560 res­o­lu­tion that works out at 538 pix­els per inch and nar­row bezels that mean im­ages take up al­most the en­tire width of the phone. When Ap­ple launched its Retina Dis­play on the iPhone 4, it looked as­ton­ish­ing; this looks even bet­ter, with sub­tle, gen­tle colours that aren’t over-sat­u­rated. The ben­e­fit of a screen this ridicu­lously sharp is that text gleams. Other pre­mium phones like the Sam­sung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 score highly for their dis­plays and, hon­estly, there’s pre­cious lit­tle be­tween them, but for the keen-eyed this is the bright­est of the bunch.

The de­sign has been slightly tweaked for the G3, too. There’s a metal­lic-ef­fect back that’s at­trac­tive and rem­i­nis­cent of the HTC One M8 – be­cause it’s ac­tu­ally plas­tic the G3 can charge on wire­less docks, some­thing a real metal phone sim­ply can’t do. The back cover and even the bat­tery are re­mov­able, but it’s a well-built phone with no no­tice­able creak­ing as you flex it in your hands.

Ac­cord­ing to LG, how­ever, the main aim of the G3’s de­sign is sim­plic­ity. In the mid­dle of the back sits the soli­tary power but­ton flanked by vol­ume rock­ers above and be­low. And that’s it. No Home but­ton, no cam­era trig­ger, noth­ing else. While it’s still a bit fid­dly to get used to reach­ing around the back of the phone to turn it off, and we still fear ac­ci­den­tally hang­ing up on calls if a fin­ger rests in just the wrong place, the one-but­ton thing is be­com­ing more fa­mil­iar now.

Still not con­vinced? LG has cre­ated an ex­cel­lent screen wake-up sys­tem in Knock Code – in­stead of swip­ing the dis­play in a cho­sen pat­tern, tap it in the cor­rect places to head

straight to your Home screen. No dan­ger of some­one cracking your ac­cess code by look­ing for the grease smear on the screen.

Join­ing the power but­ton and rocker switch on the rear of the G3 is a big cam­era lens. On one side of that lens sits the dual flash with a more nat­u­ral light­ing ef­fect, a trick also used in the iPhone 5S. On the other side there’s an omi­nous dark oval; that’s where the laser sits. We’re not talk­ing Bond vil­lain-style weaponry here, though. This is purely for the G3’s laser-guided aut­o­fo­cus, that acts like an in­cred­i­bly ac­cu­rate and speedy rangefinder, judg­ing the dis­tance of your sub­ject in un­der 300 mil­lisec­onds.

The re­sults are strong, with the 13-megapixel sen­sor very ca­pa­ble and op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion work­ing with the laser­guided aut­o­fo­cus to make im­ages sharper, even in low light sit­u­a­tions.

The lat­est pho­tog­ra­phy gim­micks are catered for, with the rear cam­era shoot­ing 4K video – it looks great on the LG’s screen – and a selfie mode up-front. Stare at the screen and clench your fist to be­gin the selfie count­down. Note: do re­mem­ber to un­clench un­less you want to look like you’ve been snapped mid-way through a ren­di­tion of an 80s power bal­lad.

It’s not just the but­tons that have been sim­pli­fied on the G3, ei­ther. Ever since Ap­ple plumped for a lay­ered look on iOS 7 – flat­ter, some would say – there’s been a fash­ion for 2D rather than faux 3D ef­fects. That’s the case here and LG’s re-skin­ning of An­droid KitKat looks much more el­e­gant as a re­sult.

The first of the three Home pages isn’t the Flip­board- style mag­a­zine favoured by Sam­sung and HTC. In­stead it’s a screen de­voted to LG Health and Smart Tips. The first isn’t much of a sur­prise, with fit­ness track­ing in vogue at the mo­ment. The lat­ter is a use­ful link to help you make the most of the LG’s new fea­tures, in­clud­ing the cam­era and Knock Code. LG has also in­tro­duced Smart No­tice which aims to be like Google Now, of­fer­ing in­for­ma­tion be­fore you ask for it. When mak­ing use of info al­ready stored on your phone it’s ex­ceed­ingly help­ful, send­ing us a quick re­minder to re­turn a call we’d de­clined ear­lier. Rev­o­lu­tion­ary? No. But handy.

Run­ning this im­proved op­er­at­ing sys­tem, pow­er­ful cam­era and mas­sive bright screen takes quite a bit of power, but the G3’s 2.4GHz quad­core pro­ces­sor is well up to the task, only bested by the Sam­sung Galaxy S5 on paper. From smooth video play­back to speedy pho­to­tak­ing there’s never an is­sue here.

An­other un­der­stand­able con­cern, how­ever, is bat­tery life. With a 5.5-inch, su­per-bright screen drain­ing power it would be fair to ex­pect that this would take a hit. Not so. The G3 man­ages to last a full day with­out too much trou­ble, even though the cell is no

big­ger than last year’s model. LG claims that its ad­vanced soft­ware adapts the dis­play de­pen­dent on am­bi­ent light to save en­ergy, mak­ing it sig­nif­i­cantly more ef­fi­cient. We can nei­ther con­firm nor deny that claim, but what­ever’s at work it’s do­ing the job. We would have liked to have seen a sim­i­lar power-sav­ing

lg’s flag­ship phone is prac­ti­cally a ph­ablet, with a huge 5.5-inch screen

mode to the ones on the S5 and HTC One M8, though, for se­ri­ous ex­tended bat­tery life.

So is the smart­phone that’s prac­ti­cally a ph­ablet worth stretch­ing your back pocket for? It’s cer­tainly one of the most pow­er­ful de­vices on the mar­ket at the mo­ment and its cam­era is im­pres­sive. There’s not much else to get ex­cited about, though. The G3 has nei­ther the fin­ger­print scan­ning, heart-rate mon­i­tor­ing tricks of the Galaxy S5, nor the ap­peal­ing look of the HTC One M8. It’s a very de­cent midrange smart­phone for people that are look­ing for a big­ger screen. Where the LG G2 had the po­ten­tial to be a flag­ship-beater, this feels more like a very well-ex­e­cuted di­gres­sion. $799, LG.COM/au, out Au­gust Love Re­mark­able hi-res dis­play. Laser-fo­cused cam­era. Slick new in­ter­face Hate It’s SO big. Pla­s­ticky back cover. Rear one-but­ton con­trols still take get­ting used to T3 Says The G3 is big­ger, with added lasers, but it’s no longer a flag­ship con­tender

{Spec­i­fi­ca­tion} os An­droid KitKat

screen 5.5-inch, 1440x2560, 538 ppi

pro­ces­sor/ram 2.46GHz quad­core/2GB stor­age 16GB, mi­croSD REARCAM 13-meg/2160p Front cam 2.1-meg/1080p

Con­nec­tiv­ity Wi-Fi, LTE 4G, 3G, Blue­tooth 4.0, NFC

bat­tery life Not quoted

Height Width Depth Weight 146mm 74mm 8.9mm

149g

4

Knock on the LG G3’s huge screen to gain ad­mit­tance

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