LG G3 full review

LG G3 vs iPhone 5s

If you are making a choice of smartphone, this comparison of the iPhone 5s and LG G3 is a good place to start. You should also read our full LG G3 review and iPhone 5s review articles. And after you have enjoyed this comparison, try our Best Android phone 2014: OnePlus One vs Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8 vs Sony Xperia Z2 vs LG G3 article. If you'd like. It really is your choice - as is the choice between LG G3 and iPhone 5s. Let's try to help you make that choice...

LG G3 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Design and build

The iPhone 5S remains at the pinnacle of precision, metal engineering. Here construction comprises a rather delicate and all-too scratchable aluminium body with aluminosilicate glass front, and glass inset top-and-bottom cheeks behind. At 112g and 7.6mm thick, it's as ridiculously light and thin as before. See also: 27 best smartphones: The best phone you can buy in 2014. 

LG has applied a metal-effect skin to the LG G3's rear for a touch of class, but it is not actually metal so the LG G3 is not as nice in design as the metal iPhone 5s. It is sufficiently stylish for a high-end smartphone. The rear cover of the LG G3 is removable, allowing you to access the also removable battery and microSDXC slot. One up over the iPhone.

But the iPhone is smaller and lighter. The LG G3 is just 8.9mm - pretty thin by any measurement, especially considering the extra tech that is squeezed in. At 75 x 146mm in size, the G3 is a large phone due to its bigger screen size compared to its predecessor and other flagship devices. The LG G3 is a similar size to the Sony Xperia Z2 which has a smaller screen so while this is more impressive work from LG including tiny bezels, it will be a drawback for a lot of users. We find the Z2 somewhat unwieldy and the G3 is in that same category even though LG says the 'floating ark' shape makes it easy to use the phone one-handed.

It's no surprise that the LG G3 has gained some weight considering its overall size but not much at all, 149g up from 143g. More impressive design work from LG. But if it is thin and light you want the iPhone remains the one to get. With one caveat: you will almost certainly want to put your delicate iPhone 5s in a case. The LG G3 feels big enough and ugly enough to look after itself.

LG G3 Both handsets offer colourful option. For the iPhone 5S Apple introduced a new gilt-free option it's calling Gold - gold-effect back and edges with white glass trim. There's the Silver option resembling last year's white/silver iPhone 5. And the most sober of three, and the only one approaching decent availability at launch, is the black and grey model, dubbed Space Grey. It's like the original black iPhone 5, only with a lighter shade of graphite to its back and edges.

Lg G3 Neither the LG G3 nor the iPhne 5s comes with any dust- or waterproof credentials. This may or may not be an important feature to you. We like the way both of these handsets are designed and built. Given the choise we'd go for the bigger but more robust feeling LG G3, but that is a subjective view. Ultimately the choice between big and small depends on how big a display you want, and whether you are prepared to parlay portability for a smaller screen. On which...

LG G3 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Display

The screen is a key difference between this pair, and LG really knows what it's doing in this department. Apple's iPhone 5S still has a 4in display, in a 10:9 aspect ration. You get a resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels, which makes for a pixel density of 326 ppi. It is a more-than decent screen - one that until 18 months ago would have beaten out all comers. However, compared to the larger, Full HD displays of the iPhone 5S's rivals, the screen is starting to feel cramped.

On the LG G3, however, LG has managed to squeeze a 5.5in screen into a chassis barely larger than the screen itself. Not only is the LG G3's screen much larger than that of the iPhone 5s, at 5.5in versus 4in the resolution is also Quad- rather than full-HD. Indeed, the LG G3 has a staggeringly high pixel density of 534ppi. The LG G3's really is a brilliant, brilliant screen.

When Apple first introduced the Retina Display it changed portable screens forever, forcing rivals to up their game. But the LG G3 pushes the iPhone's display into a cocked hat. Next to the LG G3, the iPhone 5s' screen looks inferior. It's that simple. (See also: LG G2 vs LG G3 comparison review.)


