LG G2 Review: Super specs, funky buttons, settings galore
LG's new G2 has some of the best specifications of any Android smartphone available with performance to match. However, it takes some time to get used to the buttons and you have to love customizing your phone.
Last week I posted my extensive LG G2 image and screenshot gallery and left my personal T-Mobile SIM in the phone to see if I could use it as my primary device. There is a lot to like in the G2, but I crossed it off my candidate smartphone list for a few reasons after spending more time with it.
LG continues to launch compelling products and the G2 just about has it all. Everyone that I handed the device to has commented on the responsiveness and sheer speed of the 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. It truly is a pleasure to use and refreshing to see on an Android device.
I also love the minimal side bezel that gives you a 5.2 inch display in a device only 138.5 x 70.9 millimeters in size. The display looks great, but there seems to be an issue with the screen brightness control as it tends to change randomly while outside or in well light environments. It works fine inside and in darker areas though so I imagine a software update can fix it.
I liked the design of the Nexus 4, made by LG, but am a bit disappointed in the glossy black plastic of the G2. I understand the use of plastic by Samsung on their Galaxy line where the removable back gives you access to the removable battery and microSD card slot. I guess I am spoiled by the feel of the HTC One and Apple iPhone 5.
LG moved the power button and volume buttons to the back of the phone just below the camera and after a week I still can't get used to the placement of these buttons. LG also has a Nokia-esque capability where you double-tap on the display to turn it on. This is called Knockon and toggled in your gesture settings. While it is a good idea with the power button on the back, I found it didn't work consistently ever time either.
The camera performed very well and I was quite impressed with it. I would love to see such a camera on the hardware of my HTC One. The camera software is also very well done, reminding me a lot of what Samsung provides.
The HTC One has spoiled me with its BoomSound stereo speakers with the Moto X also showing me what a mono speaker is capable of. Unfortunately, the LG G2 speaker is just adequate and nothing special.
Usage and experiences
There are a ton of settings on the LG G2, including quick settings, home screen settings, lock screen settings, system settings, and much more. You can spend a lot of time browsing through and customizing the settings for your specific needs and desires. You will find treasures such as custom vibration settings, front touch button options, font settings, Slide Aside, QSlide, and more.
Like the Samsung Galaxy series, many settings and software options on the LG G2 are rather gimmicky. I am sure there are a few people that find them useful, but I just found them to be rather bothersome. Slide Aside lets you use three fingers to slide across the display and more easily toggle between three open apps. I found it quicker and easier to just use the multi-tasking feature in Android.
QSlide apps are small utilities that let you perform some tasks in a small window on top of your primary display. Again, I found these of limited use and did not find them essential.
You will find the notification area extends about half way down the display, even with options like QSlide turned off. I like having quick access to wireless controls, but the new Android 4.2 method is much better designed. I don't want my notification area to consumed by settings and would rather leave the room for notifications.
It was fun to tap, hold, and move my finger around on the G2 display as it has an animation that shows you what is live "under" the lock screen display. There are plenty of good widgets and if you are into customizing your device then you can't go wrong with the LG G2.
Pros and Cons
To summarize my experiences and the specifications of the Moto X, here are my pros and cons.
Large display in reasonable form factor
Very fast performance
Excellent battery life
Good performing camera
Unique rear button design
Too many settings and software functions
Flawed brightness controls
Glossy plastic design
Pricing and availability
The LG G2 is available on all the major carriers for $199.99 with a 2-year contract. T-Mobile sells it for $99.99 down and $21/month for 24 months or $603.99 full retail price. It is available now on all carriers with some software differences and WiFi Calling support on T-Mobile.
The Moto X, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S4 are the premier competitors to the LG G2. I would personally choose the HTC One or Moto X over the G2 even though I did enjoy the powerful customization options on the G2.
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS
2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor
2GB RAM and 32GB flash storage memory
5.2 inch 1080p IPS display
13 megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization (OIS)
2.4 megapixel front facing camera
3000 mAh non-removable battery
Dimensions of 5.45 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches and 5.04 ounces
The LG G2 is a specification powerhouse and it is refreshing to see such an excellent Android smartphone compete with other devices like the HTC One and Moto X. I loved seeing the minimal side bezel and after a couple of days I was thinking of buying one for myself. Given the rumors that the next Nexus is based on the G2, I am going to wait to see if that holds true with hopes that it comes with wireless charging and a bit better construction.
LG produced a great camera in the LG G2 with OIS and powerful software. There is just too much going on with the notification area and settings for me to recommend the G2 for everyone.