At a Glance
|LG G3||LG G4|
|Weight||149 grams||155 grams|
|Processor||Snapdragon 801 quad-core||Snapdragon 808 hexa-core|
Design: Curves and leather
At first glance not too much has changed with the design. From a distance they look pretty similar. Both have the same size screen, both sport metal frames and in true LG fashion both have the volume and power buttons mounted on the back instead of the side.
But when you get in closer you start to realise there are key differences between the two. The G4 is physically a bit bigger and it’s also slightly curved – not to the banana-rivalling levels like the G Flex 2, but pronounced enough to give the impression it’s following the curvature of your face.
The most notable design change is with materials – the G4’s back plate can be found in plastic, ceramic or a myriad of real coloured leathers, which look great, unless you’re a vegetarian, in which case it’s a tiny bit murderous (the colour dye is vegetable based though).
Display: A pixel-pushing pair
The screens look pretty similar too. They’re both 5.5 inches, they both run at the same QHD resolution. Both of them look absolutely pin sharp and have good brightness so they’re easy to use even outside in direct sunlight.
The new G4 uses a ‘Quantum Display’, giving it 20 per cent greater colour reproduction, 25 per cent better brightness and 50 per cent better contrast over last year’s G3, all without sacrificing battery life. Or at least that’s what LG says. In the real world, yes it’s brighter, so it’s slightly easier to see the screen outdoors, and yes the contrast does look nicer.
We’re not too sure about the colour reproduction though. It might be better, but you’d be a very sad individual to notice. Or care. What you might care about is the fact that the G4’s white balance seems a little off. The screen has a blue-ish tint to it. You won’t notice it at first, but when you do, you can never unsee it.
Cameras: Killer cameras
So the headline figures: The LG G3 has a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 2.1-megapixel front-facer, both of which are pretty decent, but the G4 has upgraded on both fronts: 16-megapixels on the rear and 8-megapixels on the front and an improved optical image stabilisation system.
The resolution change is much of a muchness though – don’t get too caught up by the figures. Camera lag is the most obvious difference with the G4 speeding things up considerably. The G3’s pictures look like they’ve been taken on a half decent cameraphone, but the G4’s look like they were taken on a dedicated stills camera. Everything is more vibrant, packs superior contrast and solid low light performance.
You also get really useful manual controls with the G4, so you can change the white balance, the shutter speed and the ISO, if you’re feeling brave. There’s even a manual focus option so you can play with depth of field in your shots.
Those familiar with the LG G3, will know that it has a feature that takes selfies when you clench your fist. With the G4, you have the option to make a fist twice, and in return it’ll take four pictures in a row so you can choose the best one.
Both phones also pack decent 4K video recording, but as you might guess, we’d side with the results from the newer G4 if we had to choose.
Performance: Snappy dragons
The LG G3 was no slouch. It used a quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip running at 2.46GHz. The G4 uses a six core Snapdragon 808 chip – yes, that’s two whole extra cores. The truth is, neither of these are at the forefront of mobile phone processors, and you’re going to be hard pressed to see the difference between these phones in day to day use.
What the G4 offers is a degree of future-proofing. Six months or a year down the line, when Google releases a new version of the operating system and developers start creating apps and games that take advantage of the slightly better graphics processor, and those extra cores, the G3 will start to feel a little bit slow compared to the G4, but right now… there’s no real difference.
As for battery life, very little has changed as both phones use 3000mAh batteries. You’ll be able to watch a couple of movies at full brightness before the battery dies on either phone, and with regular use, you’ll definitely make it to the end of a working day, possibly into the following morning, depending on how you use it. But suffice to say the G4 doesn’t offer any more battery life than the G3.
Verdict: Money talks
So which should you choose? G3 or G4? Honestly, It’s a pretty easy call; the G3 is the better phone for most people. It’s not as good as the G4, sure – there are various places it falls down. The G4 has a better camera – especially for photographing at night. The G4 has a faster, more future-proof processor, and if you get the leather back, the G4 looks nicer too.
But at the end of the day one is £250 and the other is £500, money talks. Buy a G3 and you won’t miss the features of the G4 that much. On the flipside, if you bought a G4 take comfort in the fact that it’ll last you and stay relevant for longer.
The LG G3 might be over a year old, but it’s still a hell of a thing.