LG G3 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Hardware and performance

The LG G3 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, clocked at 2.5GHz. Living up to its name, the G3 has 3GB of RAM but only if you buy the 32GB, the 16GB model has 2GB. (The software is designed for 2GB to the extra on the 32GB device gives headroom.)

It's unsurprising that performance is smooth and nippy. We haven't fully tested the LG G3 yet, but it is certainly a powerful and fast performer. As, of course, is the iPhone 5s - despite nominally inferior hardware.

The iPhone 5S has a 64-bit A7 processor running at 1.2- to 1.3GHz. It's a dual-core Cyclone processor paired with 1GB of DDR3 RAM. We've never found the iPhone to have any major performance issues, and Apple says it's twice as fast as the previous model in both CPU and graphics performance. But that hardware is no match for that of the LG G3. Remember that the feel of performance is as much software- as hardware related.

iPhone 5s On the iPhone 5S the A7 makes iOS 7 buttery smooth. There's nary a judder or stutter when swiping between home screens, or exiting an app and watching your icons fly into place. Apps launch and web pages load faster than ever: the iPhone 5S is simply a joy to use.

Without further testing we'll say only this: if you want a fast, high-end phone, LG G3 or iPhone 5S will be a good choice. (See more at LG G3 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review.)

LG G3 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Storage

The LG G3 comes in 16GB and 32GB flavours, and employs support for microSDXC, allowing you to add an extra 128GB of storage. The iPhone 5s offers greater onboard storage options of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB. But it allows for no expandable storage. You'll see the significance of this when we get to the UK price section. Suffice to say that storage is critical in smartphones, and we'd rather get a 32GB LG G3 and whack in a 128GB expansion card than shell out more than £700 on a 64GB iPhone. But SD cards can lead to marginal drops in performance, so your view may differ.

LG G3 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Battery life

Although the LG G3 has a larger-capacity 3,000mAh battery, it also has a larger, higher-resolution screen that you can expect to quickly drain the battery. However, LG claims it has tackled this issue on three fronts: through adaptive framerates, adaptive clocking and adaptive timing control. We won't know until we've spent some more time with the G3 whether LG has been able to sidestep the screen issue in this manner, but we are pleased to find the LG G3 supports wireless charging, and that its battery is removable - if you wanted, you could carry a spare.

The 5S has a 5.92Wh battery, which if you care about details is 8.6 percent more capacity than the iPhone 5. As ever, it's a built-in, non-swappable lithium-ion battery. Apple says the iPhone 5S will last for up to 250 hours on standby, and 10 hours of talk time. Web surfing is 8 hours on 3G, and 10 hours on LTE and Wi-Fi. Apple claims 10 hours for video playback and 40 hours audio playback, for the iPhone 5S.

Such figures are usually taken with a pinch of salt, but Apple's claims are typically close to the mark. In our video-looping test, the 5S lasted an impressive 11 hours, which compares well with an iPhone 5 (running iOS 7) which managed just shy of nine-and-three-quarter hours, and a Samsung Galaxy S4 which could manage only seven hours.

Bearing in mind the LG G3's bigger screen, and the iPhone 5s' exceptional performance in this regard we the iPhone to be the winner. But we have to give credit to the LG G3 because its battery can be removed and replaced. A very marginal nod to iPhone, with the rider that battery life is pretty evenly matched. (More: LG G3 vs HTC One M8 smartphone comparison review.)

iPhone 5s LG G3 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Cameras

The resolution of the G3 remains at 13Mp compared to the G2 but there are a number of improvements which have been added. For starters there's a dual-LED flash which should come in handy in low light situations.

More impressive is the inclusion of recording video in 4K resolution. That's not a new feature for smartphones but the LG G3's laser auto focus certainly is. The G3 includes optical image stabilisation technology to keep shots shake-free and something called 'touch and shoot' removes unnecessary buttons so you can concentrate on getting the right shot.
At the front is a 2Mp camera which can shoot video in Full HD which LG calls a 'selfie camera', not a front facing camera. However, LG has added the ability to take selfies with a hand movement. The pixels are bigger than the rear camera, the angle has been optimised for selfies and the screen can be used as a sort of flash in dark conditions.

