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LG Optimus G Pro Review: Great Value for Money Flagship Phablet

It's our full review of the LG Optimus G Pro!
It’s our full review of the LG Optimus G Pro!

LG Optimus G Pro Review

We’ve been using the LG Optimus G Pro as one of our primary handsets for the last week and a half. Over-all it was a great phablet to have, especially when we wanted to just sit back, relax, and watch some videos (either downloaded or on YouTube) on it’s spacious 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display. Read on for our full review!

Before anything though let’s quickly go over the specifications again.

LG Optimus G Pro Spec Sheet

  • 1.7GHz Quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor
  • Adreno 320 GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16 or 32 GB internal storage expandable via MicroSD up to 64GB
  • 5.5-inch Full HD IPS Plus LCD screen (1080 x 1920 pixels) 401 ppi
  • 13.0-megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 1080p video at 30fps
  • 2.1 megapixel front facing camera
  • LTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi hotspot, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Infrared Port
  • GPS with A-GPS support
  • 3,140 mAh battery
  • Android 4.1 Jellybean

As you can see it’s a very competitive smartphone when it comes to internals. The only thing that’s out of place for a flagship is the Android OS. It’s still at Android Jelly Bean 4.1. Kinda weird since a lot of the much more affordable local branded smartphones already ship with Android Jelly Bean 4.2.

>>> SEE ALSO: LG Optimus G Pro Unboxing and Initial Hands-on

Hardware: Not the Thinnest Phablet in the Block

A competitive Phablet from LG?
A competitive Phablet from LG?

When it comes to the hardware, the LG Optimus G Pro is not the slimmest phablet among the bunch. It also has some heft to it as well thanks to the big 3,140mAh battery. That being said, it does not reach the level that you would call it a “thick” or a “heavy” smartphone. It’s just not thin or super lightweight.

Fortunately the design of the Optimus G Pro is very ergonomic. The curved edges and the pillow shaped back makes it very natural to hold even in just one hand. You won’t feel anything biting your flesh of your palm.

Form factor still allows you to use it comfortably.
Form factor still allows you to use it comfortably.

For the materials, LG used glorious glossy plastic for the front and back of the device. As usual plastic haters will abhor this but LG did make an effort to differentiate their design by using some sort of pattern for the removable back plate, something very similar to the back plate design of the Google-LG Nexus 4.

What the back looks like
What the back looks like

All the ports, controls, and buttons are in their usual places on the sides. What’s a bit bothersome though is how they arranged the capacitive buttons at the front. Usually the “Back” button is on the far right side. This time they switched it and put it on the left. It’s kinda disorienting at first but you’ll eventually get used to it. Problem is you’ll have to adjust again when you get your hands on another Android smartphone, hehe.

Why is the back button on the left? o.o
Why is the back button on the left? o.o

Display is Gorgeous

Excellent level of detail and color reproduction
Excellent level of detail and color reproduction

The biggest and most appealing strength of the LG Optimus G Pro is the display. The 5.5-inch screen displays Full HD quality content at 1920×1080 which comes out to around 401 pixels per inch. That combined with the monstrous internals lets the LG Optimus G Pro deliver fantastic images, videos, and text with incredible level of detail and vibrancy. The display on the LG Optimus G Pro is so good that sometimes you feel as if the icons are about to pop out of the screen, hehe.

In addition to the quality of the display, the LG Optimus G Pro also has very good viewing angles thanks to the IPS technology they incorporated in the device. It’s actually easy to share the screen with someone else while you’re watching something on it because the content will still look very clear even if the other viewer has a really bad angle leading to the screen.

Over-all when it comes to the hardware aspect, the LG Optimus G Pro is more about the display than anything else. The size, thinness, and aesthetics are mediocre at best (though we gotta give ’em props for the patterns on the back plate).

A Strong Performer with Extra Features

Antutu Benchmark scores place it a step lower than the Xperia Z
Antutu Benchmark scores place it a step lower than the Xperia Z

Like what we just said a few paragraphs ago, the internals of the LG Optimus G Pro isn’t something you can sneeze at. It’s powered by a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, a generous serving of 2GB RAM, and optimizations brought about by Android Jelly Bean 4.1. We did the usual Antutu Benchmark Test and it scored slightly lower than the Sony Xperia Z which is still very impressive and qualifies it to be a flagship device.

Usual basic functions like animations, transitions, texting, e-mails, contacts, etc. all ran smoothly and we didn’t encounter any notable lag spike or delay in the last few days we’ve used it. That’s even with a live wall paper and several active widgets on the home screen.

The benefits of the high-end processor and RAM are realized though with the extra features that LG threw in with the Optimus G Pro.

LG’s Software Differentiator: qSlide?

Extra features
Extra features

LG incorporated the qSlide feature which basically lets you have pop-ups on your display of different apps. This isn’t anything new but what’s innovative about it is that you can keep that pop-up hovering on the screen even if you’re in another app already by just adjusting the opaqueness levels. It’s definitely a very fascinating feature and we’ve ended up using it several times especially when we needed to quickly take down notes.

One way to access the qSlide menu is to just go to your notifications panel by swiping down from the top of your screen. There’s a bunch of apps listed under the Qslide apps which you can just tap on and the pop-up will appear on your display.

The two most useful Qslide apps are the QMemo, which lets you take down quick notes, and the QCalendar so you can easily check dates and appointments even if you’re in another app. Here are photos of both Qapps in action:

Qslide with QMemo
Qslide with QMemo
Qslide Feature with Calendar
Qslide Feature with Calendar

Not bad eh? LG earns a few pogi points for this one, hehe.

