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What buying an LG G3 taught me about the 5.5-inch 'iPhone 6'

What buying an LG G3 taught me about the 5.5-inch 'iPhone 6'

July 17, 2014
Earlier this week, I did the unthinkable. I purchased my first smartphone that wasn’t an iPhone. No, I didn’t replace my iPhone 5s. Rather, I needed to add a line to my account, and in doing so decided to purchase an LG G3. AppAdvice is an Apple-centric website, so I’m not about to offer a full review of LG’s latest flagship device. I’m also not going to use this post to criticize Android or compare it to iOS. What I am going to do is briefly discuss my views on the LG G3’s display, and how that likely affected my “iPhone 6” buying decision.

The LG G3

lg-g3-screencap Announced in May, the LG G3 is now launching around the world. In the United States, the handset is available at AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. The Android-powered smartphone is notable for being the first to offer a 5.5-inch LCD screen with 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, for a pixel density of 534 ppi. By contrast, the iPhone 5s includes a 4-inch Retina display with 1,136 x 640 pixels, with a resolution of 326 ppi.

The display screen size

Like many in the Apple community, I’ve been concerned about the likelihood that Cupertino is about to release a 5.5-inch iPhone 6. I have worried that this screen size is too large for a smartphone. This hesitation is one of the reasons I decided to buy an LG G3. My fears were unwarranted. Thanks to the LG phone's incredibly thin bezels, it doesn’t feel all that much different than an iPhone 5s in my hands. And that was my biggest fear about carrying around a 5.5-inch iPhone 6. Can I use the LG G3 in one hand? Yes, I can. Do I look like a goof carrying around such a large device? That will be up to others to decide, but I don’t believe that I do. One caveat: my hands are slightly larger than average. Those with smaller hands may have some problems. This doesn't, of course, take into account the actual bezel size on the 5.5-inch iPhone 6. Historically, Apple's bezels are large.

Is it all about the pixels?

lg_g3_10 This brings us to the LG G3 screen's industry-leading pixel density of 534 ppi. Yes, it is impressive. However, I’m starting to think we’ve reached the point of diminishing returns regarding pixel density. I spoke to other LG G3 buyers at my local AT&T store. It seems the pixel differences between the new handset and the iPhone 5s really stood out with younger buyers and/or with those who didn’t wear glasses. I’m definitely middle aged, and have been wearing glasses since the fourth grade, so go figure. Did I find the screen on the LG G3 better than the Retina display found on the iPhone 5s? Yes, I did. Would, or should this affect a buying decision? Absolutely not. Of course, this could change when comparing one 5.5-inch screen to another. For now, that comparison isn’t possible.

One final note

Battery life is always an issue with smartphones, and even more so as screen sizes have grown larger. The LG G3 features a 3,000 mAh Li-Ion removable battery. The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 is rumored to include a battery between 1,800 and 1,900 mAh. These possible 5.5-inch iPhone 6 specs are already causing some concern in China. I have the same concerns based on my experience with the LG G3. Even with moderate use, I found that the 3,000 mAh battery on the LG G3 needs to be recharged at least once before the end of the day. This isn’t a problem — assuming that you’re near a power outlet or have a spare charged battery. Because a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will almost certainly not come with a removable battery, be prepared to spend some time recharging it each day.


My purchase of an LG G3 phone has convinced me that a 5.5-inch screen isn’t too large for a smartphone. However, the trade-off for that larger screen is likely to be poorer battery life. Bezel size, and even the weight of the device, could also be factors. If the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 is anything close in size to the LG G3, I'll go with the larger iPhone. Otherwise, I'll select the long-rumored 4.7-inch model.

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