Sprint LG G3

One of the best options on any carrier comes to Sprint and continues to impress

LG pretty undeniably has a hit on its hands with the G3 in a way that it never could have imagined with the G2 and original Optimus G. The LG G3 is mentioned in the same breath as the Galaxy S5, HTC One and any other phone you can think of β€” and thankfully, this time around the U.S. carriers haven't done a whole lot to change that when the device hit their networks.

Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint all carry the LG G3 at this point, and to the delight of us all the phone is nearly identical on each. There are subtle differences, of course, and that's why we see value in taking a look at devices from each carrier to compare and contrast. The LG G3 on Sprint is, well, an LG G3 running on the Sprint network β€” and that's a good thing. Read along and see the fine differences between this and other models.

LG G3 Review | AT&T LG G3 Hands-on | LG G3 forums | LG G3 specs

It's gooooooold

Sprint LG G3

For those who have an eye for the finer (or uglier, I suppose) things in life, you'll be pleased to know that Sprint has locked down the exclusivity on the "shine gold" color of the LG G3 here in the states. Thankfully the gold isn't as over-the-top and pretentious as you may think, either. If you catch it in the right light it'll look very gold, but in most cases it just looks like a slightly off-silver color. The band of faux metal plastic around the perimeter of the phone is indeed silver, as are the speaker and earpiece, giving it a bit of contrast.

If you're not so into the flashy color option, you can also choose to go with "metallic black" on Sprint as well... but what fun is that? There's no white option like you'll find on AT&T and Verizon, though.

Beyond the color, this phone is physically identical to those found on other carriers. Sprint hasn't even gone so far as to put its logo anywhere on the phone. On the inside, this is the same version of the phone elsewhere β€” Snapdragon 801 processor at 2.5GHz, 32GB of storage, 3GB of RAM. It does lack wireless charging of any sort, though β€” you'll have to figure out how to get a third-party back with Qi charging for this one.

Sprint network

LG G3 on Sprint

The LG G3 naturally supports Sprint's Spark LTE service, which provides theoretically faster speeds in markets which the appropriate switches have been flipped to enable it. I'm happy to report that Sprint has dramatically expanded its LTE footprint (coming online officially a handful of weeks ago) in the greater Seattle area since I last had a Sprint phone in for review. Places that used to be primarily 3G are now covered in LTE.

LTE speeds from Sprint are best comparable to HSPA+ speeds I get from both T-Mobile and AT&T here in Seattle, with both download and upload speeds between 5 and 10mbps. I'd very rarely see 15mbps on the download side, but never higher than 10mbps on upload. When I was in less-populated areas I could see downloads near the 20mbps mark in some cases, though the real speed increases are seen in markets with Band 41 available β€” a requirement for good Sprint LTE speeds β€” like Tacoma (south of Seattle) where I could get north of 40mbps.

Sadly, I still drop down to 3G far more often than I'd like, particularly because the speed delta between 3G and LTE on Sprint is so dramatic. You'll go from the healthy 10mbps download speeds to less than 1mbps, and with ping times in the triple digits. It's just too slow to do things we like to do on modern phones like stream music, download apps, use mobile hotspot, etc. And until Sprint has dramatically expanded its LTE network so that you rarely see that spinning 3G indicator in the status bar, I really won't be happy with this network. And sadly at the rate it's going, that may take a very, very long time.

And while we're talking about network indicators, I'm going to take a moment to remind Sprint how completely incomprehensibly terrible its 3G and LTE status bar icons are. I don't need a gigantic 3G icon in the status bar, nor do I need a spinning circle around that 3G icon when transferring data on your slow-as-molasses EVDO network β€” and I especially don't need a twirling ninja star icon on my phone when I'm connected to LTE. Stop it, Sprint.

