LG G3 (Verizon) Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Super-sharp QHD screen; Sleek design; Fast laser focus camera

The Cons

Below-average battery life; Dim display

Verdict

LG's G3 sports a high-resolution QHD screen and powerful camera, but it's hurt by lackluster battery life.

With the G3, LG is making a run at the top spot in the smartphone market. Available from Verizon for just $99 (for a limited time), the G3 packs a phone display with the world's highest resolution and a powerful laser autofocus camera that lets you fire off photos faster than Samsung's Galaxy S5 and HTC's One M8.

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That's not all this handset has to offer. The G3 boasts a sexy new Floating Arc design with metallic back. Plus, LG has given its Android skin a welcome facelift to reduce clutter.

With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage, the G3 has the specs to compete with any Android phone. Unfortunately, short battery life and a dim display hold back an otherwise solid handset.

Editors' Note: See our full review of the LG G3 on AT&T for our in-depth look at the phone's features, camera, software and more.

Apps

Verizon is taking a different approach to the common issue of carrier crapware. You can decide to install its apps on your G3 while you set it up. After the fact, you can delete any items you don't want. That's a huge step forward in easing bloat.

Our G3 review unit came with eight carrier-specific apps: Caller Name ID, Cloud, Message+, My Verizon Mobile, Setup Wizard, Voice Mail, VZ Navigator and VZ Protect. Caller Name ID, for example, offers slightly enhanced functionality over the standard Android caller ID, but costs an additional $2.99 per month. VZ Navigator is the carrier's navigation app, but costs $4.99 per month and performs many of the same features as the free Google Maps.

Verizon's Cloud app is more useful, as it offers 5GB of free online storage, while VZ Protect gives you virus and malware protection for free. In addition to Verizon apps, the G3 comes with ISIS Wallet, Slacker, Clash of Clans and Hotels.com.

4G Performance

The LG G3 rides on Verizon's 4G LTE network and is XLTE-ready, which means the handset can jump on Verizon's higher capacity XLTE band where available. (Verizon's XLTE network now covers 350 of its 500 LTE markets.)

During G3 testing in New Jersey, we saw an average download speed of 58.5 Mbps and an average upload speed of 16.7 Mbps. ESPN.com's mobile site loaded in just 3 seconds, while NYTimes.com's loaded in 4 seconds. The image-heavy Laptopmag.com took a slightly longer 8 seconds.

Unfortunately, when tested near our offices in New York's Flatiron District, the G3 saw an average download speed of just 380 Kbps. But when we used a Galaxy S4--which also uses XLTE--in the same spot, downloads averaged 16.9 Mbps.

 

MORE: Verizon Has the Fastest 4G LTE in Chicago, Sprint Improves

 

Battery Life

Despite packing a high-capacity 3,000 mAh battery, the G3 doesn't offer great endurance. The phone lasted just 6 hours and 10 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous Web surfing over 4G LTE with the display brightness set to 150 nits.

This runtime is more than an hour short of the smartphone category average of 7:44. Samsung's Galaxy S5 for Verizon lasted a much longer 8:52, while the Verizon HTC One M8 ran for 9:52. The G3 for AT&T lasted 7:12.

Verizon Pricing

Unlike the AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile versions of the G3, which cost $199 with a two-year contract, the Verizon G3 costs just $99 (until July 27th). You can also snag the handset for $29.99 per month with a Verizon Edge plan.

If you opt for a 2GB per month data plan, you'll end up paying $50 per month, as well a $40 per month line access fee. That's $90 per month total. Opt for a 4GB per month plan, and you'll end up paying $110 per month.

Bottom Line

The LG G3 for Verizon has a sexy design, super-sharp screen, powerful camera and relatively low $99 price tag (for now). Unfortunately, the G3 falls short of the Samsung Galaxy S5's longer battery life and brighter display. If you're in the market for a premium smartphone with a strong camera and good looks, the LG G3 for Verizon is a good choice, but it's not our favorite.

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Author Bio
Dan Howley
Dan Howley, Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media's Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Dan Howley, Senior Writer on
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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Carrier Verizon
Alternate Carriers T-Mobile
Alternate Carriers Sprint
Alternate Carriers AT&T
Phone Display Size 5.5
Display Resolution 2560 x 1440
Form Factor Candybar Touchscreen
OS Family Android
Operating System Android 4.4.2
Networks
Data WCDMA
Data LTE
Data GSM
Data CDMA
CPU 2.5-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
Processor Family Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
RAM 3GB
Internal Memory 32GB
Memory Expansion Type microSD Card
Display (main) 5.5-inch, 2560 x 1440 QHD display
Display (secondary)
GPS Yes
Bluetooth Type Bluetooth 4.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Front Camera Resolution 2.1MP
Camera Resolution 13MP
Audio formats supported AAC+
Audio formats supported WMA
Audio formats supported AAC
Audio formats supported WAV
Audio formats supported MP3
Audio formats supported MIDI
Audio formats supported eAAC+
Audio formats supported AMR
Talk / Standby Time 21 hours/ 28 hours
Ports mini SIM
Ports microUSB
Ports microSD
Ports 3.5mm headphone
Size 5.8 x 2.9 x 0.35 inches
Weight 5.3 ounces
SAR Rating (Head)
SAR Rating (Body)
Company Website www.lg.com