The iPhone 5S has two cameras, a front-facing FaceTime camera and a rear-facing camera known as an iSight camera. The specifications work out as follows.
The iPhone 5S iSight camera has what Apple describes as a 'better 8Mp sensor', than either the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 5C. It lists the sensor as 8 megapixels with 1.5µ pixels. It has ƒ/2.2 aperture and a True Tone flash which has two LEDs, one of which is amber. The FaceTime Camera takes 1.2Mp photos at a resolution of 1280x960, and offers 720p HD video recording.

Importantly, the 5S no longer uses an upscaled 4Mp mode in very low light as the iPhone 5 does, and photos taken in dark conditions have much less noise. In good light, you won’t see a huge difference between images from the two iPhones, but at night, the 5S does a better job.

Neither of these cameras will replace your DSLR. Both are fine quality smartphone cameras. We'll call it a draw as this is at least in part a subjective decision.

LG G3 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Price and UK availability

The LG G3 was only recently unveiled and is unlikely to go on sale before the end of June. LG hasn't yet confirmed UK pricing, but Clove lists the G3 at £499. Expect this to drop after the initial launch. The iPhone 5S is readily available right now with prices starting at £549 if you buy one off-contract from Apple. There are £629 and £709 models, depending on what level of storage you require.

We'd expect a 16GB LG G3 - with the capability to expand storage - to cost less than the equivalent iPhone 5s. The difference at 32GB will be similarly pronounced. For value, we'd have to opt for the LG.

LG G3 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: software

Android vs iOS is a big debate and with iOS 7 comes a major overaul of Apple's mobile operating system. On the plus side, iOS 7 now comes with a much needed quick settings feature called Control Center. There are also other tweaks and improvements such as better multi-tasking and lock screen access to the notification centre.

Apple has the strong App Store store on its side but iOS has a distinct lack of customisability which is Android's major strong point. Android smartphone manufacturers tend to go one of two ways with their Android interfaces; vanilla as Google intended or all-out customisation with their own skin or overlay.

The LG G3 comes with LG's take on Android 4.4 KitKat. This is Google's most mature and easy-to-use mobile OS, albeit overlaid with LG's interface. If you've used LG G2 before you'll know what to expect.

Both phones will offer a stable and easy-to-use interface, with multiple places from which to purchase music and other media. The choice will be a subjective and personal one. If you forced us to make a decision we would say that iOS is better for those new to smartphones, worried about security, or keen to have the latest apps and games first. Android offers greater choice in where to purchase music and movies, and more opportunity for customisation.

LG G3 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: verdict

It's difficult to be entirely prescriptive without fully testing the LG G3, but this much we can say: both the iPhone 5s and the LG G3 are great handsets, and they will cost around the same, with the LG being a bit cheaper. They are fast and well built. On the one hand the LG G3 definitely has the better display, but the iPhone 5s is smaller and easier to operate with one hand. Ultimately your decision will be personal. For me I'd opt for the LG for the display. Your decision may differ! See also: 27 best smartphones: The best phone you can buy in 2014. 


LG G3: Specs

  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS
  • 5.52in IPS LCD display (1440x2560), 534 ppi
  • 2.5GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 2/3GB RAM (storage dependant)
  • 16/32GB internal storage
  • 13Mp rear camera laser AF with dual-tone LED Flash
  • 2Mp front camera
  • Video recording at up to 4K
  • 24bit/192kHz audio
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • NFC
  • Infrared
  • A-GPS
  • HSDPA, 42 Mbps
  • HSUPA, 21 Mbps
  • 4G LTE (Cat 4)
  • Micro-SIM
  • 11.1Wh (3000mAh) battery
  • 75x146x8.9mm
  • 149g