LG G2 Review
LG Mobile Philippines made a lot of effort to bring the LG G2 to the Philippines just weeks after its global announcement back in August. In a span of 47 days, the G2 was finally launched in the country. Check out our full review of the LG G2 below.
By this time, you would think LG would have decided how its flagship handsets would look like. Samsung has long settled with the looks of their Galaxy line, Sony with its Xperia and even Nokia is pretty much contented with the Lumia design.
LG on the other hand is still experimenting. On one hand, it would seem as if the company is still looking for a design identity (the Optimus 4X HD, Optimus G, G Pro and G2 have very little in common with their design).
On the contrary, LG’s approach in refining their handset design signature means that consumers will constantly get a new and refreshed look every time. It could land in their favor especially to the eyes of consumers that have been flooded with similar-looking Galaxy devices from Samsung for several years now.
Design and Construction.
In its effort to create a different user experience, LG made very bold moves with the design of the G2. Unlike most other handsets where the physical controls are found at the base of the front panel or around the edges, the LG G2 took the completely opposite direction.
The power button and the volume controls were moved to the back of the handset, just below the camera module. The new location might seem awkward and senseless at first but once you start using the device, it becomes very natural.
When you hold the phone in the normal portrait position, your index finger tends to rest at the back of the handset. This position fits the placement of the power button and the volume controls. The action becomes more natural in time.
The body of the G2 is entirely made up of some type of thin yet solid piece of polycarbonate material. The front panel is completely covered with thick glass panel without any physically buttons at the front so most of the area is solely allocated to the screen itself.
The back side is curved and tapers towards the edges. This curved shape allows you to hold the device firmly and comfortably with one hand. A thin glossy film wraps a diagonal pattern (much like the threads in a regular jeans).
There’s a thin silver trimming that runs around the sides that highlights the rounded shape of the device. The stereo speakers are found at the bottom end along with the micro-USB port and the 3.5mm audio jack.
The G2 sports a 5.2-inch display; it’s the one only of this size in its category but it looks like the body is no different from the usual 4.7 to 5.0-inch handsets we’ve tested before. This is because LG managed to shrink the chassis while increasing the surface area for the screen. The result a very narrow bezel and wider surface coverage for the display.
With a full HD 1080p resolution (1920x1o80 pixels), the handset offers one of the most impressive display quality in any smartphone in the market. That brings the pixel density of the screen to about 424ppi. High quality images and videos render quite nicely on the large screen. Same is true with web browsing.
LG uses a Tru-HD IPS+ display which offers better color reproduction, consistent and accurate colors, impressive viewing angles.
We zoomed in closer to the display panel using a magnifier as well as a macro lens on a dSLR and saw the pixels to be equally spaced, neatly packed and very bright.
OS, Apps and UI.
The G2 runs on Android 4.2.2 Jellybean and enjoys a lot of the recent improvements and enhancements introduced into the platform. As usual, LG added it’s own skin customization (called the Optimus UI) on top of the OS.
The UI has improved quite a bit from its previous iteration found in the Optimus G. We especially liked the enhancements on the lock screen as well as the option to re-arrange the soft menu buttons (see screenshot of menu arrangement below).
Aside from the trio of usual buttons — Home, Back & Menu, additional soft keys can be included like Quick Memo and the Pull Down Menu.
The keypad and keyboard layout are pretty simple and straightforward. The keys are spaced well apart but the size of the individual keys seem a bit smaller than we hoped it would. Nevertheless, the spacing and size of the virtual keypad/keyboard are just right for one-handed operation.
With the absence of the power button in the usual places where most consumers are familiar with, waking up the phone or putting it to sleep required a different action or gesture. This is where the double-tap becomes intuitive — tap the empty space of the home screen twice to turn off the display; tap it again twice to wake it up. This KnockON feature works most of the time but in some instances, we had to repeat the action to wake it up.
You can still use the power button if you want but the double-tap action seems to be more intuitive and natural. We have not encountered any accidental activation of this function when the device is stowed away in the bag or the pocket.
There are a few other gimmicky gesture functions we’ve observed but they seem to require a bit of getting used to.
