For a while now, LG has been trying to make it big in the smartphone segment. Around three months ago, LG had launched its flagship smartphone, the LG G3, which created quite a stir in the market with its 2K display and laser-assisted focussing camera. Soon after, LG unveiled the G3’s successor, the LG G3 Beat on the shelves.
The LG G3 Beat, also known as the LG G3 S, is essentially a ‘mini’ version of LG’s flagship smartphone, the LG G3. Physically, it looks exactly similar to the LG G3, except for its smaller size. However, the technical specifications of the mini version are also comparatively lower to its bigger sibling. We had a hands-on experience with the LG G3 Beat, and here is what we drew out of the smartphone’s experience.
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Design and build
The LG G3 Beat has a plastic chassis. However, the matte-finish exterior on the rear panel compliments the overall aesthetics of the smartphone. In spite of the material it’s built of, the phone feels pretty sturdy and tough. The size of the smartphone is just about right; it is very comfortable to hold and has a decent one-hand usability.
The LG G3 Beat sports a 5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. The front panel sports an earpiece and a 1.3MP front camera, along with a few sensors and a notification LED next to it. The front panel is glossy, and it comes along with factory-fitted screen guard to protect it from unwanted scratches and smudges. The absence of a scratch-resistant screen is the reason for the screen guard. However, the screen guard, which is made of plastic, gets scratched pretty soon, which could force you to replace it every few months.
Similar to all smartphone available in the market, the Beat does not feature any physical button on its sides for power, volume and alike. Instead, it sports a physical power/lock button, along with a volume rocker, on its rear panel, placed below the rear camera. The 8MP camera sits between an LED flash and the laser focus. A mono speaker is built on the bottom left of the rear panel.
The top edge of the phone features an IR transmitter and a voice cancellation microphone. An audio jack, the micro USB and the primary microphone are placed on the bottom. The LG G3 Beat is 10.3 mm thick and weighs 134g.
Although, the smartphone deserves almost a perfect score when it comes to its ergonomics, we noticed that the back panel is not well flushed with the bezel and leaves a slight recess. We wouldn’t point this out as a design flaw, but it definitely affects the smartphone’s aesthetics to an extent.
Under the hood
The LG G3 Beat is built around a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset, which features a quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex A7 processor, 1GB of RAM and an Adreno 305 graphics processor. The smartphone has a built-in storage of 8GB, which is expandable up to just 64GB using a microSD card. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot and a Micro USB 2.0. Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and an NFC are also included.
The LG G3 Beat is fuelled by a Li-ion 2540 mAh battery, which is normally expected to run for a good 17 to 18 hours. However, in case of this smartphone, most likely due to the KnockOn feature (turn on the phone with knock codes) the capacitive touch sensors on the display screen are perpetually active, even when in standby modes, ultimately draining out the battery sooner than expected. Only if LG could look into this issue, and place an option to turn it off when not required.
User interface and performance
The LG G3 Beat is powered by the latest Android KitKat 4.4.2 operating system with LG’s custom user interface. Although the interface looks almost as close as the stock UI, this one differs primarily on the lock screen, carrying circular motifs throughout.
The app drawer can be personalized; apps can easily be uninstalled or rearranged according to a user’s preference. The LG G3 Beat comes preinstalled with a QuickRemote app, which allows the user control a television by using it as an IR remote (universal).
The user interface of the LG G3 Beat is well adapted by the hardware, with smooth transitions and absolutely no jitters or hiccups. Multi-tasking is great—offering an effortless performance, altogether.
As mentioned earlier, the LG G3 Beat features a 720 x 1280 pixel IPS LCD capacitive display with 294 ppi pixel density. The picture quality is crisp, sharp and bright, and looks better than conventional HD displays. However, we feel that since its predecessor, the LG G3, featured a 2K display, this one should have featured a full HD.
The display has a great viewing angle, and the display legibility in bright sunlight is pretty good, which means the screen of the smartphone is clear enough to read even in bright sunlight.
The LG G3 Beat features an 8MP camera with a laser-assisted autofocus, and a 1.3MP on the front. The laser-assisted autofocus mechanism is great for quick photo capturing, especially action shots. The laser prefocuses the frame in advance and enables the camera to capture the moment quickly without you having to lose out on the exact event.
Pictures taken early morning are bright and sharp with a good balance of colors and contrast. However, brighter images turn out to be a too grainy due to the auto sharpening of the images by the camera app. The quality of zoomed in shots are below average and the quality of pictures taken in low light are pretty same.
The front camera, attempts to cater to the selfie addicts with an option to adjust the brightness before clicking a picture, however, we felt the camera is a bit disappointing, when compared to what LG’s competitors are offering.
Below are a few pictures taken from the LG G3 Beat:
Verdict and pricing
The LG G3 Beat is a decent phone that will leave a user self-appeased. It is priced at an MRP of Rs 25,000, which we think is a reasonable price for the bracket it falls in, being a branded handset. However, when it comes to its camera, which is supposed to be its main USP, we think the Beat could have been much better.
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