Camera module

5. The LG G3 has frickin' lasers

This year many of the top Android smartphones are competing on camera focus speed, but LG's got a unique trick up its sleeve — LASERS! The G3's autofocus system fires out infrared lasers (of the friendly, not deadly or blinding kind) in a cone pattern, and you can actually see them blinking if you turn the phone around while the camera app is open. LG says this new method is faster than the regular contrast detection used by most phone cameras. According to the manufacturer, this lets the G3's rear shooter locks on in 276 milliseconds, compared to 300+ for most phone cameras. (Though if the laser-based setup fails for whatever reason, the camera can fall back on a standard contrast detection method.)

Frickin LASERS

And there's a fun backstory behind the G3's laser autofocus module. LG's head of smartphone planning, Dr. Ramchan Woo, tells us the tech was adapted from the company's range of robot vacuum cleaners, which use a similar system to judge distance when they're navigating around a room.


Reader comments

10 more things you need to know about the new LG G3


For some reason with the g2 I would always hit the freaking space bar all the time while I was typing. It looks like maybe there is a little more space between the space bar and that home key. Does that appear to be the case?

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These are exactly what I wanted to know. Love my G2 but this is awesome. Just got a qi charger for the n7 and this will be great

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please Phil Verizon announced it on Twitter i dont think EVERY major carrier has to have a press release to let everyone know that Verizon Wireless is gonna carry the LG G3 I understand you want a press release but please give it a rest they made a post on Twitter thats good enough for me.

He probably wants one, because as a member of tech press he doesn't want to rely on a possible rogue twitter account user telling things that aren't true. It has happened MANY times. Maybe the most recent being the Nexus 7 2013?

ok AC, stop with the slide show thing, or at least get some AJAX in there so you do not have to do a full page request.

That being said, nice little write up. When the G3 comes out I hope that I get it (for work, not my daily driver) for a longer period of time than I had the G2. I am gonna try for July to September when the Note 4 gets know to give those back buttons another fair shot.

yeah I am not opposed to ads (or revenue) but it can still be accomplished without the page refresh

This seems to compete very well versus the S5, M8 & Z2. Was thinking about a Sony Xperia Z2 but need to wait to see this G3 in person. I like the camera stuff. The laser should really help in low light focusing. I also like the I57 rating for the Sony but this G3 is pretty sweet!

If you're getting the Xperia X2 the camera, then don't. None of the software features are supported above 8 megapixels.

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That doesn't mean that the pictures are bad... Quite the contrary in fact. It's one of the best smartphone cameras out there.

So stop being a spec-w***e!

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Hey, the iPhone's camera is 8 megapixels no matter what, and people still love it (and it's still a decent smartphone camera!). Plus, it's (mostly!) the optics that count: 20.7MP is nice and all, but without good optics, there's no point. :P

For me, it's the screen size that steers me away from the G2. The Z1 is in my upper comfort limit, and while the Z2 is basically the same size, I'm hoping for a "Z2 Compact"...
On that note, a "G3 Mini" would be a nice thing too. But, thinking about it, a G3 Mini could have a 5" display... something for which I have no words.

If we end up getting a GPe I may bite. It looks really, really nice. OTOH, if One+ actually gets around to offering their device to the hoi polloi, it's hard to see sense in paying twice as much for a similarly spec'd phone. Regardless, this is shaping up to be a REALLY good year for android users! :-)

Nexus 5

No thanks, probably be $650 or more off contract. I'll wait for the oneplus one.

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The smartphone has become much more practical to use, and no one bother touching the side buttons unintentionally.

Nice article Phil. I've been a consistent user of the Samsung Note line for the past 2 years and honestly I'm tired of it. I'm looking for another phone but have been afraid of me possibly wasting my money on a phone I I would not like. This phone may pull me away from Samsung all together and can even have me disregarding the HTC M8 Prime once it's available

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I'm by no means bashing this phone because it looks awesome. But it's being praised for doing some things that Samsung gets criticized for on a regular basis (battery, removable back, for example), and Samsung's improvements in the S5 were glossed over while similar improvements are being praised in the G3 (trimming down software, similar keyboard features, for example). Again, I'm no fanboy, I have an S5, M8, and will likely sell one or both to get the G3, but it's funny how OEM bias affects perspective.

