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LG G2 Review: More Relevant Innovations than Gimmicks

Our full review of the LG G2!
Our full review of the LG G2!

LG G2 Full Review

LG has had a history of being bold with their hardware designs. One of the craziest products they’ve ever made was the LG Vu, a squarish phablet that never really got any traction in the market. That one was a little too far off, hehe. They started getting our attention again though when they introduced the LG Optimus G. It had all the best-in-class internals including the latest Snapdragon processor then as well as LTE connectivity. Yep, stuff you’d hope for in a flagship! It was also priced very aggressively. In fact we think it’s the best value-for-money smartphone right now since you can get one only for just Php15,500 these days at online shops like Kimstore. Following the LG Optimus G was the LG Optimus G Pro. It was a specced-out phablet that packed a visually delightful 5.5-inch Full HD display.

A few weeks ago LG announced their newest flagship – the LG G2. They dropped the “Optimus” branding and tempered their craziness a bit and introduced a new concept in smartphone design — the Rear Key. Instead of having the buttons on the sides of the device they put it at the back just below the camera! Fascinating right? Anyway, we’ve had a unit for a couple of weeks now and we’d like to share with you guys our full review.

>>> SEE ALSO: LG Optimus G Initial Review

LG G2 Spec Sheet

  • 2.3GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB Internal Storage, Non-Expandable
  • 5.2-inch Tru-HD IPS+ LCD Display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 1920 x 1080 resolution, 424 pixels per inch
  • WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, NF, GPS/aGPS
  • 3G, HSPA+, 4G, LTE
  • 13.0-megapixels primary camera with LED Flash, OIS
  • Records Full HD 1080p video @ 60 fps
  • 2.1-megapixels secondary camera
  • Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2
  • 3,000 Non-removable Battery
  • SRP: Php27,990 with free Flip Cover

>>> SEE ALSO: LG G2 Unboxing and Initial Review

As you saw in the spec sheet above, the LG G2 is a beast! It has all the bells and whistles and runs on a rip-roaring engine, the quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. It’s also commendable that LG priced it way below the SRP of their competitors. Anyway, read on for our full review!

LG took a gamble with the Rear Key

Rear Key: Innovation or Gimmick?
Rear Key: Innovation or Gimmick?

The “innovation” with the LG G2 on the hardware side is how they removed all the buttons and keys on the sides of the device (how traditionally it’s done with smartphones) and put the volume rocker and the power lock below the camera at the back of the phone. The rationale here is that the natural position of our index finger is on that spot (below the camera at the back) and thus it should be more effortless and easier to reach and use those buttons without having to look for them along the sides.

Initially we were fumbling with the keys. We ended up having to turn the device around just so we hit the power lock instead of the volume rocker. However after a few days it felt more natural and intuitive. There’s a slight learning curve here but it becomes effortless to use once you get used to it. In fact we were kinda annoyed trying to reach for the buttons on the sides of our other smartphone (back-up) and our index finger kept tapping the back even if there are no keys there, hehe.

You actually get used to it, hehe.
You actually get used to it, hehe.

The Rear Key is NOT a gimmick. Don’t let other reviews tell you otherwise. They probably just didn’t spend enough time with the unit so fully appreciate it.

The Rear Key though is not just the nice thing about the hardware. The LG G2’s display actually measures 5.2-inches diagonally which is already clearly phablet territory. However the LG G2 feels like a 4.7-4.8 inch smartphone when in your hand. Crazy right? They were able to pull this off because of three key hardware designs.

First is the thinness. The LG G2 measures slightly thicker than the Galaxy S3 at 8.9mm. Secondly, the curved edges and the weight/bulk centered at the bottom instead of your usual even distribution gives it an even thinner profile and it feels wonderful in your hand.

