The LG G2 had, on its release, arguably the best camera to be found on a smartphone. Jon Devo discovers whether LG has managed it again with its follow-up LG G3

LG-G3-backLG G3 smartphone at a glance:

  • 13-million-pixel camera
  • Laser-guided autofocus
  • 5.5in Quad HD (2560 x 1440-pixel) 538ppi display
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • Price: £450 (also available on contract)
  • Website: www.lg.com

LG’s latest flagship smartphone, the G3, features a guided autofocus system that intermittently sends out a conical beam of light from a Class I low-power laser, which helps the camera to detect nearby subjects (up to about 4.5m) even in relative darkness. It provides fast focusing in ambient light, in 0.276secs, and much better focusing in low light.

The G3 has OIS+ stabilisation, but LG has retained the 1/3.06in, 13-million-pixel Sony IMX135 imaging sensor and lens, with a maximum aperture of f/2.4, found in its predecessor, the G2. The G2’s camera performed well, but it would have been good to see more significant advances. The user interface has been cleaned up and images look glorious on the G3’s screen, but you can’t adjust settings – fortunately, exposures are usually good. The G3 also has a 2.1- million-pixel, front-facing camera with responsive gesture triggering, and a flash feature gives extra light, which is handy for self-portraits.

LG G3 smartphone – key features

Low-light shooting

Small beams of light are fired in a cone shape from a Class I low-powered laser on the rear of the phone, which can detect the distance of nearby subjects.

Video

Records full HD, 1920 x 1080-pixel footage, as well as 4K-resolution, 3840 x 2160-pixel video, both at 30fps.

Dual flash

A dual LED on the rear of the device can evenly light a small group of people in low light while avoiding the rabbit-in-the-headlights look if your subject is too close to the camera.

Front-facing light

LG has harnessed the brightness of the screen when using the front-facing camera to provide ambient light, by shrinking and centring the picture inside a warm white frame.

LG G3 smartphone – verdict

Last year, the LG G2 was arguably the best camera on a smartphone, until its rivals fought back. The G3, with improved focusing, processing and OIS+, is a good response from LG and can produce stunning images as good as those of many similarly priced compact cameras. However, its camera options offer no manual control over ISO, shutter speed, aperture and the like.

SCORE: 4 out of 5

You may wish to consider:

Sony Xperia Z2

Sony-Xperia-Z2

Price: £499
Website: www.sonymobile.com
Sony has finally nailed great camera performance in its smartphones. The X2 has a 20.7-million-pixel, 1/2.3in BSI CMOS sensor, shoots 4K video, has a Sony G-type 27mm (equivalent) f/2 lens – and is waterproof.

Samsung Galaxy S5

samsung-galaxy-s5

Price: £549
Website: www.samsung.com
The S5 focuses quickly, but not as fast as LG’s G3. Colours are a tad oversaturated and low-light images suffer harsh noise reduction, although on the whole are rich and well exposed. On the S5 screen, they can look spectacular.

Nokia 808 PureView

nokia-808-pureview

Price: £378
Website: www.nokia.com
A 41-million-pixel sensor grabs the attention and, thanks to Nokia’s PureView technology, the boundaries for what is possible in a smartphone have been pushed forward. Detail is stunning, unmatched by its rivals, although it struggles in low light.