LG G3 vs LG G2: is the upgrade worth it?

May 28, 2014
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With much anticipation and many a leak, the LG G3 has had quite a long entrance into the market. It has been hyped as one of the most powerful smartphones of the year. But this is nothing new – such is the way of the LG G series, a family of super phones with generations of champions.

Can the LG G3, in all its glory, leave the G2 in the dust? Those who own an LG G2 may be wondering whether or not they should upgrade. Or many of you could be asking yourselves if it’s worth it to pay the extra money for this novelty, while last year’s iteration could be had for much cheaper.

Which of these two is the device for you? Let’s answer this question once and for all.

Design and build quality

One of the most important factors is always design. Which phone looks better? Which one feels stronger? In this department, we must say the LG G3 takes the crown… by far. Don’t get me wrong, the LG G2 is a beautiful and well-built smartphone, but the LG G3 is simply a class above.

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This fact alone makes the LG G3 a much better alternative. Not to mention, the newer device does look gorgeous and its flatter back buttons make it look much more elegant and sleek.

The LG G3 is slightly bigger, but LG has done a great job at giving the device what they call “grip-ability”. They dramatically reduced the size of the bezel, making it a much smaller phone, despite its huge 5.5-inch screen.

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Regardless, the G3 will still be a large phone. If you don’t like large devices, you may want to go elsewhere.

Display

Now, let’s take some time to talk about that screen, while we are at it. Boy does this screen look gorgeous! Those 5.5 inches of Quad HD (2560Ă—1440p) glory can be beat by no other smartphone at this point. It will look gorgeous, that is for sure, but is it worth it?

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If you have the extra money and want a top-notch display, the G3 may be your best bet, but the LG G2 is no loser here. The G2’s 5.2-inch 1080p IPS display produces quality imaging with no compromises. The colors are very natural and the image is clear.

I am actually not a huge fan of screens with over 1080p resolution in smartphones. Larger displays may benefit from the extra pixels, but it could be a bit wasteful in a 5.5-inch phone. Yes, there may be a noticeable difference, but I don’t believe it to be worth the extra strain on your processor, graphics and battery.

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It takes a lot of energy to have a Quad HD display running, guys. That is a lot of pixels to push. Regardless, that is only my opinion. At the end of the day, the LG G3 has the best display, while the LG G2’s screen saves more juice. It all depends on what you value more.

Performance and hardware

The Snapdragon 801 processor keeps things running faster on the LG G3, but the LG G2 doesn’t fall behind with the Snapdragon 800. It also turns out both devices feature 2 GB of RAM. This all translates to better performance from the LG G3, due to the newer processor, but nothing ground-breaking.

We must take into account that LG changed its launch season to compete directly against HTC and Samsung. Other LG G series devices offered a huge jump in performance because they were released closer to the end of the year, when newer, stronger processors become available.

What does this mean? Because the LG G2 was released later last year, and the G3 earlier in 2014, they are not very far from each other in terms of internals. To the untrained eye there might be no noticeable difference between both smartphones. Both are powerful, both are fast… even if the LG G3 is technically better in these terms.

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You can read more about the difference between Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 and 801 processors at our comparison post.

In terms of battery, both phones feature 3,000 mAh units, but LG claims it optimized the G3 for reduced power consumption, meaning that the Quad HD G3 should (in theory) have about the same battery life as the Full HD G2.

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Another neat thing about the G3 is its laser-assisted focus system, which enables the camera to focus faster than a conventional system. Beside this new feature though, there’s not that much of a difference between the two iterations of the G series.

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Software

Now, let’s talk about the area where LG did change a lot – software. The LG G3 gets the LG G2 features and many more. Among our favorite stands LG’s usage alerts. The phone will give you tips based on its own status.

Have installed apps you haven’t used in months? Your phone will tell you you should probably uninstall it. There is also location-based notifications and much more. It’s a great tool, and makes your device that much smarter.

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Of course, there is also Quick Circle, allowing you to create shortcuts for your six favorite apps. This feature also interacts with your Quick Circle case (if you have one). Another improvement is in the camera, which offers a “Touch & Shoot” mode. This gets rid of screen options and menus which are often just in the way. It will make your experience much cleaner.

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Of course, both phones offer Knock On, Knock Code, and every other feature LG has been touting for the past years. The LG G2 continues to be very feature-rich, but the G3 is its direct successor. It’s only normal that the newer iteration has more to offer.

Wrap up

It’s a little hard to compare smartphones when they are in the same family, more so when one is the direct successor to the other. Which one is better? Well, the direct answer is, of course, the LG G3. We all know this is much more complicated than that, though.

It all depends on what you value, as a user. If you don’t have a lot of cash to spare or simply don’t need that much from your smartphone, the G2 continues to be an amazingly powerful smartphone. It’s not that old and still competes against newer phones like the HTC One M8 and the Galaxy S5. Its specs are great, its features are still innovative and its built very well.

With that said, the LG G3 does offer slightly newer components, higher specs, a more stunning (and larger) QHD display, LG’s newest features and superior build quality. It’s the perfect phone for those who want top-notch performance and experience.

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