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LG G3 Smartphone Review: A Plethora Of Pixels And A Laser!

The LG G3 combines cutting-edge hardware, including a 5.5-inch WQHD screen and laser autofocus system, with a lightweight body and slim bezels to create a phone that was ahead of its time. Is it still worth your consideration? Read on for our impressions.

Camera: Video Quality

The LG G3 shoots 1080p and 4K video at 30 FPS, but does not enable 1080p at 60 FPS, which is strange since the Sony IMX135 sensor does support it. The G3 also doesn’t shoot HDR video, again despite the fact that the sensor supports it at 30 FPS. The only other video modes available are 720p at 30 FPS and slow-motion 720p at 120 FPS.

Just like still pictures, there is only one mode for video: auto. Again, the lack of any manual controls is disappointing, but auto mode does do a good job picking the right settings 95% of the time. We're only missing the other 5%, when human intervention could improve the end result if additional controls were available. Of course, there's always the option to install a third-party camera app, like Cinema FV-5, to add full manual control.

The G3’s OIS+ is a big help when shooting video, even more so than stills. It helps keep the video a lot smoother and steadier when shooting hand-held, which is how the G3 is used most of the time.

(Ed.: Since all of the online video streaming services re-encode posted videos at a lower bitrate, and we currently don't have a solution to allow direct download of the original videos, we are not posting any sample videos for quality comparison. The videos that are shown are for demonstrating video features rather than quality.)

The G3 captures 1080p video at a 20Mb/s bitrate, which is the same as the OnePlus One and higher than the 17Mb/s phones like the Galaxy S5 record at. Video quality looks good with decent lighting, and while noise levels increase as light levels fall, video quality remains above average.

Videos also benefit from the laser autofocus system, which adjusts focus during the video to keep moving objects looking sharp. The following two videos compare the iPhone 6's phase detection autofocus to the laser system used by the G3.

The iPhone 6 smoothly transitions between the two different focal distances, continuously adjusting focus and keeping the numbers legible.

The G3 also adjusts to the two different distances. However, it doesn't adjust focus as the camera moves like the iPhone 6, and there's a pause before the G3 finally refocuses. This behavior also occurs in some circumstances when taking stills. The laser does better in low-light and low-contrast conditions, while the iPhone's PDAF performs better in bright light.

The G3 records 4K video at 30Mb/s, lower than the Galaxy S5 or OnePlus One, which record 4K at 57Mb/s. The loss of quality is evident, but still better than recording at 1080p.

Shooting 4K video does chew through storage quickly, even at the G3’s lower bitrate and five-minute clip length limit. Fortunately, the G3 supports microSD cards up to 128GB for offloading the large video files.

Compared to the G3's still image performance, recording video is disappointing. The lack of HDR or 60 FPS modes directly impacts video quality and are curious omissions. The G3 also isn't the best phone for shooting 4K video due to its lower bitrate recordings and clip length cap.

  • Vorador2
    At this point, i wouldn't bother. Rumors have surfaced than a successor will be launched in March.

    Tom's, you're almost at the point of self-parody. I would rename the site to "The Slowest Authority on Tech"
    Reply
  • wtfxxxgp
    For once I must agree that THW has dropped the ball on a very important phone review - it was too late - and the "better late than never" gesture never applies to a Review of something. My sister has just purchased this phone a week ago, had I had sight of a THW review then I'm sure I could have convinced her to rather wait for the next model that would surely have better support for that gorgeous screen - I played with it, it really is amazing watching video on that thing.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml
    It's quite late and learned little except the voice activated shutter feature. Most of the information are subjective and benchmarks are quite of little use since the database is quite few.

    Tom's, here is a suggestion. Since you're good with gaming benchmarks, why not just make reviews of smartphones as portable gaming machines? There's plenty of information to be gathered from such and plenty of debates/discussion could be created just from that.
    Build a database of old games and phones to be compared to new devices. Higher benchmark numbers encourages upgrades (*wink*).
    Reply
  • Shaft_32
    Mamory 3GB LPDDR3 1GB LPDDR3

    Mamory? Really? So we aren't spell checking now?
    Reply
  • Cryio
    Absolutely no Lumia in the photo shoot comparison? I thought. A Lumia 1020 or Lumia 930 with Denim should have photo sampling comparisons in the next list. Also an iPhone 6+.
    Reply
  • bujcri
    Suprised not to be mentioned about LG's Lollipop update for LG G3. At least worth mentioning that this update pretty much ruined some funtions on G3 like silent mode (now DND) and brought a lot of useless notifications on lockscreen like for example whatever you wanna have permanently on the notification bar (I used to have the date there). In a nutshell I really hate Lollipop.
    Reply
  • stevessvt
    Man! I can't wait for the new Samsung Galaxy S4 review!
    Reply
  • kiniku
    I sold this phone on Ebay and bought a Sony Xperia Z3. I went from 8-10 hours of battery life to 48+, brighter screen, water resistant, and amazing sound.
    Reply
  • glasssplinter
    I had to look at this article several times to confirm that you really just published this. New phone models are just around the corner and you're barely pushing this article out. Why did you feel the need to compare so many features to crapple tech also? The whole reason I'm interested in the phone is because it isn't crapple so people don't care how it stacks up. We want to know how it compares to other android phones. It's like putting the newest icrap review out and then saying but the icrap 10 still doesn't have a removable battery but this android and windows phone does in some hope of swaying them. Tom's has hit new lows...you would have been better off just not publishing this.
    Reply
  • MobileEditor
    Man! I can't wait for the new Samsung Galaxy S4 review!

    Don't buy it. Review done :)

    - Matt H.
    Reply