LG G2 review: Recommended, unless you need storage expansion

lg-g2-review-recommended-unless-you-need-storage-expansion.jpg
  • Editors' rating
    8.2 Excellent
  • $574.99

Pros

  • Superb 5.2-inch screen
  • Excellent battery life
  • Some clever software features

Cons

  • No MicroSD slot for storage expansion
  • Non-removable backplate
  • Rear-mounted power button

The LG G2 is the flagship handset from a company that arguably doesn't get the credit it deserves. The G2 is LG's answer to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 , HTC One , Sony Xperia Z1 — and of course Apple's iPhone 5s . With a large screen and impressive battery life, The LG G2 hits some important targets — but does it match its high-end competition and justify its high price — £340 (ex. VAT, or £408 inc. VAT)?

Design

The marketing for the LG G2 mentions the positioning of its on/off button and its 'near zero bezel'. These are certainly distinctive features, and while the former won't be to every taste, the latter is likely to be welcomed by all. LG has managed to cram a 5.2-inch screen, which we measured as 65mm wide, into a chassis that's just 70.9mm wide. The bezel along the long edges really is almost non-existent, and is surprisingly narrow at the top and bottom too. A speaker, front camera and alert light are squeezed in at the top, and the overall effect is of a phone that's almost all screen.

lg-g2-models

LG's flagship G2 has a 5.2-inch IPS screen and is powered by a top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC with 2GB of RAM. Our review sample had 32GB of internal storage, but no MicroSD slot for adding extra capacity. Note the power button and volume rocker on the back of the handset.

Image: LG

Despite its size, the screen doesn't seem overly large — although we found it impossible to use one-handed. The display itself is superb, with a full-HD resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels giving it a pixel density of 424ppi that's only beaten by the 4.7in. HTC One (469ppi), 4.95in. Google Nexus 5 (445ppi), 5in. Samsung Galaxy S4 and 5in. Sony Xperia Z (both 441ppi). The IPS panel has great colour rendering and excellent viewing angles. It's difficult to find fault here.

That other design element we mentioned, the positioning of the on/off button, is likely to be a little more contentious. Rather than locate this on an edge, as is the norm, LG has placed it on the back, beneath the camera lens. It's bounded top and bottom by the volume buttons.

The small lozenge-shaped power switch is slightly raised, making it possible to find by touch alone. We found a bit of a fiddle at first, but did get used to it after a while. LG has clearly recognised that the ergonomics will remain an issue for some people, and has provided the option to double-tap the screen for locking down and opening the phone.

Although relocating the on/off button might have been a better move, we have to admit that the double screen tap is a great idea. It's particularly useful when the handset is sitting on a desk, and we'd like to see more phone-makers adopt it.

Top ZDNET Reviews

The volume rocker that surrounds the on/off button is much less of an issue. It is less frequently used than the power button, and we found it easy to access with the handset in a pocket.

The LG G2 takes a microSIM that goes into a caddy on the left edge of the chassis. Apart from the caddy and a headset jack and Micro-USB connector on the bottom, the edges of the handset are free of clutter. They curve into the backplate which is shiny, shows up finger-grease and is not particularly grip-friendly.

The only other edge-mounted feature is a pair of speaker grilles on the bottom of the chassis. These deliver a healthy volume, although there's some distortion at the very loudest level. It's easy to cover these grilles when you're holding the handset in landscape mode (when gaming for example), which will muffle the sound.

Features

As LG's flagship handset, the G2's specifications are impressive, with one annoying (but all too common) exception: there's no MicroSD card slot for storage expansion. Our review unit had 32GB of internal storage, but that's not available in the UK, where 16GB is standard. The operating system and various LG extras took up 8GB of space on our review handset, leaving 24GB for user apps and data. The 16GB model will have even less free storage to play with, and it's a real pity that capacity is hampered in this way.

lg-g2-buttons

Front touch button configuration options for the LG G2.

The processor is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 running at 2.26GHz. It's the current processor of choice for top-end handsets and, backed up by 2GB of RAM, is very zippy: screen transitions, web page renders and video playback were all fast and smooth. We've no complaints about this handset's speed.

This is an LTE handset with a full complement of wireless features — Wi-Fi (dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth (4.0), plus NFC and GPS (with A-GPS and GLONASS support). Music support includes the lossless FLAC codec — one of a number of extras that LG has overlain on top of Android 4.2.2.