Very thin at 8.9mm
Very thin at 8.9mm

Lastly, the bezel. The bezel on this phone is amazeballs. It’s so thin that the screen almost eats up the entire front of the device. Heck the only non-screen parts really are the camera and receiver on top plus the small LG logo at the bottom. LG also eliminated the physical capacitive buttons in favor of on-screen buttons that give way to your content once you don’t need them. Quite brilliant really!

Ridiculously thin bezel
Ridiculously thin bezel
On-screen capacitive buttons
On-screen buttons

Speaking of the screen, the quality of the display on the LG G2 is simply superb. It has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (full HD) which comes out to 423 pixels per inch. LG’s Tru-HD IPS+ LCD technology also isn’t just a bunch of cool techie words. From what we understand it works a whole lot like OGS so that all the images and content is pushed up to the display further which makes it look like they’re floating on the screen. Definitely one of the very best displays we’ve seen in the last 10 months.

Amazing display quality here
Amazing display quality here

Because of these three key hardware designs, the LG G2 delivers the content phablet style but feels like a smartphone in your hand. That combined with the Rear Key makes for REAL innovation and not just software gimmicks that you actually never use, hehe.

On a personal note though, you all know that we’re huge fans of premium materials. The LG G2 would have been the absolute perfect flagship for us if they skipped plastic and went for metal. Missed opportunity here for them to really take their flagship to the ultimate next level.

LG G2 is a Beast

Hear me roar!
Hear me roar!

The LG G2 runs on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core chipset. This is the same chipset that powers the best smartphones offered by other global brands such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Sony Xperia Z1. That said, it also delivers almost the same Antutu Benchmark Score. We hit over 35,000 in our tests which is comparable to both devices that we just mentioned. Of course one big difference between the LG G2 and the other two is the price as this one sells for just Php27,990 inclusive of the flip cover. Aggressive and competitive pricing FTW!

Anyway, these numbers translated to real life usage is as good as it can get. The LG G2 is virtually lag and delay free. It can handle animations, transitions, crazy live wall papers, and whatever else you throw at it with no problem even if it has a 5.2-inch Full HD screen. The generous serving of 2GB RAM is also definitely a big help.

Really nice opening animations available
Really nice opening animations available

One favorite feature of mine on the LG G2 is the “knock to open”. When your LG G2 is sleeping just tap twice on the screen and it will power up and show you the lock screen. From there you can input your pin code, trace your pattern, or just swipe to unlock (lots of cool animations to pick from). It’s a simple but very effective feature that we appreciate a lot. Not just a gimmick since you actually use it. Relevant innovation.

When it comes to apps, the LG G2 can do everything well. From social networking to hardcore gaming, it has you covered.

Follow me on Instagram @carloople :)
Follow me on Instagram @carloople šŸ™‚
Kill the terrorists!
Kill the terrorists!

On the gaming side we tried our usual suite of test games like NBA 2K13, Dead Trigger, Zombie Wood, Front Commando, and Wild Blood. No lag even on the higher stages. Gaming was also a much better experience here compared to other phones like the GS4 because of the bigger screen. You also don’t end up accidentally pushing the power lock or volume keys since they’re all located at the back (Rear Key FTW).

That said, the 5.2-inch display also does a wonderful job for full HD video playback. Regardless if it’s from YouTube or from your loaded/downloaded videos, the LG G2’s awesome display and light form factor makes it an ideal portable media player. Our only complaint is that you can’t expand the storage and you’re stuck at 32GB. Would have been awesome to stuff all the episodes of GoT here, hehe.

Watching HD video is a blast. Here's Ryu checking out Vegeta. How he wishes he can do Super Saiyan, hehe.
Watching HD video is a blast. Here’s Ryu checking out Vegeta. How he wishes he can do Super Saiyan, hehe.

LG also has their own share of customizations for Android. We tried them for the purpose of this review but we never used them again so we think they’re all just gimmicks. There’s Q-slide which lets your put up pop-up windows with core apps. You can control to opacity of the pop-up and move them around on the screen. There’s Q-Memo which lets you write down stuff on the screen and you can then save it on your Notebook app for future reference. You can access these apps via the notifications panel (swiping down).

