As a longtime Apple fan it has been a while since I really looked at an Android phone closely, so when LG offered to let me test drive their G3™ I was curious to see how it compares to the iPhone. I currently use an iPhone 5 and my husband has an iPhone 6, so I was able to compare it to both of these. I tested a 32GB LG 3™ on the Verizon network.
The G3™ is very comparable in size to the iPhone 6, and both of them make my iPhone 5 look tiny! It measures 5.76″ x 2.94″ x 0.35″ compared to the iPhone 6 at 5.44″ x 2.64″ x 0.27″ (the iPhone 6+ is 6.22″ x 3.06 ” x 0.28″)
It has a much more organic feel compared to the iPhone’s more boxy look, and it has a curved back which feels pretty comfortable in the hand. Although it is similar in size to the iPhone 6 it has a 5.5″ screen like the iPhone 6+. For comparison in the picture below you can see the G3™ (in green case) in between an iPhone 6 (blue case) and iPhone 6+ (clear case.) Although it is much larger than my iPhone5 I found it quite comfortable to hold and use.
One place the G3™ really stands out, in my opinion, is in it’s screen – its display really is stunning. The display is a 5.5″ Quad HD with 538 pixels per inch, compared to the iPhone 6’s retina display with 326 ppi (the iPhone6+ has 401 ppi). Because it has no real bezel the screen covers virtually the entire front surface of the phone. The difference in resolution is really noticeable when viewing movies, although I like watching movies on my iPad I’ve never really enjoyed watching them on my iPhone, but on the G3™ the clarity and image sharpness makes movie watching enjoyable even on a 5.5″ screen.
The G3™ has a 13MP rear- facing and 2.1 MP front-facing camera, compared to the iPhone 6’s 8MP rear and 1.2MP front-facing cameras. It has laser auto-focus and image stabilization and can also record HD video.
I was impressed with the camera on the G3™, it took clear sharp, well focused images. The lens is much more zoomed-in than the iPhone 5 or 6, which is great for taking portraits or close-ups. For most of the photos I want to take with my phone the G3 was easier to compose the shot wanted than the iPhone but it was not as for a wide angle view. Like the iPhone the G3 has a panorama option when you want a really wide field of view.
A fun feature is the picture in picture option, which lets you combine images from both cameras into one shot, so you can add a selfie to your landscape showing you and your location. A nice extra feature is “Magic Focus.” which lets you adjust the focal point after you take the picture, so you can correct your mistake if the picture is not focussed the way you would like.
The G3™ utilizes gestures for taking selfies without touching the screen, and there is an option to add voice control for taking pictures too. To switch between forward and rear facing cameras you swipe the screen, this is simple once you know how, but early on I did accidentally switch to selfie mode whilst taking pictures several times and had a hard time working out how to get out of it!
At first I was confused about how to take a picture, as unlike the iPhone you don’t tap on a virtual button to take the picture but instead tap anywhere on the screen. I soon got used to this and found it very convenient, so much so that I now keep forgetting that tapping anywhere doesn’t work on my iPhone!
Overall, I was very happy with the picture quality and camera features and I liked the camera better than the one on my iPhone 5.
LG have replaced most of physical buttons on the G3™ with virtual buttons, which makes for a very different user experience than the iPhone. The only remaining physical buttons are on the back of the phone, these are the power button and the volume controls. The display can be switched on by double tapping in the centre of the screen and off by double tapping on the top of the screen. You can add a level of security by changing the screen-on code to your own unique 3-8 point knock code, with over 86,000 different possible combinations.
The physical home button is replaced by a virtual home button accessed by swiping up from the bottom center of the screen, allowing the bezel to be much reduced in size giving a larger usable screen area.
The home screen contains the current weather, notifications, Google search and a small selection of your most used apps, but there is a shortcut button to quickly access all your full app selection. Swiping left from the home screen allows you to access Google Health and “Smart Tips” which is a good place to get started in learning all about the phone’s features.
It took me a while to discover the “help” and “info” buttons which are in the “info-zone” on the second home screen, I’d really like to see a shortcut to the help area visible on all screens, early on I did find several times that I got “stuck” in a screen or mode and didn’t know how to exit it. There is a “help” app you can drag to the home screen, but took me a while to discover that.
