New Delhi: It has been two years since a smartphone innovation made me sit up and take notice. The last time was when Samsung showed to us that size matters with the Galaxy Note and initiated the phablet phenomenon. And now LG has captured my attention with hardware innovation in the G2.
The LG G2 came packed in a gigantic box almost the size of what shirts come packed in. I hope LG isn't intending to use the same boxes in retail sale. Retailers would surely complain about the space it eats up.
The highlight of the G2 is its rear buttons. The phone is devoid of any side buttons and both the power key and the volume rocker key - which are traditionally found on the sides - have been integrated into a single rear key located at the back just below the rear camera. The position of rear key fits into the style most of us hold a phone. Initially, I found myself accidentally pressing the volume up button when I wanted to press the power button. But in no time, my fingers automatically found the right controls. It just takes a little while getting used to.
The highlight of the G2 is its rear buttons. It is devoid of any side buttons and both the power key and volume rocker key have been integrated into a single rear key.
Also interesting is that to wake up the phone, you don't need to press any buttons, a double tap on the display does the job.
There was a downside of the rear key that I observed while taking screenshots. I found myself employing relatively more effort while taking screenshots and it required me to use both hands. On other Android phones, screenshots can be easily taken using a single hand.
While the buttons on the rear were a definite positive, the glossy smudge-friendly rear panel was a disappointment. The pattern at the back isn't any look-enhancer.
The rounded corners and curved edges at the back make it comfortable to grip. A lot of 5-inch phones look quite bulky and are uncomfortable to carry and use, but despite being a 5.2-inch phone, it doesn't feel its size.
Yet another positive is the 5.2-inch display. There is a thin bezel along the sides of the phone which makes its display near edge-to-edge. The touchscreen is responsive and it produces rich colours and detailed results. Viewing angles are also great.
The LG G2 is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. Throughout the review period, I did not experience any lag on the device. The phone did not linger even once even when I was using different apps at a same time - listening to music, browsing the Internet, downloading apps, with other apps running in the background. Even when playing games with high-end graphics, it did not lurch. Watching full HD videos was another great experience. The phone comes in 16GB and 32GB. I got the 32GB model for review - which offers you storage space of 24.8GB. There is no microSD card slot, so, you can't expand its memory.
Watching videos and listening to music brought to my notice its another downside - its speakers. The phone's speakers produce fine results and are fairly loud, but I was expecting them to be much better. I found speakers on my Nexus 4 (also built by LG) better than the G2's.
I could not test the sound quality with its earphones plugged in, as the earphones were missing from the kit that was sent to me.
The phone is equipped with an impressive camera. In both low-light and daylight conditions, the phone captured impressive results. Even at places where there was no light, the phone's flash was enough to lit the area, and captured quality snaps.
The G2's Modes feature in the camera app does not merely list a range of modes, in fact, every mode is defined by an image, which makes it easy for a user to decide and select a mode. The phone supports 1080p video playback and recording.
I found myself successfully operating different TVs and set-top boxes with its Quick Remote app, but it appears to support only a few air conditioner models. If you have a Hitachi AC, as I do, don't bank on the G2 to double as a remote for that.
Its 3000mAh battery is enough to keep the phone running throughout the day. On a single charge, the battery easily lasted for around 21 hours, when used heavily and with normal usage, the phone had enough juice left even after 24 hours.
The 32GB model is priced at Rs 44,500. The phone may appear to be slightly overpriced, but compared to its rival phones, the pricing appears relatively decent.
The LG G2 makes it to our recommendation list, but there is a likelihood that the G2 may lose some of its potential customers once the attractively-priced Google Nexus 5 is available in India.
Impressive camera and display
No expandable memory
Display: 5.2-inch full HD (1920x1080) IPS display (423 ppi)
Camera: Rear 13.0MP with OIS / Front 2.1MP
Battery: 3000 mAh battery
Processor: Snapdragon 800 2.26 GHz quad-core processor
RAM: 2GB LPDDR3 800MHz
Internal memory: 32GB
Operating System: Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2
Size: 138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9mm