Even though it’s been rumored for what feels like ages, LG finally officially unveiled its flagship Android handset, the G3. Boasting a quad-HD display and an improved user interface, LG is poised to make a big leap with the G3. However, there are plenty of other sharks swimming in the same waters, as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 are poised to eat the G3’s lunch. We take a look at all three flagship Android handsets with a spec showdown.
HTC One M8
|Size||146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9mm||142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm||146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35mm|
|Screen||5.5-inch IPS LCD||5.1-inch Super AMOLED||5-inch Super LCD 3|
|Resolution||1440×2560||1080×1920 pixels||1080×1920 pixels|
|OS||Android 4.4.2 with GUI||Android 4.4.2 with TouchWiz UI||Android 4.4.2 with HTC Sense 6|
|Expandable Storage||Up to 128GB||Up to 128GB||Up to 128 GB|
|SD Card Slot||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Processor||2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801||2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801||2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, NFC, USB 2.0||Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, USB 3.0, IrLED, NFC||Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+, USB 2.0, NFC|
|Camera||Front 2.1MP, Rear 13MP||Front 2.1MP 720p HD, Rear 16MP 1080p HD||Front 5MP 1080p HD, Rear 5MP UltraPixel 1080p HD|
|Bluetooth||Yes, version 4.0||Yes, version 4.0||Yes, version 4.0|
|Battery||3000mAh, removable||2800mAh, removable||2600mAh, non-removable|
|Charger||Micro USB||USB 3.0||Micro USB|
|Marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Color Options||Black, white, gold, violet, red||Black, white, copper, blue||Silver, rose, gold, grey|
|Extra Features||Laser Auto Focus, Knock Code, Knock On,||Heart rate monitor, fingerprint scanner||BoomSound, BlinkFeed, Duo Camera|
|Price||N/A||$200 on-contract||$200 off contract|
|DT Review||4.5 out of 5||4.5 out of 5||4 out of 5|
|Availability||N/A||AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, US Cellular||AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile|
Design and performance
LG chose to equip the G3 with a scratch-resistant, polycarbonate metallic skin for a more premium look, but it’s still plastic. Depending on what side of the debate you’re on, that could either sway you to purchase the handset or ignore it completely. Likewise, Samsung stuck with plastic for the Galaxy S5. HTC, meanwhile, continues the design philosophy that started with the One M7 and iterates it further with the One M8. The M8 is 90 percent aluminum and looks/feels better than the other two.
When it comes to the user interface, LG, Samsung, and HTC all mark 2014 as the year of simplicity. All three companies have toned back their respective user interfaces, but at the end of the day, the recommendation seems to stay the same. The UI found on the G3 will appears to be as feature-rich as the one found on the Galaxy S5. If you don’t want as many features, the One M8 is nice, as is the Moto X and Nexus 5.
In terms of displays, however, we have an wide variety present. The Galaxy S5 utilizes a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. While the resolution of the One M8’s display is the same, it uses Super LCD 3 rather than Super AMOLED. Finally, the G3 ups the ante in a big way with a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 IPS Quad-HD display.
Things remain the same when it comes to the processing power of all three handsets. The G3, Galaxy S5, and One M8 all feature the latest and greatest from Snapdragon, the quad-core Qualcomm 801 processor, as well as 2GB of RAM. While the One M8 is clocked at a slightly lower speed than its peers, performance should remain similar across the board.
Samsung doesn’t tout the 16-megapixel camera found on the Galaxy S5 much nowadays, but HTC and LG do the complete opposite. The One M8’s claim to fame is the Duo Camera, a feature that enables depth of field in pictures taken with the handset’s 5-megapixel UltraPixel camera. While the feature can be approximated on the software level, because the Duo Camera is hardware-based, no other phone can truly emulate the effect. LG, meanwhile, has incorporated what the company calls Laser Auto Focus into the G3. In short, it allows for very fast focus speed.
Combined with improved optical image stabilization, the G3’s 13-megapixel camera looks like a winner on paper, especially since it looks to be a nice improvement on the G2’s camera, itself an excellent shooter. However, the One M8’s camera has the advantage of taking great pictures in less-than-optimal lighting conditions, though daytime shots are rather pedestrian. Not one to be ignored, the Galaxy S5’s 16-megapixel camera takes rather excellent photos, though Samsung tried, and failed, to emulate the Duo Camera feature found on the One M8.
HTC decided to keep the feature set of the One M8 rather predictable, though the aforementioned Duo Camera is sure to cause some double takes. With the Galaxy S5, however, Samsung included three notable features: a heart rate sensor, a fingerprint scanner, and an IP rating of IP67. The IP rating gives it maximum dust protection while allowing it to be submerged up to one meter for 30 minutes. Both the G3 and One M8 can’t say the same, though the plastic used for the G3 and Galaxy S5 seems to be less prone to scratches than the aluminum used for the One M8.
The G3 and One M8 incorporate different gestures that allow you to unlock the handsets. Knock Code lets you unlock the G3 with a pattern of taps, while Knock On, originally found on the G2, lets you check the lock screen for any notifications and check the time. The One M8 uses a gesture-based system that lets you unlock the handset or go straight to the camera.
However, given today’s climate, the most notable inclusion not found on the Galaxy S5 and One M8 is the inclusion of a kill switch in the G3. In case your G3 gets stolen, Kill Switch lets you disable the phone and remotely wipe any content stored on the device. Verizon and other U.S. carriers have supported the use of kill switches in smartphones, so the G3 should make carriers very happy.
At the end of the day, though, the choice is yours. Which will you go with? The LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5, or HTC One M8?