When LG rolled out the Lollipop update for their then flagship smartphone, the LG G3, they staked a claim as being one of the first to get Lollipop out to their devices. We all know manufacturers will roll out an update to a small market to make claims like this. Nevertheless, it is usually a decent sign of a commitment to providing the latest version of Android for a given device even if users have to wait a bit longer for kinks to be worked out and carriers to give their blessing. At the time, as a relatively new owner of an LG G3, I was looking forward to seeing what would happen with my device. Fast forward half a year later and Verizon finally pushed out the Lollipop update. That was the beginning of the transition for my “dream” phone to a nightmare and now signs point to Verizon not doing anything to fix the problems they have wrought.
When I say the G3 was a “dream” phone, what I mean is I finally had a device that had a relatively svelte interface that did not get in the way of my use of the phone, it was snappy in operation, great battery life and really had no negatives. The closest to a problem was a propensity to get hot under heavy use. Life was good and I was looking forward to getting a couple years use out of it unless I decided to go for an early upgrade.
Unfortunately, Verizon brought all of that to a screeching halt when they sent out their version of the Lollipop update. Granted, there are a few issues that seem to be inherent to how Lollipop operates that LG either couldn’t or wouldn’t find a way around, the most noticeable being changes to how the lock screen works, which has added some steps to the process of waking up the device.
If getting the device to spring to life were the only issue, I could probably write it off as an annoyance. Unfortunately, Verizon’s input into the update really messed things up beyond what LG had done. The most notorious problem is the WiFi notifications issue. A quick peek at the Verizon support communities reveals legions of users complaining about this problem. At first, users assumed the issue was just that notifications would not show up when connected to WiFi. After dealing with this for a couple months though, it appears the problem is actually that apps do not even bother to connect while on WiFi.
A good example is Gmail. Between all my accounts, I usually get a new email at least every 30 minutes all day and all night long. Yet, leaving the phone overnight or worse, sitting on my desk at work, connected to WiFi will cause Gmail to not even check for anything until I switch to the carrier network (and use up valuable data) or force the app to check for mail. So it is goodbye to the days when the phone worked for me and would let me know when I had to pay attention to something like an incoming email.
Other problems are now present, mostly subjective, but it does not appear I am alone. Apps load slowly, screen refreshes and redraws are slow, and recently the notifications bar has stopped loading unless I go through the extra step of swiping down from the top of the screen. Considering the hardware packed into the device, none of these problems should be present.
Another problem is the return of the hypersensitive touchscreen, a problem that LG fixed shortly after the initial release of the G3. This particular problem is why I am unable to use knock codes as the screen keeps registering “knocks” when the phone is in my pocket, turning on the screen unnecessarily. Overall I am routinely having to reset the device or shutdown apps running wild, steps I rarely took when still on KitKat.
Having about reached the end of my rope with the problems, and missing some time-sensitive emails until it was far too late to matter, I decided to reach out to Verizon about a solution to the problems. Of course, this meant dealing with support protocols like doing device factory resets, steps I had already taken. Once we dispensed with those, Verizon support indicated to me that they are “working hard to resolve these issues” which seems to imply that they know there is a problem with Lollipop on LG G3 devices. Unfortunately, they also indicate “No ETA currently.” Considering LG appears to be skipping Lollipop 5.1 and will hold out for Android M for the next major update on the G3, I suspect no fix is in the works.
My next step was to inquire as to whether I could trade-in my device for a different phone since the carrier is the source of the problems. It seems only fair to me that they should stand behind their updates. Unfortunately, despite recognizing that I no longer have a functional phone, Verizon support told me there is no way to trade for another model.
I did ask them whether my only option was to pursue a breach of contract, to which they replied they may be willing to pursue a warranty replacement or I could wait to see if LG issues a patch, a response that sounds like they are passing the buck.
My next step is to try a local Verizon retail store to see if the sales side of the house may have a little more flexibility in trying to keep a customer, much less keep one happy.
Any other Verizon LG G3 owners out there that have pursued a device replacement?