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.
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.
Click to EnlargeVerizon 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.
Click to EnlargeOur 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.
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.
Click to EnlargeDespite 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.
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.
Click to EnlargeThe 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.