Battery life

Sprint LG G3 battery life

That inconsistent network performance also seemed to hit my battery life as well. Days where I spent a large amount of time on 3G saw my battery hit the cellar before I was ready to sleep, while days where I often had strong LTE left me with roughly 25 percent at the end of the day. That's simply a function of having to keep the phone awake and connected for longer periods to transfer the same amount of data, as well as keeping the screen on waiting for tasks to finish β€” but the end result is worse battery life on 3G. Nothing new, but it also isn't any less frustrating when you know what's causing it.

Wifi Calling

Sprint LG G3 Wifi Calling setting

Sprint includes Wifi Calling on the LG G3, which will be familiar to anyone who has used a branded T-Mobile phone in the past few years but will be something new if you're coming from Verizon or AT&T. Sprint's implementation is pretty simple. It requires you to connect to a Wifi network, turn the setting on, then verify that you want to call over that network. You'll also have to provide an address for where that network is located for 911 emergency call purposes.

Once you've turned on Wifi Calling for a given network, you'll automatically make calls on that network when you're connected. Calls on Wifi are good, as you'd expect, assuming your phone has a good connection to a Wifi network with acceptable speeds.

When at home, Wifi Calling is basically protection against having low quality voice calls in situations where you have bad signal strength but instead have a Wifi connection, but going forward Sprint will also enable Wifi calling for use outside of the states. That's a pretty huge feature for those traveling abroad who don't want to bother with using another VOIP service.

Software and Sprint bloat

Sprint Zone on the LG G3

Sprint has decided to pre-install a considerable amount of apps and cruft on the phone, but luckily for everyone a majority of it is actually completely uninstallable. Sprint installs the following applications on its G3:

  • 1Weather
  • Amazon
  • BaconReader
  • Box
  • eBay
  • Eureka Offers
  • Lookout Security
  • Lumen Toolbar
  • Messaging+
  • Nascar Mobile 2014
  • NBA Game Time
  • NextRadio
  • Scout
  • Spotify
  • Sprint Family Wall
  • Sprint ID
  • Sprint Money Express
  • Sprint Music Plus
  • Sprint TV & Movies
  • Sprint Worldwide
  • Sprint Zone
  • ThinkFree Viewer

That's 22 apps by our count, not counting useful tools like Wifi Calling and Sprint Voicemail. It's really unacceptable to deal with that many apps, but only slightly more palatable when you consider that 16 of those 22 can be uninstalled completely. You can disable three (Lookout, Box and Lumen Toolbar) of the last six, but three are left (Sprint Zone, SprintID and ThinkFree Viewer) for you to look at whether you want them or not.

Beyond the bloat, everything is just fine here β€” the one exception being that Sprint doesn't let you modify what sliders are available in the notification shade. You can't remove the default volume slider, nor can you add a brightness slider.

Performance seems to be on par with other LG G3s based on what we here at AC have found in our time with units from various carriers and regions, though I found a notable improvement in performance with moving the phone over to the ART runtime from Dalvik. Unlike some other people I haven't had any crashes, reboots or app stability issues, either. I still notice that the G3 just isn't as fast as something like the HTC One M8, but that's going to be the case no matter your carrier choice.

Bottom line

Sprint LG G3

The great thing I have to report here is that if your carrier of choice is Sprint, you won't have to consider leaving for another carrier to get a better experience on the LG G3. What you're getting here is just what you'd get from those other guys, with the exception of a couple of very minor software differences. Of course you'll only have the option of gold or black colors, but for many people that's not going to be an issue.

You're also likely to get the same pile of bloat and terrible spinning LTE status bar icon from any other modern phone on Sprint, so there's really nothing big to note there, either.

That all being said, there's really no value proposition here that should have people running toward the Sprint LG G3 over another carrier's. You need to choose the network that offers the right plans that you want and performance where you live, then choose the phone. You shouldn't go to Sprint just to get the gold LG G3, but if Sprint is your carrier it's probably one of the best phones available for you today.

