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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.

Under the hood

On paper, the G3 ticks off every box a spec-head would want to see in a high-end phone -- things like a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and a full 3GB of RAM.

But like many Samsung phones, LG's latest effort is a lesson in why specs only mean so much: Despite all those impressive-sounding numbers, the device's performance is surprisingly imperfect.

There's frequent jerkiness in animations and transitions, for instance, along with a lag in opening and switching between apps -- the types of flaws you absolutely shouldn't see on a phone of this caliber. The issues aren't unbearable, but they're definitely noticeable; the system just isn't as smooth and snappy as a high-end smartphone should be.

The only logical conclusion I can reach is that the G3's software is to blame -- and as we'll discuss in a moment, that makes an awful lot of sense.

With its 3,000mAh removable battery, the G3 does a reasonably decent job in the realm of stamina. With moderate to heavy use -- as much as three to four hours of screen-on time with a mix of Web browsing, video streaming, voice calls and miscellaneous app use -- I've generally been able to make it from morning to night on a single charge, though sometimes just barely. The phone's battery is by no means bulletproof, especially with all the power that the Quad HD display requires, but it should be able to get you through a full day most of the time.

The G3 comes with 32GB of internal storage, about 24GB of which is available after you factor in the operating system and various preinstalled applications. The phone also has a microSD card slot beneath its back cover that allows you to add up to 2TB of additional space (theoretically, at least -- 128GB is currently the largest microSD card you can buy).

The G3 doesn't support wireless charging out of the box; you'll need to purchase and use a special $60 case if you want to have that functionality. It's also worth noting that the AT&T model of the phone uses a different wireless charging protocol than the other models of the device: Rather than sticking with the Qi standard, which the vast majority of charging pads are designed for, AT&T opted to go with the far less common PMA protocol for its device. That means in addition to the case, you'll have to buy a specialized charging gadget in order for things to work with that model.

As far as connectivity goes, I've tested two different models of the G3 -- one on T-Mobile and one on Sprint -- and both have had call quality and data reception that are typical for those carriers in my area. No problems or anything unusual to report in that regard.

 

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