LG G3 full review
The smartphone market is as competitive as ever with LG's new G3 about to hit the shops, but how does it compare to the Sony Xperia Z2? Find out which is the best smartphone in our LG G3 vs Sony Xperia Z2 comparison review. See also: 28 best smartphones: The best phone you can buy in 2014.
LG G3 vs Sony Xperia Z2 review: Price
The Xperia Z2 is the older out of these two phones and so its price has come down since launch – Sony's official price is still £569. It's now available SIM-free for around £530 (at the time of writing) which is still a large sum, but not unsurprising for a current flagship model.
The LG G3 will go on sale at the beginning of July and despite being newer, will undercut the Xperia Z2 (and other rivals) at just £499. It's not quite the gap which LG managed with the G2 but is nevertheless impressive.
Read on to find out whether the LG G3 will continue to trump the Xperia Z2 or whether you should spend the extra on Sony's smartphone.
LG G3 vs Sony Xperia Z2 review: Design and build
Even though the G3 and Xperia Z2 have different screen sizes, the two handsets are very similar in size. In fact, LG has managed to make the G3 smaller in height and lighter than the Z2 and it's the one with a bigger screen – it's only marginally wider and thicker, too.
All this is down to very small bezels which LG showcased on the G2 and seems to do better than anyone else.
Sony gets one up in this area with the Z2's dust- and waterproof credentials which LG decided not to opt for with the G3. At the price of port covers (except the headphone), you can fully submerse the Xperia in water and it will also keep out dirt. It's handy for general wear and tear but also things like underwater photography.
Both phones offer premium materials but used in different ways. Although the Z2 is heavier it uses a sleek and stylish combination of aluminium which is sandwiched between a glass front and rear. Meanwhile, the G3 has a similar metal frame around the edge and a plastic cover. The rear cover comes off but has a metallic skin (above) which gives it a premium look and feel.
Unless the waterproof feature is essential, the LG G3 is the winner here.
LG G3 vs Sony Xperia Z2 review: Hardware and performance
Processor and memory
Things are fairly tied under the hood as both the G3 and Xperia Z2 have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor and an Adreno 330 GPU. The G3's chip is clocked slightly higher at 2.5GHz compared to 2.3GHz but we haven't noticed a big difference in performance.
A small difference is that the Z2 has 3GB of RAM but this varies on the G3 depending on what storage capacity you buy.
As we mentioned earlier, the LG G3 has a bigger screen than the Z2. It sounds massive at 5.5in but as we pointed out, thin bezels means the device is no bigger than its rival. Sony has opted for a still ample 5.2in so either way you're looking at a big screen phone. Both are IPS LCD panels so offer great viewing angles.
While the Xperia Z2 sticks to the familiar Full HD resolution, LG pushes things forward with a Quad HD display. That's 1440 x 2560 against 1080 x 1920 and 534ppi compared to 424ppi. There's nothing wrong with a Full HD screen, but the G3's display is absolutely stunning and simply the best on the market currently.
LG's Quad HD display wins here.
The Z2 comes with 3GB of RAM but is only available in a 16GB model in terms of storage. Although the 16GB G3 has 2GB of RAM, there is also a 32GB capacity which has 3GB of RAM. Both phones have a microSD card slot which can accept up to 128GB memory cards.
The higher capacity G3 tips this one to LG.
Other hardware features
It's no surprise that both the LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z2 come with the latest hardware such as dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS, NFC and 4G LTE support. However, there are some differences to point out.
In the audio department, the Z2 has decent stereo speakers and although the G3 has a 1W speaker with an amp, it's rear facing and mono. The G3, however, supports playback of high-res audio (24bit/192kHz).
The LG G3 also has a couple of features which you won't find if you go with Sony. You'll get an IR blaster for controlling devices like your TV and the phone comes with wireless charging as standard.
With more additional features, LG wins this round.
LG G3 vs Sony Xperia Z2 review: Cameras
Smartphone cameras are getting better and better and it's a close call when it comes to the LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z2. That's because they both offer excellent results in still images and video but have some unique features.
The Z2 has a dedicated camera button which not only launches the camera app when you need it (even if the screen is off), but operated the shutter. It's two-stage for focusing then actually taking the shot. The G3 doesn't have such a button but does have a dual-tone flash and a laser auto focus which is super-fast. It also has optical image stabilisation which helps keeps shots shake-free.
Both can record video in up to 4K resolution but it's worth bearing in mind that the Sony does have a 20.7Mp camera against the G3's 13Mp.
This one is particularly hard to call as each has great features and offers high quality results. It's a draw for us.
LG G3 vs Sony Xperia Z2 review: Software
On the face of it, software is another tied area since both are running Android 4.4.2 KitKat. However, with custom user interfaces, things aren't that simple.
While Sony's interface has remains largely unchanged from the original Xperia Z, LG has redesigned its interface for the G3. Which you prefer will largely come down to personal taste but here's how they differ.
Sony's interface is clean, simple and stylish. It's easy to use and navigate but lacks any real unique features so could be described as too simple. Highlights include Sony's widgets and own-brand apps such as Walkman and Album which are better than the standard offering.
We like LG's new user interface, too, with its flat and modern style (below) which used the circle as a motif throughout. On top of the usual Android features, LG adds many of its own. The G3 notification bar has lots of quick settings and sliders for screen brightness and sound. We love KnockON which means you can switch the display on and off with a double tap and KnockCode – an alternative unlocking method.
LG also has various 'Q' apps including QMemo+, QVoice and QSlide. The latter is an alternative to the regular multi-tasking. The size of the screen also means you can run two apps side-by-side which is another bonus.
With Sony's lack of innovation on the software side, LG wins here with its new user interface which not only looks great but is also packed with features.
LG G3 vs Sony Xperia Z2 review: Battery life
With a Quad HD screen, you might think that the LG G3 will offer pretty poor battery life (its battery pack is no bigger than its predecessor's). However, as the firm promised, it has held up very well against rivals including the Xperia Z2. Both devices will last a couple of days unless you constantly watch videos or do a lot of gaming.
It seems like a draw then, but as we mentioned earlier, the LG G3 comes with wireless charging as standard which is better than the metal contacts which allow the Xperia Z2 to be used with a compatible docking station. There's also the fact the G3's battery is removable so you can carry a spare or replace the cell if needs be. These little details hand it to the G3 here.
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
- HSDPA, 42 Mbps
- HSUPA, 21 Mbps
- 4G LTE (Cat 4)
- 11.1Wh (3000mAh) battery