 

Reader comments

Hands-on with the Sprint LG G3

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You are lying. No it does NOT. It is PHYSICALLY impossible do to the chipset not supporting SVDLTE. It uses eCSFRB & thus, requires VoLTE for Voice/Data & they are a year out on that,

Post a screenshot of it then, because that would be the FIRST time EVER and they don't even have the equipment installed for it yet.

I think simultaneous voice and LTE is gone for good until we actually get VoLTE, it was feasible on older phones because of the way discrete radios were arranged but that was also less efficient and thus it's gone in the process of consolidation. If that's a big concern and you can't manage with Wi-Fi, then a GSM carrier is probably your best bet until voice moves to LTE entirely.

I don't actually know anyone else that uses Sprint that I could test with...

But regular call quality when you have good service was notably clear and crisp. Like I haven't heard calls that clear in a long time.

That's too bad. I'm really hoping to see more of a footprint for that service. I get it fairly often down here in Southern California when I'm calling other sprint people. Actually, the first time I heard it it freaked me out because I was calling my wife and when she answered and started talking it sounded like she was right next to me.

Posted via Android Central App

HD Voice on Sprint is apparently nationwide, but the limitation is that you have to be calling another Sprint customer with an HD Voice capable handset. It'll sadly be limited like that for a long time until all phone calls go higher bandwidth.

That's a lot of bloatware from Sprint. When I bought my S3 I believe the only bloatware they added was QuickOffice, SprintZone, Flipboard, Dropbox and of course Google's suite of bloatware.

Like any carrier your speed results will vary by area. I get LTE almost everywhere now and it averages about 8-10Mbps with the occasional 50Mbps when I hit a Spark area.

No Spark in Puerto Rico yet, but my results are consistently better than Andrew's too and closer to yours (only my peaks are more like 25-35mbps). PR is absolutely blanketed in LTE tho, only time I see drops to 3G are at home (my house is basically in a hole so I'm glad I get LTE at all) and really large office buildings where the high frequency LTE bands don't penetrate well (which Spark would fix).

Even 3G has gotten much better, tho that may be a result of network seeing a much lower load here... My speeds aren't consistently better than what I see from AT&T (which nearly every friend/family member is on) but they trade blows, my ping is consistently lower for some reason tho (usually under 75 ms whereas they're often over 100).

Seems Sprint's upgrades are happening considerably faster in some locations, as is often the case. Those icons tho, good God, they're worse than AT&T's carrier badge on the notification area... First thing I'd mod after rooting if I didn't have a Nexus 5. That stuff is ghastly, sad to see they've gone back to so much bloat too, I remember my EVO LTE coming with only a handful of pre installed apps.

The two biggest gripes I keep hearing about is lag (due to overheating I guess) and the AUX cable (not recognizing certain aux cables in cars and loud POP noises in between tracks).

Gotta love Sprint's awesome network! I for one do not miss it here in VT. Att LTE seems to just work. So I like using my data and phone again. Granted I know its just my story and not everyone else. :)

Exact same situation. My pocketbook hurts more each month, but it just works. All the time.

Posted via Android Central App

Says the idiot who doesn't use it, and has no idea what he's talking about. How much will 20 Gig of data cost you on your network? It's all included on Sprint.

You assume a lot, don't you? I'm a former customer finally released from contract jail. Good luck trying to get 20gb at 100kb or less speeds.
Posted via Android Central App

+1

I do not think I hit 20GB last month because I was in a cruddy basement in NJ (kinda redundant) but I regularly hit high teens in data usage.

My Airave for voice and WiFi for data kicks butt up here in East Bumfark.

Posted from my LG LS970 using my thumb

I am on T-Mobile and average about 100 GB a month as of late ... sometimes less ... sometimes more..

Β 

The peak I hit was 1 TB .. Trying to see if there was a invisible throttle limit on the network ... there wasn't :).

As a more helpful comment, NFC and Qi charging working great with gold back cover from European version bought on eBay. Compatible with Sprint...

Posted via Android Central App

Can you provide a link to the gold back with Qi Charging? Or was that a one off? How much did you pay for it? Ticked me off no end that Sprint and LG combined to remove it and the headphones. What did they save? $20?

