The Optimus G Pro marked the beginning of a shift in design for LG. That shift continues with the minimal, gleaming and beautiful LG G2. Looks are enough to catch attention, but LG is going to need more than a good looking phone to make the G2 a success on par with Samsung and Apple’s lineup. So, can the LG G2 work as well as it looks? Read on to find out.
LG G2 DESIGN
The most interesting part of the LG G2’s design is the lack of buttons on the side. The power button and volume rocker are on the back of the phone below the camera. Annoyingly, this redesign forces you to adjust your hold on the phone to avoid tapping the display when reaching for the buttons. A 5.2″ HD display dominates the front of G2 and a subtle honeycomb pattern lines the back.
Fair Warning: This phone requires a firm grip! It’s extremely slippery, looks greasy with heavy use and collects more fingerprints than a police station.
LG G2 ON DISPLAY
When the display is off, you can make out a subtle pattern of lines reminiscent of the matrix. When the display is on, media comes alive with clarity and detail that does every new Beyonce video justice! It’s so good it makes low quality videos look even lower.
On the flip side, the LG G2 packs useful gestures and features for the display (see above image). My favorite is KnockON (aka Knock Knock) which lets you double tap the center of the display to turn it on or off. You can even change the on-screen navigation bar or the aspect ratio of apps in the display settings. Annoyingly, switching from portrait to landscape mode will sometimes cause the screen to turn off.
CALL QUALITY & CONNECTIVITY
Making a call on the LG G2 is a walk in the park even when using speakerphone. Callers could hear me loud and clear and vice versa. Verizon hasn’t dropped a call the entire time I’ve been reviewing the G2. The hand-off between Verizon’s 4G LTE to my apartment’s WiFi is quick, but my favorite G2 connection is the mobile hotspot. It’s a piece of cake to activate and connect to another device and get some work done on the fly. Connecting a pair of Beats by Dre wireless headphones to the G2 via bluetooth took less than 10 seconds, which was pretty good unlike the listening experience.
The LG G2’s front camera was not made for taking selfies. After one ridiculously soft, muted, and noisy shot, I never used the front camera again. The back 13MP camera delivers a much richer experience with sharp, clear and natural toned photos. Occasionally I experienced problems with the camera’s lens focus and the highly touted image stabilization setting didn’t seem to have any effect while taking pictures around New York City. Videos recorded at maximum quality gain a DSLR look and feel that will make pictures taken with the G2 jealous. To learn more about the cool camera features packed into the LG G2, check out the videos in the image below!
Beats by Dre headphones are notorious for being one thing: loud. The LG G2 doesn’t come near that with wireless headphones. To really turn up the volume you have to plug a wire into the headphone jack at the bottom of the G2. Only then will you experience its deep bass and rich trebles. The speaker is decent More importantly, the volume rocker gives you access to all volume controls, not just one. Still, I wish the G2 were just a little bit louder.
LG SKIN & FEATURES
The LG skin on the G2 is polished, customizable but cluttered around the notification bar and drawer. The keyboard’s look can be changed and has emoji’s built-in. There’s a tabbed view option in the Settings app just like Samsung Galaxy devices. QSlide, Guest Mode and Clip Tray are standout features on the LG G2. QSlide apps pop-out and let you multitask with a transparency slider that pins up to two apps on the screen while you work in a third app. Guest Mode restricts family or friends from accessing certain apps and clip tray keeps a handy record of text and media you copy.
Rita El Khoury has a great post listing 20 reasons why LG’s android skin is pretty awesome, which is worth a serious look if you’re skeptical about LG’s design choices.
The LG G2 got me through a full workday of tethering on Verizon’s 4G network with only one bar of service. That’s great, but how much damage did the battery take? Quite a bit, but still managed to hold on to 20% of its power. I expected tethering, especially on one bar of service, to kill the battery in no time. I can’t even get the Moto X to make it past 16 hours though it promises a full day. This was never a problem with the G2. It takes less than two hours to fully charge and the battery information setting gives the most detailed view of battery usage that you’ll ever see from a phone.
Running low on juice? The battery saver toggle lets you customize features to automatically turn off when the battery gets low to save as much power as possible.
The LG G2 carries a nice balance of today’s most popular features minus the gimmicks. Despite an annoyingly glossy finish and weak bluetooth audio, the G2 looks great draped in black, performs flawlessly and can last all day in the hands of a novice or power user. The G2 is a diamond in a rough sea of mobile devices and would make a great gift to anyone this holiday season, especially sports fans!