LG G4 vs LG G3 – The affordable flagship got better

We fell in love with LG’s G series smartphones since LG G2. The smartphone has grown since, literally from 5.2-inch display to one with a 5.5-inch, pitching itself against the likes of Apple iPhone 6 Plus and others in the phablet category. But, how does it compare with is predecessor, what improvements have it bought to the table? Let’s find out.

LG G3

About a year ago, (April 2014) we were treated to LG’s flagship smartphone that is both affordable and packed with goodness, the LG G3. It challenges the premium phone convention that all flagship phones are expensive especially from Samsung, HTC and Apple .

The phone was beautifully executed with its super narrow bezel and huge Quad HD screen. Despite competition from other far east manufacturers such as Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and OnePlus, the LG’s G3 is still a very successful phone with many good reviews and feedback from customers.

LGG4

Fast forward to today, the new generation G4 is now ready to launch and is being tested for the different markets. It is roughly around the same size with the screen, camera and button placement, sensors and connectivity ports in the same places.

And while Samsung has taken the jump to go all metal with the chassis to meet the likes of HTC and Apple, LG is resisting this change favouring plastic and leather instead. As with the previous generation, it has a metallic finish on the plastic back plate and is available in 3 colours; gray, white and gold.

The difference is that this time, it has a polygonal design, that LG calls textural hammered-array pattern. The new classic leather finish is also available in 3 colours; brown, black and red and is made from genuine vegetable tanned full grain leather. These back plates are removable and replaceable allowing you to swap the cover it self if you fancy a different design, swap the removable battery to keep you going and access to the micro-SD slot.

For a natural and firmer grip, the back plate is contoured into a slim arc making it fit nicely in the palm and make for better handling. All these elements come together to make a unique, stylish and elegant smartphone that does not feel plastic or cheap. It also retains the back buttons, well positioned buttons for quick and easy access on the back plate.

That’s not all the improvements, the cameras both front and back facing has also received an upgrade. It now has a 16MP rear facing camera with Laser Auto Focus and +OIS 2.0 (Optical Image Stabilisation), features that are available on the previous phone but with a 13MP sensor. The front facing camera has also received a much needed upgrade, it is now known as a Selfie Camera with a higher 8MP resolution compared to the previous generation’s 2.1MP front facing camera.

LGG4 manual mode

For the rear facing camera, LG takes the Laser Auto Focus and Optical Image Stabilisation on LG3 and improves this further with a set of new F1.8 lens making it ideal for low light and portraits. The camera is capable of producing professional looking photos with real lens bokeh effect rendering out of focus lighthing together with detail and clarity that pops out of the photo.

There is also an infrared sensitive colour spectrum sensor that analyses and measures all the visible light within a scene before a shot is taken to ensure that the colours are natural and vivid. A manual mode is available for both professional and enthusiast who wants to take photography on a smartphone to the next level. The front and back cameras support Single and Dual LED Flash. You can tell that LG is taking photography on G4 seriously.

LG G4 camera

For the front facing Selfie Camera, LG uses a high resolution 8MP camera and LG has made it easier to capture selfies with Gesture Shot and Gesture View. Holding your open palm in front of the camera and closing it to make a fist triggers a shot. Repeaing this twice and the Selfie Camera will take 4 consecutive shots.

Let’s take a side by side look at the specifications and see what is on offer.

Display

Still with the proven Quad HD, the new generation G4 spots the same screen size and resolution as its predecessor.

  • LG G35.5″ Size (inch) Quad HD IPS display (2560 X 1440) resolution (538 ppi)
  • LG G45.5″ Size (inch) Quad HD IPS display (2560 X 1440) resolution (538 ppi)

Processor

It won’t be called a new phone without a new generation processor. The G4 is now powered by the latest Snapdragon 808 processor from Qualcomm with X10 LTE. While it is clocked at a lower frequency compared to the processor on the G3, it has the advantage of a combined dual-core and a quad-core processor to balance performance and power efficiency.

  • LG G3: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 801 with Quad-Core 2.5GHz Krait Processor with Adreno 330
  • LG G4: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 808 Dual-core 1.82GHz Cortex-A57 & Quad-core 1.44GHz Cortex-A53 Processor with X10 LTE with Adreno 418 – NEW GENERATION

Camera

Overall better cameras on the G4 with bigger and higher resolution front facing or selfie camera that support Gesture Shot and Gesture View features.

  • LG G3: 13MP with Laser Auto Focus and OIS rear facing camera, 2.1MP front facing camera
  • LG G4: 16MP F1.8 with LDAF, +OIS 2.0 rear facing camera, 8MP Selfie Camera – BETTER CAMERAS

Memory and Storage

Here is also an area that the G4 shines, it now has 3GB of memory compared to 2GB on the G3 and the storage size has also been doubled to 32GB as oppose to 16GB. In any case, both phones support additional memory of up to 2TB via its Micro-SD card slot. A feature often left out on premium phones like Apple’s iPhone 6 and as we have seen with Samsung’s latest flagships, the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge.

