We got an opportunity to play around with LG’s latest all-singing, all-dancing flagship phone, the LG G2 at their launch event in Gurgaon today. Overall, we came away pretty impressed with the phone. It ticks a couple of very interesting boxes when it comes to high-end Android smartphones.
The most immediately noticeable feature of the phone is just how compact it is, especially considering it has a 5.2″ display. The bezels on the side are absolutely minuscule allowing the phone to fit easily into our medium sized hands. The other aspect of the G2 which jumps right at you is the screen. The LG G2 has basically dethroned the HTC One in one fell swoop as the king of awesome displays. The 1080p, 5.2″ panel is as crisp as a bucket of KFC with a pixel density of 423ppi. The colours are vibrant and accurate with the IPS-LCD panel providing large viewing angles. It simply goes without saying: the LG G2 has the best screen we have ever seen on a smartphone.
The front face of the G2 is completely dominated by its display, with the bottom bezel housing the LG logo and the top bezel containing the earpiece, ambient light sensors, a notification LED and a 2.1 MP front facing camera. The back of the phone on the other hand, is somewhat less minimal. It is decorated using a subtle stippled pattern, which does add to the premium look of the device. It also houses the 13 MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization and rear-mounted volume controls and lock button. In the hand, the back feels somewhat sticky and plasticky, and would not fare well in sweaty hands. This characteristic somewhat detracts from the overall premium feel of the phone, but as Samsung has proven time and again with their Galaxy S lineup, glossy plastic phones can be highly popular too.
Our preliminary impressions of the camera were pretty good. It was quite capable of clicking fairly impressive pictures and OIS worked as advertised. We have yet to put the camera through thorough testing though, so stay tuned for that. The rear-mounted buttons on the other hand, were a tiny bit clunky. Pushing the power button without a firm grasp on the bottom of the phone could easily make it slip out of your hand. We simply decided to forgo the power button completely and used Knock On throughout most of our time with the phone. Knock On allows you to simply knock on the display twice to wake up or lock the device. It worked for us most of the time, but sometimes required additional knocks.
LG is closely competing with Samsung in terms of having a bloated and feature-dense Android skin. Fortunately, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 paired with 2GB of RAM inside the G2 was more than capable enough to handle everything that LG threw at it. There was nary a hint of lag as we swiped through the interface. The interface itself though is quite cringe-worthy. It is a somewhat cartoony mess, with childish icons and sweepy animations. There are a total of 3 ways to multitask on the device, the standard Android app list, LG’s Slide Aside as well as these small apps which open over whatever you are doing at the moment.
Slide Aside is insanely redundant. It allows you to save up to three apps running in the background and bring them up with a three-finger gesture. But fact is, that three finger gesture is so clunky that nobody was able to do it effectively in our brief time with the device. Something or the other always got accidentally triggered on screen.
LG’s redundant features aside, Android 4.2.2 absolutely flies on the LG G2. The powerful SoC inside it makes us forgive all of LG’s missteps on the software side; a fact which makes us even more keen on seeing the Nexus 5, which would most likely run on the same platform. The one bone of contention with LG’s software we simply cannot get over though, is the Android version. LG has not had a good track record when it comes to updating older devices, and even now they are launching their flagship phone with Android 4.2.2 even though Android 4.3 has been in the wild for months now.
To wrap up, the LG G2 is an absolute beast of a phone. For every geeky spec-hound out there, it is the holy grail right now. The mostly minimalistic hardware experience is somewhat marred by the overbearing software though, and that turned out to be our one major gripe with the G2. For Rs. 41,500 for the 16GB model and Rs. 44,500 for the 32GB model, it is a very worthy purchase, and one that you would not regret. The more patient among you would still want to wait for the Nexus 5 to hit town though, as it would bring you similar hardware with a much superior software experience. Either way, the LG G2 is a testament to LG’s growing abilities as an OEM.
P.S. We’ll leave you off with a size comparison between the LG G2 and a few of the random devices we had in our pockets at the time.
P.P.S We also shot a hands-on video with the LG G2. Here it is!