The camera is a case in point. The rear camera has a 13-megapixel resolution — a healthy specification, and one that produces some nice shots. Optical image stabilisation helps reduce the likelihood of blurred images (especially in low light), and you can take photos that include what both the front (2.1Mpixel) and rear cameras can see; there's also a mode that shoots five images quickly, allowing you to retain the one you like best.

You can configure the front touch buttons to your liking, changing the configuration of the left and right buttons and adding a fourth button either to launch LG's QuickMemo app — which lets you take a screenshot and annotate it, and then save or share it — or to pull down the notification panel.

lg-g2-calc

QSlide provides a collection of pop-up applets such as this calculator.

The notification icons can be edited to include just the shortcuts you require. QSlide is an additional utility that sits in the notifications area and provides access to a range of pop-up apps that open on top of whatever you are doing at the time. These are resizeable and include not just applets like a calculator and a note-taker, but also weightier apps such as a file manager.

When you plug in a headset, four shortcuts pop up pointing to relevant apps, and you can edit these so that your favourite quartet is offered. There's also an eye tracking system that pauses video if you look away from the screen and keeps the screen awake while you're looking at it — overriding whatever time-out you've set.

The LG packs a 3,000mAh battery beneath the G2's non-removable backplate, claiming up to 17.5 hours of 3G talk and 900 hours (37.5 days) on standby. For once we're not complaining about having to find mains power mid-afternoon, or even early evening. Even if you're a power user, you should be able to get through a day without charging the battery. This feature alone may draw you to the LG G2.

Conclusion

LG has done a great job with the G2, and its battery life will be a big plus for many potential buyers. The power button placement is odd, but isn't a deal-breaker. The G2's only real drawback is its lack of MicroSD storage expansion. If don't need this, then it's well worth shortlisting.