It is very similar to the Galaxy line. I think expectations are higher for Sammy, so maybe an equal(or slightly better) device is seen as a bad thing for them.
I will strongly consider this to replace my Note 2, but I am waiting for s5 prime to compare.

If you go from the smell of crap that's been sitting in the sun weeks to the smell of crap that's fresh, it's still crap.

When you go from crap that's fresh to the faint smell of roses, it's worth talking about.

Samsung is still crap and makes a ton of sales because they have a strong brand name. Their "improvements" are still behind in a lot of ways compared to their competitors, yet they'll surpass everyone else's sales because dat marketing.

LG has gone from making a great phone with the two drawbacks being their software and the plastic to a phone that is amazing in every way with the issue being the size, and that's only for some people. Put side by side, the LG G2 still beats the S5. The LG G3 just increases that gap.

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Yes, the fact that they make a great phone has nothing to do with Samsung selling a ton of phones.

LG has done very little to distance itself, on specs alone, from any of the other flagships this year (S5, M8). I am not saying it is not a good phone, but it is not any more amazing then the others I mentioned.

What are you talking about? All of the flagship phones recently released have nearly identical hardware both in reality and user perception. LG has the fingerprint scanner and pulse counter. I'm sure those will be useful someday, but right now they are a gimmick. LG came out with a phone that exceeds the specs of the competition, eliminates almost every complaint mentioned on previous generations, and adds in hardware features that are actually useful today (IR laser auto-focus and Optical Image Stabilization). The software is also highly optimized to squeeze out battery life, and there is dedicated low-power hardware to decrease power consumption from the display (also used in the G2). Naturally, let's not forget the surprising button configuration and the clever display interface routing that allows for the super-slim bezels.

Samsung's Galaxy 3, 4, and 5 have been surprisingly minor in terms of changes in design or functionality. Samsung's in danger of iPhone Syndrome: they're getting lazy from sitting on top and forgot how to make a compelling device.

The leap from the g2 to the g3 is not huge, and you should look at at most consumers do.

The jump from the s3 to the s5 is big, in just about every conceivable way. The same as the jump from the g2 to the g4 should be.

LG put a good phone out but it is nothing that the m8 and s5 aren't. The screen sure, but the rest is on par

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What's your reasoning?

Let me put it this way. Between Sony, LG, Samsung, and HTC, there were no major changes. Among those 4, LG made the most changes from its previous generation. Additionally, LG's G2, in terms of hardware, is comparable to what the competition released last month. Except LG's G2 was released months before the rest.

The only change was the screen resolution. Same chips, same storage, camera close to the s5...

What was the major changes your touting?

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OIS+, IR focus, quality of photos, build quality and design, in hand comfort, no finger print magnet, size, UI, to list a few differentiators.

When one is so biased, I suppose it's impossible to handle the truth.

Everyone knows your agenda and lack of credibility regardless of how glorious you tout that you are.

lets see Dumbo

Quality of photos, the same
OIS, the same
IR focus, yet to be seen
in hand comfort, based on the S4 and G2, the S4 wins
fingerprints, same polymor/plastic
UI, push

so yeah uypoir samsung hate shows through, unlike you I am unbiased

You keep talking about my credibility but you have none

Quality of photos has been upgraded.
OIS has been upgraded.
IR focus has been displayed in many of the hands-on reviews and works great.
Dunno why you mentioned the S4 and G2, but the G2 has a much better, larger display than the S4 with the same width as the S4. I guess if you find bezels to be comforting, then you may find the bezelicious S4 to be nicer to hold, but most people don't appreciate having to sacrifice screen real estate because of the lack of innovation from Samsung's engineers.
The G3 material is not the same glossy plastic as the G2.

You clearly have never seen either phone in person or you are blatantly ignorant. Anyone who has to proclaim their lack of bias is either in denial or unaware of their bias. Since you seem to be opposed to the GOP, I'll use Fox News as an example. They declare that they are "fair and balanced" every 10 seconds. If that had ever been true, the viewership would recognize that on their own, unless Fox is assuming their viewers lack intelligence.

