The Good The LG G3 S has the same attractive style as its older brother, its camera can take good pictures, and laser autofocus locks in your subject quickly.
The Bad Its processor delivers very low performance, its screen resolution is not staggering, it comes with a deplorable amount of storage and runs on an older version of Android KitKat.
The Bottom Line The LG G3 S may have the same name and physical design as its flagship brother, but the similarity is only deep. The features of the G3 S are all watered down, which makes it little more than a low-end mid-range phone.
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If you like the look LG G3 (and whoever? The camera uses lasers!) but your wallet is less addictive then find the LG G3 S, also known as the LG G3 Beat or LG G3 Mini.
As we have seen with such phones Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini and the HTC One Mini 2 , The G3 S adopts the flagship design and name but shortens it to a slightly a more manageable package.
Note that here is a bit of an emphasis – the G3 S is a 5-inch phone, barely reducing the size of a 5.5-inch G3. It hardly qualifies as a mini-phone, and with a rugged 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 8-megapixel camera and 720p screen, it doesn’t match its older sibling with anything other than design.
Close up with the LG G3 S, aka G3 Beat (pictures)
Still, it looks pretty neat, it uses the same attractive Android interface and saves laser autofocus from the G3.
LG has yet to give an official price for the G3 S, but pre-order prices at UK stores have been around £ 226 ($ 360, $ 410), which is not too bad. Keep an eye out for official pricing and regional availability.
Do not be fooled into thinking that S in the name G3 S means “small”. At 5 inches, it may be slightly smaller than its 5.5-inch older sibling, but in no way can a 5-inch phone escape when it’s called a mini. It measures 138 mm in length and 70 mm in width, only slightly smaller Galaxy S5 . It’s more convenient in one hand than the standard G3, but if you want something much larger in size, check out Sony Xperia Z3 Compact , or Samsung Galaxy Alpha .
In design, it is identical to the standard G3. It has a front and curved plastic back panel without buttons, which has the same damaging effect. It’s not a bad-looking phone, although it’s on the side, the back panel is unmistakably plastic, not premium metal – which does not help with the scratching sound you make while moving your nails on it. The curve to the back at least feels good to wrap your arm around. Like the G3 and G2 before, the volume and power buttons are on the back, not the side.
LG thinks it’s more convenient because it’s where the index finger will naturally sit. Personally, I’m not all that keen on this change – I really don’t believe that the placement of the volume buttons was a problem that needed to be fixed – but you probably got used to the location, using it several times in weeks.
The plastic back panel is removable and provides access to the battery, SIM card slot and microSD card slot. You will absolutely need to use a microSD card as the phone comes with a deplorable 8GB of internal storage. I would expect such a low amount on the bottom phone, but not here. You quickly fill this with apps and games, and if you want to store music and videos locally, I strongly suggest taking a card to swim. Although you can install applications on an SD card, not all applications can do this. do not rely on the fact that you can place your favorite card games.
The 5-inch display has a resolution of 1,280×720-pixels, giving a pixel density of 294 pixels per inch, which is not particularly impressive. Especially if you do not compare it with a display of 2,560×1,440 pixels (538ppi) G3. This is lower than iPhone 6′ with 326ppi, 312ppi Galaxy Alpha and 319ppi Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.
Although disappointing on paper, in practice the difference is less noticeable. The icons and text are at least sharp enough and side by side compared to phones like the Galaxy Alpha, the difference cannot be determined. Opposite full high resolution displays (1,920×1,080p) or even a G3, G3 S 2K display certainly has a less striking impact.
High-definition images and videos look great, but they don’t have the level of definition you would find on higher-definition screens. It’s bright but easily counteracts our bright office lights, and it has a pretty rich color, so at least the Netflix and YouTube videos look good. In terms of money, it’s not a bad screen, but I would like to see the LG package in more pixels.
The G3 S comes with Android 4.4.2 KitKat on board, which is a number of legacy versions of the latest 4.4.4 KitKat. It’s annoying, but considering the cheaper price tag, it’s a little easier. Like the G3, LG has heavily removed the G3 S interface.
The interface has the same basic structure as any other Android phone – multiple home screens are available to fill applications and applications that you do not want stored on the home screen in the application tray. LG has made a lot of changes to the look of Android, with its own fonts, application icons and color schemes.