Specifications

Details
SAR Value 1.18 W/kg (body), 0.68 W/kg (head)
Integrated Components FM radio
Body Color White
Cellular
Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
Application Software AT&T Battery Manager, AT&T Data Manager, AT&T DriveMode, AT&T Messages, AT&T Smart Wi-Fi, Google Chrome, Google Plus Hangouts, Kindle for Android, Microsoft Direct Push, Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, Notebook, Polaris Office 5, Task Manager, Voice Mate, Webkit
Type Smartphone
Integrated Components FM radio
Navigation A-GPS
Band WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Mobile Broadband Generation 4G
Phone Form Factor touch
Service Provider not specified
Operating System Family Android
Operating System Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
Input Device Multi-touch
Phone Features
Phone Functions Speakerphone, voice control, call timer, conference call, flight mode, voice dialing, vibrating alert
Sensors Accelerometer, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, digital compass, gyro sensor, gesture
Additional Features TTY compatible, DLNA Certified, Text-to-Speech (text recognition), software updates FOTA (Firmware Over The Air), multitasking, sharing media via DLNA, Screen capture, Face Unlock, Android Beam, QuickMemo function, QSlide function, Wi-Fi Miracast, Live Zooming function, infrared remote control, QTranslator function, Dual Camera function, VuTalk function, Dual Recording, Zerogap technology, QuickRemote function, Guest Mode function, KnockON, Smart Screen function, Slide Aside function, Answer Me function
Messaging & Internet
Cellular Messaging Services MMS, SMS
Messaging & Data Features Microsoft Excel support, Microsoft PowerPoint support, Microsoft Word support, PDF support, WAP Push, handwriting recognition
Mobile Services AT&T Address Book, AT&T Battery Manager, AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T Data Manager, AT&T DriveMode, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Hot Spots, AT&T Locker, AT&T Messages, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Smart Wi-Fi, AT&T U-verse Live TV, Gmail, Google Chrome, Google Latitude, Google Maps, Google Play, Google Play Music, Google Plus Hangouts, Google Search, Google Search by Voice, Kindle for Android, MSN Hotmail, Microsoft Direct Push, Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, Notebook, Polaris Office 5, Task Manager, Video Call, Voice Mate, Webkit, YPmobile, Yahoo! Mail, myAT&T
Messaging Services Google Hangouts, MMS, SMS
Supported Email Protocols IMAP4, POP3, SMTP
Supported Social Networks and Blogs Facebook, Google+, Twitter
Miscellaneous
Sensors accelerometer, ambient light sensor, digital compass, gesture, gyro sensor, proximity sensor
Communications
Communication Features Internet browser, mobile Email client
Data Transmission EDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSPA+, HSUPA, LTE
4G LTE Band Band 17, Band 2, Band 4, Band 5
Data Transmission Operating Frequency LTE 700/850/AWS/1900
Wireless Interface Bluetooth 4.0, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, NFC
WLAN Security WPA2
Bluetooth Profiles Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP), File Transfer Profile (FTP), Hands-Free Profile (HFP), Headset Profile (HSP), Human Interface Device Profile (HID), Message Access Profile (MAP), Object Push Profile (OPP), Personal Area Networking Profile (PAN), Phonebook Access Profile (PBAP)
Display
Technology IPS
Display Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels
Color Depth 24-bit (16.7 million colors)
Display Format Full HD
Pixel Density (ppi) 423
Diagonal Size 5.2 in
Diagonal Size (metric) 13.2 cm
Smartphone Diagonal Size 5.2 in
Color Support color
Processor
Clock Speed 2.26 GHz
Type Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Manufacturer QUALCOMM
Processor Core Qty Quad-core
Organizer
Personal Information Management alarm clock, alarm clock with snooze, calculator, calendar, reminder, stopwatch, synchronization with PC
Camera
Digital Zoom 8
Focus Adjustment automatic, manual
Camera Light Source LED light
Still Image Resolutions 1280 x 960, 3200 x 2400, 3264 x 2448, 4160 x 2340, 4160 x 3120
Features Audio Zooming function, Beauty Shot, BurstShot, Cheese Shutter function, Geo-tagging, Multi-shots, Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS), Shot & Clear, Time Catch Shot, face detection, multi-point AF, sapphire crystal lens cover, video recording
Media Player
Supported Digital Video Standards VC-1, MOV, M-JPEG, XviD, MPEG-4, WMV, DivX, 3GP, H.264, H.263
Supported Digital Audio Standards WAV, WMA, AAC, AMR, MP3, FLAC, XMF, AAC +, OGG, eAAC+, MIDI, M4A
Location
Navigation Software & Services AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, Google Maps
Memory
User Memory 22 GB
Battery
Standby Time Up to 790 Hour (2G) / Up to 900 Hours (3G)
Run Time Details Talk: up to 1074 min
Standby: up to 696 hrs
Digital Camera
Digital Zoom 8
Focus Adjustment automatic, manual
Self-Timer Delay 10 sec, 3 sec, 5 sec, Yes
White Balance automatic, presets
Camera Light Source LED light
Special Effects Mono, Negative, Sepia
Still Image Resolutions 1280 x 960, 3200 x 2400, 3264 x 2448, 4160 x 2340, 4160 x 3120
Video Recorder Resolutions 1280 x 720 (720p), 176 x 144 (QCIF), 1920 x 1080 (1080p), 320 x 240 (QVGA)
Features Audio Zooming function, Beauty Shot, BurstShot, Cheese Shutter function, Geo-tagging, Multi-shots, Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS), Shot & Clear, Time Catch Shot, face detection, multi-point AF, sapphire crystal lens cover, video recording
Navigation System
Navigation Software & Services AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, Google Maps
Header
Brand LG
Product Line LG
Model G2 D800
Packaged Quantity 1
CE Input Device
Type touch sensitive screen (multi-touch)
Features
Sensors accelerometer, ambient light sensor, digital compass, gesture, gyro sensor, proximity sensor
Phone Functions call timer, conference call, flight mode, speakerphone, vibrating alert, voice control, voice dialing
Additional Features Android Beam, Answer Me function, DLNA Certified, Dual Camera function, Dual Recording, Face Unlock, Guest Mode function, KnockON, Live Zooming function, QSlide function, QTranslator function, QuickMemo function, QuickRemote function, Screen capture, Slide Aside function, Smart Screen function, TTY compatible, Text-to-Speech (text recognition), VuTalk function, Wi-Fi Miracast, Zerogap technology, infrared remote control, multitasking, sharing media via DLNA, software updates FOTA (Firmware Over The Air)
Digital Player (Recorder)
Supported Digital Audio Standards AAC, AMR, FLAC, M4A, MIDI, MP3, OGG, WAV, WMA, XMF, eAAC+
Supported Digital Video Standards 3GP, DivX, H.263, H.264, M-JPEG, MOV, MPEG-4, VC-1, WMV, XviD
Sound Enhancements Hi-Fi Sound support
RAM
Installed Size 2 GB
Flash Memory
Internal Memory Capacity 32 GB
User Memory 22 GB
Optical Sensor
Sensor Resolution 13 megapixels
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Full Contract Period 1 year
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty

Where To Buy

Where To Buy

LG G2 (black)

Part Number: G2