I had some real quality time with the LG G2 and found out that LG is still in the game. Although they aren’t taking the lead in the Android smartphone race, they are at least in the conversation. The review is more about what I feel matters the most, so if you want something technical go elsewhere. There are plenty of those type of reviews. But if you want a simple review without too much “tekno” babble then read on to find out what makes the LG G2 legit.
Simply Gorgeous. The 5.2″ Full HD IPS display is the best smartphone display I’ve seen in a while. And even at 30% brightness, the display is still comfortable at viewing for long periods of time since your eyes adjust to the brightness at being so low. The only time I had to brighten up the display was when I was using the device outdoors. The minimal bezel and 5.2″display makes the screen even more appealing. By making the display more narrow and a display that is edge to edge, the LG G2 gives you a 16:9 cinema like experience when watching videos. And watching HD videos on this smartphone was simply amazing. It was like watching movies on a mini HDTV.
Simple design but with buttons on the back
Despite the plastic backing, the LG G2′s simple design actually works. I don’t mind physical buttons on the side, or in the case of the LG G2 on the back, I just don’t want it on the display. The main focal point of a touchscreen smartphone is the display. And the front of the LG G2 looks awesome. The display is something you’ll admire every time you look at it, even with the display off. I appreciate how thin the LG G2 is too, giving you a nice clean feel in your hands whenever you hold the device.
The buttons on the back can feel a little awkward at first but after a day or so you get use to it. The only time I felt that it was annoying was when you had to change the volume while the phone is on a table. But I got over it since there is a slider for volume control in the notification window. Maybe the next iteration of the device will have no volume rockers at all and just a power button. They could have done without it.
The G2 is a smartphone that should be handled without a case. The problem is you risk breaking the display from one bad drop. So if you do have the device, try to find a thin TPU case like the Diztronic TPU sold on Amazon for cheap. The case keeps the device safe without adding any bulk and it still leaves the display as the focal point of the smartphone.
Best Android camera available
The 13mp camera with OIS (optical image stabilization) takes great photos. And in the Android world, it’s actually the best camera available. OIS helps when you have good lighting but as soon as the lights go down or you’re taking photos indoors with minimal lighting, then it behaves as any other Android camera. Which kind of sucks (if you compare it to what Nokia has accomplished with their smartphone cameras)! Basically, It’s a smartphone camera so you can’t expect much. Using the flash helps but it can be quite slow. Focus is another issue. If you have great light then it can adjust the focus pretty fast. As soon as you have some challenging lighting scenarios then that’s when the quality and focus of the shot becomes a problem. Android cameras continue to have this problem, which is proven with the Nexus 5 that’s suppose to have the latest and greatest Android software. Google is actually working on camera improvements as we speak since they realize how far behind they actually are with the camera part of the smartphone wars.
Just expect to snap a bunch of photos every time you use it. So you can always go back and find a decent shot. And in a way, I realized that this is the best way to take a photos. Especially with a moving subject. If you don’t worry about taking the perfect shot but instead take multiple shots to try and catch the perfect shot, your chances of taking a great photo will increase. Its the same thing with a point and shoot or dslr camera so it’s no biggie.
One camera feature that gets overlooked on the G2 is the manual focus feature. I haven’t seen this on an Android smartphone until the G2. And although it doesn’t work as good as a dslr, it does the job when you need it. Rather than relying on auto focus which can be a hit and miss at times due to the lighting, manual control can give you options with what you want in focus.
Video recording is top notch. And 1080p video recording @ 60fps looked great. Not only on the phone when you play it back but even when you play it back on your PC or HDTV. I actually liked recording video more than taking photos on the G2 because it was that good. The G2 also gets thumbs up for allowing you to snap a photo from the video you’re playing back. Which is something most smartphone cameras can’t do.
LG G2 Highlights
The best implentation of using your smartphone to control your tv or cable box. It supports multiple configurations for different rooms and was “Kevin Durant-AUTOMATIC” when looking up your devices by just pointing at them. Whether it’s setting up the device for the first time or actually using it to change channels, Quick Remote worked flawlessly.
The basic apps like SMS,dialer,calculator,video player and web browser worked surprisingly well. Especially with SMS. A little pop up window would come up and you can actually reply to the message without actually going to the SMS app. I really liked it because it didn’t disturb you with what you were doing at that moment.
Joining your Facebook and Gmail contacts was rather easy worked really well. The AI was smart enough to determine who the contacts were the same in your Gmail and Facebook without any additional help. But only when you’re friends on Facebook used their real name. I hate when people don’t use there real name on Facebook! That just makes my contact list look all jacked up.
Honestly, I wish every touch device implemented this feature. Originally introduced on the Nokia N9, double tap to wake the screen is an awesome feature that feels natural to do. It can drain the battery a bit since your device is always polling for the action to take place, but I’ll sacrifice a little battery life just to have the feature.