Okay, bad memory. I got the gold back from etradesupply.com and works great. Ordered black one from ebay when I found it, but it hasn't come yet.

Posted via Android Central App

I don't doubt the 3G speeds you're getting, but here in the Washington DC suburbs 3G is much faster than that.

I'm also surprised you didn't mention that with Sprint's Spark-enabled phones, you can't do simultaneous voice and data. At least that's true with their other Spark enabled devices. I'm seriously considering leaving Sprint just for that reason.

I just moved to NoVa, a few months ago, the lack of 4g in the nation's richest County still shocks me. My signal fluctuates constantly here, between strong 3g, nothing, and roaming while standing in the same spot

Barely posted from the shittiest device I've ever owned Samsung Lag-axy S3

Lived right near San Francisco and now in a neighboring city to Sacramento (the fastest growing city in the US) and Sprint is beyond horrible. I've had them since 4G was available and rarely seen 3G let alone 4G. Just switched to AT&T and have full 4G almost all the time.

Voice and Data is possible. I'm actually responding to this article while on the phone with my mom... Yes I said mom lol

Posted via Android Central App

Thanks for the great review.
No LTE problems in the ATL. Band 26 everywhere.
Sprint's footprint is getting bigger everyday. They will be a force once the merge with T-Mo is complete.

Mav.

Sent from the future on my Sprint LG G3.

Southwest Houston using band 41 Spark on my G2 since March.

Seeing peak speeds of about 56Mbps in a congested shopping center at 6:00 in the evening, regularly.

My GS3 gets about 25Mbps in the same spot at about the same time.

Posted from my "KNOX-FREE" 4.3 Sprint GS3 Maxx...!!! (PREPAID)

I get great speeds....including Spark....where I live. Sure, there are places it's lacking but so does my co-workers VZW Note 3. At work, I get LTE. He gets nothing. NOTHING. Not even enough to make a call. It all depends where you live, work, and play and what carrier suits your needs. Sprint suits mine.

But as a note....I'm sick and tired of tards, that bash Sprint for lacking coverage in their area. So let me say this.....VZW and T-MO SUCK ASS IN MY AREA!! Only AT&T holds a candle to Sprint here.

Sprint is a joke their network is horrible T-Mobile is crushing them, how do you have one of the best phones out right now but it runs so slow

Posted via Android Central App

Wow look at that big honkin branding in the status bar....oh wait, that's right, it's on Sprint, I thought they just got "G3" backwards....

Just out of curiosity, does's Sprint's implementation of WiFi calling allow calls to come IN over WiFi as well as making outgoing calls?

Got my final bill from Sprint today.
They're only charging me $150 cancelation fee per line.
Not bad even if T-Mobile wasn't picking up the tab on that.

Posted via Android Central App

Should have went non contract Framily a month before you canceled.

Posted via the LG G2 Android Central App

If you have a contract, and switch to Framily, the contract is still there. Otherwise everyone would start service and get a discounted device, then switch to Framily and cancel.

If you're getting bad reception all you have to do is call in and tell sprint. They track areas that have bad reception. If you get enough calls in one area sprint will focus on that area more.

Posted via Android Central App

Hit 75+ mbps here in baltimore multiple times. And had an 89mbps peak on sprint spark band 41 using my gold lg g3.

I've always liked Sprint's phone selection, and not putting logos on recent flagships is a nice bonus.

Posted via AC App on HTC One

HD voice surprisingly good, even with an iPhone. Drawback is Sprint LTE coverage. Flaccid compared to Verizon, at least in the Philly metro.

Posted via the Android Central App

Sprints bloat ware usually aren't installed unless you want to from Sprint zone, at least like you said it can be uninstalled unlike att & Verizon's. Hoping their network gets better in your area, I get average speeds of 50 to 60. NYC is almost complete spark covered at 80%, also NYC has the most Sprint towers towers so maybe there will be a speed up the build.