You can customize many things, such as moving your home screen, layout of navigation buttons, and even how the screen fades to black when you switch it to standby mode. The settings menu, though extensive, is divided into four tabs, making it easy to find the tool you need. Despite the many settings, not the simplest phone can be understood.
The G3 S interface looks almost identical to the G3 software, but you won’t find features like LG Health (which tracks your exercise) or Smart Tips (which aims to give you tips on how to best use the features or basic tools you you can not use know the phone has). There are no major losses. At least you will get a remote control tool that uses an infrared sensor at the top of your phone.
Processor and battery performance
The phone runs on a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, only supports 1GB of RAM, which is about what I would expect to find on the lower end of phones that cost a lot less than the G3 S. The new 5-inch Motorola Moto G actually has the same processor, and will be available for £ 144 ($ 180).
Not surprisingly, this did not detract from the results. As a result of the Geekbench test, 1299 and 8273 quadrant tests were achieved, well below the standard G3 (3,651 Geekbench, quadrant 23,103), Galaxy Alpha (quadrant 23,729) and Sony Xperia Z3 Compact (3 677 Geekbench, 21,077 quadrants). It also came a bit in 2014 Moto G a score of 8,849 for the quadrant test.
Although not comforting on paper, the G3 S has enough power for daily use. Moving around the home screen was quick enough, with only a little stutter over time, and the programs opened quickly enough. While viewing the high-resolution images in the gallery, the performance was noticeably sluggish, but some took up to five seconds to display clearly. For Twitter, Netflix, Instagram and even the weird place of light gaming, the G3 S will do well.
The G3 S has a 2450 mAh battery, which LG believes will provide up to 15 hours of 3G talk time. From my own testing, I’d say it’s pretty ambitious. After three hours of cyclic video battery power, the battery dropped from a full only 45 percent, worse than average. For comparison, the Galaxy S5 Mini dropped to just 80 percent after two hours of broadcast.
However, the phone does hold pretty well in standby mode, so if you’re not a very demanding user – just throw it out of standby several times during the day to check email or make a quick call – then you don’t have to fight too hard to get day of use. If you’re an intense user, playing games and streaming music during your morning commute and checking your emails and texts throughout the day, you’ll probably need to pay her in the afternoon to have some juice left to call in the taxi at the end of your nights.
The back of the phone has an 8-megapixel camera, a significant step down from the 13-megapixel G3 camera. It does retain laser autofocus, however, which I found works on the G3 S as well as the full-size version. The phone quickly fixed the item, and I rarely found it to focus on the wrong thing.
It may not have the megapixel quality of phones like the G3 or the 20MP Sony Xperia Z3 Compact sensor, but the G3 S can still take good pictures.
I was pleased with this first shot overlooking the field as there is a very uniform exposure between the bright sky and the more shady trees. The colors are also good and there are enough details on the computer for full-screen viewing.
There is enough detail on this old door to expand your Facebook page, but the full screen has some fuzzy detail that I wouldn’t expect to see with a higher G3 resolution.
This tree came out good, with rich colors and sky that is just a touch open.
When HDR is on, the sky is slightly more controllable and the darker areas of the tree get lighter.
Osterley’s house here is rather poorly exposed, as the phone tried to expose only to the bright sky.
HDR mode in a way allows you to save some dark areas while keeping the backlight in control.
HDR mode in this tree scene has resulted in brilliant overall exposure with beautiful rich colors. Well played, G3 S.
The phone has various scene modes to choose from, including a panorama function that worked well. Keep in mind, however, that a sluggish processor takes an extraordinarily long time to stitch together, once shot, at which time the camera is unusable.
Although the LG G3 S has the name and design of the flagship LG G3, the resemblance is only deep. Both the processor and the screen resolution have been significantly reduced to a budget level of performance, the battery is not impressive, it comes with only 8GB of memory, which means that you will need to decrypt additional space and use its older version of Android KitKat. Don’t buy this phone if you’re looking for the same G3 performance with only smaller sizes.
If you’re only interested in having a flagship phone, its lower price makes it more affordable than the highest-end G3, but the Motorola Moto G 4G has similar features and costs a lot less. For a smaller phone that doesn’t skimp on the features, take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Alpha metal or the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact waterproof.