LG’s G3 was one of the worst kept secret in smartphones, but even after the phone was finally revealed at an event co-held in London and NYC at the end of May, there’s still some new information trickling through. Here’s everything you need to know about the phone, and make sure you check back often, as we’ll be adding in new details when they’re made public.
Updated on 07-21-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Amazon is selling the G3 for $100 on its site for AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint customers. It’s also available unlocked for $640.
Amazon offers the LG G3 for $100 with a contract and $640 unlocked
Those of you who’ve been waiting for the LG G3 to hit other stores are in luck. Amazon recently listed the G3 for customers from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint for just $100 with a two-year contract. If you’re with T-Mobile or you just want to get an unlocked device, Amazon is offering the G3 for $640 unlocked. Some people are also listing new unlocked G3 smartphones for $625 and used versions for $600.
AT&T to offer the LG G3 with a 50 percent discount on selected accessories
AT&T announced the G3 will go on sale Friday, July 11. Available for pre-order starting July 8, the G3 can be purchased with a two-year contract for $200. For the contract-averse, you can pick up the handset for $24.17 or $29 per month through the carrier’s Next 12 or Next 18 installment plans, respectively.
Interestingly, if you purchase or pre-order the G3 on AT&T, the carrier will give you a 50 percent discount on selected accessories, including the brand new, Android Wear-powered G Watch. The G Watch will also go on sale July 11 for the same $230 you’ll find the smartwatch for on Google Play. Other discounted accessories include the Tone Ultra Bluetooth Stereo Headset and LG’s G3 QuickCircle folio case.
You can pre-order the LG G3 through Sprint from July 11, and it’ll be on sale July 18 in either metallic black, or an exclusive Shine Gold color. The new phone can be purchased using Sprint Easy Pay, through which it costs $25 per month over 24 months, with no up front payment. A reward card for either $100 or $150 will also be offered, depending on when you purchase the phone. Finally, Sprint points out the G3 is compatible with its growing HD Voice network.
If you want the G3 through T-Mobile, you’ll find a pre-order page here and should you be tempted, it’s yours for just under $600 without a contract, plus $10 for a SIM card starter kit. If you take the plunge, the network promises it’ll ship by July 15.
The G3 went on sale Wednesday May 28 in South Korea, and will eventually hit 170 other countries in total. LG has confirmed the G3 went on sale in the UK from June 26, with a selection of other countries joining it on June 27. These include Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. The rest of Europe and Asia, along with the Middle East will see the phone on sale in July. Pricing in the UK hovers around £500 for a SIM-free, unconnected LG G3, with online retailer Clove Technology selling the device as a pre-order for £492.
Photos get a lot sharper with laser autofocus
Even though LG didn’t up the camera’s resolution, it did add an interesting new technology, called Laser Auto Focus. LG claims that the laser increases the focus speed significantly and all but eliminates blurry shots. To focus on a specific part of the shot, you simply tap in that area and the laser will do the rest. Improved Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) helps keep your shot clear even if your arm falters or someone bumps into you on the street (check out our Laser Auto Focus post for more).
To help explain all the new camera features, LG has produced an explanatory video, showcasing five of the newest, and best, additions to the G3’s camera. Check it out below, and see how Touch and Shoot, the dual LED flash, Magic Focus, OIS+, and the improved selfie cam enhance the photographic ability of the G3.
Small, but important hardware upgrades
At 5.5 inches, the G3 is just a tad larger than its predecessor, but its display resolution certainly got a huge boost. The G3 boasts a 2,560 × 1,440 pixel display, which amounts to an astounding 3.686 million pixels. Meanwhile, the processor has been upgraded modestly to a 2.5-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset. The G3 has 3GB RAM on board and offers 16 or 32GB storage options. However, the flagship still features a 3,000-mAh battery, just like the much-loved G2 (See how the two phones stack up). Of course, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 are also included.
Although the camera’s resolution has not increased from the G2’s 13-megapixel count, LG added improved optical image stabilization and laser autofocus. A 2.1-megapixel camera is positioned on the front of the device, too.
