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2 years ago

LG G3 hands-on

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LG G3

LG's brand new Android flagship puts an enormous, insanely sharp display in the palm of your hand

It was only a matter of time. The implacable march of smartphone progress has brought us a handset with more pixels than most HDTVs. The LG G3, LG's much-leaked follow-up to last year's G2, was announced today at events in London, New York and San Francisco. It's a phone which pushes the boundaries of smartphone screen size and resolution, while building on other areas of the G2's hardware.

LG joins a high-end Android market overflowing with strong competitors from the likes of HTC, Sony and local rival Samsung, but the Korean manufacturer will be hoping the G3's stand-out feature — that ridiculously large, super-high-res display — will turn heads when the phone launches this summer.

So now that we have the G3 in our hands, does it shape up? Head past the break for hands-on video, photos and our first impressions.

Hands-On Video and Hardware Impressions

First up, that big, beautiful display. It's a 5.5-inch panel at a whopping 2560 x 1440 — just shy of 3.7 million pixels — in an area that's a surprisingly comfortable in-hand fit. The screen looks as gorgeous as you'd expect it to — with a whopping 538 pixels per inch, vivid colors and great viewing angles. LG has challenged the perception, based on comments by Steve Jobs back at the iPhone 4 launch, that anything over around 300 pixels per inch is wasted on the human eye. LG's head of smartphone planning, Dr. Ramchan Woo, cites differences between between the visibility of lines per inch and pixels per inch, saying that to get a true representation of 300 lines per inch — the maximum the eye can see — you need around double the pixels density.

The step from 1080p to QHD (that's "Quad HD," by the way, not to be confused with the other qHD) is perhaps less noticeable than the jump from 720 to 1080, but regardless, LG's got an extremely impressive display. And with a screen to body proportion of 76.4%, there's very little of the front face that's not taken up by the screen.

LG G3

Indeed, the G3's screen seems to benefit from its sheer size as much as its otherworldly resolution. For us, the most striking thing about the G3 was just how much screen we were able to hold, relatively comfortably, in one hand.

Needless to say, though, the G3 is a big phone, just as its predecessor was. It's as tall as the lofty Sony Xperia Z2 and a little bit wider, even with its almost nonexistent horizontal bezels. The curve of the back panel, however, makes for a comfortable fit, and LG's done some serious work making the phone more hand-friendly. The back panel, furnished in the company's custom "metallic skin" material is designed to improve grip and be almost impervious to fingerprints. The unique back panel design created by bonding a polycarbonate mold with a special film coating, and the in-hand feel is significantly better than LG's last flagship.

The new built-in keyboard app also allows you to shrink it down to a more comfortable size when one-handing the phone.

There are five colors available — Metallic Black, Silk White, Moon Violet, Burgundy Red and Shine Gold.

LG G3

Around the back is LG's signature rear button setup — one of the reasons this phone's bezels are so ridiculously small — consisting of a central power button sandwiched between volume keys. In our admittedly limited time with the phone we've found its buttons more pronounced and thus a little easier to press, but it's still a significant change of pace compared to most Android smartphones. And if you're not used to the way LG does buttons, it'll take a bit of getting used to.

On the inside, the G3 features a familiar hardware setup. There's a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor running the show. The version with the 16GB of storage comes with 2GB of RAM, while the 32GB version packs 3GB of RAM. LG says the software is optimized to run just fine with 2GB; the extra gigabyte on the more expensive version is gravy.

There's also a 3,000mAh removable battery, same as the G2 on paper, though as ever there's more to longevity than numbers. LG says it's worked hard to tweak the G3's hardware and software to ensure battery life doesn't suffer even with the super-high-res screen. Timings of the display driver and CPU have been optimized, the company says, to cut down on wasted energy. In some markets, the G3 will also offer wireless charging capabilities built into the phone.

LG G3

When it comes to imaging, LG continues to focus on optical image stabilization (OIS) as a point of differentiation. The G3 sports a 13-megapixel camera — an updated, improved sensor compared to the G2 — with upgraded OIS, dubbed "OIS+," and new laser-powered autofocus. The former should cut down on motion-blurred shots, and allow the shutter to remain open for longer in order to capture clearer images. The latter should help to speed up autofocus times, which LG says its cut down to 276ms compared to 300 or more on competing phones. The laser autofocus sends out infrared lasers in a cone pattern immediately after the camera app is loaded; the camera can fall back on the usual contrast-based detection. Photos from the G3 should also benefit from the Snapdragon 801's faster image signal processor compared to the older Snapdragon 800.

