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LG Optimus G Pro: An excellent 5.5-inch Android smartphone - gallery

AT&T's LG Optimus G Pro starts shipping today, and is a good alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Note II. LG improves the specs, and offers some handy utilities, but does not have stylus support.
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Retail package of LG Optimus G Pro

I've written many times about my preference for the Samsung Galaxy Note II, so I was interested in checking out the newest large Android competitor, the AT&T LG Optimus G Pro.

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Back of LG Optimus G Pro and Galaxy Note II

The LG Optimus G Pro ships in the standard AT&T box, along with a USB cable, A/C charger, and Quick Start Guide. There is no headset included.

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Front of LG Optimus G Pro and Galaxy Note II

LG continues to make high-quality Android products, and the device feels great in the hand, even with the large, 5.5-inch display. The Optimus G Pro is quite a bit (relative) narrower than the Galaxy Note II (0.2 inches less), thus making it a bit easier to hold.

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LG Optimus G Pro and Galaxy Note II in hand

The front is a single piece of glass with nicely designed bevelled edges to give it a premium look and feel. The edges transition into a brushed silver plastic frame piece and an attractive removable back plastic cover with a pattern design.

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Hardware action button and bevelled glass front

I did keep tapping on the wrong button, as LG has the back button on the left and the menu button on the right of the center hardware action button. My Galaxy Note II has these buttons on the opposite side.

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LG branding up top

The LG Optimus G Pro matches the specifications of the latest and greatest devices, including:

  • 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor

  • Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean

  • 5.5-inch 1080p display (400 ppi)

  • 2GB RAM

  • 13-megapixel camera with LED flash

  • 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera with 1080p video capture capability

  • Internal storage of 32GB with microSD card slot

  • 3,140mAh removable battery

  • Dimensions of 5.91x3x0.37 inches and 6.14 ounces.

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Left side with application launch button and volume button

There is nothing particularly unique about the specifications, but they are bumped up over what the Galaxy Note II offers. The bezel around the display is smaller, which is how LG was able to make it a bit narrower. The one major difference, and the only real reason I use the Note II over a Galaxy S III or S IV, is the S Pen functionality.

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Back showing speaker, camera, and flash

Like Samsung's TouchWiz, LG includes its own software layer on top of Android. It is less obtrusive than TouchWiz, and doesn't offer up duplication like Samsung does in too many areas.

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Large battery, micro SIM, and microSD

The UI is actually quite good, and gives you some unique customization support, such as the ability to change app icons to different icons or even a photo you select, many custom experience settings, quick side button selection, and more.

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Narrower than the Galaxy Note II

LG also includes several utilities, such as QSlide, QuickMemo, QuickRemote, LG Tag+, SmartShare, and VoiceCommand.

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Home

The typical home screen on the smartphone.

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AT&T bloatware is included

There are also several AT&T apps included on the Optimus G Pro, including myAT&T, Messages, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Locker, AT&T Smart WiFi, AT&T DriveMode, and Mobile Hotspot.

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App launcher

QuickMemo is assigned by default to the button found on the upper left side of the Optimus G Pro. When you press the button a screenshot of the display is captured. You can then write on the note and share it with others. You can also change the settings to have a blank note created rather than a screenshot.

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More included apps

LG Tag+ is its near-field communication (NFC) utility that lets you read and write NFC tags. SmartShare lets you play and share contents via DLNA. The VoiceCommand app is LG's internal voice application. The Optimus G Pro also comes with Google Now, so you can use that voice software as well.

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Busy notification slider

I enjoyed using the Optimus G Pro for the last several days, and like that it is a bit narrower than the Galaxy Note II. LG did a great job with the Optimus G Pro, and I am very pleased with the products it is turning out.

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QuickButton setup

You will find options similar to the Galaxy line, with the display staying on while you look at it, ability to change system fonts, Quick Cover optimization setting, lots of sound optimizations, one-handed optimizations, and more. I found these utilities and settings to be enhancements rather than gimmicks as we see on the Galaxy line.

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QuickButton

The options to assign the QuickButton shortcut.

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Gestures settings

Unfortunately, the LG Optimus G Pro is only available on AT&T, so there will be a limited audience for the device. If it was available on T-Mobile or Verizon, I might have purchased one and replaced my Galaxy Note II. I like my Note II, but don't really use the S Pen enough to justify keeping it just for the stylus functionality. Then again, I do use multi-window mode quite a bit, and LG doesn't yet have this functionality down.

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Font and advanced settings

There are plenty of great font choices available, too.

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QuickRemote setup

QuickRemote is LG's entry into the world of infrared. The utility works very well, and I actually like the layout of the remote better than what I have on my HTC One. You can set up QuickRemote to work with your TV, cable box, audio device, DVD player, Blu-ray, projector, and air conditioner.

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Video Wiz application

The Video Wiz utility lets you add images or videos and music to create highlight videos, similar to what HTC does automatically on the HTC One.

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Storage available

The storage settings on the LG Optimus G Pro.

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QSlide Guide

One of the best things about my Galaxy Note II is the multi-window support. LG tried to do something similar with a utility called QSlide. However, QSlide apps (videos, note pad, calendar, and calculator) appear over the top of apps, and there is a slider bar to change the transparency. It is a neat idea, but doesn't seem that practical or useful to me.

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QSlide

Calculator working through QSlide.

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QSlide

QSlide with quick launch buttons on the bottom.

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Quick settings

You can edit your quick settings lineup easily.

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Weather application

The included weather application.

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Customize your shortcut icons

Data-centric consumers like me appreciate these large-screen devices, and the LG Optimus G Pro doesn't disappoint in any way that I have found over the last several days. The LG Optimus G Pro is very fast, feels great in your hand, has a gorgeous large display, and is very reasonably priced for such a large device.

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Typical photo captured by LG Optimus G Pro

The camera software is full featured, and includes a different take than what we see on the Galaxy S4. With the S4, you can take a still photo of yourself and include it in the photo. On the Optimus G Pro, you can record yourself and your subject at the same time. It seems to me this may be more useful than dual still photos.

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Another photo taken with the LG Optimus G Pro

The LG Optimus G Pro will start shipping today from AT&T, and is available for $199.99 with a 2-year contract. You can check out ZDNet's sister site CNET's review to see another opinion on the device.

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