LG G3 review

A great handset that's only slightly let down by lacklustre design

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LG knew it needed something better than the G2 to compete with the best Samsung, Sony and HTC have to offer, which is why the LG G3 arrived less than a year after the G2.

It's supremely powerful and addresses nearly all the issues I had with its predecessor – so has LG suddenly created the ultimate smartphone?

We liked

The screen on the LG G3, when used properly to display high-resolution content, is immense… LG knew that, and has been rightly making a big deal about it.

The overall design of the phone is vastly improved too, with the faux-metal cover not necessarily feeling great but certainly looking the part.

The camera is powerful too, leading to some great snaps and not letting me down when I wanted to just capture the moment here and there. The size of the phone makes some shots slightly harder, but overall it's a good option for photography.

I really like the new interface LG has created – it's clean, flat and really shows a maturity from a brand that erred far too much on the side of "fun" rather than making me feel like I had a phone that was worthy of a significant chunk of change each month.

The battery life is also really impressive – sure, it only matches the competition, but given it has so much more to do with the QHD screen it's a revelation really.

We disliked

So how can a phone that's improved in nearly every area have any flaws? Well, there are a few areas where LG has made compromises that haven't quite worked – and dropped the ball in others.

For instance, the lag when booting up and exiting apps can be really irritating.

The QHD screen is also a drawback – I know what you're going to say, so let me explain. Yes, it looks great in perfect conditions, but a good smartphone is about balance. There's no point having technology for the sake of it, and that's what the QHD screen feels like right now.

Internet browsing, watching videos and generally using apps looks a bit better, but nothing massive. If you weren't looking for it, you'd just think it was a decent screen, and I've had the same feeling from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5, the LG G2 and the HTC One M8.

Without the screen, which does lose brightness when viewed from anything other than straight on, the battery would last longer, the lag might have been removed and the LG G3 could be made to sit in the palm better.

I'm all for advancement, but the screen on the G3 feels like a headline spec rather than something that enriches a great phone.

The camera needs to perform much better in low light too: it's too heavy on the smudges as the software tries to cover up a slightly lacking performance.

Final verdict

The LG G3 is a great smartphone – as with its predecessor, if you're after power and precision, perhaps over design and form, then this is a winner.

The camera and battery combo is sure to win some hearts, and the improved user interface will attract new users and give relief to those that were put off by the clutter on the G2.

However, I think the design lost something in making the backplate removable – unibody designs are more solid and just feel better in the hand, and I miss that on the G3.

The plastic/metal doesn't feel great in the hand either, and the dimensions are very much small phablet rather than big smartphone, which you'll need to take into consideration if you're thinking of buying the LG G3.

If that doesn't bother you then the G3 is a very accomplished smartphone that drops the gimmicks to create one of the most powerful and impressive handsets you can buy right now.