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Look a G3! (No not the plane)

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Look a G3! (No not the plane)
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Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! As promised again, this week we're taking a look at another pretty fantastic device courtesy of our friends at Verizon Wireless - the LG G3.


It's a never ending job keeping up to date on which smartphones and devices are going to be at the top of the heap, and to add to the mix we have the LG G3 which brings some new features that we have not seen from smartphones before.

LG, headquartered in South Korea, has been around for decades and actually was at the forefront of the tech boom in the early days. Of course, when I say the early days, I mean in the last 15 years. Their TVs were very popular, known not only for their quality but also the consumer friendly price point.

In the phone and device world LG had mixed success at first. Initially they made the standard cellphones like everyone else made but they also kept up as the phones added features and became the predecessor to the smartphone. Those feature phones, as they were known, were very popular as well; I owned a number of them myself. Like LG's TVs the feature phones were durable, pretty well advanced and, IMHO, LG seemed to do a better job than most at providing the features and devices that the consumers requested.

However, as the smartphones began to dominate, LG was shuffled behind some of the other brands like Apple, Samsung and Motorola. It's not that they didn't put out a competitive phone, they were just lost in the mix. Well, no more. The G3 comes out of the gate as a ready-to-use, full featured smartphone that packs enough punch to definitely be taken seriously by its competitors.

The phone is big. At 5.76 inches high and just under 3 inches wide, it's not quite as big as the Note but is larger than my DNA and many of the other smartphones out on the market right now. The G3 boasts a 5.5-inch screen, which also incorporates LG's Quad HD display, which claims four times the resolution of regular HD. It is stunning. You don't notice it out of the box with the home screen but take a couple pictures and you'll see what I mean. The G3 also has a 13MP camera which is significantly higher than the usually standard 8MP. They have also incorporated a laser auto focus which uses a laser to measure the distance to the objects in focus to make the image even more clear.

Sure, you may think that the differences are slight between 13MP and 8MP when you're viewing it on a 5.5-inch screen, and you'd be correct. However, you now need to begin taking into consideration apps like Mosaic that allow you to submit photos from your camera for print. Or when you want to send your pictures to Shutterfly to be made into a wedding album as a gift, you will be glad you had that extra resolution.

Don't forget, too, that with that awesome camera and 4 times HD, it also makes for outstanding video quality. Again, it's not so much that you need this to view it on your phone's screen, or even on your laptop, but with LG's history with TVs they understand that now people are streaming content from their phones to larger screens. Having this intense amount of resolution means that you can share your pictures and videos on a large screen TV, or projector, and you won't have pixelation or latency issues like you do when using lower quality feeds.

Like some of the other newer Android phones you can unlock the screen with a double tap. Vice versa, you can also put the display to sleep by double tapping. To expand on that with the G3, though, you can also set up a Knock Code where a customized series of taps will act as your password to unlock the screen.

A couple other interesting features of the G3. The power button and the volume rocker are located on the back of the phone, rather than the sides and/or top like many other devices. The volume rocker isn't so much a rocker on the G3 either - the power button separates the volume controls, so you actually have a series of three buttons on the back. They are indented into the back plate, and I have experience pros and cons to this set up. Because they are all located together, in a centralized location on the phone, it makes it much easier to reach all three buttons for people who don't have large hands, like me. The buttons are also very tactile; you definitely know when you are using them and they are easy to navigate even if you can't see them. One downside to this layout is that they are in a location that virtually no other phone has them so there is a significant learning curve at first. It's hard to get out of the mindset that there are no buttons on the sides of your phone.

The other downside, potentially, is that if you carry your phone in a pocket like I do there is a chance you may bump them accidentally. I didn't have too much of an issue with it - I tend to not have anything else in my pockets to bump into it - and I also can't see inside my pockets when I'm wearing my pants. However, the indents that the buttons are in make the tops of them flush with the back so LG put a lot of thought into the functionality.

Call quality and speaker quality are about what you'd expect from a top-tier smartphone. I was really impressed with the battery, a 3000mAH lithium ion behemoth that ran for hours. Even when the battery ran down when I plugged it in it recharged pretty quickly.

One major plug here for Android, and really every other phone and device other than Apple products, is that it is a huge benefit to be able to use micro-USB cables for everything. I really wish Apple would give in and adapt but I suppose why do that when you can convince millions of people that it's OK to just buy another $20 cable. Doesn't it drive you nuts when you forget your lightning adapter and everyone else only has 30 pin connectors?

The only other thing that you should be aware of is that the headphone plug is at the bottom on the G3 as well - just like the Xperia that I reviewed last week and any number of other devices that are coming out. Personally, I'm just not a fan of that idea. As I mentioned last week, it really doesn't affect me too much as I've switched to Bluetooth headphones but I just don't know why they made that switch. I do think it's more inconvenient on a tablet than smartphones but it still isn't something I'd go out of my way to find.

All in all the G3 is a solid offering from LG and it blazes on Verizon's 4G LTE. I love that LG has continued to innovate not just their software and firmware but also how their hardware makes the experience better as well.

Make sure to check out the G3 if you're looking for a new upgrade, and keep your eye on LG as they continue to produce these highly competitive featured devices.