Please, stop insulting your own intelligence. Just because you don't know your stuff doesn't mean that the rest of us bury our heads in the sand. You aren't going to convince anyone until you have legitimate arguments.

How about the fact that the g2 had an embedded battery and no SD card slot which consumers bitched about so they changed it...QHD display which no one besides OPPO has done yet. 3 GB of ram which is up from 2. Major UI's a substantial upgrade from the g2

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Spin it however you want. Samsung also had a design story and made changes based on listening to consumers.

Again, not saying the G3 isn't a beast, just trying to balance out the inherent anti-Samsung bias.

Review this entire thread and see for yourself who keeps referring to Samsung. Drop mic!

Yes you're exactly right. And we're also praising the G3. My only point in all of this is how irrationally hated Samsung is while other OEMs receive apologies or praise for similar items. I'm not even trying to say the S5 is better than the G3. Goodness gracious...


Jimbo there is like the GOP, if I mention breathing is good for you, he takes the opposite approach.

He is a troll, but he is my little troll. I love showing him how wrong he always is...

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I'm saying the S5 buying over the G2 because the differences are so marginal. You're saying Samsung is innovating and I'm disagreeing.

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A matter of opinion really. At the very least its strong evolution, why you think thats bad I dont know.

Better looking, cheaper, faster (better optimised), better realised features that work better and use less resources, higher quality (even if it is still plastic) and because its so similar to the N5 its very easy to develop for. Indeed its basically a better quality N5.

"Better looking" - subjective, but I agree, though the S5's screen beats the G2's

Edit: forgot to add cheaper - and most definitely you're right... heck, the G2 might be the best buy on the market right now

"Faster (better optimised)" - have you used an S5? It's quite fast and lag-free 99% of the time... Samsung's default animation speed is just slow. The G2 was not without lag.

"Better realised features...use less resources" - Again, are we talking about the same G2? The G2 was loaded like the S4, and IMHO heavier than the S5.

"Higher Quality" - The S5 feels 10x better than the S4 and G2. I had a few G2's (Verizon and Tmobile) and they were all creaky and slimy plastic. The S5's I've had (again, VZW and Tmo) are tight and the back (on the black one anyway) has a good, non-slimy feel to it. So I don't know why you think it's higher quality?

Development - can't argue with that one! :)

I disagree about the screen, the G2 is awesome, although ive have calibrated mine making it even better. Its not as good as the M8 though, but still better than the S5, and im an AMOLED fan.

Yes, its faster and yes ive used an S5. Admittedly im using a custom kernel, but so was the S5 and had animations turned off. It didnt help.

The G2 was loaded, but they were better realised, they didnt all seem to run in the background all the time slowing the phone down. Dont want them? Turn them off and the phone will match or beat an N5 99% of the time, no problem, and yes I had an N5 to.

Build quality, Well im not adverse to shiny plastic if it looks good. I like the smooth feel. My G2 doesn't creak, but its not a Verizon model its a UK unlocked international model.

You lost me when you said the S5 is 10x better than the S4, I own the S4 and the S5 is not even close to being 10x better, this is homerism to the extreme, relax, and take a chill pill. I myself am not a Homer, and don't pray to any company, that being said, I will be buying the G3 when it hits the market, that is what the S5 should have been, no one cares about gimmicks like heart rate sensors or fingerprint scanners, or bloat load of Samsung software that they are trying to force down your throat, reason for all the space taken up by them on the phone, at least LG let's you remove the LG apps you don't want, which you can just reload if you feel the need to.

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Please double check the context. The *feel* of the S5 is better than the S4, and it is - the G2 as well. It doesn't hold fingerprints or greasiness at all. Forgive my hyperbole - 3x? 4x? Is that a more accurate measurement? If you've been following this thread, I'm by no means a homer, nor in need of relaxing b/c, like you, I couldn't care less about any one company.

I currently own four devices from four different OEMs, the S5 being one of them. My whole point in this entire thing is the G3 (which I will be getting as well) is getting [deserved] praise in areas where the S5 is either being ignored or criticized. It's the opposite of homerism I guess you could say... it's hating an OEM just b/c it's easy or "cool" to do so.