  • LG G32GB RAM and 16GB eMMC with Micro-SD slot that supports up to 128GB extra memory and capable of accepting up to 2TB
  • LG G4: 3GB RAM and 32GB eMMC with Micro-SD slot that supports up to 2TB extra memory – BIGGER MEMORY, BIGGER STORAGE

Battery

Here is another feature that has not changed between the two. The battery capacity features are still the same. Both batteries are removable and supports wireless charging. You will need Quick Circle™ Case and Wireless Charger to take advantage of wireless charging.

  • LG G3: 3,000mAh Removable battery that supports Wireless Charging. Standby time: Up to 565 h (2G) / Up to 553 h (3G). Talk time: Up to 19 h (2G) / Up to 21 h (3G)
  • LG G4: 3,000mAh Removable battery that supports Wireless Charging. Standby time: Up to 434 h (3G). Talk time: Up to 20 h (3G)

Sensors

There LG G4 has additional sensors, one of which was featured earlier in this article that helps take better photo, the colour spectrum sensor. The other added bonus with the G3 and G4 is the availability of onboard Stereo FM radio receiver with RDS. while not many smartphone manufacturers bother

  • LG G3: A-GPS, GLONASS, Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, Stereo FM radio with RDS.
  • LG G4: A-GPS, GLONASS, Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, colour spectrum, Stereo FM radio with RDS – MORE SENSORS

Connectivity

Everything you would want and need on a smartphone, both LG G3 and G4 shares many common connectivity ports and functions.

  • LG G3: WiFi 802.11abgnac, Bluetooth 4.1 LE (APT-x), USB2.0, NFC, HDMI Slimport, 2G (GSM/EDGE), 3G (HSPA+42Mbps/HSPA+21Mbps), LTE (SVLTE, CSFB, CA, VoLTE RCS, MIMO)
  • LG G4: WiFi 802.11abgnac, Bluetooth 4.1 LE (APT-x), USB2.0, NFC, HDMI Slimport, 2G (GSM), 3G (HSPA+ 42Mbps), LTE (Cat.6, VoLTE)

Dimensions and Weight

The G4 has a bigger foot print but you would hardly notice it. It is around 2.6mm taller and 1.5mm wider. But what you would notice is the tapered back plate that are thinner near the edges at 6.3mm and goes up to 9.8mm near the middle, which is still quite thin compared to other smartphones in the same class. In term of weigh, the G4 is also heavier at 155 grams, 6 grams heavier than the G3.

  • LG G3: 146.3mm x 74.6mm x 9.3mm, 149 grams – SMALLER, LIGHTER
  • LG G4: 148.9mm x 76.1mm x 6.3 – 9.8 mm, 155 grams

OS

  • LG G3: Android 4.4 KitKat (Lollipop update available in certain countries)
  • LG G4: Android  5.1 Lollipop

LG G3 backplate

Colours

In addition to the three standard colours; black, white and gold on the G3, the G4 has three additional colours finished in real genuine leather. These are brown, black and red leather that gives the phone a super premium finish. Going for one of these genuine leather back plates mean we won’t be needing a cover which would normally just get in the way. With G4, LG has also replaced black colour with metallic gray in much the same way as Apple, replacing black with space gray.

  • LG G3: Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold. Other colours subject to market Moon Violet, Burgundy Red, Blue Steel.
  • LG G4: Metallic Gray, Ceramic White, Gold, Genuine Leather Brown, Genuine Leather Black, Genuine Leather Red. Check out the colour options below.

Final Thoughts

The successor to LG G3 is here, LG’s flagship smartphone reborned. As with LG G1, G2, G3 and now the G4, these flagships have all been very successful in their own ways and in that they each eclipse the previous generation, upping the ante and adopting new features.

With the LG G4, we see improvements in way of design, CPU, camera, memory, storage and software features. It is marginally bigger and slightly heavier compared to the G3 but not bigger or heavier to make a difference.

Also, with the same battery capacity, and with all things similar, one would assume that the new generation processor and operating system being leaner and more efficient will make the usage time per charge longer.

So is it worth upgrading to the G4? If you have a previous, previous generation LG, such as the G2, the G4 is definitely worth a look but if you have a G3, given that you would only have had it for around 12 months, stick with it for a while.

As with the G3, the price of the G4 is likely to come down with time and be more affordable when compared with other flagships.

If you are an LG fan, and wishes to stay with the G series, consider upgrading to the G4 in 6-9 months time and stand to save a bundle.

For those new to the G-series from LG, the LG G3 is still worth a look given that it is now less than half the price (off contract) compared to the latest G4. That represents a huge savings for a chart topping smartphone that is just over a year old.

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