LG G2 review
- Outstanding screen
- Incredibly quick processor
- Uninspiring design
- Too big
- Only 16/32GB
Originally dubbed the LG Optimus G2 by the tech rumour mill, the LG G2 is the first in the new 'G' range of smartphones from LG. The successor to the LG Optimus G and Optimus G Pro, it will head up LG's smartphone line-up, going toe-to-toe with the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, Nokia Lumia 1020 and iPhone 5.
The G2 will launch running Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 with 16GB and 32Gb storage options and the first handsets to hit the shelves will come in the fairly standard white and black.
LG G2: Size & build
At 138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9mm, the G2 is comparable to the Galaxy S4 for how it feels in the hand. From a pure aesthetics perspective it's not a million miles away either.
By far the biggest design change the G2 brings to the table is the decision to remove all the side buttons and put the volume and power controls on the the back of the handset. This does give the phone nice minimalist smooth edges and we're always in favour of getting rid of unsightly bumps.
Sleeker silhouette aside, the main aim of what LG is calling the Rear Key Concept is to give you more control where you need it, by putting all the buttons where your index fingers fall when you hold the phone naturally. Having played with the device this does feel fairly natural but there were some others testing the phone who felt this wasn't really true for how they held their phone.
It's clearly a personal preference and, as Apple learnt, no one wants to be told how to cradle their handset. According to LG's researchers, moving the buttons to the back not only makes sense from an ease-of-use perspective, it's also designed to help us drop our phones less when we're trying to do simple things like adjust the volume or take a photo.
Again, having tested the quick-camera launch - by pressing and holding the down volume button - it's a neat little feature and an improvement on the Samsung Galaxy S4 which can be a bit of a slippery devil for taking photos.
In addition to launching the camera, the rear-mounted volume keys can also be used to launch features like LG QuickMemo for rapid note taking. Whether this is the best use of the second rear-mounted button is questionable and the ability to customise what the back buttons do would be a welcome addition.
LG G2: Features
The G2 does pack some interesting new features, along with a few we've seen for a while in competitor handsets. The Knock-On feature lets you wake your G2 with a quick double tap of the screen, giving you easier power-up if it's lying on the table face up. While this is a smart way to remove the need to pick up your phone and press the power button, it feels partly necessary to overcome the fact that the power button is now less conveniently located on the back of the handset.
Another addtion is Guest Mode. This allows you to set two lock patterns, each of which gives a user access to different customisable selection of apps. It's a great feature for parents who want to let their kids play without the fear of them downloading £100,000k of apps or texting the boss.
It's also a very nice touch for those who need to share their phone during meetings at work and don't want awkward content flashing up on screen.
The Text Link feature also gives you the power to add vital info like appointments, phone numbers and locations into associated apps like calender with a couple of quick taps.
Other features we've already seen in HTC and Samsung handsets include: Answer Me - where your phone recognises you've picked it up and automatically answers an incoming call; and Plug and Pop which picks up when you've plugged in your headphones and brings up a selection of apps that you might want to use as a result. Nice touches but nothing new to shout about.
LG G2: Camera
Most current smartphone cameras with Optimal Image Stabiliser (OIS) tend to offer resolution in the 4MP to 8MP range, the LG G2 is unique in that it is the first to pair this OIS technolgy with a 13 megapixel camera, helping to take better pitcures on the move.
In the demos we saw, with the G2 up against an S4 and iPhone 5, the picture did hold it's sharpness and clarity better but we'll reserve judgement until we get the chance to put this to a proper test.
The rear 13.0-megapixel camera also comes with a saphire crystal glass anti-fingerprint lens - necessary now that your fingers are going to be working quite close to it - and there's also front facing 2.1-megapixel camera on board.
LG G2: Screen
The LG boasts a 5.2-inch full HD edge-to-edge display, with a 1080 x 1920 pixel/423 ppi resolution and a 2.65mm bezel. The quality of the full HD playback was superb and a real stand-out feature.
LG G2: Performance
The timing of the launch means the LG G2 will be one of the first to run Snapdragon's most advanced chipset with the 2.26GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Processor, coupling that with 2GB RAM. This makes the G2 a powerful player and from what we've seen the speed is very impressive.
LG G2: Battery
Powering the G2 is a 3,000mAh battery. LG has paired this with Graphic RAM (GRAM) technology that claims to be able to deliver increased battery efficiency, reducing the display’s energy drain by up to 26 percent on a still frame. LG claims that'll offer you up to 10 percent more usage from a full charge, or a 1.2 day longevity with normal use. That's something we look forward to putting to the test in our full LG G2 review.
LG G2: Verdict
It doesn't take a genius to see that LG needs this handset to be a big hitter and there's a lot of interesting new features that mean this looks, feels and performs up there - if not better - than the top phones already on the shelves.
Rear buttons aside, the overall the design isn't revolutionary but then when was the last time we saw a phone design that really blew us away? What really stands out with the LG, though, is the combination of a superbly crisp screen and top-notch speed. There's no doubt this is a really strong phone that's going to give the S4, HTC One and the iPhone a damn good battle.
LG G2 release date: TBC The LG G2 will be rolled out globally over the next eight weeks starting in South Korea followed by North America and Europe.
LG G2 price: TBC No details yes but with the G2 going head to head with the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, Nokia Lumia 1020 and iPhone 5 you can expect it to carry a similar price tag.
Hands-on review by Kieran Alger