Quad HD display ups the ante
LG dismissed those who claim that the human eye can’t actually tell the difference between a Full HD and Quad HD display. LG claims that the difference is not only visible, but key to giving users the best viewing experience on their smartphones. In addition to its spectacular pixel density of 538ppi, the G3’s display packs 11 million sub-pixels, resulting in sharper images and more realistic color reproduction.
It’s still plastic, but it looks fantastic
A common complaint users have of large smartphones is the difficulty of holding on to such a mammoth device. LG sought to remedy this problem with a slightly curved design, which is intended to make the G3 rest easily in your hands. The iconic LG Rear Key is still located on the back of the device, with a slightly reformed design to make it more finger friendly. The G3 features a scratch-resistant, polycarbonate metallic skin for a more premium look, but it is still made of plastic, unlike the HTC One M8. LG plans to offer several different color options, including Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold, Moon Violet, and Burgundy Red. You can also get a QuickCircle case for the G3, which features a a round keyhole for you to peek through when you want to see the time or another frequently used app.
A smarter, simpler UI with new features
LG aimed to make the G3 as simple and easy to use as humanly possible. The flagship runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat, but LG has put its own spin on things (read more here). Several new features, including a new smart keyboard and the personal-assistant-like Smart Notice, focus on learning each user’s habits in to provide a more effortless user experience.
The G3’s smart keyboard learns your typing ticks and issues, the words you use most, and even the way you move your thumbs to text. LG says its redesigned keyboard makes it easier to correct typos and turns you into a more efficient typist. The height of the keyboard can also be personalized to suit your hands and the way you type.
Another feature called Smart Notice, hopes to be the ultimate personal assistant, but without the annoying voice. In reality, Smart Notice is a dressed up version of Google Now with a few tweaks. Like most virtual assistants, the G3 learns to predicts how you will use your smartphone in certain situations and offers suggestions. For example, if you get a call during a meeting, the G3 will send you a reminder to text or call the person whose call you missed back. It will also tell you the weather and other information Siri or S-Voice might tell you. LG hopes that Smart Notice’s ability to use natural language and offer suggestions in plain English will help set it apart from others, but chances are if Siri can do it, nobody will be too impressed that the G3’s assistant can, too.
Kill switch, Knock Code, and other security features
Fingerprint sensors and iris scanners are all the rage right now, but LG’s G3 has nothing to do with this latest fashion. Contrary to previous reports, the G3 doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor or any other biometric security onboard. It simply has the Knock Code security function, content lock, and a very controversial kill switch.
Knock Code: LG claims that Knock Code offers so many different combinations that it is much more personal and difficult to hack than the Samsung Galaxy S5’s fingerprint sensor, which was hacked almost immediately after it was released. It remains to be seen whether the Knock Code stands up to dedicated hackers but it seems to be working so far.
Content Lock: The G3 also features Content Lock, which allows you to limit what others see when they use your smartphone, so your data stays private. Of course, you have to set up what you don’t want to be seen.
Kill Switch: The most controversial new security feature LG gave its new flagship is the kill switch. Several different states across America have proposed a kill switch mandate for all smartphones. Legislators have also put a federal bill forward. LG’s decision to put one on the G3 will certainly raise a few eyebrows and elicit a lot of hate mail, but the goal is to deter smartphone thieves and keep your data safe from prying eyes. The G3’s kill switch will allow you to wipe or disable your smartphone in the event that it is stolen or simply lost.
Previous article updates:
Updated on 07-07-2014 by Williams Pelegrin: AT&T will sell the G3 from July 11 and offer a 50 percent discount on selected accessories, including the G Watch.
Updated on 07-04-2014 by Andy Boxall: Sprint will sell the G3 from July 18, and offer an exclusive Shine Gold model.
Updated on 06-30-2014 by Andy Boxall: You can now pre-order an LG G3 through T-Mobile.
Updated on 25-06-2014 by Andy Boxall: LG has released a video showcasing all of the G3’s new camera features, including the laser autofocus and the focus-shifting Magic Focus feature.
Updated on 24-06-2014 by Andy Boxall: LG has provided more details on the G3′s international release.
Updated by Malarie Gokey 05-27-2014: I’ve added everything we currently know about the LG G3 since its debut on Tuesday. More information will be added as it becomes available.