LG G4 vs. LG G3: Worth the Upgrade?


LG G4LG G3
Display5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 IPS Quantum5.5-inch 2560 x 1440
Processor and RAMQualcomm Snapdragon 808, 3GB RAMQualcomm Snapdragon 801, 3GB RAM
Camera (Rear/Front)16-MP/8-MP13-MP/2.1-MP
Battery3,000-mAh, removable3,000-mAh, removable
DesignHand-crafted leather or plasticLightweight polycarbonate
Size and Weight5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches, 5.47 ounces5.8 x 2.9 x 0.35 inches, 5.3 ounces
Storage32GB, expandable via microSD32GB, expandable via microSD

The LG G4 sure is pretty, but what makes it different from the G3? Quite a lot, actually. LG's new flagship comes in a sophisticated leather coating, offers a display that promises better colors than ever, and boasts a revamped camera that's built to replace your DSLR. If you're wondering if the G4 is worth the upgrade, here's how the new phone compares to its predecessor.

Design and Display

The G4 retains the core of the G3's design, with a curved backside and the unique rear-facing volume and home buttons that have become signature of the G series. What's new, however is the phone's optional leather chassis that gives the G4 a distinct, premium look without aping the more metal-minded designs of the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6. There's also a plastic version of the G4, but compared to its luxurious leather counterpart, it just looks like more of the same.

The G4's 5.86 x 3 x 0.24-0.39-inch frame is almost identical in size to the G3, and while the phone is slightly heavier than its predecessor (5.47 ounces vs 5.3 ounces), it feels just as comfortable to hold thanks to its ergonomic backside.

LG's new flagship has the same 5.5-inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel quad-HD display as its predecessor, but there's one key difference: Quantum technology. The G4's IPS Quantum display is built to deliver colors that are 25 percent richer, with contrast levels that are up to 50 percent better than that of the G3.

MORE: LG G4 Hands-on: The Galaxy S6 Has Competition

Camera

The LG G3's camera was superb, but the G4's vast shooting improvements just might warrant an upgrade on their own. The phone's sensor has been bumped from 13 to 16 megapixels, with improved optical image stabilization and a 1.8 aperture that LG says lets in 80 percent more light.

The biggest changes to the G4 can be found in Manual Mode, which attempts to mimic pro-grade cameras by offering fine control over things such as focus, shutter speed, white balance and ISO. You can even save photos as RAW files, which are ideal for post-shot edits. The G4 camera now starts up in a snappy 0.6 seconds, and its new color spectrum sensor captures more accurate hues in auto mode.

LG's flagship also received a big bump in the selfie department, with a 8-MP front-facing camera that's notably sharper than the G3's 2.1-MP shooter. The G4's selfie gesture controls allow you to snap shots without tapping the screen, and you can now easily check your most recent selfie by quickly moving the phone close to your face after taking a photo.  

Specs and Features

Naturally, the G4 packs more power than its predecessor, with a new Snapdragon 808 processor and 3GB of RAM compared to the G3's Snapdragon 801 CPU. The phone's 3,000-mAh battery is removable just like the G3's, and is estimated to last 20 percent longer. The G3 lasted roughly 8 hours on our battery test, and we're eager to see just how much better the G4's endurance truly is.

LG fans fearing that the company would pull a Samsung can rest easy -- the G4 still has a microSD slot for extra storage.

Running Android 5.1 Lollipop, the G4's new UX 4.0 is designed to deliver a more streamlined and user-friendly experience. The phone's sped-up camera is complemented by a Quick Shot option that lets you open the camera app with a few taps of the rear key, and a beefed-up gallery makes it easier to speed through years' worth of photos.

Outlook

If you already own an LG G3, the best reason to pick up a G4 would be to take advantage of its even-sharper, feature-packed camera. Fashion-forward shoppers might be enticed by the new leather chassis alone, but if you're already a fan of the G3's design, there's no big rush to jump ship just yet.

As for the G4's other improvements, we'll have to see how they hold up in the real world before determining whether they make the upgrade worth it. If the G4 ultimately does deliver on its promise of a more colorful display and better battery life, it could make that decision a little easier. Stay tuned for our full review.

Mike Andronico is an associate editor at Tom's Guide. Follow Mike @MikeAndronico and on Google+. Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+