Have you noticed how much smartphone reviewers love superlatives?
Seriously -- it's insane. I've lost count of the number of headlines I've seen proclaiming the LG G3 to be "the best Android phone ever" and other things along those lines. Some of 'em even started showing up from U.S. publications before anyone had actually used a U.S. model of the phone (and remember, the international model didn't fully work on U.S. networks!).
When you follow tech news long enough, it's really no surprise. Practically every major flagship phone that comes out is overhyped and heralded as being "the best" at some point (usually until the next major flagship comes along). I guess it's easy to assess things in those sweeping and sensational terms.
Me? I think it's kind of lazy. Five years ago, when we had just a small handful of Android phone choices with a large amount of disparity between them, it made sense to label one as being "the best" option. Today? Not so much.
The current Android landscape is filled with enticing devices -- and there's really no way to honestly pinpoint any single phone as being "the" universal best choice for everyone. Instead, what we have now is a range of excellent top-tier options. The real question is which one is best for you.
That's why I prefer to take a more nuanced approach with my evaluations. So, sorry to disappoint, but I won't be insulting your intelligence by telling you the LG G3 is the best Android phone you can buy. It's a really good Android phone, to be sure -- but it's surrounded by other really good and even a few really great devices.
I think with the G3 in particular, a lot of folks are basing their judgments on what we see on paper. It's easy to be influenced by marketing, and LG has ticked off almost every box imaginable when it comes to the phone's specs. The thing's got a Quad HD display and laser-focusing camera, for cryin' out loud.
But specs don't tell the whole story, and as a consumer myself, I'm far more interested in overall user experience -- the big picture of what a device is actually like to use in the real world. Unlike the typical tech reviewer, most consumers don't lose interest in a smartphone as soon as another one shows up. And most consumers care more about how a device works in their day-to-day lives than how many pixels it has or whether a laser is involved in its photo-taking process.
To its credit, the G3 gets a lot of things right. But ironically enough, the areas that LG is focusing on the most with its marketing are the ones that are least significant in the real world. The Quad HD display, impressive as it may sound, doesn't look noticeably better than the 1080p screens on other high-end phones. And laser-focusing camera or not, the G3 isn't exceptionally fast at snapping pics or especially skilled at capturing moving objects in photos.
The G3's strongest points are its design, which is sleek and attractive and manages to pack an oversized display into a surprisingly comfortable frame, and the display itself, which truly is a beaut. The Quad HD designation may not mean much in practical terms, but the G3's screen is still one of the finest you can feast your eyes on today.
The phone's weakest points, meanwhile, are its performance -- despite having an impressive-sounding processor and oodles of RAM, the G3 is actually slower and choppier than any other flagship I've tested in the past year -- and its software, which is rather bloated and convoluted. LG's poor track record and lack of commitment with upgrades also concern me, especially considering that a major Android release is right around the corner.
For me, my general recommendations revolve around overall user experience -- and because of that, the HTC One (M8) and Motorola Moto X remain at the top of my list. The G3 is a fine device that I wouldn't steer anyone away from, so long as they're comfortable with its caveats, but it also isn't the first device I'd suggest for someone just looking for an outstanding all-around out-of-the-box experience.
The ultimate question, of course, is what you're looking for -- and whether the G3 is right for you. I've been living with the phone for the past several days to help you figure that out.
Take a few minutes to step into my shoes, and I suspect you'll get a little closer to finding your answer. My in-depth journey starts here: