They have been steadily getting bigger over the past few years, but a large display can really take its toll on a smartphones battery life. We take a look at the 4G capable LG G3 to see if one of the largest screens available means some of the shortest battery life available.
We’ll start this review with the screen as it is arguably the headline grabbing element of the phones specification. This is the first smartphone to offer a 2560 x 1440 Quad HD resolution. The name Quad HD is derived from the fact that it’s four times the resolution of a 720p display.
This resolution also leads to a massively high pixel density of 538ppi (pixels per inch). To put this into perspective the original HTC One was the previous record holder with 469ppi.
The screen looks simply stunning with super crisp text and massively detailed pictures that show absolutely no pixel structure and, thanks to its IPS LCD technology, viewing angles are excellent.
We were sceptical about having such a large resolution on a relatively small screen but in practice (and compared to its 1080p rivals) there is clearly a noticeable difference. We just hope that the G2’s renowned industry leading battery life has not been troubled.
Processor, memory and storage
LG has stuck with what seems the industry standard for high-end smartphones, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, clocked at 2.5GHz which matches the Samsung S5 and is the joint highest clock speed yet seen from this chipset. As expected, performance is smooth and snappy with lag free movement most of the time. The only instance of lag or judder was in extreme multitasking. Hopefully software updates may be able to fix this.
During testing (using Geekbench 3) the LG G3 scored 2,510, a good deal lower than the 2,910 of the Galaxy S5 and the 2,860 of the HTC M8. It also lagged around 10 per cent behind rivals in 3DMark benchmarks. Although this is slightly surprising, we suggest there are probably three reasons for this difference. The first is the QHD screen must surely take a bigger load on power than a 1080p screen would. The second is the desire to retain the reputation its predecessor had for impressive battery life. We also we think that LG are trying to ensure reliability by restricting performance slightly to prevent overheating issues, something the Xperia Z2 has experienced during 4k video recording.
Despite the above, it is unlikely you will notice a great deal of difference in real world use. After all, this is still a very powerful smartphone.
Unusually the handset comes with differing amounts of RAM depending on which model you buy. The 16GB model gets 2GB of RAM whilst the 32GB version gets 3GB. We’re not sure we like this approach as it makes the 32GB G3 much more attractive even when the extra memory capacity isn’t needed.
Thankfully the LG comes with a microSDXC card slot (the preceding model didn’t have one) which can take cards up to 128GB in capacity.
With a huge 3,000mAh (11.1Wh ) battery, only the Sony Z2 comes with a larger unit amongst its competitors whilst the Galaxy S5 and HTC M8 both use smaller units. Thankfully the battery is now removable, great news for those who like to carry a spare
During our tests we managed a full day of heavy use with brightness at 65 per cent, over an hour of calls, a couple of hours of web browsing using both Wi-Fi and 3G, an hour of music listening, four hours of Wi-Fi video streaming, an hour of 3D gaming plus shooting a couple of small 4K resolution videos as well as taking around a dozen pictures. This is pretty impressive and is certainly one of the best performers in terms of battery life amongst its main three smartphone deal rivals. Despite this it ranks lower than the preceding G2 which was outstanding in terms battery performance. The only thing we can blame is that huge high resolution QHD screen. Keeping brightness as low as possible will probably make a good deal of difference on this particular handset.
LG has decided not to implement an Ultra Power Saving Mode such as seen on the S5, which limits the phone to essential apps and changes the screen to greyscale. Instead the G3 just implements a regular power saver which is started by default at 30 percent remaining. This can be altered in the settings.
A nice addition to the specification is the inclusion of wireless charging, which we hope to see a great deal more of in smartphones, especially as more vehicles come equipped with wireless charging stations. Please note that (in the UK at least) the handset doesn’t come with a wireless charger.
Unlike the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S5 the phone does not get a fingerprint scanner, with LG stating that it will not implement this feature in a phone until it is easier to use than current systems.