Look and feel
Although the LG G2 lacks the premium finish of phones like Sony’s Xperia Z1, we love the edge-to-edge screen which makes the phone feel more compact.
Ease of Use
Those rear power and volume buttons are a little quirk at first, and hard to get used to, but they work well once you do. The G2’s excellent multi-tasking abilities make it simple to do several things at once.
Where to begin? The G2 is crammed full of excellent features, including a smart 13-megapixel camera. The Full HD screen is also a delight.
Quad-core performance means the G2 isn’t going to be out of date any time soon.
Another of the G2’s highlights, we easily enjoyed over 24 hours of use between charges and even watched an impressive seven hours of video before it died.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,9/17/2013 2:24:55 PM
Ease of use
Glorious edge-to-edge HD screen;
Smart and feature-packed camera;
Great battery life
No memory card slot;
Earlier this year we were awestruck by the fantastic LG G Pro, a smartphone so rammed with fantastic features that we’re surprised it didn’t explode into tiny chunks, Mr Creosote-style. The only bum being that it didn’t actually hit British shores. It’s a great relief, therefore, to say that the LG G2 – an innovative 5.2-inch slab of glory – is available in the UK. Anyone after a slick multi-tasking or media handset should seriously consider it.
LG G2: Design
It’s incredible how LG has managed to make a 5.2-inch smartphone feel a hell of a lot smaller, and the G2 is one of the first full-sized mobiles that we’ve comfortably used one-handed. The likes of Sony’s Xperia Z1 and Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 are five-inch devices, but we struggle to operate them with a single hand. However, the G2 boasts an incredibly thin, almost non-existent bezel around the screen, and that combined with the slender, curved body makes it feel marvellous.
The G2’s glossy frame also feels well stitched-together, for the most part. There’s the odd creak here and there and the shiny plastic picks up fingerprints with gusto, but it’s tough enough to take a bit of punishment. We just don’t think it feels or looks quite as premium as it should.
You’ll find the SIM card slot on the G2’s right hand side, opened with a pin or handy paperclip, and the micro USB port is located on the bottom for charging. However, something you won’t find on any of the edges is buttons. That’s because the power and volume toggles are located on the back, just beneath the camera lens. It took us several days to get used to the arrangement, and until we did we were constantly probing the sides in confusion, but once you’ve adjusted it feels natural enough. The power button is subtly raised from the surface, so it’s easy to find when you pick up the phone, and the volume buttons also quick-launch the camera and QuickMemo when held down.
One of the best things about the G2 is its versatility, so if you’re not a fan of that rear power button, don’t fret: you can also wake the phone by double-tapping the screen. At first we couldn’t get this feature to work, no matter how sharply we jabbed the thing, but eventually we got the knack. Try tapping it near the very top of the display and you’re more likely to succeed. The lock screen can be customised as usual with whatever wallpaper you like, plus various security arrangements such as a pattern code or PIN. You can also add a widget, to quickly see your next appointment or inbox, for instance.
LG G2: Android Souped-up
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean is near unrecognisable thanks to LG’s thoughtful and genuinely useful range of additions, which add greatly to the G2’s usability. Some are simple tweaks, such as the colourful girl-friendly Marshmallow theme and the customisable Soft Keys (you can swap around the touch controls for home, back, etc that appear at the bottom of each desktop). Others are all-new features, many of which are unique to LG phones.
One strength of the G series is its multitasking abilities and the G2 nails it again. A favourite which proves particularly handy is QuickMemo, a nifty little feature that allows you to scribble notes on any screen while using other apps. We also love Q Slide, which allows you to run two or more apps at the same time, making the individual windows faint or even transparent when you don’t need them. Being able to run a video in the background, while browsing the web or bashing out an email, is very cool indeed.
One of our favourite Windows Phone 8 features is the Kid’s Corner, which allows you to block off as much of your phone’s functionality as you like before handing it off to your kid. This means they can play games and mess around without any fear of them browsing to some dodgy website or calling your boss. The G2 has a near-identical tool called Guest Mode, giving you a second profile that is completely controlled by you. This profile only allows access to the apps you specify, and none of the phone’s settings. Very handy if you don’t mind sharing your shiny new gizmo with other family members.