Multimedia and Camera.
It’s obvious LG has put a lot of effort to make the multimedia features of the G2 more compelling. The large full HD display and almost edge-to-edge screen makes it a really nice movie player — compact yet large enough screen real estate.
The dual speakers found at the bottom end of the device are actually very loud, bass is just enough but the crispness and clarity with music playback is really good.
The 13-megapixel camera of the G2 is also pretty interesting as it’s probably among the first to offer OIS (optical image stabilization). To test this out, we took some time to take shots under low-light conditions and even almost no light sources except the subject.
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In the sample HD video below, we shot a lighted fountain at night and also recorded at 60fps (see at 0:19 seconds).
We will let the photos and videos above speak for themselves.
Performance and Benchmarks.
To demonstrate the sheer power of the LG G2, they’ve incorporated an option for superfast full HD 1080p video recording at 60 frames per second (see sample video above). The device is very snappy, fast and smooth we could not ask for anything more. The generous 2GB memory allows for a multi-tasking and simultaneous apps running in the background without taxing the system too much.
We ran our usual set of benchmark tools on the device and got an impressive set of results. The Quadrant score topped at 19,061 while Antutu Benchmark gave it an over-all score of 34,056, one of the highest we’ve ever tested (perhaps as high as the Note 3 and Xperia Z1).
Under Vellamo benchmark, we got a score of 2732 on HTML and 965 on Metal. As for NenaMark 2, we got a a core of 58.6fps.
Across all four (4) standard benchmark tests we do, the figures we got were on the top of the scale and is certainly an impressive one.
We normally just use NenaMark 2 to measure the relative speed on the graphics based on frame rates, we thought of running 3DMark as well to give a better appreciation how the Adreno 330 chip performs. Score with 3DMark puts it at 9,807 running on Ice Storm Extreme.
Call Quality, Connectivity and Battery Life.
The G2 does very well with call quality and messaging — voice quality is excellent, thanks to the active noise canceling mic; speaker volume is fairly loud, SMS conversation is swift and timely. We’ve never had any problems with voice and SMS in the two weeks we’ve been using it.
The device comes complete will all possible wireless connectivity — WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC and LTE (where frequency band is compatible).
The LG G2 is compatible with Globe’s LTE network and as such, we’re able to enjoy super fast mobile internet speeds.
Our usual tests in areas where there’s LTE connectivity (The Fort and Makati City), we would clock as fast as 25Mbps downlink and 6Mbps uplink. We have yet to test the device with a Smart LTE SIM.
As for battery life, the built-in 3,000mAh Li-Ion battery surely added more hours to the handset. On a single full charge, we were able to last for more than a day’s worth of moderate usage, up until noon the following day.
We also did our standard battery bench and managed to get as long as 9 hours when playing a full HD 1080p video at 50% brightness and 0% volume. That’s pretty much the longest battery life we’ve seen on any Android handset.
There’s no question that the LG G2 is the best smartphone LG has ever had. The powerful hardware, nice display, great camera performance and really good battery life makes this handset a pretty compelling one. As for the placement of the power and volume buttons, it’s an acquired taste. LG definitely has a winner in the G2.
The LG G2 is now in stores with a suggested retail price of Php29,990 or Php27,490 for straight or cash payment. It will also be offered by Globe for free under Plan 1799.
LG G2 specs:
5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 Tru-HD IPS+ LCD display, 424ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
2.3GHz quad-core MSM8974 Snapdragon 800
Adreno 330 GPU
32GB internal memory
WiFi a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, DLNA
Bluetooth 4.0 A2DP
GPS w/ aGPS support
HSPA+, 4G LTE 100Mbps
13 megapixel camera with LED flash, OIS
Full HD 1080p video recording @ 60fps
2.1Mp w/ front-facing camera
Android 4.2.2 Jellybean
Li-Ion 3,000mAh battery
138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm (dimensions)
What we liked about it:
* Good build quality
* Great performance
* Impressive display quality
* Very good camera performance
* LTE support
What we did not like:
* Power and volume controls need a little getting used to