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Home > Android Phone Reviews > LG G2



Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: All major US carriers
Manufacturer: LG
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What's Hot: Large and lovely full HD IPS display, great camera, fast new CPU, helpful software.

What's Not: Uninspired looks, fingerprint magnet.


Reviewed September 24, 2013 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

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. Following the flagship Android trend, the LG G2 has an IR remote so you can control your home theatre gear from the comfort of your couch.


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. The phone is available in gloss black and gloss white. 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. Oddly, the Verizon version of this phone has slightly different rear buttons that are less tactile; we prefer the "standard" version buttons used on other carriers' models.


Look out, HTC One: the LG G2 is threatening your top display title. The G2's 5.2" full HD IPS display is simply sharp, colorful and gorgeous. Viewing angles are generous and colors are natural and well balanced. In fact, the color calibration is among the best we've seen on a smartphone (which admittedly doesn't say much since most phones and mobile OS tablets pay little attention to color calibration). The display is viewable outdoors, unlike the Super AMOLED displays used on the Galaxy S4 and Moto X. We're impressed that LG managed to fit an even bigger display in a phone that's the same size as the 4.7" HTC One and 5" Galaxy S4. Pixel density is an impressive 424 PPI, and that means you won't see staircasing on text, no matter how good your eyes are.



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Performance and Horsepower

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. 3D games play flawlessly on the G2, and the back gets warm but not hot when playing demanding 3D games. The display remains cool to the touch.

The US LG G2 models have 32 gigs of internal storage, but there's no microSD card slot, so you won't be able to expand storage. The phone does support USB host and we used it with USB flash drives. You'll need to buy a USB OTG cable if you want to use this feature. And yes, you can also use USB game controllers, keyboards and portable hard drives that don't draw too much power from the USB port.


Quadrant: 19,762
AnTuTu: 32,990
Sunspider: 823

Geekbench 3: 852  single core / 2137  multi-core
3DMark, Ice Storm test (extreme): 9803. Demo: 46.8 fps

Quadrant, AnTuTu, 3DMark & Sunspider Comparison:

  Quadrant 3DMark AnTuTu Sunspider JavaScript Test
LG G2 19,762 9803 (extreme) 32,990 823
HTC One M8 24,527 20,896 (unlimited) 36,087 776
Samsung Galaxy S5 23,643 18,329 35,357 398
LG G Flex 22,323 16,658 (unlimited) 36,309 831
Nexus 5 8808 17,828 (unlimited) 27,017 718
Sony Xperia Z1S 21589 16,135 (unlimited) 35,008 837
Moto G 8485 2778 (extreme) 17,396 1311
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 22,006 15,092 (unlimited) 35,823 587
Samsung Galaxy S4 12,276 11,601 (unlimited) 24,776 826
HTC One 12,252 11,324 (extreme) 24,589 1155
Sony Xperia Z 7916 6353  (extreme) 20,403 1306
Moto X 8357 6800 (extreme) 21,377 1097
LG Optimus G Pro 11,994 N/A 18,561 867
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 6001 N/A 14,056 1052

Geekbench 3:

  Geekbench 3
LG G2 852/2137
HTC One M8 909/2832
Samsung Galaxy S5 974/2954
iPhone 5s 1363/2404
iPhone 5c 692/1245
Sony Xperia Z1S 909/2832
Moto X 677/1261
Samsung Galaxy S4 689/1901
HTC One 633/1787
Sony Xperia Z 489/1553


Calling and Data

Call quality on our AT&T and Verizon review units was excellent with clear voice that sounded full and natural by cell phone standards. The G2 joins other top voice phones like the Nokia Lumia 1020, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 as well as the iPhone 5s for excellent call quality.

The smartphone has 4G LTE with fallback to HSPA+ on GSM carriers and EV-DO Rev. A 3G on CDMA carriers. Data speeds matched other top phones according to the app, and the phone can act as a mobile hotspot for your tablet or laptop.


Speaking of software, there's an incredible helping here, from items like Quick Memo and QSlide multitasking that we've seen on other recent LG phones, to the Samsung-like features that include a floating transparent and resizable 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 along the bottom (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. I really enjoy LG's Knock feature where you tap the screen twice to wake up the phone or put it to sleep. Having the phone answer an incoming call simply because I'm pulling it from my pocket and raising it to my ear is excellent and the QSlide multitasking (think of them as persistent floating widgets) is handy. Overall, LG's software appeals to me, even though I generally prefer phones with a clean Android experience. I find most of LG's apps and add-ons intuitive to use while Samsung's TouchWiz is moving toward devilish complexity on phones like the Galaxy Note 3. The phone ships with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.