When using the phone to play apps and surf the web it was very responsive with no lag noticeable, it has a Qualcomm Quad core processor that works well.
It has a number of other cool features including the ability to use the phone as an IR remote control, the ability to answer an incoming call simply by bringing the G3 to your ear, and to switch off a ringing alarm just by turning the phone over. The keyboard also has some nice features including the option to split the keyboard so you can type with both hands, a one-handed keyboard option and word prediction that worked pretty well for me.
At first I found the lack of a physical home button, and using gestures to control so many features of the G3, very difficult to get used to. However, the more I used G3 the more comfortable I became with the gesture controls, and over time I actually grew to like them. Once you have learned the gestures they work well. All the information on how to use the gestures is accessible in the G3, but an easier to find “help” button would be really useful when still on the learning curve.
I really like how the absence of a physical home button increases the useable screen size, and having no buttons on the sides of the phone gives it a very streamlined feel, but I find the location of the volume control buttons somewhat awkward.
Like many Android phones The G3 has a microSDHC card slot allowing you to easily upgrade its memory, I really wish Apple would add this to the iPhones! It comes with 32GB memory but the microSDHC card slot can add up to 2TB.
The 2 things I really love about the G3 are its HD Quad screen and the camera. The screen really is beautiful- much better than the iPhone 5 or iPhone 6, I have never been interested in watching movies on my phone before but this screen converted me! The 13MP camera is great too – the pictures come out sharp and clear, and the camera has some nice additional features.
As a die-hard Apple fan I still find the Apple ecosystem easier to navigate than Android, but the G3 has enough great features that I will no longer automatically choose another iPhone when I next upgrade. For those looking for a new Android phone I would definitely recommend the LG G3™, and even as a long-time Apple fan I would give the G3 serious consideration, it really is a very nice phone.
The LG G3™is available from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Best Buy and Amazon price varies depending on contract.
||Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold
||Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 801 Quad-Core Processor up to 2.5 GHz
||Android 4.4.2 KitKat
||3,000mAh / Removable /
Optional Wireless Charging
||5.5″ Quad HD (2560 X 1440) IPS
||13MP Optical Image Stabilization+
with Laser Auto Focus
||1W Speaker with Boost Amp
|Bluetooth 4.0 LE (APT-x)
||HDMI supported through SlimPort
|Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
||3GB RAM / 32GB Memory
(24GB user memory)
||microSD up to 2TB**
What we love…
Gives children too young for a cellphone an easy way to call their parents or be called by them, GPS location, reasonably priced
What we’d love to see…
More face options, digital watch display, ability to switch on realtime tracking and prevent band from being removed
I think I think this is a really useful device and it is a great deal. I would love to see some more “tween-friendly” design options as I think the 8-12 year olds are a great target audience for this device but may be put off by its young look.
The GizmoPal is a GPS tracker and 2 way communication device from LG available exclusively through Verizon. It is designed to help parents keep in contact with their children when they are apart. It is linked to a parents Smartphone and up to 2 addional caregivers can be added. With a simple touch of a button the child can call their parent or vice versa. It is available in blue or pink.
I tested the GizmoPal with my 11 year old son and my 7 year old. The 11 year old he in 5th grade and I’m not yet ready to give him a cellphone but at the same time I would love him to have some independence to walk to the library after school or a friends house, and I’d love him to have an easy way to call me during those times.
Look and Fit
The face of the Gizmopal is quite large but it fits quite well on my 11 year old’s wrist, on the 7 year old the face was wider than his wrist so it did look big on him although the strap could tighten enough for him to wear it. The designs of the 2 color options do look like they are for very young children it would be nice to see an older child designs, or a skin option to change the look of the device, as I think kids in late elementary school are a great target audience for this device but they may be put off by the young look of the device.
To use the GizmoPal you download the GizmoPal App (available for Android and iOS) and pair the primary caregivers Smartphone to it. You can also can adjust settings and add caregivers from the app. Two people (phone numbers) can be allocated as caregivers- each of these can not only call and be called from the GizmoPal, they can also use the app to change settings and check the GizmoPal’s location. Two more phone numbers can be allocated as contacts: these have more limited privileges they can call the GizmoPal (their calls are limited to one minute duration), but the GizmoPal can’t call them and they can not access the app.
