The iPhone 5s is one of the most popular phones of 2014, but summer sales are often dominated by Android smartphones that offer a new set of features and designs well ahead of a new iPhone. The LG G3 joins a growing cast of bigger and better Android smartphones, and manages to deliver a stunning 5.5-inch display in a package that isn’t much bigger than the Galaxy S5.
With a 5.5-inch display the LG G3 sounds massive, but thanks to smart button placement and small bezels it is still a reasonable size. It is 1.5-inches larger than the iPhone 5s’ 4-inch display, and LG is taking advantage of this with an adaptable keyboard and other smart features that the company hopes will tempt users to switch to the larger phone.
Apple’s iPhone 5s is seven months old and it offers less customization, but it is packed with a number of features that makes it an attractive choice for many buyers even as attention turns to the iPhone 6 that will arrive later this year.
Like the iPhone 5s and LG G2 comparison before it, many buyers are simply looking for the best smartphone to buy right now. While there are some users that could spend all day looking at specs and arguing about brand loyalty, we are looking at the most important set of smartphone features based on conversations with the average smartphone buyer that wants a phone that is fast, takes good pictures and just works.
Release Date, Price & Carriers
The U.S. LG G3 release date is set for this summer, with July as the month that it should arrive in. Sprint confirmed a July LG G3 release date, and other big name carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile confirmed plans for a summer release. The AT&T LG G3 release date is less specific with a promise of sometime this year, although LG also includes AT&T in a summer release window.
The iPhone 5s release date arrived last fall in September 2013, and it is now available on all major carriers and on many smaller regional and pre-paid carriers. Simply put, you can buy the iPhone 5s today, but you’ll need to wait at least a month to buy the LG G3.
The LG G3 is available on four major U.S. carriers, while the iPhone 5s is available on many more. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon sell the iPhone 5s and will sell the LG G3 this summer. The iPhone 5s is also on Straight Talk, Net-10, Boost Mobile, Cricket, C Spire, Virgin Mobile USA and several other smaller regional carriers.
Apple prices the iPhone 5s at $199 on a two-year contract and $649 off contract. This price drops to $0 down for some users that want to make monthly payments to cover the full amount. We also regularly see iPhone 5s sales and deals that drop the price to $99 or free with a trade in.
The LG G3 price is not official yet, but expect it to run $199 on a two-year contract. That will also likely run $650 off contract and be available with a $0 down option at several carriers. Like many Android phones, the LG G3 price could drop to $99 on contract days after release at Amazon or a similar reseller.
The LG G3 display is the star of the show. Not only did LG manage to stick a 5.5-inch display into a relatively small LG G3 body, but they also deliver the first commercially available Ultra HD smartphone display in the U.S.
An Ultra HD Display is four times the resolution of a 720P display, or 2560 x 1440. That is higher than the 1080P HD that most Android phones use and much higher than the iPhone 5s’ 1136 x 640 resolution.
The higher LG G3 resolution delivers a crystal clear image that looks good with text and video, but really looks stunning while viewing high-resolution photos like in the video below.
Apple’s iPhone offers a 326 pixel per inch (ppi) density and the LG G3 is higher at 534 ppi. LG is adamant that there are benefits of a higher resolution and a higher pixel density and from our hands on the LG G3 display does look very nice.
The iPhone 5s display is also good to look at, and thanks to the smaller size the resolution and ppi are still very good, but things when viewing high-resolution content the G3 should provide a better experience.
One downside to the LG G3’s high-resolution display is most games and other content is optimized for a 1080P display, so it will take time before games and apps are upgraded for the Quad HD display.
The LG G3 design is impressive not so much for the materials used, but for the ability to put a 5.5-inch display in the same frame as a 5-inch smartphone. This is still larger than the iPhone 5s by a lot, but it makes picking a big screen smartphone an easier choice.
- LG G3 Dimensions – 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
- iPhone 5s Dimensions – 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm
LG places the power and volume buttons on the back of the LG G3, right below the camera. This helps keep the device thinner and with the height and width of the phone. Small bezels on the sides, top and bottom also help. In the video below you can see how big the LG G3 is next to the iPhone 5s, and other smartphones.
The back of the LG G3 looks like metal, but it is not a metal smartphone. This metal-like material is anti-scratch, but it is not a self-healing back like on the LG G Flex. The iPhone 5s is made from aluminum and glass and you can tell this when you pick it up.
At the end of the day the iPhone 5s is smaller and some users will find it easier to use with one hand. The LG G3 is thankfully much smaller than the Galaxy Note 3. if you plan to put your new phone in a case metal or metal-like isn’t a big deal.
The LG G3 camera is a 13MP shooter with a new laser and phase detection focus aid and a new optical image stabilization to help take better photos with less blur. The laser helps the LG G3 focus faster than a traditional smartphone camera. The video below shows the LG G3 and Galaxy S5 cameras in action with fast focusing on the LG G3. This isn’t a showdown with the iPhone 5s, but it gives you an idea how fast it can focus.
The iPhone 5s focuses fast, but it is not using lasers which are more common on a professional SLR camera. We’ll have to wait until we have both in hand to let you know exactly how the camera speeds stack up, but this is a good sing that LG is ready to compete and avoid the blurry photos so many Android phones take.
Apple’s iPhone 5s features a 8MP sensor and a limited set of camera features such as video, panorama, slow motion video, square photo and filters. The LG G3 includes other modes including a Magic Focus mode that can refocus after the photo is take.
Software & Features
The LG G3 runs Android 4.4.2, the latest version from Google and includes an overlay that adds additional features not found on other Android phones. The iPhone 5s runs iOS 7.1 and will see an iOS 8 update this fall with some new features that Apple is announcing on June 2nd.
LG spoke of the simple user interface and software multiple times during the announcement and this carries over into the new look which is a flat and minimalist design on the home screen. This carries over to the ability to knock on the display to turn it on and see the time and to unlock the phone with a knock code instead of swiping or entering a traditional password.
The LG G3 keyboard also lets users change the size and learns where you tap when you are typing to help make it easier for anyone to type on the phone and to identify what letter you actually want to press as you are typing.
Apple introduced a major change to the look of the iPhone software with iOS 7 last year and the iPhone 5s makes the most of this software and includes an excellent finger print scanner for unlocking the phone. Notable iOS 7 features include Control center with fast access to common controls, FaceTime Audio, enhanced multitasking and more.