LG took its time to make its way back in people’s radar as a premium phone manufacturer. Their flagship Optimus phones didn’t really cut it in the unforgiving mobile market but with their latest G2 phone, they’re now back in the game and gunning for the lead.
We’ve talked about the LG G2 a few times already in the past but haven’t really gotten a proper review for it. I’ve been using one for a couple of months already and I can’t seem to grow tired of it considering I’ve been switching Android phones fairly quickly as a tech reviewer. It’s just that good, but you probably know that already. Anyway, let’s start with our review shall we?
LG gave the G2 a minimalistic yet sleek design, but with practical reasons for doing so. For example, the 5.2-inch screen may seem unusual but according to their engineers, it’s the optimize size for one-handed mobile phone operation. This is made more manageable with the ultra-thin bezels on the side and minimal wasted space on top and bottom making the G2 a compact above 5-inch phone.
The front is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with no physical buttons whatsoever. At the top of the display is the 2.1-megapixel front camera, proximity sensor, and a status LED that lights up in different colors depending on the type of notification which you can customize.
There’s nothing much happening on the sides in terms of physical ports and buttons. The microSIM slot tray is located on the left side and the bottom has the 3.5mm audio jack and the MHL-enabled microUSB port.
Main buttons are actually found at the back just below the 13-megapixel camera and its LED flash. The reason behind this is actually clever. LG believed that as phones get bigger, people are more likely to drop them if they keep on fumbling for the buttons on the sides. With the G2’s back button it will feel more natural (eventually) for you to use your index finger to press the buttons, and it works the same whether you’re left-handed or right-handed.
There are three buttons at the glossy plastic non-removable back panel, the Up and Down volume control and the Power/Sleep/Wake button in between them. It felt awkward to press at first but it will eventually grow on you. Holding the Up button can also launch LG’s Quick Memo app from sleep, while holding the Down button will also launch the camera app.
Overall, for a phone with a 5.2-inch display, the LG G2 is very manageable to handle. There’s no of stretching your fingers to reach for a button, one-handed operations such as texting are very doable, and even if it’s not the lightest phone around, it doesn’t feel heavy on your pocket. I very much like the size of the LG G2.
Display and UI
The LG G2 has a 5.2-inch True HD-IPS screen with a 1080p resolution which LG claims is the optimal maximum size for a handset. At a 424 ppi pixel density, the display gives impressively sharp and accurate colors which I like compared to over-saturated and high-contrast colors of AMOLED screens (which is what other people prefer). Screen readability is not as good as we want it to but it’s manageable.
This phone runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and is definitely capable to handle a KitKat upgrade. It uses the latest Optimus UI which has some nifty transitions to unlock the phone. Like most Jelly Bean-based phones, you can access widgets straight from the lockscreen by swiping from the left or right edge, with the right pane dedicated to the camera app.
The bottom of the homescreen has 5 app shortcuts including the App Drawer launcher, with the other four shortcuts customizable. You can even customize the icons themselves or use a folder shortcut instead of an app. Or you can choose full themes included in the device to suit your personality.
What’s nice and new here is that you can customize the three Android capacitive touch buttons at the bottom of the display. You can have a 4-button configuration or rearrange the buttons themselves which I find useful since I’m more used to having the Back button on the right where my thumb can easily access.
Powering the LG G2 is still the current most powerful mobile commercial chipset available, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 with each core clocking at 2.2GHz. It has a staple 2GB RAM along with 32GB internal storage but only 24GB of it available to users and no microSD slot in sight.
For you benchmark hunter out there, here’s what I got from Antutu and Quadrant.
LG G2 Antutu score ““ 29,093
LG G2 Quadrant Score ““ 20,491
It’s not as high as say the Sony Xperia Z1 which has somewhat similar specs but frankly, you won’t feel the difference. Didn’t feel any lag navigating through the phone, launching apps and even having the camera ready to shoot was quick enough.
Watching 2GB Full HD videos went without a hitch even when having the video player pop up on top of the screen. Plants vs Zombies 2 and even the resource-intensive Injustice game was handled by the phone quite easily. Same goes with rendering of websites and zooming in and out of them. Audio was on the soft side though but still sounded great even at high volumes. HiFi listeners would love to know that the G2 supports 24-bit/192KHz Hii-Fi sound straight from the hardware side. Plug in your headphones to enjoy the sound.