A quick side note with Knock On. You’re only suppose to tap the display twice, but I found it wasn’t working all that well and found that three taps work much better. I assume this is because the display goes to sleep and needs that extra tap to wake up from sleep and then let the display listen for your double tap.
Hardware that’s hard to slow down
The Hardware (AT&T D800):
- 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor featuring quad Krait CPU and Adreno 330 GPU
- 5.2-inch Full HD 1080×1920 IPS display w/ 423 ppi pixel density – Corning Gorilla Glass 3
- 2GB LPDDR3 800MHz RAM w/ 32GB of built in memory
- 13 MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash – HDR – face detection – OIS – simultaneous video and image recording – geo-tagging – 1080p @ 60fps video recording w/ stereo sound recording and video stabilization – supports pause and resume recording
- 2.1 MP front camera – 1080p @ 30fps video recording
- GPRS class 10/Edge/UMTS/HSPA+/LTE Capable – Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band – Wi-Fi Direct – Wi-Fi hotspot – DLNA – Bluetooth 4.0 w/ LE – NFC - AGPS support and GLONASS – Infrared blaster - Accelerometer – Gyro – Proximity – Compass
- microUSB v2.0 w/ USB On-the-go, USB Host – 3.5mm headphone jack
- Li-Po 3,000mAh battery non removable battery with a rated standby time of 29 days
- Measures 5.45″ x 2.79″ @ 0.35″ thick and weighs in @ 5.04oz
Hardware like the 2.26 GHz quad core Snapdragon 800 processor and 2 GB of LPDDR3 800MHz RAM really does make a difference. Android on the G2 felt fast and fluid. And although not lag free, the hardware keeps the LG G2 “beasting” along throughout the day. The lag seen on the phone has nothing to do with the phone’s hardware but more with Android and LG’s custom home launcher. The hardware on this bad boy should last you more than a few years. Especially with a display as good as the G2 has, it’s definitely future proof.
Launcher that can compete with best of them
LG’s custom home launcher is actually pretty good. The fancy transitions and animations are a little much, but they work. They have the unusual feel of making the phone feel really fast. But it can lag at certain moments. I’m assuming the launcher is a memory hog. One of the real reasons would be due to the CPU throttle set at stock. It’s set to on demand which you can turn off if you know what you’re doing. You can run the risk of overheating and damaging the phone, but that’s unlikely to happen. The device does seem to get hot under a heavy load but it doesn’t get too hot like Sony’s Xperia devices.
Customizing your LG G2 is pretty extensive. And compared to the Galaxy S4 and Xperia Z, the LG G2 customizing options are at the top. It’s great because you don’t have to do any rooting or hacks to customize the launcher. You can even edit the app icons which can be useful for people who want even greater control on how their smartphone looks.
The LG g2 currently runs Android 4.2.2 Jellybean which is pretty up to date. Android 4.4 Kit Kat will be coming also, but probably won’t be available until March 2014.
Battery is good enough if you tinker with it – Battery life is s catch 22 on the G2. You can get awesome battery life if you turn off Google services. But if you don’t or live in poor LTE coverage, the large 3000mAh battery won’t be able to save you. There are multiple apps, tweaks, and mods available to extend battery life but the normal smartphone user shouldn’t have to do this. The AT&T version also comes with CIQ installed and is one of the main culprits for battery drain. Thankfully you can disable it, or if you know how, you can remove it. But it would be nice for people to opt out of CIQ instead of having to do it manually.
Had too many things to fix out of the box – Battery life. Volume on the external speaker is too low. At&t bloatware is excessive. CIQ. Lag. Soft keys (no recent menu like vanilla Android). – All of these were issues annoyed me so I had to do some rooting and modding because I couldn’t take it. That’s something the normal smartphone user wouldn’t be able to do.
It’s amazing how many fixes can be made to smartphones by it’s users and how the manufacturers always seem to overlook things. If they would just browse the XDA forums during Research and Development they would make one hell of a phone! Instead they rely on engineers that are way too smart or old suits who are out of touch to make their decisions. Those people aren’t even the ones buying the phones!
If you want an Android smartphone with super fast hardware that’s future proof, a more than decent camera and the best display available, then the G2 is for you. I wouldn’t recommend this phone to anyone over 40 or to anyone who hasn’t used Android before. Its mainly for people who love tech and Android. It’s for individuals who need the latest hardware in their hands. It’s also for people who are tired of the Samsung Galaxy Series. It’s for geeks.
The LG G2 isn’t a contender for Android king just yet, but LG is on to something here (beastly hardare, great display, decent camera, large battery, quick remote, quick window). So hopefully they’ll read this review and get rid of the negatives I talked about with the next iteration of the G2.