Platform Power

In the weeks leading up to this review there seemed to be a litany of headlines crowning the G3 as the new king of the battery life hill in the Android space. Our own battery life results disagreed with the conclusions but I wanted something a bit more concrete. Thankfully with a removable back cover and removable battery, instrumenting the G3 for power analysis is just as easy as it is on the Galaxy S5. Just like we did in our Galaxy S5 review, we measured device level power (with the display enabled) running a number of workloads. As always, all displays were calibrated to the same brightness level (200 nits, full white). Note that we are looking at average power here, not energy consumption. The latter is really what you want to report but for our needs here average power should be good enough.

At idle looking at a white screen the G3 uses more power than a Galaxy S5. Here we see the real burden of using LG's 2560 x 1440 panel, lighting up that many pixels definitely takes its toll on power consumption. Compared to the GS4 however, LG's G3 is an improvement. When asleep and in pocket the GS5 has a negligible advantage, the G3 is fairly close and is clearly better than the Snapdragon 600 based GS4.

The SunSpider results give you the other datapoint that should put to rest the G3's power consumption story. Under a heavy CPU load, the GS5 still manages lower overall platform power although the G3 again is better than the GS4. The SunSpider numbers combined with the idle/white screen numbers are enough to tell the story about G3's battery life vs. Galaxy S5. The G3 has a 5% larger battery but the potential gap in power consumption is much larger.

The video capture, camera preview and GFXBench results are interesting to look at but I wouldn't conclude much here other than to say that the G3 as a platform can consume quite a bit of power under load. For a better look at these scenarios we'd need to integrate power consumption over time to calculate energy usage, which as I mentioned before was beyond what we really needed to do for this review.

The main point here is to settle the debate about the G3's battery life. Yes, it has a larger battery than the Galaxy S5, but that doesn't mean it'll last longer on a single charge. I won't comment on reasons that other battery life tests would conclude differently.

Battery Life and Charge Time Camera Architecture
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  • piroroadkill - Friday, July 4, 2014 - link

    Basically, the screen is stupid, costs more, wastes battery, slows down performance, heats it up so it throttles more, and isn't actually noticeably different compared to 1920×1080 at viewing distance.

    Yeah, so predictable. LG is doing the worst kind of spec-sheet oneupmanship.
  • Homeles - Friday, July 4, 2014 - link

    I picked up a G2 last year, and was a bit frustrated that the G3 came out so quickly. Looks like I'm not missing out.
  • piroroadkill - Friday, July 4, 2014 - link

    Yeah, the G2 is a fine device, and I'd choose the better battery life.
  • mahalie - Friday, July 4, 2014 - link

    The G3 has significantly better battery life than the G2. You can complain that the screen is unnecessary all you want, but the phone performs wells and has great battery life, so what's the issue?
  • fokka - Friday, July 4, 2014 - link

    the g3 beat the g2 in one test here, what numbers are you referring to?

    the issue, as i see it, is that the 1440p display adds cost, decreases performance, battery life and screen brightness, not to mention overall screen quality, compared to using a good 1080p display, all while adding very little in regards to usability and visual advantages.

    many people, me included, think that LG should have gone with a "good ol'" 1080p display in this generation and improved upon the great battery life that the g2 offered, instead of using a 1440p screen with borderline useful benefits mainly for bragging rights.

    of course not everybody agrees with this stance, but it seems to be the one main complaint about this otherwise mighty fine piece of technology.

    and you are right, the g3 (still) performs well and (still) has great battery life, but with a more reasonable 1080p display those points could have improved even more. that's all i (!) am saying.
  • retrospooty - Friday, July 4, 2014 - link

    You may be right about the screen. Looks like some trade-offs were made, but it's still a good phone that stacks up well against it's competitors. It's still a good 5.5 inch phone that is basically the same size as an S5 or One M8. That and I cant remember the last time I had any phone on 100% brightness. I have a G2 now and keep it as 66%. In rare cases I move it up to 70%. 75% is simply too bright to look at.
  • flatrock - Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - link

    I just checked the brightness on my G2. It's at 41% and is plenty bright for indoor viewing at that level. I might put it up to 75% while using it outdoors such as at my son's soccer game. Unless the sun is shining directly on the screen, 100% is overkill. In a dark rooms I set the brightness somewhere in the teens.
  • ColinByers - Monday, September 29, 2014 - link

    Well, LG G3 is definitely one of the better phones on the market, all though there are a few like HTC One M8 and Motorola Moto G that can compete with it (see for example).
  • upatnite2 - Friday, July 4, 2014 - link

    Same thoughts! I can deal with the battery life, but brightness and contrast are major issues. We're seeing at least a few reviews that mention "dim", which isn't a good sign, and I'm starting to wonder about performance after it heats.
    If they put in the same display as last year, LG would sell tons more, and myself included.
    Now, I have to wait to see if the S805 vsn comes to the states and if it's any better, wait for the N6, or get a used G2..
  • HotInEER - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    I agree. 3 things are keeping me from trading in my HTC One M8 for this. The brightness, contrast, and lack of built in wireless charging. I don't want a flip case for that feature. Can't stand them, and sure in the heck are not paying $60 for a stupid case for that. I'd consider buying a additional back for wireless charging, however I've read on numerous sites that the US models do not have the pins.

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