I have the S4 and this year opted not to get the S5, because gimmicks didn't do it for me either. Last year I went from the S3 to the S4 and was disappointed because there was not enough difference to justify the $650 investment.
I am looking for better hardware! The LG G3 is sounding good me with the latest QHD 2560x1400 display and 3GB of ram. If T-Mobile offers the the 32gb / 3gb of ram varient here in the US I'm switching to the LG G3.

This is true. For years LG was a clone of Samsung. People just like to hate on the big dog. Every S5 article slams the plastic and not so much on the G3. Must be the laser!
Sent from my Moto X!

G3 doesn't have that crap plastic feeling that Samsung does. The G2 had its plastic listed as one of the drawbacks as well.

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Oh yeah? When did you hold one? Didn't realize they were available yet

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You hit the nail on the head and I own the 5S and the Note 3 along with Ipad mini. No fanboy but totaly agree.

I would say this is the phone that everyone has been waiting for..removable battery and SD storage. Combine these features with all the other flagship features and you have the beast that all android lovers crave. Cannot wait to use my JUMP on this device.

I've been buying and loving my Motorola phones for that past few years. My Droid Maxx has been the best phone I've ever used. Never an issue with it. But since it's about to become a chinese company I'm gonna have to look at one of the Korean companies I guess. :( And the G3 seems to be everything I want, once the reviews on the battery life come out anyway. Wasn't crazy about buttons on the back at first, but I think I'll adjust quickly.

Love everything about this. Really hoping for water resistance though as it seems to be a real threat... especially if you have kids or do any fishing, boating etc etc. Nevertheless the camera is the big draw here. Basically a better, cleaner version of the S5 with awesome battery life (initial reports). My current G2 has near BlackBerry Curve battery life. I'm a tech consultant and live off of it, still go to bed with 30%. It's amazing to have battery life like that again. We have all forgotten how nice that is.

What is amazing is one phone design. It'll b easier for accessory maker to make universal Cases.

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There is only one S5 as well. They do have some variants (active, zoom, mini) but those are entirely different phones...

I predict that this phone will sell well! Its the alternative that many Samsung users have been waiting for THAT have an sd slot and removable battery. Now all you nay sayers will see the power of those 2 options, lol! AANNDD they're also offering a 32GB version!! LG just knows what the consumer wants. And don't give me that Apple sells well without it (sd slot & rem. bat.)......this is Android devices we're talking about here.

Buttons on the back sucks when you're trying to unlock your phone or adjust the volume while driving.

AC App via Nexus 5

Unlocking your phone can be done through tapping the screen. Regardless of the orientation of the phone you should never have issues unlocking the phone.

The volume is a legit problem, but I don't see how it's any worse than any other phone. I'd say it's better since if you put the phone down on its face, you can easily change the volume with one hand.

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Because the surface is smooth, and regardless of how much you baby the phone, you'll end up with thousands of micro scratches that you can't see with the naked eye?

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So wouldn't you want to minimize that by not putting it face down

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Mine actually doesn't. (I don't actually have a radio, I stream everything I need to a power amp connected to the speakers. The phone acts as the volume knob)

Easily solved, don't jack with the phone while driving. I'm damned glad it's against the law to even have the phone in your hand while driving here in Illinois.

You shouldnt be using your phone while drive at all anyway, indeed its illegal in many countries.

You should not be fidling with your phone while driving, when you you do that you become an extreme danger to the rest of the public. Wow really smart post.

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I dislike hitting the next button. It's something that I don't remember ever having to do making AC my favorite site I visit all thet ime. What happened to list form just to scroll down?

"the end result is that images and text are a crisp as they possibly can be"

Until the 6" 4K screens next year☺

I really hope you are not going to split up every article into 12 pages from now on! I avoid sites that do that like the plague, please don't do this to my favorite site!
You don't need to dumb down peoples attention span any further for the sake of advertising revenue, let us read a long article in one go!!


The average person's attention span, these days, requires bite size sections which will probably be integrated or linked in a future comprehensive review.

