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

LG G3 review

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 looks the part when laid on a table.

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 sensor to pack on there.

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 in the interface is really irritating – that beat between launching apps and jumping back to the home screen is annoying.

The fact that it's not optimised for some apps isn't cool either – I'm not sure whether it's the screen (although they should scale) or some internal jiggery-pokery… but it's a flaw, no doubt.

LG G3 review

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 slight inability to perform in the dark. We've all been there.

Verdict

The LG G3 is a great smartphone – like 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 both will attract new users and give relief to those that were put off by the clutter on the G2.

However, I think something was lost in design in making the backplate removable – I feel that unibody designs just feel better in the hand thanks to being more solid, and I miss that from the G2.

The plastic / metal doesn't feel great in the hand either, and the dimensions are very much small phablet 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 really impressive, very accomplished smartphone that drops the gimmicks to create one of the most powerful and impressive handsets you can buy right now.

First reviewed: July 2014