The LG G3 is coming to Vodafone on 30 July, but what sets it apart? We've been speaking to LG to find out why keeping Android simple makes all the difference.
The LG G3 is big in a lot of ways. Its 5.5-inch Quad HD display is suitably huge and vivid, but LG’s new way of looking at its smartphones is just as massive. That’s because LG is stripping things back, making everything more fluid and sticking to a guideline that says ‘simple is the new smart’.
With the new flagship coming to Vodafone on 30 July, we’ve been speaking to LG’s Andrew Coughlin to understand how this new ethos has shaped the G3, and what makes it such a big step up from its predecessor – last year’s G2.
Big, slim and powerful
On paper the LG G3 is a real powerhouse. It’s packed to the gills with cutting edge tech and, as Andrew explains, every part of the phone has made a significant jump in terms of both quality and capability. It all starts with that monster display:
“With the G3 we’ve moved to a Quad-HD display,” he says. “At 5.5-inches – and with a hugely dense 538 pixels-per-inch – it offers an unrivalled viewing experience on a smartphone, which is totally class leading.”
“A Quad HD display offers an unrivalled viewing experience.”
That Quad-HD display really needs to be seen to be believed. As we’ve discussed on Vodafone Social before, the extra pixels make a huge difference when it comes to watching movies on the move – something that Andrew asserts we’re all doing a lot more of:
“Our research shows that with the take up of 4G and the decrease in cost of data access, video content is coming to the fore. We’re all now much more likely to enjoy movies and use streaming services on our smartphones, because the viewing experience is more optimised for it than ever. With that in mind, a Quad HD display offers an unrivalled viewing experience.”
So the screen is big and incredibly vivid, but a large display doesn’t necessarily make for an oversized phone.
“The advantage we have at LG is that our TV and display business knowhow allows us to minimise the bezel around the device,” Andrew explains. “That means that more of the front of the phone can be used for the display, so we can put a much larger display in a smaller jacket – you get almost a phablet viewing experience in a smartphone chassis.
“Six inches and above is considered a phablet,” he adds, “but if you benchmark the 5.5-inch G3 against other devices with similar screen sizes, we don’t come in very large at all. And that’s especially the case with the weight; it’s only 143g, making it the lightest per-inch of any smartphone available today.”
But there’s loads more to the G3 than just the headline grabbing display…
“One of the other major improvement is on the camera. Although it’s still a 13-Megapixel sensor, it uses laser-focus technology and enhanced the optical image stabiliser, which means that the camera will focus on an item in 276 milliseconds. Again, that’s unrivalled – there’s nothing out there that will focus as quickly on targets as the G3.
“It’s a bit of a pain point with some smartphones when you’ve got to wait a second or so to get it to focus – especially in low-light conditions. So with the G3 you’ll get more accurate and higher quality photos in lower light conditions, and it’s much easier to use, too.
“We’re also placing a huge emphasis on battery life. That was one of the success stories in the G2 – it would last at least a day and a half of regular use – and the G3 improves on that again. That’s because we own a company called LG Chemical, which is a battery manufacturer. It means we can have a 3000mAh battery with much less degradation over its lifespan.”
So far, all the specs are in place to make the LG G3 a corking success, but hardware is only one side of the story…
Keeping Android simple
“The tag line for the LG G3 is ‘simple is the new smart’,” Andrew says, “and what that means is we’re giving a much enhanced user experience, but without the complexity.”
Are some smartphones over complex, then? “Absolutely,” he replies.
We’ve found that most consumers use only about 25% of the technology on their smartphones…”
“We’ve found that most consumers use only about 25% of the technology on their smartphones, because a lot of it is simply too complex. So what we’ve done is removed the unnecessary, but improved the output. For instance, you can hide all of the options and menus on the G3’s camera screen, and just use your finger anywhere on the screen to focus on a particular area and take the shot.
“Or you can take selfies without having to actually push the shutter button. You just open your hand and close it into a fist, and the phone recognises that gesture and counts down from three before taking your photo. Again, it’s simpler. That’s quite a fun thing, but it’s gone down extremely well.”
Most importantly, though, LG is taking this focus on keeping things simple and applying it to Android as a whole:
“The issue of ‘vanilla’ Android vs custom skins is a valid one,” Andrew tells us. “What we’ve done is try to reduce the amount of embedded applications by 30%, and we’ve allowed people to delete 30% more of the embedded apps compared to the G2.
“We totally recognise that some consumers would like to have more power over the user interface, and that they’d like to delete some ‘bloatware’, so we’ve effectively put the G3 on a software diet.”
And when it comes to Android versions? LG is pulling out all the stops to keep things up to date:
“The G3 is launching with Android Kitkat, and it’s absolutely key to do that.
“The G3 is launching with Android Kitkat (4.4.2), and it’s absolutely key to do that. People are now very aware of the latest software releases from Google, so we want to make sure they’re having an optimum experience and enjoying the latest features that Android has to offer.
“So we’re launching with the very latest release, but we’ve also made big steps in the last couple of years to make sure that the time gap between Google updating its software and us implementing it is massively reduced.
“People won’t have to wait a long length of time to enjoy the new experiences when the next version of Android lands. There’s definitely homework that needs to be done to make sure our applications fit well with the newest versions, so it can’t be instantaneous,” Andrew says in closing, “but we’re doing our very best to reduce the time lag between the two.”
Get yours now! The LG G3 coming to Vodafone UK on 30 July, so stay tuned for more info then. For more on Google’s operating system, check out Motorola’s thoughts on sticking to stock Android here.