I’ve recently had the pleasure of getting an LG G2 to review and I actually cannot wait to review this bad boy. I’m surprisingly loving an Android phone and more importantly, it’s not junk. I was always skeptical of LG devices but I can safely say that after using the G2 and the LG built Nexus 4 they’re definitely one of the better Android manufacturers.
So here’s the thing: I’ve recently tried the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and a Sony Xperia V and I’ve been loving Android lately. It’s very, very good and much more innovative compared to Apple’s iOS 7. At heart I’m still an iPhone guy but that’s because I’ve got a Macbook and iPad so everything connects perfectly together. That said, I am very much in the Google ecosystem (all my business emails go through Google Apps) so this isn’t a tough transition. Lets get on to the device before I get into an ecosystem discussion:
The LG G2 is a big phone with a screen measuring 5.2-inches. This puts the device into “phablet” territory meaning it competes with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Yes, it’s a very big phone and it’s not that easy to use with one hand but what does save it is the fact that the bezel is tiny so the phone doesn’t have a massive screen and resulting massive casing. The screen is full HD meaning 1080p resolution and while this is pretty normal for Android phones these days coming from an iPhone 5 I was totally blown away. The iPhone is no slouch in resolution but it’s got nothing in comparison to the LG. Weirdly there are no buttons on the front or the side of the device with the power and volume buttons on the back, just below the camera. LG has a cool software solution where you double tap on the screen and it wakes the device. I’m not sure putting the buttons on the back would have been my first choice but considering how slim the device is it does make sense in order to save space. Thankfully the power button is raised so you can work out where it is without having to turn the phone around. Realistically you don’t ever have to use the buttons on the back if you just double tap the screen to wake it up. As I use the phone more the back buttons seem completely logical.
The sim card goes in the side of the phone via a slide out tray. You can’t open the phone to change the battery and there isn’t space for any expandable storage. While there’s over 10 gigs of space available for user storage this might turn some people off. Personally I have a tablet for media consumption but I can imagine this being a problem for some. As long as I can load a few gigs of music to go running and cycling with I’m more than happy. Once you turn on the phone, the real magic happens.
It’s tough to have a discussion about the software of an Android phone without complimenting Google. The last time I owned an Android phone was back in the days of Android 2.2. Fast forward four years and it’s an operating system that has come into its own. My biggest gripe with Android has always been one of speed and generally making everything complicated. Google have sped things up and made life a lot easier. My other complaint with Android has always been one of the manufacturers adding an annoying layer of gunk to the operating system. Particularly guilty of this are Samsung with their “Touchwiz” software that literally slows the phone down; I’ve recently seen a Samsung S4 Mini that was slow out of the box. LG have been quite smart in that they’ve got their own layer but nothing is slowed down. The phone is extremely fast and responsive, even after I’ve installed a ton of apps.
There’s really not a lot of LG branded apps ala Samsung. As such you don’t need to worry about junk like “S-Health”, “S-Life” and all that generally useless software Samsung heaps on their devices. For the geeks who care about such things, this isn’t stock Android but pretty damn close.
Another important part of a phone these days is the quality of the camera. The LG has a 13-megapixel shooter but more importantly tons of options for shooting modes and making adjustments such as changing the white balance or ISO. The phone is particularly good in daylight although tends to fall down a bit in low light, much like any other mobile camera. The front camera is pretty decent as well.
In terms of battery life the phone really shines. On my iPhone I have to charge it twice a day while the LG lasted an entire weekend without charge. Bear in mind that the weekend is a pretty relaxed time for me in terms of using my phone but my iPhone makes it to the end of the day on 20 odd percent on a weekend. There is apparently a 3000mAh battery so it’s good to go the entire day without issue.
I’m starting to wonder about my iPhone addiction after using this device. It’s really big but makes up for the size in being super fast, powerful and fulfilling every use case I might have. I finally understand the appeal of a “phablet” as I’ve been using this almost exclusively for my email and web surfing without issue. For me the LG is better than any Samsung in terms of physical design as well as software.
It’s a great device and I can’t recommend it more.
I had the pleasure of interviewing a few of the LG executives at the launch and you can take a listen here