GadgetsLab: LG G2

SHARE

LG-G2

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • CPU:Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM 8974)
  • Quad-Core U6GHz Processor
  • Network: GSM/WCDMA/LTE
  • Platform: Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • Display: 5.2″Full HD IPS, 423ppi, 1 080x192Q-pixels
  • Dimensions: 1385×70.9×8.99mm
  • Weight: 143g
  • Camera: rear 13MP OIS, LED flash; front 21 MP
  • Battery: 3000mAh Embedded Li-Polymer

WHAT’S HOT:

  • Powerful quad-core processor
  • Vibrant, full-HD screen
  • 13-MP main camera with OIS
  • Lots of nice little features

WHAT’S NOT:

  • A bit too wide for one-handed use
  • Slippery plastic material could make it prone to drops

BOTTOMLINE:

  • A powerful processor, the Jelly Bean platform overlaid with LG’s own advanced innovations make this flagship smartphone a strong contender for those looking for that one multi-function device that they will see them through the day.

LG-G2_
Okay, true confessions: I am an Apple girl. The only time I tried out an Android device was maybe two years ago when I ordered what was then a flagship device for another brand. I intended to use it as a second phone, but I’m afraid I did not warm to the Gingerbread version, and quickly retreated back to the familiar iOS ecosystem for both my primary and secondary phones.

With recent developments in Android, however, and with its increasing market share, I felt this was a platform I could no longer ignore, even just from a professional perspective. I decided it was time to get an Android smartphone, but which one?

Serendipitously, a few weeks ago the folks over at LG generously offered to give Gadgets an early lead on their then yet-to-be-released LG G2, and I jumped at the chance to play with the engineering sample unit. So you can take this as the impressions of a virtual Android virgin.

First off, I was totally wowed by the beautifully vibrant S.2-inch Full HD IPS display for which you could turn on weather display-when you activate the screen, it would show an animation of what the weather was like such as raindrops if it was raining, and clouds with lightning flashes for cloudy with occasional thunderstorms. Cute.

Seriously, though, LG is a major LCD manufacturer and this shows in the cinema-like screen quality, thanks to the 423ppi display with 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution. I played the pre-loaded video clips and was suitably impressed by the rich colors, sharp contrasts, and fine detailing. The first time, it bothered me that the video kept pausing-only to discover that the G2 has a smart video function that pauses the clip when the phone cannot detect your face. A similar smart screen function keeps the screen on for as long as it can detect your face.

The second thing most distinctive thing about the G21s the absence of physical buttons in front and on the sides of the G2’s one-piece design. With its KnockON function, you simply tap on the screen to turn the display on/off.

The only key, consisting of a power button in the center and the up/down rockers on either side, is found directly under the rear camera. According to LG, this is a more intuitive location, as this is where our fingers would naturally rest when using the phone-such as when it’s lifted to our ear during a call, or when it’s held in one hand while looking at the screen. My forefinger usually fumbled around a bit searching for it, but it did feel more natural rather than having to locate controls on the side or top edge of a device.

The G2 is 138.5mm tall, 70.9cm wide, and 8.99mm thick. I particularly like how the curved back edges make the device look svelte. The larger screen size also makes it easier on the eyes, but while the phone’s width still comfortably rests on my palm, one-handed operation is definitely out of the question. I am constantly afraid that with its slick plastic finish, the phone might inadvertently slip out of my grasp, so I am always careful to hold it firmly in one hand and tap on the keys with the other. Perhaps bigger, more masculine hands would be able to manage the feat.

Given how thin the G2 is, the 3000mAh built-in battery is another pleasant surprise. The product brochure explains that the battery was step-designed so that dead space created by the sloping edge was utilized for additional battery capacity. Using it for light social media browsing, texting and a few calls, I was able to carry the G2 around for an entire weekend on a single full charge. This is a phone that will not die on you during those crucial late night hours when you’re ready to head home from the party and need to give someone that back-up security call. A caveat to this endorsement of its battery life is that I did not activate cellular data (which is LTE-capable), relying purely on available Wi-R connections fur my data needs.

When I was first setting up the phone and syncing extensively my contacts and email, downloading my apps and updating these, I was still able to go fur more than 12 hours before reaching for the charger.

For the purpose of this review, another great feature I’d like to highlight are the G2’s cameras, particularly the 13-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization (OIS)-definitely something very important for a camera klutz like me. The assurance of blur-free photos is further enhanced by its 9-point multi-focus capability. It doesn’t hurt that the camera is protected by scratch resistant sapphire crystal glass. The camera is able to record videos in 1080p full-HD at 60-frames per second.

LG packed the G2 with a host of other functionalities, of which I found the Q-Remote particularly useful. This is a utility that turns the G2 into a remote control. I linked it to both my TV and digital cable box, and now reach for the phone to control both, instead of having to grope around for two separate remotes. There are several other features waiting to be discovered, depending on your particular needs.

Another feature that many people will appreciate is a Guest Mode that you can activate using a distinct unlock screen pattern. This setting allows you to limit the apps which •guests” can access/use on your phone. Now you can fearlessly show off your G2 to friends and strangers, knowing that what you want to keep private will stay private. Conversely, the Q-Note, another LG utility that allows you to scribble notes on top of any active app on-screen. I just found it annoying so I opted to remove it from my front touch buttons screen which, thankfully, gives you some customization options.

Another little annoyance that took some getting used to was the touchscreen keyboard. While I like that it displays the number keys on top, I had to take extra care while typing as, despite my slim fingers, two-thumb typing often produced a lot of gibberish.

So, after carrying around the LG G2 everywhere fur the past two weeks, am I ready fur an Android? I am definitely encouraged that it will be a painless crossover fur me. The new Jelly Bean platform, overlaid by LG’s own user interface, is surprisingly user-friendly and not too strange (particularly after the shift to iOS 7). The fact that the G2 is powered by a quack:ore 226GHz processor makes it a powerful, responsive device that is fun and easy to use.

LG-G2_rating
First published in Gadgets Magazine, October 2013
Words by Maribelle Alba