LG's custom apps
LG’s custom apps
Q-Memo
Q-Memo
Qslide
Qslide

Over-all the LG G2 is a solid performer. It delivers a best-in-class Android experience mostly thanks to the hardware (we still can’t get over the gorgeous almost edge-to-edge 5.2-inch display).

Camera is Topnotch

The LG G2 has a two-punch combination with their optics: 13.0-megapixels and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization). Combined this set-up delivers more detailed photos with less motion blur. For low light situations you can switch it over to Night Mode or turn on HDR and it still manages to deliver decent photos (far off from the Lumia 1020 though).

Here are some sample shots:

CAM00023

CAM00025

CAM00030

For video you can actually take 1080p @ 60 fps, which is twice the usual frame rate. Video files tend up getting bigger than usual though so make sure you delete the videos you don’t need or else your 32GB storage will get filled up quickly.

Lastly, you can use the volume buttons at the back as your shutter button. It’s not recommended though since it kinda feel unnatural, hehe. Probably for selfies with the front-facing camera it makes more sense.

Battery Life is Amazeballs

The power efficiency of Snapdragon 800 combined with the ginormous 3,000mAh battery delivers outstanding battery life. We kid you not. This is the first flagship Android smartphone that we’ve used that lasts us more than a day even with heavy usage. With moderate usage you can even extend that to two days without a charge. LG definitely made a wise move in putting in as much juice as they can into their battery. Works wonders with the Snapdragon 800 processor.

Verdict: One of the Best Androids for 2013

Pwede!!!
Pwede!!!

The LG G2 is a solid, competitive, and flagship-worthy all-around smartphone. It delivers a phablet viewing experience while retaining a sleek and compact smartphone form factor. It has a roaring engine that lets it handle whatever you throw at it. The camera is neck-to-neck with other Android flagships. Lastly it has kick ass battery life. No matter what way you look at it, this phone is a winner. Add to that the SRP of Php27,990 with the free flip case versus the Php30,000+ price tags of other flagships.

If you’re in the market for a smartphone that won’t disappoint, you should definitely put the LG G2 in your list.

>>> SEE ALSO: LG Optimus G Pro Full Review

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime heā€™s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime heā€™s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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19 Comments

  1. G2 the Best Smartphone out there,, if you love taking pictures its 13mp OIS Camera suites you, if you want to have privacy in your phone, try the guest mode,, it also has a long lasting battery šŸ™‚ -ive tried na the G2

  2. Thanks for providing us with sample shots. Mukhang maganda ung features nung phone tas napaka competitive nung price. The battery life is a huge plus!

  3. i can really say that this phone is not cutesy but very spot on with the different purpose of the user! the answer me and knock on is two of the newest innovations on smartphones that LG has developed..

  4. Question, since I can’t really find any information about it. Has anyone tried using this with a Smart LTE SIM? I’m not sure Smart has deployed all the LTE bands they’re planning to support.

  5. gusto ko po ng lg g2 po ang ganda saan po ba makakabili?at mag kano po asap po pls kelangan ko na pilitan phone ko.:”)) hope may makabasa nito :”))

  6. hello! ask ko lang kung nakakaencounter kayo ng bugs after updating the os to kitkat in your LG g2 . thanks!

  7. bwiset, nalilito pa rin ako kung GS5 or G2, ok na ok saken ang g2 in terms of hardware and software specs. kaso filing ko kasi, onti lang ang gumagawa ng accesories ng lg especialy sa mga case. other than that, parang ang bagal ng update nila sa mga phones nila kaya nagdadalawang isip tlaga ako. any advys??

  8. The real porpose of the rear key was for the optional case, so wen u put it in a protective case, da keys at da back wil be easily located by ur index finger, unlike at the side keys, most of the protective cases, like jelly cases don’t have an open space for da side keys, so its hard to press da keys at da side cos its coverd b a jellycase..

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