Moreover, it takes time to professionally review and write about all aspects of a new device.

This does sound good but if someone doesn't figure out your knock code then they have a second chance to figure out your 4 digit pin which makes it less secure. Unless you only get one chance with the pin code?

The way they should have done it, is if you forget your knock code you'll get an email (which yes you'll have to go to a computer to get) and it will give you a code that you can put into your phone so unless someone knows your email password...and if they stole your phone your email address they're screwed.

Who is the genius who thought having to click thru 12 pages for one article was a good idea? This is 2014, not the 90's where articles had to be broken up to load pages in not too long of a time, put the article in one page as it should be, it's probably has useful info but the format of the article is so horrible that i'm not clicking thru all the pages to read it.

Seriously whats with the click bait next page layout? Surely traffic can't be that down on the site. I know its a lot of information to convey but theres gotta be a better format than this.

I too, hate having to click through 12 pages of one article, even with an unlabeled single-page view button.

I want this phone exactly but with a 4.7 to 5 inch screen. I know I sound silly but I have crazy sharp near vision and have NEVER not seen the pixels, on any device, ever! but I want a smaller phone.

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This phone has nexus body lines and no compromise features. Removable battery is such a underrated feature IMO and to add wireless charging and sd card support... Amazing work LG!

The G2 had native support for FLAC files up to 24bit 92kHz, does the G3 has it also? What DAC chip is inside? Does it have a MicroSD card slot and Wireless charging?

"This is one of those specs that sometimes gets glossed over for any number of reasons. But for those who need it, it's damned important. The LG G3 has a removable battery. That is, you can take it out and replace it with a fresh one if you run out of juice."

It's quite amusing that for a couple of years now I have seen nothing but bashing of Samsung for this very feature. The Android fan kiddies have constantly said it is only Samsung's marketing budget that has led to their success. Of course every informal user poll shows overwhelming support for swappable batteries and SD cards. I've even seen many of the Kool-Aid drinkers of the Nexus brand make arguments that carrying around large battery packs and the USB cable is more convenient than a spare battery and that the cloud is faster than SD cards. Now LG does it and it gets praised. The hypocrisy is glaring.

Now don't get me wrong, I am VERY HAPPY to see LG include these features on the G3. It is likely when I replace my S4 in a few months, the G3 will be the one I get. I have hated the fact that Samsung is the only OEM to offer true choice to the consumer and the consumer only wins when they have more choices available to them.

Will be interesting to see swappable batteries and SD card slots get praise from the fan kiddies when even more OEM's wake up to the fact that they have played a huge role in Samsung's success and start including them on their flagship devices.

No one has been bashing Samsung for having removable batteries or SD card slots. What people have been bashing is the resultant nasty feeling back panels that Samsung used and giving phones pitiful storage thats already half full out of the box.

Ive never understood the touchwiz hate. Its looks alright to me for the most part, and you can cover a lot of it up anyway.

I don't really have a hate for TouchWiz either. I think it works pretty well. It probably could be lightened up a bit though.

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I re-opened this app in AC app where you see a normal top 10 in contrary to webpage as slideshow. Slideshow articles should be banned by everyone so websites stop using them. Articles in slideshow format are morally criminal.

Concerning the G3. In my opinion it blows all other flagships out of the water. Glad there is a new option besides Samsung for device with removable accu and external sd. And here in NL cheaper than all other flagships excluding about to happen consumer fail 1+ and midrang N5 with its pour battery life.

After having bought in past SGS1, SGS3 (with crappy Equinos soc) and SGS4 I am allowed to say Samsung is terrible. Because of their crappy firmware mainly

When this phone has unlockable bootloader I'll buy next week.

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Why doesn't LG have stylus built in like SG Note? I really like the idea of stylus on bigger phones and Samsung is the only one that offers it? Is it a patent thing?

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Most of the Note users never use the stylus. It's a novelty that wears off quickly. I'm glad they don't have it on the G3.

