LG G3 Cat 6

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.

28mobileOur 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).

Video walkthrough

LG G3 Cat. 6 hardware

LG G3 Cat 6

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.)

 

Reader comments

LG G3 Cat. 6 (Snapdragon 805) review

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Another confirmation of the Galaxy Note 4 Snapdragon 805 processor clocked at 2.7 Ghz with 4gb of ram.

It's pretty much plain and simple nothing beats Samsung or the Galaxy Note products period they are Android nothing else matters.

From my Galaxy Note 3 on T-Mobile via Android Central App

Are we sure that this isn't some sort of bot set up to post troll messages on all non-Samsung related articles?

Samsung really needs to find a better plant for their social campaigns. At least put a bit of effort into your job, Richard!

Otherwise I'll take it instead ;)

Posted via Android Central App

+1
If not, then some serious diagnosis. Doctor approved to vent out :)

Posted via the Android Central App on VZW Moto X

Your wrong he does it for free lol cause Samsung defenitly wouldn't want to be associated with him. In fact I'm surprised Samsung hasn't paid him a fee to stop promoting them .

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You guys are such idiots for still falling for Richard genius comments. Just embrace how cool he is every time he trolls all of you. ALL HAIL RICHARD

Exactly, it's someone,, not the real Yarrell, who is getting a kick out of yanking the chain of the foolish and unfamiliar who fall for it just to get the reaction.

The real Yarrell who has not posted in these forums for about 5 months is smarter, more articulate, consistent, and cogent with his current beliefs and pronouncements.

Everything beats Samsung. The Tab S is the laggiest tablet I have ever owned. Samsung is the destroyer of Android, no matter how powerful their hardware is.

I'd be shocked if it didn't. The last couple years Samsung has used the Note series as the spec monster while the Galaxy S phones have had more moderate specs.

Posted via Android Central App on my daily driver, the Droid MAX

Thanks for the plug for 28-mobile! I didn't know they existed, but their pieces are pretty reasonable, my next phone could well be from them :)

Posted via Android Central App

What the benchmarks tell me is that there is performance to be had by disabling bloat and work on a little tuning.
My G3 just turned in a Metal score of 1596 and an Antutu score of 35867.

People won't realize that the gain between the 801 and 805 is in large part due to the potentially faster clock speed. Getting rid of crap that runs in the background could get to the same performance numbers or better (my case) than the 805 variant of the G3.

^This. Out of the box, the G3 is a lagfest, especially if you have a carrier variant. But if you root and uninstall all of the carrier bloat and the LG bloat that you won't be using, the phone becomes incredibly fast. There are also a few modifications that can be made with the FPS and thermal throttling that make a difference. After making all of those changes in what probably took less than a half an hour, this is the fastest phone I've ever owned and I've used the M8 and S5 for a period of time in the past few months. I probably couldn't be happier with this phone and the 805 processors in the upcoming devices aren't really swaying me at all.

Posted via the Android Central App

Yes, most likely. The imported GPU will most likely play a bigger roll in the phone operating smoothly than a slightly faster CPU.

Also I've said it before and I'll say it again, the fact that you have to root and debloat the phone to make it smooth should be unacceptable.

Posted via the Android Central App

I used to find it unacceptable, also. But I really wanted an Android device with a good camera and as of right now only Samsung, LG, and Sony are offering that. I tried out the S5 and wasn't a fan and the Z2 is hard to get ahold of, so that left me with the G3. Hopefully HTC gets better in the camera department with the M9 and I can return to their devices because they truly do offer a great out-of-the-box experience and the best software in the business (Sense truly does rival stock Android).

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The GPU will do nothing for the phone except in 3D GL games. I'll say it for the thousandth time, a 2D accelerated interface does not need even a tenth of the power of the current range of GPUs, let alone the next gen ones. Games, yes, but nothing else.

You realise that the GPU doesnt throttle past the minimum when working your way around the launcher or opening apps right? Try locking it to the minimum, it makes no difference at all.

Damn. Maybe ill have to root my g3 then. I dont use the default launcher because it sucks imo. Im using nova launcher which made it feel much faster but i could always use even more speed.

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Because it would cost them wayyyy too much money to supply US carriers and retailers with this when there is virtually no difference to your average consumer, and as far as I know the Cat6 capability is largely unusable in US.

This is why being first to market is not the best move, if LG had simply held up they could have put the right chip in their G3 out of the gate and now are screwing their customers both in S.Korea who bought early and now all other markets since users will NOT get the properly equipped model with the S805.

Glad I am waiting for the GN4 with all the right specs in the US.

I don't think it will really matter all that much. The 801 is a great processor and works well with all high end gaming, etc right now.

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Yeah hopefully the note 4 is as amazing as the note 3 was when it first came out. Hell the note 3 is still a great phone. The only thing is that the note 4 is going to cost a lot even with a two year upgrade. I got my g3 for $100 with a two year upgrade the day it became available in the US

Posted via the Android Central App

The SD 805 and Adreno 420 should have been in the U.S. variants. I'm sure people would have waited 30 days, or longer, to have this. Besides that, these performance updates need to start hitting the US....and soon.

Root and uninstall the bloat and it's like having a different phone. I don't know how the performance could be any better for me at this point. I get no lag or stuttering like I did with the phone out of the box.

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Jesus Christ, stop with this suggestion, people should not have to void the warranty on their brand new phone to make it run like it should have out of the box.

Posted via the Android Central App

Ahem. Rooting only voids warranty if caught. If you don't have to unlock a bootloader which states it's been re locked once you unroot the device you're fine.

