All eyes will be on Apple this fall when it likely announces the iPhone 6. But, after spending more than a week testing out the new LG G3 phone, it’s clear to me that Apple has its work cut out for it. I’m sure the iPhone will be quite impressive, but so is the new G3. Like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One, LGs new G3 takes its place at the high-end of the Android smartphone market. I’m sure that Apple will significantly outsell LG but, depending on what Apple comes up with, there may be plenty of buyers who prefer the new G3.
Buttons on back and excellent screen
I was a bit annoyed after unpacking the phone because I had to look at the start-up guide to figure out how to turn it on. But, I like the fact that the power button and volume controls are at the back and are a lot larger than typical phone controls. Once I did get the phone turned on, I noticed the excellent screen (5.5″ Quad HD (2560 X 1440). To be honest, I can live with just about any smartphone screen resolution but — as long as you’re staring at it — it may as well be crisp and clear with eye-pleasing color and this one does all of that. I do have one minor nitpick. Even with the brightness turned all the way up, I find the white background on text screens to be a little yellowish, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One, but it’s still very readable and the colors and contrast are otherwise superb.
The most impressive feature of the new phone is its camera. It’s hard to know whether the laser focus is a real boon or mainly a gimmick but the overall image quality of this 13 megapixel camera is quite good. The infrared beam is used to focus on your subject.
Like Samsung and most other Android phone makers, LG just couldn’t resist some modifications to the Android user interface but they resisted gong too far. There isn’t a lot of software bloat and the software controls are simple and easy to figure out. Personally, I prefer the “pure Google” interface on the Nexus 5, but I can easily live with LG’s minor modifications. That’s more than I can say for Samsung, which likes to make as many changes to Android as it can get away with. One thing I will say about Apple’s single company approach to iOS and its own devices is that all up-to-date iPhones are identical to each other and to iPad with the same OS version.
One cool feature is the ability to view two apps at once via split screen.
I have to knock the knock code
The G3 has what LG calls a “knock code” for unlocking your phone but I wound up turning it off after being locked out of my phone for awhile. I just found it awkward to use. I prefer an old-fashioned PIN.
I wouldn’t go as far as fellow Forbes contributor Ian Morris who called the G3 “the perfect smartphone.” Nobody’s perfect, and that goes for phones as well as people. But it’s quite good and helps set some pretty high standards and — I hope — Apple’s iPhone 6 will meet and beat.