LG G2 Hands-On Review





At a New York press conference on Wednesday, LG took the wraps off the LG G2, its newest flagship handset. Equipped with powerful specs, this G2 knocks the Korean mobile company's last flagship, the Optimus G Pro for AT&T, right out of the water.
Not only does the new G2 sport a 13-megapixel camera like its main rival, the Samsung Galaxy S4, it also runs Android 4.2.2 and has a vivid 1080p HD display. Uncommonly, and not completely comfortably, its volume rocker and power buttons are located on the phone's back side.

The G2 is without a doubt LG's most ambitious smartphone yet. And while it has what it takes to challenge its Android rivals, it isn't yet crystal clear if the G2 can topple them, especially if individuals find it hard to get past the phone's unusual back-panel controls.
Furthermore, the G2 is the first globally available handset to boast Qualcomm's lightning-quick Snapdragon 800 processor for all models and providers, not just a select few. Along with an international launch, you'll also be able to pick up a G2 from four U.S. carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
Core components
LG's G2 packs in a trove of choice hardware, including the aforementioned quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU clocked at 2.26GHz with 4G LTE Advanced.
Yet, fancy quad-core Snapdragon silicon isn't the LG G2's only distinguishing feature. Backing up the phone's muscular processor are 2GB of RAM and a dedicated allotment of memory specifically meant for handling graphics chores (called GRAM). This is the first phone we've heard of that does that, an observation LG reps are eager to point out, and one that gets us drooling over the G2's potential for mobile gaming.

One of the phone's novel features is the fact that its volume rocker and the sleep/power button are now housed on the backside.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
In our limited time with the G2, we can attest that it certainly handles like a speed demon. Menus flew by with almost blinding swiftness while apps and home screens opened and closed in the blink of an eye. Of course we can say the same about the Motorola Moto X, which relies on a less souped-up X8 processing system composed of the Snapdragon S4 processor and two digital signal processors. We'll have to subject the phone to proper benchmarks and our true review process before we make the final call on performance.
As for internal storage capacity, LG will release 16GB and 32GB versions of the G2. Unfortunately, neither model includes an expandable microSD card slot, so choose wisely lest you inadvertently run dry on room for apps, music, and other digital media.
Juicing the device with power is an embedded 3,000mAh battery that has a reported usage time of up to 1.2 days. That's a sizable power source considering that the long-lasting Motorola Droid Razr Maxx used a 3,300mAh battery and the upcoming Droid Maxx boasts a 3,500mAh unit.
Design
Equipped with a massive 5.2-inch, 1080p IPS LCD display (and 423ppi density) that runs edge to edge against the bezel (thanks to a dual-routing touch-screen sensor technology), the LG G2 still manages to be remarkably thin and light. Indeed, its profile measures just over 0.3 inch (8mm) thick. You can still use the display with gloves on, and its softly rounded curves provide a comfortable grip. Its glossy surfaces slide into tight pockets easily, and altogether, the G2 measures 5.45 inches tall and 2.79 inches wide.
One big drawback to the black or white handset's smooth texture is that it easily accumulates fingerprints and smudges. As a matter of fact, we had to practically wipe down the device's screen and back plating every few minutes to eradicate streaks. We do like the iridescent highlights hidden under the G2's back skin. It's almost Nexus 4-like in styling and adds some flair to the otherwise drab black handset.
The G2 also has interesting motion and button controls, starting with its volume rocker and sleep/power buttons, which have altogether moved to the rear of the device. These keys sit below the main camera and LED flash, and while LG touts their convenience for adjusting audio midcall, we found them small and tricky to locate without looking. In the grand scheme of things, this location change isn't that jarring, but forcing your hands and fingers to unlearn years of muscle memory takes time.
Features, software and interface
Like the Moto X and the Galaxy S4, the G2 ships with Android 4.2.2. On top of your common stock of Google apps, you'll also get some interesting UI and gesture controls.
One such feature is Slide Aside, which lets you pull up and access the three most recently opened apps. Another tool called Cliptray can save chunks of text to use at a later time.
There are other interface actions all LG's own. To unlock the G2, simply double tap its touch screen (this is called KnockOn). To lock it and put it back to sleep, tap the display again. Long-press the volume-down button on the back to launch the camera, and hold the volume-up key to open LG's note-taking app, QuickMemo.
The G2's Answer Me function automatically lowers the ringer volume of an incoming call if it senses the handset is being picked up, and it'll also answer the call when you hold the phone against your face. There's also QuickRemote (seen in the Optimus G Pro), which lets you use your G2 as a remote for other devices like TVs via an IR blaster on the top edge. Lastly, Guest Mode is a privacy protection setting that launches when a guest unlocks your phone with a different pattern than your own.
LG G2
Aside from dual-recording, the G2's 13-megapixel camera has several other photo features.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
Though all these software features sound nifty (especially Guest Mode), these controls aren't initially intuitive to access, and took a few moments to get used to.
LG's first mature 13-megapixel debuted with Sprint's G Pro. Though that camera's photo quality didn't blow anyone away, its pictures ended up being largely sharp and colorful. The jury remains out on the G2's camera until we get to some serious testing.
What we do know is that this version of LG's 13-megapixel shooter comes with a bevy of features that include OIS (optical image stabilization,) an 8x digital zoom, and dual front- and back-camera modes for stills and videos. The camera also packs in several shooting modes, including panorama, beauty-shot mode, and burst shot.
As an aside, LG will sell Quick Window Cases for the G2, similar to the G Pro's case and Samsung's S View cover. Like the latter, the case will have a window so you can see some parts of your screen, which can include the date and time. It will come in several colors and will be sold separately. LG will also sell QuadBeat earphones to take advantage of the handset's hi-fi (24-bit, 192KHz) audio.
Outlook
Following today's global launch event in New York, the device will be rolled out to more than 130 international carriers in the next eight weeks, beginning in South Korea. Next in the release cycle come North America, Europe, and other key markets. Carriers will announce their own dates one by one.
Unlike the Optimus G Pro (which was only available on AT&T or unlocked), the G2 will be carried by all four major carriers. Gamers will surely enjoy the handset's extra memory muscle when handling graphics, and we're most excited about the G2's blazing-fast Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor.

However, it won't be all smooth sailing for the G2. The absent microSD card slot and embedded battery may be deal breakers for some, and both the phone's design and OS keep up with the new heights set by today's superphones, but can't push past rivals.
Indeed, the G2 not only faces stiff competition against the reigning flagships -- the HTC One and the GS4 -- but it must also do battle against Motorola's recently announced Droid family and Moto X.
LG's G2 isn't a game changer by any means, but its specs meet the status quo, and it is certainly LG's most ambitious smartphone to date.
Source: CNET

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