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^This. Although the AT&T G3's bootloader cannot be unlocked, I honestly haven't had a reason to want to unlock it yet. Unrooting is ridiculously simple, as is going back to complete stock. So "regaining" my warranty isn't an issue at all and I have this device set up exactly like I want it.

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It still doesn't matter. I should not have to root to get the performance it should have out of the box. Period.

Cool. I choose Android devices for a reason. Part of that reason is being able to root. I've never had a device that I don't want to modify in some way.

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Chill. I'm not going to reach through your screen and root your phone. But it's definitely an option to make a "pretty good" phone into the best phone out there (in my opinion).

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I agree, would have been my next phone if this was what we got. Just doesn't seem like a huge upgrade from my G2 with the 801. I guess I'm also not sold on the 5.5" screen either.

Posted via Android Central App w/G2

Because basically all the top companies are stationed in Asia (Samsung, LG, Sony, etc.) So they get the better stuff and they get it earlier than we do.

Posted via the Android Central App

Why do the Koreans refuse to send America their best? Maybe we don't have Cat 6 LTE, but we can still make use of the faster processor and GPU. I'd buy this or the S5 LTE if they were available here.

The other question, of course, is why do US carriers suck so bad?

Hmmm well #1 like you said, cat 6 is not really available in the US and #2 LG and samsung reserve SD805 for Gpro and GN series.

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In fairness, the U.S. Is a far bigger country than South Korea. A lot more area to cover.

Also, a huge percentage of South Korea's population lives in just one city - Seoul - making it easier for carriers there to scale up.

Posted via Android Central App

I think our carriers want the cheapest parts as possible so as to increase the markup. That's what I think.

What LG should have put out in the first place with the intial release and all bands. No matter, in Canada the G3 just came out August 1st with the 801. At this point I'll wait for September and what the Note 4 has to offer.

Exactly. It's ridiculous that the OG G3 runs as poorly as it does then they release a faster version of the same phone that fixes most of the issues. Look at the comments here though, Android users apparently have a high threshold for a phone running like crap.

Posted via the Android Central App

You seem upset dude. As stated in the article the difference isn't that big and unless you have a super keen eye you probably won't notice.

Posted via Android Central App

It seems only the crappy US carrier ruined G3s run bad, my D855 runs beautifully, not even a little bit of lag.

It's a interesting variant of a nice phone. I agree they should offer it here in the USA and they could always utilize the pop up antenna for better cell reception if they wanted to. It would be a great feature to promote. I've always wondered why the manufacturers dropped doing this. It's not like we have perfect ocean to ocean coverage.

Posted via Android Central App on my HTC M8

it seems to be a habit of both LG and Samsung to release
a new phone in the US/EU with somewhat outdated processor,
then wait two months to release the exact same phone with the
latest processor in Korea.

That market is the only one that can take advantage of the LTE-A. Wait a few years until we have it widespread. Then there would be no excuse for it.

I hear ya but fortunately 5G is not even in the real planning stages yet, but expect to hear the term since LTE, WIMAX HSPA and whatever else really isn't 4G it is really 3G+

Umm the G2 I believe was the first phone released with the 800, when Samsung and HTC went with the 600 last year.

Posted via Android Central App w/G2

it is not the response to touch that needs improvement, it is the implementation of that response that lags behind on some devices.

I wish they'd delayed the G3 launch and used the snapdragon 805 originally for sale in Europe. It'd sure be faster and smoother powering that QHD display.

Posted via Android Central App

There are plenty of devices (mostly tablets) that have QHD displays with 800 or 801 processors running with no problem. The display isn't what makes the G3 lag. It's the bloat, which can be fixed.

Posted via the Android Central App

Am I the only one who notice this "The G6 Cat. 6 is powered by" in the second paragraph?
Shouldn't it be G3 Cat.6?

Posted via Android Central App

Great review Alex. Thanks. Really wish this was available here in the US.

Posted via Android Central App w/G2

My best friends in Korea right now. I should totally have him snag me one of these.

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Why do we have to be broke to get the latest version processors lg g3 could have been released with 805 or at least avaliable in the uk and us.

Posted via Android Central App

Nice to see lg doing a Samsung and releasing one phone then a couple weeks later giving it a spec bump. Good way to piss your loyal fans off!

Posted via Android Central App

You should not need to root. But with the carrier bloat you may need to.
The first thing is to go into the application manager and disable all the crap you can.
That will speed up the phone significantly.
Also get rid of most of the widgets, they slow down the phone. GPU won't matter because you use it for 3D. You need to go into developer settings to use the GPU for 2D rendering. So unless your 3D gaming is suffering the GPU doesn't matter.

Depending on what is running an 801 vs 805 discussion is moot. The performance difference is largely due to better pipelining so they can run it faster vs architectural changes that really change performance.

I can get my phone to benchmark ~12% faster than that 805 by disabling crapware/bloatware.
The rule is: No matter how fast a hardware guy makes a processor, some software guy will make it slow. 8-)

BTW - I'm a hardware guy.

A 64 bit processor, emulating in 32 bit, as soon as Android L 64 bit gets released and LG passes it on to the users, they'll have a 64 bit OS, 64 bit core apps, QHD screen, 4K recording, 4K output, envy, even with a Nex 5 and 10.

Damit I'm wrong, 805 is 32 bit, it's the Exynos in the Note 4 that's 64 bit, but one version is 805, so hence the confusion. Sorry.

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There must be somehing wrond with your regular G3. These are my results:
Antutu 34.300 pts
GFXBench Manhattan 470
GFXBench T-Rex 1.155

Higher scores than your S805 model, and thats the International Version D855 3GB/32GB running S801.