Review: LG G2 – a shift in mobile thinking
A mobile shift is happening around us. When it comes to our mobile phones its no longer about who had the best hardware specs – can you tell the difference between 600 GHz verses 800 GHz ? Whilst there are definitely variations in the processor, memory, screen, size and weight our overall expectations have changed. We choose a devices based on how it looks and what can it do. We don’t talk about “talk time and standby time” anymore as we now expect that our mobile will simply work and preform all the essentials: Taking selifes, posting to Facebook, listening to music and Instant messaging. So when a new phone launches into this saturated and highly competitive market, it needs to have some unique elements to set it apart from the plethora of other brightly-coloured-screened rivals that are on the shelf.
This was the tough task that was set before LG when they released their new flagship phone – the G2
So has LG done enough to make their phone standout ?
Yes they have. With the launch of the LG G2 phone, they have not only met the hardware specification bar but have focused heavily on the software elements that make this phone very desirable.
Starting with the Hardware Specifications:
Visually it looks impressive. It has a 5.2 inch full HD display (1080 x 1920) which stretches almost end-to-end as the bezel is so thin between the screen and the edge of the phone. The phone weighs 143g and measures at 138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9mm to fit snugly into your hand.
At the base of the phone is microUSB port, the audio jack and the speakers which offer great sound quality even in a crowded room.
It is powered by Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 800 2.26 GHz processor and comes with 2GB RAM running Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 although it is a pity that it didn’t launch with Android 4.3 or 4.4 but hope that it will come soon. The LG G2 comes in either a 16GB or a 32GB storage option however for South Africa we will only see the 16GB version. Howefver, according Deon Prinsloo, General Manager Mobile Communication at LG confirms that “if South Africans demand the 32GB version we will certainly bring that in”. Of course using cloud-storage services such as Google Drive or Box will go some way to relive the space shortage issue.
The device is powered by a 3,000mAh battery non-removable battery which is said to recharge “really quickly”. In the time I have had the phone, I found that I managed to get a full day out of it on moderate usage.
No phone would be complete without a camera and this device has a 13.0-megapixel rear camera with lots of software features such as HDR, Panorama, Sports, Night and has a front facing 2.1-megapixel camera too. The Optical Image Stabiliser allows to take great photos with little camera shake.This also helps taking great photos at night as more stable light enters the device.
Enough of the spec – lets discuss buttons:
One of the first thing you notice when you pick up the G2 is that Power button and the Volume up/ down toggles are situated on the back of the device instead of at the top and the side of the phones where we are used to them being. The reasoning behind this move is that it makes for more screen-room. When you operate the keyboard with both hands starring at the device, you could use your index fingers to toggle the volume buttons whilst keeping the phone facing you. “We looked at the way consumers us mobile phones and regardless if you are right or left handed the index finger shoots up – so we have given that finger a job to do” stats Deon Prinsloo.
I initially kept pressing the camera wondering why the volume wasn’t increasing, however when I got used to it, I kinda liked having these button at the back. Its a feature that grows on you.
Lets Talk Software:
When it comes to software, this is where the LG G2 comes to life. I get the distinct feeling that each and every application loaded onto the device and even each and every menu items have been specifically selected and have a purpose for existing. Whilst Android 4.2.2 is the operating system, the interface has been very carefully designed.
There are so many features to discuss but here are some of my favourites:
Share & Connect – there are many ways to get your pics, music, data on and off the G2. One of my favourite is the Wireless Storage option where the LG G2 becomes a shared folder on your network. Simply copy and paste.
Gestures & Smart On – when you enable this option the phone will no go into sleep mode as long as it detects your face, it will also pause your video if you look away. There are lots of gestures that you can enable or disable depending on your preference.
Guest Mode – this is a feature that keeps certain phone features and apps locked away when you hand your phone to someone to use and want your privacy protected. This is especially useful if your kids want to play games on your device and you don’t want them to SMS your boss or clients in the address book.
Earphone Apps – you can customise which apps you want to pop up when you plug your headphones in so you have quick access to your music or videos.
QuickRemote – a great feature that allows the phone to become your universal remote so you can control your TV, Music Audio, DVD, Air Conditioner, Projector and other various home entertainment devices.
Camera Options – The LG G2 also has the ability of using the front facing 2.1-megapixel camera simultaneously with the back camera. This is possible not only for still photos but also can be used in a movie clip too. You can customise how you want the front facing image to look like and even reposition it anywhere on the screen.
Touch Buttons – typically there are three button at the bottom of an Android phone which are the Back button, the Home button and the Setting button. With LG G2 Touch Buttons you can not only select the order of these buttons but you can also add a fourth button such as the Notification panel or the Quick Memo button. (note below I have added the extra Quick Memo button)
Other initial helpful Tricks and Tips when you use the G2 device:
- If you hold the volume down button when the screen is locked, the G2 launches the camera.
- If you hold the volume up button when the screen is locked this launches the Quick Memo app.
- Double-tap the screen to wake the phone and double-tap is again to put it to sleep (I found that easier than hitting the power button on the back).
- To take a screenshot with the LG G2, hold the power button and the down volume key at the same time.
So in Summary:
Il Hwan Lee, LG managing director confirms that “LG has taken their time and over an 18 month period identified and examined how consumer use their mobile device”. The device feels solid and feels like a quality device where apps load quickly and no lag was experienced even when playing intensive graphic games. LG has taken their research and has been exceptionally clever with the G2 and the way it functions – this certainly shows in the final product. Everything feels fine tuned and just right.
If you are in the market for a phone now, this is certainly one that I would check out.
The LG G2 will be available in South Africa at the retail cost of R7299. It will also be stocked by all cellular operators from the 1st of November at around the R349 contract mark.