Amazon is pitching its first smartphone as a fully-fledged rival to market big hitters from the likes of HTC, Samsung and LG, but it's also taking a slightly different approach to that of its rivals. While LG’s G3 handset ticks all of the high-end boxes, the Fire Phone features solid specs, but relies on its standout features to win over consumers. Read on as Gizmag compares the two flagship devices.
The LG device has the larger footprint, coming in at 5 percent longer and 14 percent wider. But the handsets are identical when it comes to thickness.
Despite being the smaller phone, the Fire is actually 7 percent heavier.
There’s a notable difference in build materials, with Amazon opting for an iPhone 4/4S-like Gorilla Glass front and back, while LG goes for a faux-metal plastic design.
There’s a fair bit of choice when it comes to colors for the G3. Amazon’s handset opts for a classic black finish.
The G3 has the more expansive screen here, coming in a full 37 percent larger than the Fire Phone’s offering.
It’s a similar story when it comes to resolution, with the LG device’s 2,560 x 1,440 display leaving the Fire’s 720p offering in the dust.
One of the Fire’s standout features is its Dynamic Perspective technology, which tracks the position of the user’s head and projects a 3D image inwards. The tech can be used in games, as well as for touchless menu scrolling.
The Fire features Amazon’s new Firefly image recognition service that aims to make it easier than ever to shop with the company. The feature has a wide range of functionality, and allows users to point the device’s camera at a product, TV show or movie, or have it listen to music, and have the items in question placed in their Amazon shopping basket.
The Fire Phone makes use of a quad core Snapdragon 800 CPU, while the G3 opts for the newer and slightly upgraded Snapdragon 801. Both are great chips, but the latter just edges out the former.
It’s a mixed bag here, with the Fire offering the higher capacity storage option, but the G3 providing a microSD card slot for expandability.
While the Fire Phone comes fitted with a pretty standard 2 GB RAM, the G3 offers two configurations that are actually linked to your choice of storage option.
The 32 GB version of LG’s handset packs in 2 GB RAM, while the larger capacity 32 GB choice carries a full 3 GB. It’s an unusual setup, and not one that we’ve seen before.
The LG handset carries a larger battery than its rival, but it’s also powering a much larger, higher-resolution display, meaning that it may not translate into better battery life.
It’s a dead heat when it comes to optics, with both handsets providing a 13 MP rear camera and a 2.1 MP front-facing shooter. The Fire Phone actually features five cameras on its front, but four of these are sensors for its facial tracking tech.
Both the G3 and the Fire run on modified versions of Google’s Android OS, but there’s a significant difference in the degree to which the two companies have altered the platform.
While LG has opted to simply overlay its own UI on top of Android 4.4 KitKat, Amazon has reworked the operating system to create its own distinct Fire OS platform, cutting off access to the Google Play Store in the process.
The interface in Fire OS 3.5 has a distinctly darker color palette than its cousin and puts Amazon content first, promoting services like Prime Instant Video to the user. The app selection in the Amazon Appstore is competent, but currently lacks the overall quality and choice found in competing Android or iOS stores. That said, there has been a significant upturn in development for the platform in the last year, so this is only set to improve as time goes on.
Though the LG device hit the market in South Korea in May, availability is only now starting to filter through to other regions.
As of yet, there's no concrete pricing for the G3 in North America, though it is available to pre-order in the UK for £476.00 (US$808).
Amazon's device will ship for $650, the same price point as flagship handsets from Samsung and HTC. The Fire has a lot to offer in terms of unique features, but tends to fall a little short of the mark when it comes to raw specs.