You can set the app up to automatically check the child’s location at pre-set times of day such as checking they arrive at school on time or make it home after school. You can also check their location at any time, this can take up to 3 minutes to locate them. In the settings you can adjust the volume of the band and switch fun sounds and ringtones on or off. You can also check the battery level of the GizmoPal and remotely turn it off (though you can not switch it back on remotely). In the app options you can choose to activate auto-answer – if the child doesn’t answer the call within 10 seconds the GizmoPal will automatically answer the call, this is especially useful when using it with younger children.
Once it is set up you can call the GizmoPal just like calling a cellphone. The child can also easily call you, touching the call button gives them instructions on how to call “press call button once to call xxx” , “press call button twice to call yyy.” When you set up the contacts via the app you can choose from a variety of titles for each contact e.g. mom. mama, dad, aunt, grandma, grandpa, if the person is not listed they are called caregiver (you can’t enter a personalized name e.g. Mary.)
My older son has been wearing his GizmoPal regularly to school and it has been really useful if I’m running late to pick him up I can just cal him or if he is going somewhere after school such as to the library or a friends house I can call him to see if he arrived safely or just check his location via the GPS. It gives me a lot of peace of mind knowing if he needs me he can call just by pressing a button. I find that I typically need to charge the GizmoPal about every 5 days which works well for our schedule. He has used it on weekends too but we did sometimes have issues with not being able to use it when outside areas of good cell phone coverage. The GizmoPal is worn like a watch and he needed to remove his watch to wear it, it can tell the time (by speaking it) but has no visual display of the time, so in class it was hard for him to know the time so it would be nice to see a digital clock added to the face.
My younger son used the GizmoPal over the weekend when we were on an overnight field trip to a local aquarium with his Cub Scout pack. It was useful because he has a tendency to spot a friend and go to join them instead of staying by my side, so I’d often turn around and see he wasn’t there. With lots of different directions he could go in it was great to be able to call him and remind him not to run off and to be easily able to relocate him. I did wish at times though that I could have it pick up faster than 10 seconds as that can seem a long time to auto-answer when your 7 year-old is out of sight. It was also great for him to have a way to call me, we stopped at a local Toys R Us on the way home and he got lost amongst the toy aisles as he hunted for Legos, and he gets very worried when he realizes I’m not in sight but with the GizmoPal he could call me and tell me where he was.
There are some improvements I would like to see in future updates, I can see 2 distinct markets for the device-1) preschool and early elementary school kids and 2) late elementary school and middle school kids who don’t yet have a cellphone. For the younger kids using it I’d love to see a band that they can’t take off and a warning sent to the caregivers phone if it is removed, I’d also love an option in the app to disable switching it off at the device. For the older kids I’d love to see more grownup looking face designs, or a skin option to change the look of the device and the addition of a digital watch display. For both age groups I’d also love to see an option to switch on the tracking continually in real-time if this was on continually it would drain the battery but I’d love to be able to activate it if needed. This would be useful if they are walking from your house to a friends house in the neighborhood you can watch them as they travel, or in an emergency situation e.g. a lost child who is not answering the call you can more easily track them.
Overall, I think I think this is a really useful device and it is a great deal – it costs $79.99 to buy then $5 per month on a Verizon Wireless MORE Everything plan. I would love to see some tweaks made to the device to make it even more useful especially adding some more “tween-friendly” design options as I think the 8-12 year olds are a great target audience for this device but may be put off by its young look.
Standby Time: Up to 148.8 hrs
Usage Time: Up to 2.5 hrs.
Weight: 1.48 oz.
Width: 1.37 in.
Height: 2.17 in.
Battery: 400 mAh
Compatibility: Android 4.0 or higher, iOS 7 or higher
Requires Verizon Wireless Cellphone service ($5 per month to add to a Verizon Wireless MORE Everything )
GizmoPal – Verizon Wireless
by Verizon Wireless
Category: Lifestyle, Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 33.5 MB
Screenshots (Click to enlarge)