LG’s best yet, and a real contender for phone of the year: LG’s G3 reviewed
4.8Overall Score

Price (RRP): $799 (outright); Available on plans from Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone;
Manufacturer: LG

LG has long been trying to be the leader of the smartphone race, and in its 2014 flagship, it just might have the edge to beat the others, with one of the sharpest screens in the world and a smattering of other cool features. Is this the best phone yet?

Features

The last of the major Android flagship releases for the first half of the year are here, with really only phablets left to go.

If you’ve been waiting for a new LG handset, here it is, bringing a 5.5 inch screen with a new resolution to go with it. That resolution measure 2560×1440, making it the highest resolution display found in a smartphone in Australia, and delivering 534 pixels per inch, 200 higher than Apple’s Retina-grade panels found on the current crop of iPhone handsets (5C and 5S).

The 5.5 inch display is also protected by the third generation of Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass technology.

Underneath this screen, LG is relying on a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked to 2.5GHz, paired with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. If 16GB isn’t enough, there’s a microSD slot available, and in some parts of the world, you’ll find a 32GB model with 3GB RAM instead of our 2GB. Not Australia, at least not yet, so here you’ll find the 2GB/16GB model in most places.

Android 4.4 “KitKat” runs natively here, with some changes from LG, and it works with a fair amount of connectivity, including 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP and LE, Near-Field Communication (NFC), infrared, GPS, and support for 4G LTE running under Category 4. MicroUSB is also supported, but it’s a wired connection found at the bottom of the handset.

Since cameras are such an important part of the mobile phone world, you’ll find a 13 megapixel shooter on the back, paired with a flash and laser-based auto-focus, as well as a 2.1 megapixel camera on the front. Both cameras can take stills and Full HD videos, but only the rear camera can capture in Ultra High Definition (4K, or close to it).

Buttons on phones are getting fewer in number, and that’s certainly true of LG’s G3, with the front only supporting Android’s soft buttons — back, home, and multi-tasking — though thanks to some programming, LG will let you move these around. The few hardware buttons that exist sit on the very back of the G3, with a volume rocker sitting under neath the camera lens, with a power button in between.

There are only two physical ports on the handset, with the microUSB and 3.5mm headset jack found at the very bottom of the handset.

The back of the G3 can be removed, however, revealing the battery, which can be taken out, and two slots sitting atop each other, with a microSIM slot underneath and a microSD slot just above this.

LG’s G3 battery is rated for 3000mAh.

Performance

It doesn’t seem like we’ve had LG’s G2 for all that long, but here are with another model, not even a year past that handset’s release. In August, however, LG is taking the G2 and improving it, updating the specs and bringing a new screen into the mix, and changing the design slightly.

We’ll start with that last bit, because everything else flows from it.