LG's also revamped its front-facing camera. The 2.1-megapixel front-facing shooter has been branded as a "selfie camera," and with larger pixels on the front-facing camera, paired with an f/2.0 aperture, the aim is that you'll get better-looking photos of yourself in low light situations, where most selfies are taken. Gesture-based controls have also found their way into the mix — first open your palm on screen, the make a fist, and the front camera will take a photo three seconds later.

LG G3

And software simplification is a big goal for LG's goal with the G3, as evidenced by the pared-back camera UI that doesn't clutter the screen with buttons.

The G2 was one of the better Android cameraphones of 2013, so our hopes are high for the G3.

LG G3 specs, gallery and closing thoughts

LG G3

LG's software experience has been significantly redesigned too. It's more angular, with what LG calls "mature" colors. It feels like the opposite of what we've seen, color-wise, from older LG devices, not to mention many Samsung products. With its toned-back, more geometric UI it feels like a more professional software experience than the G2. Subtle animation flourishes and use of mainly rectangular and circular widgets. Certain apps have also received their own signature colors, which is designed to give each their own individual style.

That's all running atop the latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat.

With the launch of a new flagship smartphone comes the inevitable wave of new accessories. The first LG's shown today is the Quick Circle case, similar to the old QuickWindow case, only now that window is — you guessed it — a circle. With the Quick Circle case fitted to your G3, you can access a wheel of app shortcut options, including the camera app, music, settings and fitness tracking. The principle is the same as the old rectangular setup (as well as Samsung's S-View and HTC's Dot View), but the circular layout adds a touch of style that was arguably missing before.

G2 owners will be right at home on the new LG G3. And while a simple spec-by-spec comparison might give the impression of only incremental upgrades outside of the display, the device itself tells a different story. In particular, LG's new UI strikes us as a dramatic improvement on the software of the G2, which was a common point of criticism for that device.

As we've seen from other devices of late, many smaller changes can add up to a device that's meaningfully improved as a whole. And we're looking forward to spending more time with the G3 to see what it's really about, besides that headline-grabbing display. Stay tuned.

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2 years ago

The LG G3 is official — 5.5-inch 538ppi display, metallic skin and 13MP OIS camera

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LG G3

And here it is, folks. The LG G3 — the latest in a line that began with the Optimus G (the "Optimus" name was retired with the G2, as you'll recall) and now continues with what you see here. Following some pretty extensive (but not all-inclusive) leaks, LG unveiled the G3 today in both London and New York with a huge level of hype.

The LG G3 is naturally a step forward in terms of specs and design from that of the G2, with a few neat features thrown in. We're looking at a 5.5-inch QHD (that's Quad HD, 2560 x 1440) display producing 538ppi, 3GB of RAM, 3000mAh battery, 16/32GB of storage and a 13MP OIS+ camera with a new "laser" focusing mode. On the design side, LG is claiming that the new arc design and metallic finish make the G3 easier to hold, even with the increased screen size.

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2 years ago

LG G3 specs

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LG's beastly G3 is finally official, and we've live in London to bring you full coverage of the phone's launch. But if it's just the specs you're after, you can head past the break and take a peek at the hardware inside LG's new flagship.

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2 years ago

Rosewood-backed Moto X now available via Moto Maker

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Motorola has added the rosewood finish to its Moto X customization options. This bumps out walnut from the list, but you've still got a wide range of regular color options in addition to the real wood backing.

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2 years ago

We're live in London with LG, 6 p.m. BST, 1 p.m. EDT

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LG G3 Liveblog

Join us as we get our first look at LG's latest and greatest from the main event in London

Today's a big day for LG with the launch of what we heavily expect to be the brand new G3. In total, 6 different events around the world are being thrown to usher in LG's latest and greatest, and we're live on location in London at the main shindig. Satellite events are being thrown in New York and San Francisco, with further events in Seoul, Singapore and Istanbul to follow tomorrow.

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2 years ago

Samsung rolling out Android 4.4.2 KitKat update to international Galaxy S4 Active

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A month after rolling out the update for AT&T's version of the Galaxy S4 Active, Samsung has announced that users of the international variant of the device (GT-I9295) will be able to make the switch to Android 4.4.2 KitKat.

