Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

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.

The G3 supports near-field communication (NFC) for contact-free payments and data exchanges. It also has an IR blaster for wireless control of your TV and other home entertainment components.

Cameras

LG is using the G3's camera as a major marketing point, emphasizing that the device is the world's "first phone with laser auto-focus." Yup, you read that correctly: There's an actual laser involved with the picture-taking process.

It certainly sounds cool. The laser system is supposed to allow the phone to focus faster than other cameras and to take sharper images, even when the subject is moving.

In real-world usage, however, you'd never know any such system was in place. The phone isn't noticeably faster at snapping photos than other recent flagships I've tested, like the HTC One (M8) or the Galaxy S5 -- and in fact, it feels slightly slower than the M8, which is practically instantaneous in its photo-snapping ability.

In terms of image quality, the G3's 13-megapixel shooter is adequate but inconsistent. Photos, especially those taken outdoors, often look washed out and under-saturated -- and despite the manufacturer's lofty laser-centric claims, the G3 struggles as much as any other smartphone to focus on a moving subject and capture it without motion blur. On the plus side, the camera does offer optical image stabilization, which can help make up for an unsteady hand.

LG has toned down its camera UI quite a bit, too, which is a welcome change. By default, the Camera app is just one giant viewfinder; you touch anywhere on the screen to focus and snap a pic. It's similar to the minimalist approach Motorola has taken lately and makes for a pleasingly simple user experience.

If you want more advanced settings, the G3's Camera app has an icon in its upper corner that you can tap to bring up options for adjusting things like the image size and shooting mode. The options are fairly limited -- you won't find any settings for tweaking stuff like ISO or white balance -- but they do give you a little more control.

The phone also provides a novel gesture for capturing selfies with its front-facing camera: When you have the lens pointed at you and the Camera app open, you can hold up an opened hand and then make a fist to start a three-second countdown. Why, you might ask? I'm no expert on excessive documentation of one's own face, but I suspect it'd hold appeal for teens who use tools like the "selfie stick" (yes, that's apparently a real thing) to take photos of themselves from afar.

The front-facing camera is capable of capturing video up to 1080p in quality. The rear camera, meanwhile, can go as high as 3840 x 2160 -- a level known as 4K or "Ultra HD" -- which can get you some great-looking video (though you won't find many displays that can actually take advantage of it).

 

Previous Page  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.