I’ve always thought large phones are no use to the average consumer. I’m a small woman and all my phones have had screens of less than 5 inches. That changed when the LG G3 landed on my desk. Its screen clarity and good specs almost won me over.

Size and shape

Like most women I carry my phone in a handbag pocket. The first thing I noticed was the G3 barely fitted, which didn’t bode well for clothes pockets. While it could just fit in my pants pockets, its size and smooth lines meant with each step it worked its way out a little more, until it would have fallen out.

The smooth, slim look gives the G3 style but makes long phone calls difficult and uncomfortable. The thin edge was uncomfortable and cut into my hand when talking for more than 10 minutes. A case could make this easier by cushioning the edge of the phone.

Screen

I immediately loved the resolution of the HD 5.5 inch screen. It was crisp, clear and the colours had great depth. I watched more videos on this phone than on my beloved tablet.

The upgrade to Lollipop (the latest version of Android) arrived a few weeks after I started using the phone. Upgrading was easy and didn’t take long, although I suggest backing up your phone beforehand just in case. The new Android looks good on the crisp screen of the G3 and I had no trouble with app compatibility.

Annoyances

The similarity and proximity of the power and camera buttons was annoying. They’re the same size and shape, and I regularly tried to unlock the phone with the camera. Eventually I used LG’s “knock code” instead – a useful tool where you can tap a pattern on the screen, even when the screen is off. But I did have minor issues with it. Even when the screen was on and I tapped within the defined area it sometimes wouldn’t register the knock.

The position of the headphone port was the most annoying feature. I often listen to music or podcasts at my desk, so when I plugged in the headphones it was irritating to find I couldn’t place the phone on the display stand. And I couldn’t flip the phone and use it upside down – the screen doesn’t automatically rotate 180 degrees (it will auto rotate 90 degrees so you can watch videos comfortably). This is also a problem when charging the phone on a short cable.

Eventually I downloaded an app that forces the screen to rotate to a selected orientation. Apart from the orientation of the knock code not changing, it worked perfectly.

Verdict

The LG G3 is a stylish phone with a great screen and good sound. If the size was more manageable I’d happily keep using it. I’m a fan of full specs in mini handsets, such as the Sony compact series. I shouldn’t have to compromise performance just because I need a smaller screen.

Essential specs

  • Price: $554-$698
  • Size: 16GB

First Looks are trials of new or interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons.

By Erin Bennett.