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LG G3 deep-dive review: A phone with great specs, but real-world issues

JR Raphael | July 31, 2014
The LG G3 Android smartphone has some impressive features, but during real-world use, problems can emerge.

Unless you have superhuman vision, however, you probably aren't going to notice the difference. Plain and simple, we're reaching the point where screens of this size have more pixels packed into them than the human eye can detect. I did a real-world comparison with the G3 and the One (M8), and the differences in sharpness and detail between the two were virtually imperceptible.

That's not to say the G3's screen doesn't look fantastic -- because it does. It's bright and crystal clear, with image quality sure to satisfy even the most discerning eyes. And it's easy to view outdoors, too, even in direct sunlight. I find I actually prefer the contrast and color saturation on the M8, but that's getting nitpicky; the G3's display is absolutely gorgeous and among the best on the market today.

The device itself is also impressively designed: The G3 has a plastic back made to look like brushed metal -- it's a great example of plastic done right. The phone has a classy, attractive appearance and doesn't pick up any visible fingerprint smudges. To be sure, it's still plastic pretending to be metal -- something that's very apparent when you touch the surface -- and it doesn't match the premium feel of an actual metal phone like the aforementioned One (M8). But it doesn't come across as in any way cheap or gaudy, either, as Samsung's plastic cases tend to do.

LG is sticking with its unconventional rear button setup on this device -- a volume rocker and power key on the upper-third of the phone's back panel -- and while I've been critical of that configuration in the past, I've actually grown to enjoy it in its current implementation. It still takes a little getting used to, but LG has refined its approach and found a way to make the rear-facing buttons easy to locate and natural to use.

The LG G3's unconventional rear button setup takes a little getting used to.

The button placement also provides the benefit of making the phone's body especially sleek -- with those elements on the back, the device's sides are completely smooth and free from interruptions.

The G3 has a single small speaker on the lower end of its back panel. Audio played from the phone is sufficiently loud, although quite tinny. It's not bad by typical smartphone standards but is nothing spectacular.

Depending on which carrier you go with, you'll be able to get the G3 in a choice of white, black or gold. The gold is the most elegant and distinctive of the three and would be my first choice, followed by the less bold but still striking black. The white looks somewhat pedestrian in comparison, if you ask me, but it's ultimately just a matter of personal taste.


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