LG G3 updates the luxury smart phone

LG has revamped its flagship smart phone and debuted the G3, a handset that features a simple aesthetic with a powerful interior. Will it catch on in a competitive mobile market dominated by Samsung and Apple?

Ahn Young-joon/AP
LG Electronics' new G3 smart phones are displayed during its unveiling ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, on May 28, 2014. LG's new smart phone provides sharper pictures than other leading phones, while sporting a customizable keyboard that promises to make typing easier.

What type of smart phone would you get if you combined Mercedes Benz, Nespresso coffee makers, and Dyson Airblade hand dryers together?

To find out, take a look at the new LG G3 smart phone. Ramchan Woo, LG’s director of smart phone planning, explained at the product launch on Tuesday that each of these brands was an inspiration for reinventing the flagship G3 smart phone line as simple, though top-of-the-line. This is the third revamp to the Korean smart phone maker’s main line of handsets, as it attempts to have a bigger presence in the consistently competitive smart phone market.

The G3 offers improved specs over other luxury smart phones, a feat as smart phone makers such as Samsung and Apple have released impressive handsets over the past year. The G3 has the first "quad-HD" screen released in the US, boasting a 2,560-by-1,440 display with 538 pixels per inch on a 5.5-inch screen. This device definitely falls in the phablet category, but with its high resolution, users also have a vastly improved screen to go with the bigger size.

That being said, Dr. Woo added “one of the first challenges was to make users feel like the phone is smaller than it is." In order to do that, the metallic back of the phone is slightly curved, which, he says, fits better on the palm.

Internally, the phone is anything but simple. It boasts a 2.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, and will run on Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Customers have a choice of 16 GB or 32 GB with 2 GB or 3 GB of RAM. There is also a microSD slot that will expand storage up to 128 GB. The G3 has a 13-megapixel camera with a feature called “Laser Auto Focus” that measures the distance and focuses on an object using a laser beam. Yes. A laser beam. LG says this is key for phone-first photographers (a.k.a. nearly anyone with a smart phone today).

"Fuzzy pictures of your son scoring his first football goal or missed shots because your camera couldn't decide quickly enough which toddler in the playground to focus on is virtually a thing of the past," LG says.

There is also a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera with a larger image sensor and larger aperture (the latest in selfie technology).

The rise of WhatsApp and the popularity of other short messaging apps hasn't been lost on the G3. The device features a keyboard that learns your texting style and adjusts to reduce typos.

The device will be available this summer from all four major carriers in five colors, though a price has yet to be announced. In South Korea the price is set at 899,800 Korean won or about $880. In the states, the phone will likely cost much less, assuming you opt for the standard two-year contract. 

This spring has been a hot one for smart phone makers, as Samsung and HTC both unveiled new versions of their flagship devices. Some speculate Apple may show off its latest device in August. In the meantime, the smart phone mobile market only grows. Mary Meeker, partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and highly-reference tech trend forecaster, unveiled her annual trend report on Wednesday. She pointed out that in 2013 mobile data consumption was up 81 percent and people spent 20 percent of their time on mobile devices. The coming year, those numbers are only likely to increase as Internet and smart phone access expands.

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