LG introduces the G3, its quad HD Android flagship

LG is taking steps in 2014 to be a more competitive Android player, and for the past several months we’ve seen the manufacturer preparing for a much earlier-in-the-year introduction for its latest Android heavyweight, the G3. We’ve been fascinated by specs like a quad HD 2K screen, as well as captivated by the further refining of a design LG’s been developing for some time now. This afternoon, the company’s simultaneous global launch events get underway, as it reveals the G3 to a waiting public.

It’s been confirmed six ways from Sunday by now, but in case you’ve been living under a rock, the G3 features a 5.5-inch quad HD screen with 538 ppi pixel density. The phone runs a Snapdragon 801, and it turns out that confusion over its RAM configuration is with good reason: there will be two G3 variants, one with 2GB and one with 3GB. And while LG confirms microSD support, this time it mentions the sensible 128GB upper limit (based on available cards), instead of that 2TB jive that was going around earlier. As for internal storage, we’re again looking at two options, with either 16GB or 32GB.

The G3 gets a 13-megapixel main camera with optical stabilization, with a 2.1-megapixel front-facer. And just as the leaks (eventually) got to the bottom of, the primary camera is assisted by a laser auto-focus.

The handset measures 74.6 mm wide, 146.3 mm tall, and is just 8.9 mm thick. Its mass is 149 grams, and the phone packs a 3000mAh removable battery with a graphite cathode for extended life.

g3-launchOn the software side of things we see the arrival of that flattened UI that’s been prominent in so many leaks, as well as learn about a few specific abilities. Those include things like LG’s Smart Keyboard that goes beyond learning your typing habits to offer handy customization, like an adjustable on-screen height. LG tackles the so-hot-right-now virtual assistant field with its Smart Notice service, which places an emphasis on using natural-sounding language as it delivers its reminders.

The phone’s camera also picks up some software tricks LG wanted to show off today. To complement that laser-assisted auto-focus (which can pull off focusing is a little as 276 milliseconds), the G3’s software will let you quickly grab shots, as tapping the screen will not just focus the camera, but simultaneously snap a pic, as well. OIS gets an upgrade from previous LG designs, now compensating for even rougher handling. Even the front-facer gets in on the fun, with a gesture-recognizing mode that allows you to set a short count-down timer by just forming a fist and releasing.

On the subject of audio performance, the powerful 1W speaker we saw leaked is confirmed, and the phone’s software performs dynamic microphone adjustments to keep recording levels within acceptable ranges even in noisy environments.

g3-uiOn the accessory front, we already knew about the QuickCircle covers, and LG once again mentions that Tone Infinium Harman/Kardon Bluetooth headset we shared with you overnight. And with support for wireless charging, we’re also going to get an official G3 Qi charger.

What about availability? LG says that its worldwide G3 rollout begins tomorrow, May 28, in South Korea. How quickly it will spread from there, and who will get the phone next, remains to be seen.

We have heard a few announcements from US carriers already: T-Mobile is opening pre-registration for the G3 now, with the phone itself arriving “later this summer.” T-Mobile’s G3, we can confirm, will be the 3GB model. AT&T has also expressed its intentions to carry the G3, but doesn’t offer anything more specific than that it will get the phone later this year.

And while it’s no certainty, T-Mobile has a contest that’s giving away LG G3 “Beta models” through the end of June, so perhaps the phone’s formal availability will arrive in early July.

Update: And now the CDMA boys weigh in: Sprint gets the G3 “this summer,” and will have the US exclusive on the G3’s gold color option. Verizon also parrots this “summer” business while mentioning XLTE support. Still not a peep about pricing.


Source: LG, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon (Twitter)

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!