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Actually, I'm an implusive note taker, or that guy who always have to carry a piece of paper with list of things to do (I know, it's problem, which I'm trying to deal with in steps). I can use ColorNote like app to type it in, but having a stylus and notepad just seems easier. Anyway, I have Moto X and my next phone is likely Note 3 or 4 for this exact reason. I tried finding a nice stylus for Moto X but all they have is this clunky eraser-head-like-thingy that doesn't work too well.

I love my Note 3, but wait and see if the Note 4 has YOUM before you buy one.

As far as the note taking thing, yeah it is very handy. I have a huge amount of notes scribbled all over my note 3. Everything from meeting notes, to phone numbers, to grocery lists....once you get in the habit of doing it , it is tough to stop..

Yup, I had a Note 2 and Note 3 and never used it. The most I did with it was take it out to show my friends what it could do lol.

I think the lack of USB 3.0 is a mistake although it's the only mistake LG made, at least for me. The G3 looks fantastic, I don't even mind the UI which I thought was terrible on the G2. The choice to leave out either USB 3.0 or some other kind of fast charging on a phone pushing that many pixels on such a big screen is a mistake though.

I hope there is developer support for the G3 because I'm still a serial flasher and I want this phone. I don't see anything else on the horizon that appeals to me as much as this phone. The Note 4 will be too big if it follows the Note 3's size. I love the Note series but they're just too big. I still have a Note 2 that I play with on weekends.

I am just asking, the note 3, and supposedly the note 4, is only .2" bigger. is it really that big a jump?

Stop the click through stories!!! It ruins the content!! I only made it to number 4 before I gave up. Just write it like a normal page and a normal list!

I can't speak to the any of the author's other articles, but the writing of this one is very poor. Please consider taking it up a notch such that it doesn't read like a sales pitch.

This phone just looks so sweet! The things I value most atop my wish list are all here (battery life/removable battery, total storage, camera quality, etc.). I have a GPad 8.3 and don't mind the overlay.

Ultimately, that screen is just too big.

"Other benefit is that the buttons are where your fingers tend to rest on the back of the phone. So you don't have to reach up or adjust your grip to turn it on"

Huh? I've never, ever, held any phone so my fingers are on the back of the phone. Not from the days of permanently wired phones from the phone company, and not now. My thumb and fingers are on the sides of the phone when I hold it, and trying to hold it so any finger is where the power button on the G2 / G3 phone is located is uncomfortable as hell.

I may be the only one who feels like this but I hope this article is not a trend that will continue on Android Central. I personally hate it when companies like BuzzFeed make a list based article that I have to go to another page just to read 3 lines of content. I get it, the more I load the pages, the more ads that hit me, and a larger chance of me clicking those ads and making money for you. I get it, but no, please god no.

Does it also have a real FM radio, like the HTC One? (the type that uses your earphones as an antennna and that doesn't stream through wifi or your phone's data plan)

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Awesome device! Only missing thing is water resistance! I have a Sony Z2! Now cant imagine having a phone that's not water proof!

I thought so too... I have the z1s. However when I use it in the water, pool river etc, condensation builds up in the camera and proximity sensor, making both inoperable. The proximity sensor never worked again. Meh.

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I have been using Samsung for a couple of years; I started with the s3 when it came out, and the following year upgraded to the s4. After I got the s4 and brought it home I was I was a little disappointed because frankly there was not enough difference between the two to justify the $650 investment, so you can imagine this year I was reluctant and did not get the s5 for fear of feeling the same way. Aside from the finger print scanner, the heart rate monitor, and the water proof features the phone is still the same.
But the new LG G3 has caught my eye!
The new QHD 2560x1400 display is interesting, and the 3GB ram varient sounds really interesting. I was just going to wait and jump from the S4 to the S6, but If the LG G3 with 3GB ram varient will be available here in the US I might just switch to the LG G3.
Thats one of the the things that I was dissatisfied with regarding the S4 and S5 not enough ram.

With this phone LG will really get in the competition... They sure will gain some grounds at the expense of someone ( Samsung, htc, etc)

Even though the specs are rather close to the g2 this phone just seems like an absolute beast with the new laser and not to mention that screen. What I'm wondering is how the UI is? Of anyone could shed some light on that. I've seen reviews of it but would like to get opinions about it compared to TouchWiz or Sense

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