Phone and Data
The T-Mobile G2x is a quad band GSM world phone with 3G and 4G HSPA+ on T-Mobile's bands (T-Mobile's webpage incorrectly lists it as quad band 3G/4G). Call quality is good with clear voice on both ends and sufficient voice quality and noise canceling for outdoor calling. The speakerphone is quite loud and clear for both calls and multimedia. Reception is average and is similar to our Nexus S and Sidekick 4G. We had no trouble pairing with and using a variety of Bluetooth headsets and the phone worked well with our 2011 BMW's built-in Bluetooth car kit including address book transfer and advanced calling features.
Data speeds on T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ are excellent and are second only to Verizon’s LTE 4G network (to be fair, Verizon’s LTE network also has far fewer users since there are no LTE phones, only data sticks as of this writing). We averaged 5.5 megs down and 900k up on Ookla’ Speedtest.net app with a moderate -95 db signal. Market apps and updates download very quickly, Google Maps data won’t keep you waiting and web pages load quickly (also thanks to the fast CPU that improves web page rendering times). The G2x’s download speeds are similar to other T-Mobile 4G phones like the myTouch 4G and Sidekick 4G, and faster than the 3G Nexus S which averages 2.5 megs down in the same location.
The G2x can act as a WiFi hotspot that shares its wireless data connection with laptops, iPads and other devices. It also supports USB tethering. Download speeds using the LG as a wireless AP were good at 4.5 megs down (slightly slower than the phone itself) and 900k up. Samsung still has the edge for WiFi tethering with even faster download speeds: the Sidekick 4G managed 5.3 megs down using the same notebook in the same location. The G2x also supports WiFi calling, which means you can use a WiFi network to place a call if your cellular signal is marginal (calls still count against plan minutes).
The Nexus S and G2x.
Since this is a pure Google experience phone, you get all the usual Google apps including Maps, Navigation, YouTube, Gmail, email, Market, Gtalk, search, Voice Dialer, Voice Search and News and Weather. The phone is upgradable to Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread, and we don’t foresee anything holding that up for ages since this is a standard Google phone.
LG has always been fond of DivX video format, and as a result, the phone can play DivX locally stored and streaming video. We don't see many Android phones that can play DivX out of the box, and most need 3rd party video players to do so.
LG and T-Mobile include Polaris Office which can read, edit and create MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, Swype, and SmartShare for dLNA home WiFi network media streaming. T-Mobile includes T-Mobile TV powered by MobiTV, a $10/month on-demand and live TV streaming that includes full TV show episodes. It worked well in our tests over T-Mobile’s 4G network. TeleNav is also on board for spoken navigation (also $10/month), as is the Zinio magazine reader. For video chat with the 1.3MP front-facing camera, T-Mobile bundles the usual Qik app and there’s WiFi calling and WiFi Mobile Hotspot and USB tethering for using the G2x as a high speed wireless modem. Since this is a powerful phone with an Nvidia CPU and GPU, Nvidia’s Tegra 2 Zone app is here for browsing the latest Tegra 2 optimized games and news. Need for Speed Shift, Asphalt 5 and N.O.V.A. are pre-installed for your gaming pleasure.
G2x Cameras, x2
The LG has a main rear 8 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash and a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera. The front camera produced good looking video in Qik, though outgoing Qik call volume was low. We had to speak loudly and angle the phone with the mic (button edge of the phone) toward our mouth to be easily understood. We hope that a Qik update increases mic gain since this doesn’t seem to be a problem with the phone itself—calls over the cellular and WiFi calling network have perfectly normal outgoing volume.
The main camera can shoot 1080p video in 3gp format. That’s not a very high quality format, and as a result we could see some blockiness in small detail areas like tree leaves. Colors are excellent and exposure is good, and frame rates are solid. Overall the video looks good and is a step up from the iPhone 4 for amount of detail, but falls short of Nokia’s N8 (nothing can compete with the N8’s camera). It’s still rare to find a phone that can shoot 1080p video, so LG gets a thumbs-up on that front.
Still images are sharp, very colorful and well-exposed. There’s some bias towards yellows and a tendency to overexpose indoors shots when the flash is set to auto with close-range subjects, but overall, we like the camera quite well. It takes better shots than HTC’s recent offers such as the T-Mobile G2 and HTC Inspire 4G, and slightly better shots than the Samsung Nexus S (Samsung has some nice cameras in their high end phones). As an imaging phone, the LG is a solid choice.
The T-Mobile G2x by LG has quickly become one of our favorite smartphones, and I can easily see it replacing my personal Nexus S. While LG phones in the US have been low to mid-tier plastic phones that didn’t inspire gadget lust, the G2x is an over the top smartphone that combines quality materials, great looks, 4G speeds, stability and dual core speed into the competitive $199 with contract space. We’d recommend this phone to anyone looking for a fast and clean Google experience on a high end Android smartphone. The dual core CPU, 4G, excellent IPS display and 1080p camera plus video chat camera offer a reasonable dose of future-proofing as well. Well done, LG. The only trendy feature not found here is 3D, and for our money we haven't seen a 3D handset that really made us wish we had that feature.
Pro: Excellent looks and build materials, fast phone in terms of CPU speed and data speeds, very lovely IPS display, good call quality, has HDMI out, WiFi Calling and solid GPS. Very good battery life for a powerful smartphone.
Con: When we find it we'll tell you.
Price: $199 with contract, $499 without contract
Websites: www.t-mobile.com, www.lg.com/us/
The T-Mobile LG G2x and HTC Sensation 4G.