LG G3 preview: amazing screen and camera lasers, but is it too late?


WhistleOut
28 May 2014

The LG G3 has finally been officially announced, confirming most of the rumours we’ve been seeing for months now including the divisive 1440x2560 display that blows the 1080p of other flagships out of the water.

Top of the list of ‘other new stuff’ is a new metallic design, a complete UI overhaul, the inclusion of MicroSD for storage expansion, and some funky-sounding security options.

Unfortunately, the G3 isn’t set to hit shelves for a while yet, which gives us fear that by the time it finally does it’ll be forgotten just like its forerunner.

Note: The LG G3 is now out. Check out the full review.

Basic stuff first

In terms of general hardware the screen is a 5.5 inch panel with the aforementioned 1440x2560 display, offering a staggering 538pixels per inch (ppi). Compare that to the already-impressive 424ppi of the G2 and 432 ppi of the Galaxy S5 and you can see why we’re impressed. At this point the 326ppi of an iPhone’s retina display is starting to look pretty old-hat.

Whether or not this kind of pixel density will actually be detectable by the human eye is yet to face wide-spread public testing, but we had the same doubts about 1080p and it turned out to be noticeably superior to the now-outdated 720p.

The CPU is a 2.5GHz quad-core snapdragon 801. That’s also the same chipset being run by the market-leading Samsung Galaxy S5. RAM will be either 2GB or 3GB (region-specific) and on-board storage is 16GB or 32GB, depending on the model. Very happily, LG has added MicroSD support for cards up to 128GB. This was lacking in the G2 and it’s great to see it included this time around.

The battery is still 3000mAh and WiFi 802.11ac has been added, which is the current fastest WiFi standard on consumer products.

A new look for a new day

The G3 is a beautiful-looking device. It doesn’t sport a fully metallic design like the One (M8), but it does have a metal skin over its rear panel. Considering how plain the G2 looked, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Thanks to the larger display, the G3 is also a little bigger. It’s around 8mm taller and 4mm wider than its predecessor. This is an impressively small difference, especially when you think about how small the G2’s bezels already were. LG has done a good job increasing the screen without impacting the overall dimensions too drastically here.

It’ll be available in a range of colours: Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold, Moon Violet, and Burgundy Red. These will probably be region and carrier specific, so don’t fall in love with any specific theme just yet.

UI overhaul

One of the biggest complaints about the LG G2 was that its UI was just boring. It’s wasn’t clumsy or slow, but it was also nothing to look at. Nor was it a particular delight to use. It got the job done, but there was nothing intuitive or exciting about it.

LG has apparently completely overhauled its UI for the G3. So far not too much of the general stuff has been shown off, but it’s definitely looking a lot better from the visual side of things. That at least tells us that LG is taking the jump up from 1080p seriously. If you’re going to sell a phone on its visuals, you’d better provide it with something to show off.

KnockOn is still there, which we’re big fans off. It may not sound like much, but double tapping the screen to wake up and sleep your device is one of those little things that you never really go back from once you get used to it.

Camera

The camera is the same in terms of megapixels (13), but it’s now armed with laser-assisted autofocus. LG says that this is pretty much the fastest focus tech around. Whether or not that’s true is less important than that we can now use the word “lasers” when talking about phones.

We’re super keen to try out this new laser tech to see whether or not it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

Security stuff

As expected, Knock Code has reared its head. Knock Code is an unlocking mechanism that uses a custom set of taps as your password. Better still, it skips the normal unlock screen and jumps you straight from standby to your home screens.

There’s also an option to open your phone in a sort of guest mode. This is a great addition for people with private files or content that they don’t want others to see. So far we’re not sure if you can hide apps (hiding Facebook would be awesome), which would be handy in a large range of situations. This doesn’t sound like a feature that will be used by everyone, but for folks that need it it’s definitely going to be a plus.

Availability

And so comes the hitch. Unfortunately the G3 won’t be launching until June or August, depending on your region. Subsequently, this becomes less of a 6-months-later phone and more of a ten-months-later one.

June/August is also a pretty unconventional release date these days. It’s not a time when many people are coming off of their 2-year contracts, so LG may struggle to pick up users. Of course, it has the jump on the iPhone 6 which is expected sometime in September, but the Apple market share is a tough nut to crack.

In any event the G3 sounds like it’ll be an awesome device just like its predecessor, we just hope it does a little better in sales for LG’s sake.


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