Only available in Asian markets for now, this is the G Pro 2, LG’s latest attempt at convincing us that bigger is better. It has a 5.9-inch Full HD display, runs Android 4.4 KitKat with the company’s own user interface and is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core processor with 3GB of RAM.
But while the handset’s specification sheet might not separate it from its phablet rivals - the Sony Xperia Z1 Ultra, Nokia Lumia 1520 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - LG hopes a range of nifty hardware and software features will help win you over.
Read More - Nokia Lumia 1520 Review
The first of these is inherited from the G2 from last year - a rear-mounted volume rocker and power button. Positioned to fall neatly below your index finger, the buttons take some getting used to; I found myself hunting for them along the phone’s top and left edges before remembering where they really were.
But I soon got used to it and realised their position is actually rather handy, especially given the handset’s vast size.
Read More - LG G2 Review
Next up is how you unlock the G Pro 2. LG has previously offered Knockon, where the phone is woken by a double-tap to the screen, but the G Pro 2 takes this one stage further with Knockcode.
Like entering a PIN or password, you can set a combination of between two and eight taps of the screen to unlock the phone from standby. Whatever pattern of knocks you choose - top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right, for example - it can be performed anywhere on the screen, so no more struggling to reach the top row of keys or numbers when holding your phone one-handed.
Having used the G Pro 2 for a few days, I found Knockcode can be performed in the tiniest area of the screen, but the system felt a little unresponsive. The phone often took a second or more to unlock after I’d made my secret knock. Occasionally, the phone didn’t register my knock at all, but the feature still shows great promise - if only it could be a little quicker.
Read More - HTC One Max Review
A double-tap locks the phone (complete with old school television-being-turn-off animation), but this can’t be performed everywhere. Tapping a blank section of the home screen works fine, but catch an app or widget by accident and that’ll be opened instead. Double-tapping the menu bar also locks the handset.
Another software tweak is Mini View, which shrinks the phone’s display to help you navigate the phone single-handed. Swipe horizontally across the bottom of the screen and the display shrinks to around two-thirds of its regular size. This window can then be dragged around, resized and interacted with exactly the same as if it were its regular size - I found this really useful when typing one-handed or when stretching to the top corners of the screen was proving difficult.
With Mini View open, the phone still shows its user interface in full in the background, albeit easily shaded. It’s impressive how the G Pro 2 can essentially show the same UI twice with no noticeable lag between them.
Finally, the G Pro 2’s huge screen means you can have two web pages open at once, and you can adjust the transparency of each window individually.
Elsewhere, the LG G Pro 2 is as you would expect from a top-end phablet. The 5.9-inch screen has a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, meaning everything is pin-sharp, with crisp icons and rounded text. Colour reproduction is good, but not on par with the Samsung Galaxy S5; the LG’s colours lack the vibrant punch of the S5, but then for my money Samsung has the best screen on the market right now.
Read More - Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
As for hardware, the LG lacks the premium metal finish of the HTC One Max, instead opting for an all-plastic design with a glass-covered screen. The glossy white review unit sent to Mobile Choice has a thin chrome line around the edge of the screen, and another one around the edge of the device itself. Given the lock and volume buttons are on the back, the edges of the handset are completely clean - something not seen on most of LG’s rivals - and the removable back panel has a rough finish made from thousands of tiny squares and giving you something to grip.
Peel off the back cover and you’ll find a microSD card slot for expanding the 16 or 32GB of internal storage, and a removable 3,200mAh battery.
At 8.3mm, the LG is surprisingly slim considering its screen size, which goes a long wait to help the phone feel more comfortable in the hand - it certainly feels better than the enormous Sony Xperia Z1 Ultra, and perhaps even the more curvy Nokia Lumia 1520 too. The LG weighs 172g, which feels about right given its size. All in all, the handset does well to hide its size.
It may lack the S-Pen stylus of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but the LG G Pro 2 comes with a range of interesting and useful features which help make the most of that massive screen. It may not have the metal build of an HTC One Max, but the LG is hugely powerful handset with a gorgeous screen, a smart and attractive take on Android, and enough unique features to make it stand out from the crowd.
Read More - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review
There’s no word yet on whether the G Pro 2 will be available officially in the UK and Europe, but you can buy it now through some online retailers for around £430 for the 32GB, 4G model.