Call quality is good on both the caller and receiver end. I didn’t experience anything amiss in this regard. The phone also supports LTE-Advanced which is the next generation of LTE connection so you’re pretty future-proofed in terms of mobile internet.
The LG G2 is loaded with features that you will find really useful. I really liked the “œKnock On” feature which lets you wake or put the phone on sleep simply by double tapping on the screen. This helps reduce the wear on the Power button.
Another one is the Quick Remote which we first saw on their Optimus G Pro series. Through the IR transmitter on its front, the LG G2 can replace a lot of remote controls in your digital home and setting it up is very easy without the need to go online. I was able to use the G2 as the remote for my Samsung TV, my Mede8er media player, and Sky Cable’s HD box. I was also able to use it to lower the temp on a restaurant’s AC unit.
If you have kids or friends who always borrow your phone, the G2’s Guest Mode feature will come in handy. In Guest Mode, you can limit the apps other people can use on your phone to avoid messing up your settings or important data.
Clip tray is your phone’s clipboard where you can tap and hold links, images, videos, and text. Then when you’re on a certain app, say Facebook, you can access your clipboard and paste anything from it.
There’s also a new feature called slide Aside which is essentially a multitasking mode that can be accessed by swiping left or right with your three fingers. This is somewhat similar to what’s being used in iPads but supports only three apps where you can switch between apps by swiping with your fingers.
One thing’s for sure, the LG G2 is pretty loaded with features that you can explore on your own including staple ones from LG’s Optimus series of phones.
The G2 is outfitted with a 13-megapixel camera an with optical image stabilization module that works on both stills and videos. For selfie-shooters out there, the Volume Down button at the back also works as a shutter so you don’t have to awkwardly press the on-screen shutter which will usually jerk the phone upon capture.
There are 12 shooting modes available on the camera app including two types of Panorama, Beauty Shot, Dual Camera shot, Shot and Clear, and Time Catch Shot. If you’re conscious about missing a shot, the Time Catch Shot will also record a few frames before you press the shutter button.
Photos turned out really great with nice amount of details, accurate colors, good white balance, and less noise. Even low-light shooting is very much acceptable that I often use the G2 as my main camera for indoor shots during events if I don’t have my DSLR with me.
Here are some sample photos taken with the LG G2.
The phone can also record Full HD videos on both front and back camera, and can take stills while recording. Here’s a sample Full HD video we took with the G2.
The non-removable battery on the LG G2 is an impressive 3,000mAh considering how slim the phone is. This was made possible by having a stepped design to maximize the space inside the phone and the capacity is above-average for a phone of its size.
In real world usage, I was able to use it comfortably as my primary phone for two days, only having to charge late in the evening on the second day. I also tried using it purely for watching videos and I was able to finish 5 movies on a single charge. It’s really a welcome change coming from an iPhone user who needs to plug in twice a day.
When tech sites and magazines gave high praises to the LG G2, I finally understood them. This phone not only looks good and feels right, it also performs exceptionally in everything you would want from a smartphone. It has a great display, one of the best camera performers around, really good battery life, and features that you can actually use. It’s so good that I’m running out of adjectives to put in this review. I’m trying to look for any disadvantage for the G2 but all I can think of is the lack of 3rd party accessories you can dress it with.
Having finished reviewing the phone, and greatly enjoyed it in the process, I can honestly say that the LG G2 is one of the best smartphone out there in the market right now. As such, I’m slapping our Editor’s Pick badge onto it giving it my vote of confidence.
The LG G2 came out with an SRP of Php29,990 which is already low for a flagship phone especially with its caliber. Right now, it’s selling for under Php27k making it an inexpensive top-bin Android smartphone money could buy. If you’re planning on getting one soon, you’re making a smart choice.
|LG G2 Specs:|
|5.2″ Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) power-efficient IPS LCD screen, 424 ppi|
|450 nit brightness, Gorilla Glass 3|
|2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800|
|Adreno 330 GPU|
|2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, no microSD|
|Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean|
|13 MP optically-stabilized camera with LED flash|
|9-point Auto-Focus, Sapphire Crystal Glass Lens|
|Full HD (1080p) video recording at 60fps|
|2.1 MP front-facing camera with FullHD video capture|
|HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE|
|Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot|
|Bluetooth 4.0 LE, MHL, NFC, Miracast, IR blaster|
|24bit x 192kHz Hi-Fi Sound|
|3,000mAh SiO+ battery|
|Color: Black, White|
|138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm|
|SRP: Php29,990 (as of Sep 2013)|