The LG G3 is the follow-up to our favourite smartphone of last year, the LG G2. So it has some pretty big shoes to fill. See also: LG G3 review: The best smartphone of 2014.

At £479, the G3 isn't quite as cheap as the G2 was when it launched, but LG has still managed to undercut its key rivals including Samsung, HTC, Sony and Apple. We're off to a good start.

The design of the G3 remains largely the same as the G2 but with some small but key differences. The screen size has increased but, thanks to tiny bezels, doesn't severely impact the overall size of the device. It's really no bigger than the Sony Xperia Z2. See also: 32 best smartphones: The best phone you can buy in 2014.

LG sticks with its rear mounted buttons which we really like. It has also addressed the plastic build of the G2 with a metallic skin on the rear cover. It looks and feels great even though underneath is a plastic cover.

For a large smartphone, the G3 is nice and thin, but more importantly, it's extremely light. Read: LG G3 release date, price, specs and new features

On the hardware front, the G3's standout feature is that 5.5in screen which is the first Quad HD resolution we've seen on a smartphone. It's the best on the market with exceptional viewing angles, razor sharp crispness and nicely balanced colours.

Like rival Android flagships, the G3 has a Snapdragon 801 processor but it's clocked higher at 2.5GHz. You'll get 2- or 3GB of RAM depending on whether you buy the 16- or 32GB storage models.
Another thing which LG has learnt from G2 is that users like expandable storage. The G3 has a microSD card slot which can take up at 128GB.

Connectivity is nicely up-to-date with 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC, Infrared and 4G support.

The G3 still supports 24bit/192kHz audio playback and now has a 1 Watt rear facing speaker. We'd prefer front facing stereo speakers but it's much louder than most.

At 13Mp, the rear camera remains the same resolution but various upgrades have been added for photographers. These include a dual-tone flash, 4K video recording and a laser powered auto focus. All this adds up to a sterling camera performance.

Android KitKat comes pre-loaded on the G3 and LG has reworked its user interface on a large scale. Overall, it's simpler, cleaner and looks much more modern. Apps are colour-coded and LG adds plenty of additional features including health tracking, an excellent keyboard and Smart Notice.

Since the screen is so large, there are one-handed operation features, a notification bar button which you can add to the navigation and the ability to run two apps side-by-side.

Battery capacity hasn't increased since the G2 but that removable cover means you can access the battery pack. Wireless charging comes as standard which is great to see.

Despite the Quad HD screen and high clocked processor, we've found the G3 keeps up with rival flagship smartphones when it comes to battery life. It will last a couple of days unless you're doing a lot of tasks which use the display for lengthy periods.

LG has impressed us with the G3 which comes in at under £500 and improves on last year's G2. It packs amazing features including that Quad HD and a camera with a laser auto focus. The device is surprisingly small considering the 5.5in display and we like the more premium design. It's another winner from LG.