A Good Media and Gaming Machine

Good gaming machine
Good gaming machine

It goes without saying that the LG Optimus G Pro is a fantastic media device — regardless if it’s gaming, videos, images, or text. All of them do well because of the combined benefits of having a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display and the monstrous specifications powering it.

For games we tried a variety of graphics and memory intensive titles including Dead Trigger on Ultra High Settings, Wild Blood, NBA 2k13, and a couple of racing games. All of them performed superbly on the LG Optimus G Pro. We didn’t get any major lag spikes even if the zombies were piling up on us in Dead Trigger, hehe.

Perfect for videos
Perfect for videos

When it comes to videos, the LG Optimus G Pro is a fantastic media player — regardless if you’re watching YouTube HD or downloaded 1080p videos. It’s made to be a superb portable player and it delivers on that promise in spades. We used it more to watch YouTube more than anything else, hehe.

With the bigger and high quality display, you also end up enjoying social networking even further. Images on Instagram look much better on a bigger screen.

Awesome for social networking
Awesome for social networking

By the way, be a good chap and follow Unbox on Twitter!

Follow Unboxph on Twitter folks!
Follow Unboxph on Twitter folks!

Everything taken into consideration for the software side, the LG Optimus G Pro can handle almost anything you throw at it… and then some (thanks to the Qapps).

LTE Connectivity: Does it work on both Smart and Globe?

The LG Optimus G Pro is supposed to be an LTE-enabled device. However not all LG Optimus G Pros are compatible with both telcos. You have to make sure that the model you’re getting has the right frequency band. Based on our research there are two variants of the LTE LG Optimus G Pro.

LG Optimus G Pro E980 – 700/1700/2100 -> This will work with Smart’s LTE network.
LG Optimus G Pro E988 – 1800/2600 -> This will work with Globe’s LTE network.

The model available from Kimstore is the E988 variant which means it can only connect to Globe LTE. Smart is supposed to have and support the 1800 band but from our experience that actually isn’t activated yet. They might be able to get it fully running and operational in the future but for now 1800 is for Globe, 2100 is for Smart.

Camera Optics Are Okay!

The LG Optimus G Pro sports a 13.0-megapixel primary shooter with LED flash. We took it for a spin and the photos we got turned out to be pretty nice. It has a problem with intense light but most cameras on smartphones struggle with that so it’s not really a biggie.

Here are some sample shots:

CAM00005

CAM00006

CAM00004

CAM00003

Pwede!

By the way, sometimes a little cropping and editing using contrast (simple tool on iPhoto) can really put more emotion and theme to a photo (Thank you Leo Castillo for the Photoworks Class). Here’s the same photo above cropped with a little editing.

Kulang na lang mata ni Sauron!
Kulang na lang mata ni Sauron!

Battery Life: It Can Go the Distance

The LG Optimus G Pro packs a 3,140mAH battery. Based on our tests this is enough to power it for the entire day with moderate-heavy use. We started at 9AM with 100% and by the time we got home at around 8:30PM it was still at 26%. That’s definitely more than the usual time we get with our other smartphones.

Verdict: A Solid Flagship Phablet from LG

Worth recommending!
Worth recommending!

Kimstore is actually selling the LG Optimus G Pro for just Php22,400. At that price we believe that the device offers amazing value for money. The only downside really is that it can’t connect to Smart’s LTE network. Bad trip ‘coz they just released their prepaid Smart LTE SIMs for smartphones. Other than that though the LG Optimus G Pro is a good buy and we highly recommend it especially if you can get it for just Php22,400. Who knows the price might go down even further in the next few weeks? Hehe.

To end, let us just share with you guys our unboxing video again. It’s a nice way to end the post so you get a better feel for the device should you decide to buy one. :)

LG Optimus G Pro Unboxing Video

Carlo Ople

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

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11 Comments

  1. Tama po ba Sir Carlo, ito yung model na dapat hanapin para mag-work yung Smart Prepaid LTE Sim?
    LG Optimus G Pro E980

  2. Ngayon po, pwede n po b 1800mhz ng smart lte??? So I can buy d 1800mhz support model. And use either globe or smart.

  3. Hi Sir Carlo,I believe, it is not LTE compatible.. I bought mine 2 days ago to Kimstore’s competitor.. I have the same specs and all, E988 also.. But according to the box, it only supports GSM and WCDMA 900 and 2100 MHz… It doesn’t support 4G and LTE connectivity… Also, wala din po nakalagay na LTE sign sa connectivity at the back of the box… Kaya po siguro hindi kayo maka-connect when you used your SMart LTE prepaid sim card… I am not sure though if what model LG sells, maybe it is E980…

  4. how come pag dating sa pinas ng mga handsets halos di LTE capable.. buti nalang I bought the f240 model na sa korea galing..

  5. pwd po LTE dto,wlang variant ang g pro sa pilipinas na wlang LTE.ewan ko lng cguro sa mga bansang wlang LTE.bka ung pinag bilan nyo ng gpro nyo,hnd ung variant na pra sa pilipinas ang bnbenta,ewan ko lng dn ha..tska ung model na e980,model un pra sa US.e988 ang sa pilipinas..or sa buong asia,sa korea lng ang naiba.tsaka i recomend na ung model na pra sa pilipinas ang bilin nyo,kase hnd kyo mkakarecieve ng update kung hnd ung model pra sa country nyo ung gmit nyo

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