There are tons of other little features designed to make your life easier, such as the ability to answer calls by lifting the phone to your face (a trick seen on Samsung’s Galaxy mobiles). The ‘Plug & Pop’ feature recognises when you plug in some headphones and displays a scrollable menu of relevant apps, such as the music player and YouTube. These are just a small selection of the excellent features available, and in the interests of keeping this review below 10,000 words we’ll leave it there, but we guarantee you’ll be finding neat new tricks for a long time after getting this phone.
LG G2: Screen
Our personal highlight of the G2, however, has to be that brilliant Full HD 5.2-inch screen. The 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution gives 423 pixels-per-inch (ppi), just shy of the Sony Xperia Z1 and Samsung Galaxy S 4 (both have 441ppi). Images are so sharp, so bright and so vibrant, that real life looks rubbish in comparison.
Not since the Motorola RAZR i have we seen a phone where the screen stretches edge-to-edge, with only a tiny bezel so you can clutch it without your fingers straying accidentally onto the display. The screen also appears to sit flush with the G2’s surface, as if there was no glass separating it from you. It’s spacious enough to comfortably watch full-length movies, and it’s perfectly responsive when playing with apps and browsing the web. Viewing angles are wide with minimal colour loss, so you can watch videos with a friend happily too.
You get 27GB of usable storage, not a bad amount but sadly it isn’t expandable via a memory card. Anyone with a big music collection or who loves downloading games will have to restrain themselves.
LG G2: Power and longevity
A 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor is stashed inside the slender body, making this mobile as powerful as other top-end smartphones, such as the Sony Xperia Z1. We hammered the G2 with apps, HD media and games, and it soaked up the punishment without complaint
The 3000mAh battery also matches the Sony Xperia Z1’s, and the LG G2 enjoys just as impressive battery life. We charged it up to 100% and for our first 24 hours hammered it with HD video, web browsing, photography, apps and more, all on full screen brightness. At the end of 24 hours, we still had 25% charge remaining. Most other phones would have been dead and done by then. We also managed to stream video for seven hours, one of the best efforts we’ve seen lately.
LG G2: Camera
The G2 sports a 13-megapixel camera which is packed with features and all kinds of different modes, similar to Samsung’s premium Galaxy devices. Of course, most people will simply use it on auto mode, which is the main mode that we hammered in our testing.
The nine-point auto-focus works well, keeping images crisp – we only needed to manually focus by tapping the screen when trying out funky up-close shots. Those macro close-ups also looked superb, packed with minutiae detail, while landscapes and other wide shots are just as sharp. We were particularly impressed by outdoor shots, with natural greens and blues really shining. The lens only struggled with difficult glare, keeping photos well lit in all other instances, and our indoor shots were pleasingly bright and blur-free (thanks to the optical image stabilisation).
A lot of the features we’ver already seen on other premium handsets, but the G2 does a great job reproducing them. Shot & Clear, for instance, removes annoying people strolling through your shot, while Burst Shot takes up to twenty photos in around two seconds, perfect for capturing action snaps. There’s even a Time Catch Shot mode, which buffers images – the end result being a number of photos taken before you even hit the shutter button. We’re also glad to see LG’s 360-degree panorama mode return, as it’s one of the funkiest features from the Nexus 4’s camera.
You can also shoot Full HD video at 60 frames-per-second, higher than the standard 30 fps we usually see on smartphones. Basically, this means there’s less blurring if you shoot fast-moving objects, or if the camera is moving quickly. The results are impressive, and we like the Audio Zoom function (which can be retroactively added), which helps to fade surrounding noise while focusing on your subject’s voice.
LG G2: The verdict
There’s a lot to take in with the LG G2, which is rammed full of all kinds of interesting and innovative features. Thankfully most of these features are actually useful (or at the very least cool), and you can effortlessly multi-task with a lot of them. The beautiful screen and excellent easy-to-use camera make it a great all-rounder, with only the plasticky design and lack of expandable storage detracting from an incredible package.