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2 years ago

Lenovo's upcoming flagship leaked, sports a 6-inch QHD display

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If leaked images of an upcoming Lenovo handset are to be believed, the Chinese manufacturer is looking to introduce a device with a QHD display. Dubbed the Vibe Z2 Pro, the device features a metallic chassis and specs that can take on the likes of what Samsung, LG and HTC have to offer.

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2 years ago

LG G3 specs and features revealed in Dutch leak: lasers, circles, and UI

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The front of all three colors of the LG G3

There's a lot that's been leaked about the LG G3, but this one really takes the cake. It seems that somebody at LG Netherlands pushed the wrong button and accidentally published their full LG G3 product page. As of publishing time at least part of page was still surprisingly online, revealing the full specs and many of the new features we can expect to find in the LG G3. Our Dutch comrades were able to learn a bit more about the software that you'll find on the phone, so there's some new stuff you'll find after the break.

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2 years ago

We're answering your HTC One Mini 2 questions on the Android Central forums!

HTC One Mini 2

Join the Q&A on the AC forums!

So you've checked out our first impressions of the HTC One Mini 2, read today's full review and you've still got questions? Fear not, we've got the device in-hand, and we've taken to the Android Central forums to get a Q&A going. So whatever you need to know about the HTC One M8's little brother, we'll do our best to provide the answers you crave.

Join the discussion: HTC One Mini 2 Q&A - Android Central forums

Read more: HTC One Mini 2 review

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2 years ago

HTC One M8 'Ace' leak points to single camera, June 3 release

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A more affordable version of the HTC One M8 may be on the way, according to a leak on a Chinese website. The device is slated for a June 3 release and could well be the rumored HTC One "M8 Ace" we've been covering. We've previously looked at what its next Android smartphone would be and this cheaper HTC One M8 would bring the company in line with what competitors are offering.

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2 years ago

LG G3 leaks for Sprint with Spark LTE and minimal branding

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In case you were wondering if there was anything else left to leak about the LG G3, here's one more: what it might look like on Sprint. The latest renders from evleaks reveal that the phone will come in at least the dark brushed metallic "titanium" finish and golden brushed metallic finish on Sprint (similar to the launch colors of the HTC One M8.

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2 years ago

Samsung testing Android 4.4.3 on Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4, outlines 4.4.2 update timeline for other devices

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It looks like Samsung is already testing Android 4.4.3 on its current flagship, the Galaxy S5, and last year's Galaxy S4. Documents obtained by SamMobile reveal that the South Korean manufacturer is testing the as-yet unannounced Android update (which has a build number KTU70) on both the Snapdragon as well as the Exynos-powered variants of the Galaxy S5 in addition to the LTE-A variant of the Galaxy S4 (GT-I9506A).

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2 years ago

European HTC One M8 receives stability update

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The European HTC One M8 has started to receive its first major post-release software update — the second in total, following the launch-day update that added Extreme Power Saving mode. M8 handsets in parts of Europe are getting a 66MB update to firmware version 1.54.401.10, adding a variety of stability fixes. Here's the official changelog —

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2 years ago

Verizon LG G3 render continues the tradition of carrier branding to the extreme

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A Verizon Wireless variant of LG's oft-rumored upcoming LG G3 smartphone has now leaked shown brandishing the carrier's logos. The Verizon logos can be seen both on the front and the rear of the device in the latest leaked press photo for the LG G3 smartphone, continuing Verizon's tradition of branding devices to the extreme.

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2 years ago

HTC Desire 816 review

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HTC Desire 816

HTC's mid-range flagship packs a gigantic screen into a more affordable handset

If HTC is to stage a financial recovery, it'll need more than just a compelling high-end smartphone. So as the company seeks to navigate back into the black for more than a quarter at a time, it's pursuing two major growth markets with increasing vigor — the mid-range space in general, and China in particular. And the first handset to arrive under this new mid-range strategy is the Desire 816, the new head of the HTC Desire family.

It's a massive 5.5-inch phone that looks a little like a cross between an HTC One and an iPhone 5c, and it's a device aimed squarely at China, where it went on sale shortly after its Mobile World Congress debut. Even the name invokes the number eight's status as the luckiest number in Chinese culture — an eight, followed by eight doubled. It's no accident that this phone is very specifically branded as Desire eight-sixteen, not eight-one-six.

But clearly HTC thinks there's an appetite for a big-screened handset at a lower price point outside of Asia, as the Desire 816 will shortly be arriving on European shores, complete with support for local LTE networks. So how does it shape up? And how much of the premium user experience of the HTC One is intact in this self-styled "mid-range flagship?" Join us after the break to find out.

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