We take a look at LG's supercharged, Korea-only G3, powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 805 processor
The LG G3 isn't old news just yet. We've recently reflected on our first couple of months with the phone, and in many countries it's only just making its way out onto the market. But the march of technological progress continues, not least in LG's home country of South Korea, where arch-rival Samsung already has its own 2K-toting, Snapdragon 805-powered version of the Galaxy S5.
LG's answer to the GS5 Broadband LTE-A is the G3 Cat. 6, a turbo-charged version of the G3 with support for Korea's super-fast LTE Category 6 networks — but perhaps more importantly, an upgraded CPU and GPU too. The G3 Cat. 6 is powered by a 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 processor, paired with Qualcomm's latest Adreno 420 GPU, a step up from the Snapdragon 801-plus-Adreno 330 of the original G3.
The G3 Cat. 6 is a Korea-only product, and LG tells us there are no plans to launch this version internationally. (Though it is available to import.) But that's not going to stop us tearing into the new G3's hardware and seeing how it measures up to the original. Read on to find out more.
About this review
We're publishing this review after a week with the SKT version of the LG G3 Cat. 6 — LG-F460S — running software version 10F. While this G3 isn't properly tuned for European networks, it does support a bevy of LTE bands including Band 3 (1800MHz), the main band used by EE in the UK.
Our review unit was provided by 28mobile.com, a Hong Kong-based, Swedish-owned smartphone importer. If you're interested in picking up an LG G3 Cat. 6 of your own, 28mobile ships worldwide and offers a 28-day money-back guarantee. Prices start at A$885 (US$825).
LG G3 Cat. 6 hardware
To the untrained eye, both the LG G3 Cat. 6 and the regular G3 are almost indistinguishable — externally, and especially when viewed from the front, they're pretty much the same phone. The front is dominated by that gigantic 5.5-inch, 2560x1440 display, the back furnished in plastic with a metallic finish. More or less everything we said in our original LG G3 review holds true here too — the G3 Cat. 6 is about as comfortable as it's possible to make a 5.5-inch smartphone — and the back, while decidedly plasticky, doesn't attract fingerprints the way some older Samsung phones do.
This thing still looks and feels like a G3.
There are some subtle hardware tweaks to note, though. Being a Korean G3, you get the nifty extendable TV antenna that protrudes from the top of the device — though as before, the preloaded TV app doesn't do anything outside of Korea. And things are arranged differently behind the battery door, too. The microSD and microSIM slots now live on either side of the rear buttons, and a notch at the top of the SIM slot makes it easier to remove your SIM card without having to wiggle it free. The gold contacts for NFC and wireless charging have moved around too, so accessories designed for the vanilla G3 likely won't fit the Cat. 6 version.
One thing that hasn't changed is the battery — the G3 Cat. 6 uses the same 3,000mAh unit as the regular G3, and the batteries are interchangeable with the same model number: BL-53YH.
In fact, the Cat. 6, like many Korean smartphones, comes packaged with an extra battery and an external charger (BC-4300). (And usefully, the the charging dock also serves as a portable stand for the phone.)