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Summary:

This week finally saw the launch of LG’s G3: Will the extra bells and whistles entice buyers to choose it over the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8? AT&T is readying the Asus Padfone X and Cliq is a nifty NFC case.

android-this-week

With Samsung and HTC launching their Android flagships earlier this year, it’s LG’s turn. This week, the company officially introduced a phone we unofficially knew everything about: The LG G3 is available in South Korea with many markets around the world to follow in the coming weeks and months.

LG G3 colors

While competing high-end phones settled on similar hardware qualities, LG decided to try and one-up the competition. A 1080p display wasn’t good enough; instead, the G3 uses a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 screen, packing in 538 pixels per inch. Even though it has a larger screen, the phone isn’t much bigger than the Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8.

Another big difference in the G3 is the first laser autofocus camera system. LG says the phone can focus on an object in two or three tenths of a second and once my review unit arrives, I’ll put that claim to the test. The camera uses a 13 megapixel sensor and has optical image stabilization to reduce lens vibrations when snapping photos. The company also beefed up its own Android software with a new intelligent keyboard and security app.

LG may be more of a household name in the U.S. when it comes to phones than Asus, but AT&T is trying to change that. After debuting the Asus PadFone X at January’s Consumer Electronics Show, the device is almost in stores. The carrier is taking email addresses from interested consumers now with pre-orders to start on June 6.

PadFone X featured

Asus has sold its PadFone line overseas in the past; U.S. carriers never seemed interested until now. Perhaps that’s because the PadFone X is a bit unique: It’s a 5-inch Android phone that docks into a 9-inch tablet display. The tablet itself is basically just a screen and is powered by the docked phone with apps smartly scaled up for the larger display. The phone and tablet package will cost roughly the same as just buying another phone, so in essence, you get a tablet at no extra charge. For those on a budget but wanting both a phone and a slate, this may be worth the look.

I’m very interested in looking at Cliq, a new smartphone case for certain Android phones. The product is actually a Kickstarter project that’s looking for funding until June 19 and it adds a trio of hardware buttons to your handset. What’s special about Cliq is that the buttons use NFC to communicate with your handset and they can be programmed for nearly any task.

cliq case lineup

It would be easy to add a dedicated camera button, for example, or a button to fire up your favorite music player software. You could also use a button to enable your phone’s power savings software. The possibilities are pretty limitless considering the Cliq will also work with Tasker and other automation apps. Backing the Cliq requires a $30 pledge and I’ve spent at least that much on cases that didn’t add any such functionality, so I think I’m in!