The LG G2 is LG's flagship mainstream size (by Android standards) smartphone for fall 2013. It competes with the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, Moto X and iPhone 5s, and it does a fine job. While the shiny plastic back and simple front don't set it ahead of the classier competition from Apple, HTC and Nokia, the edge to edge 5.2" full HD IPS display does set it apart, as does the Qualcomm 800 CPU. Sure, in 6 months that CPU will be standard fare for top tier phones, but right now it's one of the very few on the market. The LG G2 also features an excellent 13MP rear camera, WiFi 802.11ac, NFC, a larger than average battery and an immense bundle of LG software. The phone is available now on AT&T and Verizon, and we look at the AT&T version for our review.
LG has come a long way from promising but flawed high end Android phones to the well received Optimus G Pro phablet and now the G2. The G2 carries on for the Optimus line (LG has dropped the Optimus name here), and it's a very good smartphone with no caveats or fatal flaws. Yes, the design isn't wildly imaginative, but it feels good in the hand, has tapers and curves in the right places and it's solidly put together. LG did exercise a little imagination for button placement: the power and volume controls are on the back, where your index finger would naturally fall when holding the phone in portrait mode. They did this so they could bring the display out to the very edge on the sides. I wouldn't call it a selling point, but in actual use it works easily enough except when holding the phone in landscape mode. Then I had to hunt for the volume controls since they don't live where my hands tend to hold the phone.
The Qualcomm 800 CPU is another shining star. Though phones are getting faster than we need, I know a lot of you like to have the fastest and feel your gadget is at least reasonably future proof. Clocked at an impressive 2.26GHz, the quad core Snpadragon 800 with Adreno 330 graphics is top of the line for Qualcomm. It holds up well against NVIDIA's Tegra 4, which we've seen in the NVIDIA Shield and a few tablets so far. Benchmark numbers are through the roof and the phone is wickedly fast. Even LG's huge suite of custom software doesn't bog down the phone.
Speaking of software, there's an incredible helping here, from items like Qmemo and QSlide that we've seen on other recent LG phones, to the Samsung-like features that include a floating transparent and resizeable video player, the function where the phone uses the front camera to watch you so it won't turn off the screen while you're looking at it, and conversely it will pause video playback if you look away. LG offers much more user UI customization than we've seen on other brands, and that's a nice touch. You can change icons, change the app drawer layout, set folder colors and you can even select the set of on-screen Android buttons that appear (the G2 has on-screen rather than capacitive or hardware front buttons). Yes, it's a lot of software, but I actually find much of it pleasant and easy to use.
Here's our LG G2 on AT&T video review. Our full written review will follow.
This phone looks good, but I have a couple concerns. I keep my phone in my front pocket with no case. I'm concerned about the tap to wake feature and the power button on the back of the phone being un-pocket friendly.
Does anyone have experience with this phone in pocket?
You have to tap twice on the display with your hand (or skin) to trigger the Knock to wake function on the capacitive screen. The back button isn't that easy to press, but if it did trigger, you'd also have to slide to wake the phone.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview