LG Announces 5.5-inch G3 Android Smartphone

Along with the HTC One M8, the LG G3 has been one of the most leaked phones in recent memory, both from unofficial sources like notorious leaker @evleaks, and from official sources like LG Netherlands. Now, finally, the G3 has been officially announced by LG, at six events worldwide, including one we attended in New York City, so check back with us soon for our hands-on impressions, and some initial benchmarks results too. The G3 will be available this week in Korea, and later this summer in the U.S. and Canada (along with 170 carriers worldwide).

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 LG G3 Specifications
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC
CPU CoreKrait 400 (4-core) @ 2.46 GHz
GPU CoreAdreno 330 @ 578 MHz
Memory2 or 3 GB RAM
Display5.5-inch Quad HD IPS (2560 x 1440, 538ppi)
Storage16 GB / 32 GB
Battery3,000 mAh (removable)
Camera/sFront: 2.1 MP Rear: 13 MP w/OIS Plus & Laser Auto Focus
Expansion PortsmicroSD slot, USB 2.0
ConnectivityWi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO Cellular: 4G / LTE / HSPA+ 21 Mbps (3G)Other: Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Dimensions5.76" x 2.94" x 0.35" (146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm)
Weight5.25 oz (149 g)
Operating SystemAndroid 4.4.2 Kitkat w/ new LG UI

Contrary to the initial specifications leaked, the G3 is NOT powered by Qualcomm’s latest SoC, the Snapdragon 805, but with the 801 chip, specifically the 2.46 GHz MSM8974AC variant found in the Galaxy S5 and OnePlus One. While this may be disappointing to some, the 805 isn’t quite ready yet, and the 801 is still a very powerful chip.

Interestingly, while the internal hardware specifications of the LG G3 are very good, very little time was spent on the speeds and feeds of the phone. LG instead focused on why and how specific new hardware (screen, camera) and software features of the phone fit their new messaging, which is ‘Simple is the New Smart.’

The G3 has a 5.5-inch Quad HD 2560 x 1440 IPS display, that has an amazingly crisp 538 ppi. There is a minimal amount of bezel surrounding the display; LG says that the front of the phone is  76.4 percent screen, which is makes for a very compact phone, despite its large screen. LG has also incorporated some "advanced optimization technologies" for the 3,000 mAh battery to help it handle the increased power draw of the higher resolution screen without compromising on longevity.

The 13 MP camera has Laser Auto Focus system for incredibly fast focusing, even in low light, and the Optical Image Stabilization has been upgraded from what was found in the LG G2. On the video side of the camera, improved microphones analyze the sound been captured and automatically adjust for the best result, which should definitely help when filming in a challenging audio environment.

Another disappointment is the material that the G3 is made from. Despite looking like it may be made of metal, with a faux brushed metal finish on the back, the G3, like so many other phones, is still an all plastic affair. However, LG is saying that the phone is fingerprint resistant. Ergonomically, the LG G3’s "Floating Arc design" is supposed to make it very comfortable to use with one hand, despite its size.

The phone will come in five different colors: Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold, Moon Violet and Burgundy Red. Of course, it’s unlikely that we’ll see all of these color choices in North America.

Previous generations of LG phones have always been criticized for their unattractive and garish UIs, and it looks like LG went back to the drawing board with the G3 and overhauled and simplified its skin over Android 4.4.2. The G3 has a new “minimalistic user interface design with flat graphics,” which looks 100 times better than the software found in the LG G2.

Along with the improved look and feel of the UI, LG has also enhanced the G3’s user experience with some additional software features. The G3’s Smart Keyboard can have its height adjusted, which makes the keys bigger or smaller, to fit different thumb sizes, and has “adaptive technology” that learns as you type, and reduces input errors. LG has also added what it is calling its Smart Notice feature that “provides suggestions and recommendations based on user behavior.” The Knock On feature introduced with the G2 has been enhanced with the new Knock Code feature that lets you use a series of taps on different locations of the screen to unlock it, something LG is claiming is more secure than traditional PIN or gesture security. The G3 also has a Content Lock feature, which is similar to the Privacy Mode on the Samsung Galaxy S5, which allows you to hide select files hidden from view if you share the phone with someone. And finally the Kill Switch feature enables users to disable and wipe their phones in the event they lose the G3.

LG also briefly highlighted some of the accessories available for the G3. There is the QuickCircle Case, which also comes in five colors, and allows access to frequently-used functions through a circular window on the front of the case. Additionally, there will be a portable Wireless Charger, which uses Qi’s wireless power charging technology. The last accessory is the Android Wear powered G Watch. While we were hoping that perhaps LG would show it to us today, it was not to be. I guess they are saving it for Google I/O at the end of June.

Disappointingly, LG didn't release any additional information about pricing and availability, beyond saying that the G3 will be available later this summer from T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon. However, since it is also coming to 166 other carriers worldwide, and LG Canada reps were present at the event, we can be certain it will be coming to multiple Canadian carriers around the same time as it comes to the US.

Check back with us soon for our hands-on, with video, of the LG G3, and also some initial performance benchmark results of LG’s latest and greatest.

Follow Alex Davies @AlexBDavies. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • Hando567
    Why do reviewers always feel the need to bash plastic phones? It is actually more impact resistant, lighter weight, and Qi charging is a huge benefit which you lose out on if you go with metal construction. Maybe you guys should think about it a little bit more before calling it a "disappointment". As long as the finish is nice, who cares?
  • anthony8989
    No 805 :( womp womp . I'm excited to see what the 1440p resolution looks like.
  • kawininjazx
    No USB 3.0? What year is this?
  • rohitbaran
    At 5.5 inch screen, that looks more like a phablet than phone. Why do they have to make the screens bigger and bigger? It just makes the device unwieldy.
  • qlum
    For me the biggest benefit of usb 3 on my phone is not actually the transfer speed but the wider plug just feels a lot sturdier. I do however still notice the higher transfer speeds on my note 3.
  • Alathorne
    I saw a video from MobileTechReview on the HTC One M8, where Lisa pointed out the metal can be more affected by temperature changes than plastic. Yesterday I held several phones in an air conditioned store. The M8 was noticeably colder than the other, plastic backed phones. That could be uncomfortable outside in the winter in the northern States. I think that it's not just "plastic=bad." It's situational, and the type of plastic. The S4 just seems cheap to me, where the S5 was pretty good.
  • soldier44
    At 5.5 inch screen, that looks more like a phablet than phone. Why do they have to make the screens bigger and bigger? It just makes the device unwieldy.

    Uhm thats exactly what it is. Stick with you're tiny Iphone let the adults have fun with one of these.