Dimensions: 131.9 x 68.9 x 8.5 mm
Screen 4.7-inch, HD-IPS, 318ppi, Gorilla Glass 2 front
Card Slot: No
Memory: 32GB storage, 2GB RAM
Processor: 1.5GHz Quad-core Krait
Connectivity: LTE, HSDPA, GSM, Bluetooth, USB, WiFi, GPS, DLNA
Camera: 13MP main, 1.3MP secondary
• Superb build
• Excellent Multitasking execution
• Very nice screen
• Fixed system memory
LG has hit a home run with this phone.
LG has always been the quiet Korean brand, particularly when it comes to smartphones. This is not to say they have nothing to make noise about; far from it. They have always released phones that I find particularly attractive. Their current top-tier offering is no exception. The Optimus G is a beautifully-designed android phone that gives LTE connectivity on a device that has a 5-inch HD IPS screen and a quad-core 1.5GHz Krait processor. It’s a great combination of good looks and razor-sharp performance that any smartphone user would be more than happy to own.
Out of the box, you immediately know that the Optimus G is at the top of LG’s smartphone lineup. It’s a very nice combination of Gorilla Glass 2, both front and back, and a very nice shiny steel bezel around the front. The device has a nice heft to it; heavy enough to feel like a premium product, and light enough to not be uncomfortable in the pocket. The 4.7-inch screen is a comfortable size as well, and allows for a good combination of screen real-estate and convenience. It’s a great phone to hold, although if you are a person with small-ish hands, you may find yourself having to use most of the features with both paws.
The G runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, and does so with the speed and smoothness expected of a quad-core device with 2GB of RAM. This device laughs in the face of multitasking, and at no point in the review period did it stutter, hiccup or freeze due to a lack of system resources. It is so solid, in fact, that LG has included a very cool multitasking feature on the Optimus G that I believe should be present in all phablet-sized devices. Some key apps can be launched, then forced into a window mode that is then overlaid on whatever screen you want to work on. For example, you can watch a video stored on the device, pop it into window mode, and then proceed to browse your FB feed, with the video still playing anywhere on the screen. Yes, you can drag it to wherever you want. You can then drop the opacity of the windowed app in order to focus and interact solely on the main program. The windowed app can be interacted with or controlled when it is either at full opacity or resized to full screen. This is a pretty impressive feat, and in my opinion, a great use of the screen size and device resolution. I found myself using this feature more than a little, particularly when checking email, or watching videos, just like I would on my laptop.
The device also has a quick note function that launched a notepad-style app on which you can scribble a quick reminder, then overlay it to the main screen as if you wrote right on the Gorilla Glass 2 front with a whiteboard marker. This makes sure you see the note constantly, and don’t just forget about it when you close the app.
The Optimus G has a fantastic 13-megapixel camera with flash that lets you take impressive shots in most environments. You don’t just get a plain old smartphone camera either. The stock camera app lets you take HDR and panorama photos, which, while not making up for a lack of artistic talent, might be enough for the average user to fake it. Camera response is fast, and is more than adequate for your regular snapshots. It gives you a burst function, best shot (where it takes a series of shots so you don’t miss a moment) and 1080p video recording at 30FPS. Audio quality is pretty impressive as well. There is a lot of volume from the internal speaker, though size constraints mean that the sound is a little flat. LG does include a nice pair of earbuds with the Optimus G, so you shouldn’t have much to worry about there.
One thing I find myself wishing for while using the Optimus G was expandable memory. The phone has Smart Share, which lets you throw media to supported devices over a Wi-Fi connection (or directly from the phone’s own Wi-Fi radio), so there is a lot of potential for the device as a portable media hub. The thing is, 32GB of internal memory might not be enough, particularly for the HD playback that the phone is more than capable of. Still, for most users, 32GB should be plenty, and if you really want to have a movie bank, it doesn’t seem likely that one would resort to a phone, at least not yet. *ahem*
Battery life on the Optimus G is quite impressive considering the amount of stuff I put this test unit through. An almost constant connection to the Internet, dozens of text messages per hour, Bluetooth connections and more calls than can be good for my brain saw the phone with just enough juice to make it back home. This is a pretty impressive feat. The phone has a 2100 mAh battery, though I would not have guessed; t just seems larger than that.
The LG Optimus G is a fantastic phone. I was very impressed with the build quality, performance, and all the tiny little extras they threw in to separate it from the rest of the Android phones available now. LG has, as usual, done a solid job with the device, and if the price is right, I see myself making the jump, and not regretting it.
First published in Gadgets Magazine, April 2013
Words by Ren Alcantara