Here's why I love the G2: the camera. Though not the only smartphone to use Sony's capable 13MP Exmor RS sensor, the LG pulls ahead for excellent image processing and optical image stabilization. There's plenty of image data thanks to the megapixel rating, and happily LG resists over-sharpening what's already sharp enough. That means photos look detailed and they're very natural looking with good tonal variation and warmth. Exposure is generally balanced with none of the white out that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is prone to, and it takes better low light shots than the GS4. The HTC One is still one of the best low light phones, but you won't get the resolution on the One that you do with the LG G2. Does it take better photos than the also very good iPhone 5s? Yes it does in terms of image detail (the added resolution helps) and optical image stabilization outperforms the iPhone's digital stabilization for video recording. In terms of exposure, color balance and saturation they're on equal footing. The iPhone 5s' larger pixels capture more detail in very low light settings like nightclubs. Does the LG G2 beat the 41MP Nokia Lumia 1020 and its PureView camera? Nope. But unless you're a photo buff, the LG will be plenty good enough.



LG offers plenty of features including a variety of filters, full control over manual settings, macro mode and even Intelligent Auto that works much like the same feature on Sony cameras and smartphones. The camera can shoot using the 2.1MP front and rear cameras simultaneously and the rear camera has fast HDR (likely thanks to the fast CPU). Thanks to optical image stabilization, video is smooth and there's more detail captured rather than noise from movement. As you'd expect, the rear camera can shoot 1080p video.

Battery Life

Past LG Android phones haven't been Energizer bunnies. Happily that's changed with the LG G2, thanks in part to the unusually high capacity 3,000 mAh battery that's sealed inside. The phone has to power a fast quad core CPU, large full HD display panel and 4G LTE radio; and it's up to the task. With moderate to heavy use I easily made it through the day on a charge. This included phone calls, an hour total of web browsing, shooting 40 photos and a few short videos, streaming YouTube HD video, listening to music with the display off and playing games for 30 minutes. For actual screen on time, the G2 lasted an hour longer than my Galaxy S4 (standard edition, not Google Play Edition) and 40 minutes longer than my HTC One. Since the battery is sealed inside, you won't be able to swap in a spare on the road. As with the HTC One and iPhone, you can use external micro USB battery packs to extend runtimes if you'll be away from a power outlet for long periods of time.


The LG G2 is assuredly the company's best Android phone yet. We were bullish on the also very good Optimus G Pro, but the G2 is all that and more in a more mainstream size. The display is top notch, performance is fast and fluid, the camera is excellent and the rear buttons actually work nicely. We'd love to see a more interesting and attractive casing that didn't turn murky with fingerprints so quickly, but the phone is nonetheless solidly built and curved nicely to fit in the hand. I can easily recommend the LG G2 if you're looking for a full figured Android flagship smartphone.

Price: $199 with contract, $575 without contract (full retail price varies by carrier, T-Mobile doesn't do contracts but rather payment plans or full retail purchase).


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LG G Flex Review

Moto X Review

iPhone 5s Review

Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review

LG G2 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4 Smackdown Comparison

LG G2 vs. HTC One Smackdown Comparison

LG G2 vs. Moto X Smackdown Comparison

LG G2. vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Comparison Smackdown

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The Verizon version has a different set of rear buttons.

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Display: 5.2" IPS display, 424 PPI. Resolution: 1920 x 1080. Gorilla Glass 2. Has ambient light sensor, accelerometer and proximity sensor.

Battery: Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable. Battery is not user replaceable. 3000 mAh.

Performance: 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974) quad core CPU with Adreno 330 graphics. 2 gigs RAM and 32 gigs storage.

Size: 5.45 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches. Weight: 5.04 ounces.

Phone: GSM quad band world phone with HSPA+ 3G and 4G LTE (GSM models). CDMA with EV-DO Rev. A 3G (CDMA models).

Camera: 2.1MP front camera and 13MP rear camera with BSI, HDR and LED flash. Can use front and rear cameras simultaneously.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11ac, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 LE.

Software: Android OS 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

Expansion: No microSD card slot. Has USB host.


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