LG G3 – lasers, metallic skin and a screen resolution the same as an iMac

lg g3 officialFinally, after all the rumours, LG has just pulled the wrappers off its latest top-of-the-range smartphone, the G3.

As expected the LG G3 has a 5.5-inch screen with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, and sees the return of LG’s rear buttons.

After all the ‘leaks‘ there’s no real surprises on the spec sheet, but that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to be excited by the LG G3.

Just look at, the new smartphone is equipped by a new 2.5GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, a Laser Auto Focus for the camera, and selfie-orientated gesture controls.

What I was surprised to see was that it wasn’t made of metal… or plastic.

Apparently that curvy back is constructed from a hybrid “metallic skin” that offers the best of both worlds, being scratch-resistant with a premium finish, but without affecting wireless signals. That’s even more important as the G3 supports wireless charging.

Not being made of a solid slab of metal also gives the G3 the handy trick of having a removable rear. Yes, unlike its predecessor the G3 features a removable battery, so if you don’t trust a single 3000mAh power source to keep you going you can pack an extra.

That said, LG claims the phone will offer the same lengthy battery life as the G2, which through some manner of electrical wizardry manages to put all other flagship smartphones to shame. The removable back also gives you access to a microSD slot, allowing the 16GB of built-in storage to be expanded.

Having a swappable battery could be handy because. That screen!

lg g3The high-resolution screen is an attempt by LG to come even closer to an analogue, printed reading experience. It’s looking at the screen in terms of “lines per inch” rather than pixels per inch, a measurement used when creating glossy art books apparently. The G3’s 538 PPI is closer to the 300 lines per inch that the human eye can recognise, working against Apple’s Retina reasoning.

The G3’s 5.5-inch display sports a stonking 2560 x 1440 resolution – the same as you’d find on a 27-inch iMac – and, should you still be counting, a pixel density of 538ppi. No other mobile screen comes close to offering that level of detail.

But that screen resolution, at such a big screen size, is a potentially-massive battery drain so LG has, what it calls, “3A Optimisations”.

Depending on what you’re using the phone for it will adapt the power draw on the fly. Frame rate, CPU clock speed and the timing control of the LCD driver will each be adapted as required by the application in use, squeezing out as much from the G3’s large 3,000mAh removable battery as possible.

Yes, now is the time for lasers!

lg g3 camera laserAround the back sits a 13MP camera which employs an infrared Laser Auto Focus – something the company has repurposed from its vacuum cleaning robots believe it or not.

The G3’s snapper is equipped with OIS+ (a more advanced version of the G2’s optical image stabilisation system) and that all-new laser autofocus which will help you get quicker, more accurate autofocus in darker conditions. There’s a dual LED flash too.

How the autofocus works is that it sends out an invisible laser cone out to establish focus points. It also allows the focus to work far better in low-light situations, and by extension allows for faster image capture.

The front facing “Selfie Camera” uses larger pixels which allows for better low light performance not too dissimilar in principle to HTC’s UltraPixel technology. The fun thing about this camera though is that it makes use of gesture controls. Making a fist activates the selfie countdown timer.

The user interface has been stripped back and LG has opted for a flat UI. Thanks to this “less is more” approach the G3’s flatter, simpler interface which is draped over Android KitKat makes the new LG-made apps like Smart Clean, which urges you to delete software you don’t use, and Smart Notice (essentially LG’s take on Google Now), sound genuinely useful, and bloatware has been cut down so that a new 16GB G3 will have 12GB of free space (the G2 had only 10GB).

There’s also a new Smart Keyboard to cater for the larger screen size. Minimising the discrepancy between the keyboard and typed-text area, it offers customisable keyboard height, and allows you to swipe the space bar to correct a mistake. It also has a “Typing Focus” bar just above keys and below the full body of the text so you can see the word you are writing without constantly moving your eyes towards the top of the large screen – an otherwise-potential strain.

As well as an IR blaster for controlling home cinema gear, you’ve also got NFC and 4G connectivity onboard.

The LG G3 is quite a large phone at 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9mm and weighing 149g but the curved back should sit nicely in your hand.

You’ll have the choice of black, white, gold, violet and red finishes. Both 16GB and 32GB versions will be on offer, as well as two variants with either 2GB or 3GB of RAM. All can accept microSD cards up to 128GB.

Though pricing isn’t confirmed yet, LG’s reps state there isn’t a massive increase in the cost of the hardware over the G2’s internals. Whether that translates to a similar launch price come the G3’s in-store debut remains to be seen.

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