LG G3 review

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

LG G3 review
LG's best phone yet shows the brand is making great strides in the smartphone game

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The LG G3 entered a really rather packed smartphone market, and these are the big phones you'll probably be considering alongside the South Korean's big hitter – take a look to see how it stacks up against the best the competition has to offer.

Samsung Galaxy S6

LG G3 review

The S6 has a better screen and a better overall design

When the LG G3 first launched the Samsung Galaxy S5 was a key competitor, which worked in the G3's favour due to the Galaxy S5's disappointing design. However Samsung hasn't given LG such an easy ride lately, with the much improved Galaxy S6 proving more of a challenge.

Not only does the Galaxy S6's screen handily beat the LG G3's in quality thanks to Samsung's Super AMOLED tech, but the S6 now matches the LG G3's 1,440 x 2,560 resolution – something that the Galaxy S5 failed to.

Because of the slightly smaller 5.1-inch screen, the Galaxy S6 has a higher pixel density, giving it the edge in clarity as well.

The Galaxy S6 also has an improved design, ditching the plastic chassis of the S5 for a more premium metal design. This reduces the LG G3s previous lead in this area, though its brushed metal effect still feels and looks good, so don't worry about getting a worse looking smartphone if you go for the cheaper LG G3 – it still holds its own.

iPhone 6 Plus

LG G3 review

The price of the iPhone 6 Plus is hard to justify

Apple's out the gates with its first phablet and it's got an LG G3-matching 5.5-inch display. It's a strong first attempt too, with a 401ppi 1,080p screen, sporting impressive viewing angles, great contrast and bright colours.

I'd argue that it's not quite a match for the LG G3's display though, thanks to that phone's crystal clear QHD resolution.

The iPhone 6 Plus certainly trumps the LG G3 when it comes to looks though, with an elegant metal body; and it also gives the LG G3's camera a run for its money.

But despite its high-end appearance, the design of the iPhone 6 Plus makes it more awkward to use one-handed than the LG G3, as it's both taller and wider. Its biggest problem though is its price tag – it's over twice as expensive as the G3, and it's hard to justify spending that much.

HTC One M9

LG G3 review

The LG G3 edges it over the M9 on value and battery

The LG G3 was initially pitted against the HTC One M8 – a rather tough challenge considering it was one of the best smartphones we'd had the pleasure of using. Since then the HTC One M9 has been released, and although it is still a better overall smartphone than the G3, LG's ageing handset puts up a decent fight.

The HTC One M9 stays close to the metal design of the M8 with some choice improvements, which gives it the edge against the LG G3.

However the LG G3 does come with a larger 3,000mAh battery, compared to the 2,840mAh capacity of the M9, and in our battery benchmarks we saw that the LG G3 does slightly better at holding on to battery life – though only just.

Another thing in the LG G3's favour is that it doesn't get that hot when in heavy use – unlike the HTC One M9.

Of course where the LG G3 really benefits is in price, which is not too surprising when you consider that it's getting on a bit, and the HTC One M9 is still relatively new. It does mean that if you don't mind a slightly older handset, you can save quite a bit of cash by going for the LG G3 and still end up with an excellent phone.

iPhone 5S

LG G3 review

Very different phones, but the G3 has the advantage over the 5S

The difference between the iPhone 5S and the G3 is stark – one is compact, the other massive. LG reckons that the Retina display has had its time in the sun, and it has found the ultimate screen resolution – yet Apple stuck with Retina HD for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

The iPhone 5S probably has a more robust camera that's a little simpler to use and handle, and the app selection is improved. But everything from a faster OS to a better screen and improved audio experience swings things in LG's favour.

Sony Xperia Z3

LG G3 review

Sony's Xperia Z3 is due an update but its design still shines

The Sony Xperia Z3 is also getting on a bit, like the LG G3, but has yet to be replaced – and the Xperia Z4 doesn't appear to be significantly better (nor certain to appear in the West).

The Xperia Z3 has a lower resolution screen than the LG G3, yet it still comes out slightly on top in the image quality stakes thanks to some nifty display tech.

Camera-wise both handsets are very good, with the two smartphones coping particularly well with low-light images. Although the Z3's 20.7 megapixel camera looks more impressive on paper than the LG G3's 13 megapixel snapper, in reality the gap is a lot closer.

The Xperia Z3 also wins when it comes to design with it's slimline and waterproof, design that looks and feels more premium than LG's offering.