• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

The budget end of the smartphone market is seemingly getting more crowded by the day, with ever more handsets vying for your attention. Having all this choice is great, but it does make it hard for any individual handset to stand out.

It’s this end of the market that the LG K3 enters, and this problem that it’s faced with. Available from around £80 on pay as you go or £9 per month on contract it’s certainly cheap, but that’s no longer enough.

Fortunately, there’s more here than that, with the LG K3 sporting a surprisingly stylish build and some handy camera features.

Screen

The LG K3 has a 4.5-inch 480 x 854 IPS LCD screen, and while this isn’t the highlight of the phone it’s of a competitive quality. At that size and resolution it’s got a pixel density of 218 pixels per inch, which is fairly sharp, especially for a handset that costs under £100.

It’s also quite compact, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your needs, but means you can easily fit it in small bags and pockets, and operate it with one hand.

Design

The LG K3 isn’t as plain as you might expect, with a textured back cover that looks almost like fabric. It’s unusual and looks good, as well as helping it stand out from the affordable crowd.

The K3 is also solidly built, compact and gently curved, making it comfortable to hold. Notably though it lacks the rear keys that have graced a number of LG’s other handsets, but then the company seems to be moving away from those even with its high-end phones.

Power

There’s a 1.1GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM keeping the LG K3 running. We won’t sugar coat it: those are fairly basic specs, but they reach the level where you can expect generally smooth performance whether using apps, navigating the home screens or playing simple games.

It’s also aided by having Android Marshmallow on board, which is only one version behind, and is the same version the vast majority of recent handsets are running, so you’re on a recent, polished version of Google’s mobile OS.

Camera

This is one of the more exciting aspects of the LG K3. Not so much in the core specs, which include a 5MP sensor with an LED flash on the back, and a VGA one on the front, but in the capabilities of the cameras, especially the selfie shooter.

This has a gesture shot function, which lets you activate a 3-second timer just by making a fist, so you can snap selfies even when you’re not holding the phone – which is ideal if you want to get some distance from the camera, so you can fit more into the shot.

It also has a form of flash which works by lighting the screen up as you take the picture. Given that many affordable phones don’t have any sort of front-facing flash this is a notable feature.

The rear camera meanwhile takes reasonable quality shots and is simple to use – just point, shoot and share.

Features

Extra features aren’t something you’d expect in an £80 phone, and indeed they’re not something you get in the LG K3, other than the gesture shot and selfie flash mentioned in the camera section above. Instead it focuses on doing the basics as well as possible.

For a fingerprint scanner or other bells and whistles you’ll have to look elsewhere, but you’ll also probably have to pay more.

Battery life, memory and connectivity

The LG K3 has a 1940mAh battery, which isn’t huge, but is a decent size for a phone this compact – the larger and much higher end iPhone 7 for comparison has a battery that’s only 20mAh bigger at 1960mAh.

And the LG K3’s battery has a trick that most other phones, including the iPhone 7, don’t. Namely, it’s removable.

That has two benefits. Firstly, you could invest in a spare battery and swap between them when out and about, so your phone can last twice as long without a charge. And secondly, if and when your battery wears out – as all batteries eventually do – you’ll be able to replace it very cheaply.

Actual life isn’t amazing, but you should comfortably be able to get a day of use out of the LG K3 between charges, and that’s without swapping the battery.

Memory comes in at just 8GB built in, which isn’t much, even for a cheap handset, but that can be expanded with a microSD card of up to 32GB, giving you plenty more.

Connectivity options include 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1, so it’s got all the basic covered and supports speedy mobile data.

Verdict

The LG K3 is a basic phone, but one which stands out in a few ways, thanks to its removable battery, front-facing camera features, and slightly different design.

Beyond that it handles most things well, and the only real disappointment is the small amount of built in storage – and even that is easily solved if you have a microSD card.

It’s not a super exciting phone, and it’s not packed full of extra features, but for under £100 it’s highly capable and a good choice if you want something cheap but dependable.

If, however you can stretch your budget just a little bit further, consider the LG Leon, while for an extra £50 or so you can get the Samsung Galaxy J3 or ZTE Blade V7 – both of which are far higher quality.

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Specifications

Specifications

Dimensions (mm): 133.8 x 67.7 x 9.4

Weight (g): 127

Battery capacity (mAh): 1940

Colours: Black/Dark Blue

Screen size (inches): 4.5

Resolution: 480 x 854

Pixels per inch (PPI): 218

Processor: Quad-core 1.1GHz

Processor make: MediaTek

RAM: 1GB

Internal storage: 8GB

Expandable storage up to (GB): 32GB

Camera: 5MP (VGA front-facing)

Operating System: Android 6.0

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