The LG G2 is the spiritual successor to the Optimus G, a device that we looked at last year and eventually went on to become the Nexus 4. LG dropped the "Optimus" branding this time, but the G2 is without a doubt still LG's flagship smartphone, and includes a number of unique LG features – stacked 3000 mAh (11.4 Whr) battery with SiO+ anode, 5.2-inch 1080p LCD from LG Display, and 13 MP rear facing camera with OIS (Optical Image Stabilization). It's an impressive combination of features that make the G2 a standout device. At the same time the G2 is our first chance to get a look at the 2.3 GHz bin of Snapdragon 800 inside a shipping device and get a look at performance and battery life. 

We took a quick look at the G2 at the announcement event, now we have our hands on a G2 and have been putting it through its paces, benchmarking it, and running battery life tests on it for a little under a week and wanted to share some thoughts.

Hardware Impressions

The G2 marries a curved backside shape with front glass that slightly curves at the edges and has a very narrow side bezel. The G2 also opts for on-screen buttons rather than the discrete capacitive kind or physical buttons that went out of favor a while ago. The reality is that Google does have a fair amount of input into at least this part of the Android ecosystem, and its guidance seems to be that on-screen buttons which use display real estate to draw the buttons is the recommended way to go. The G2 does afford the ability however to add Quick Memo buttons or the notification shade pull down/pull up buttons to the bar, but oddly enough there's no multitasking button option available. 

The G2 manages to include a large display without width that's much different from other devices I've been using lately, like the HTC One. Part of getting the edge bezel small was a reduction in volume required on the sides for volume and power buttons, which are instead moved to the back of the G2, perhaps its most striking and initially even alarming design change.

Holding down the volume down button launches you into the camera, pressing the center button powers on the phone, and holding down the top button launches QuickMemo. Up and down are volume up and down otherwise. There's a hard raised lip on both sides of the button too, so the G2 when laid backside down on a surface makes contact there instead of on the button – it won't inadverntely turn on when pressed against a table. I found the backside buttons easy to adapt to after my first few interactions with the G2, and they actually become second nature after a day or so. The raised bump for the power button makes it easy to locate with the index finger, and I haven't smeared or accidentally put my finger on the sapphire camera cover yet. If the power button on the back is still difficult to get used to, the G2 has a double tap to turn on feature it calls "knock knock" – double tap on the display, and the G2 will turn on, repeat the double tap on the status bar or in an empty part of the display when it's on, and it turns off. I find myself using the double tap gesture quite a bit to turn the G2 on and off. I believe this functionality uses the sensors onboard and the DSP inside 8974 to detect when the taps occur. 

Gallery: LG G2

The G2 I was sampled is a dark blue color which has a slight pinstripe on the back as shown in the photos above. The material is however the same kind of glossy plastic I'm used to seeing out of the Korean handset makers of note, and picks up fingerprints and hand oil very quickly unfortunately. I like the shape of the device and LG's innovations, it's just puzzling to me that materials hasn't picked up yet, I'd even take glass from the Optimus G over plastic. I'll save you the huge discussion on device size as well, I'm fine with the larger smartphones that aren't quite phablets, and the G2 for me is totally usable and I appreciate the increased display size. It definitely isn't phablet size, but it is on the larger high-end smartphone side of things. 

  LG G2
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974)
4x Krait 400 2.3 GHz, Adreno 330 GPU
Display 5.2-inch IPS-LCD 1920x1080 Full HD
RAM 2GB LPDDR3 800 MHz
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, BT 4.0
Storage 32 GB internal
I/O microUSB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone, NFC, Miracast, IR
OS Android 4.2.2
Battery 3000 mAh (11.4 Whr) 3.8V stacked battery
Size / Mass 138.5 x 70.9 x 9.14 mm
Camera 13 MP with OIS and Flash (Rear Facing)
2.1 MP Full HD (Front Facing)

 

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  • tuxRoller - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    You are making a point which, given our data, is impossible to prove/disprove.
    They are saying, I think, that they don't believe MOST people care about having a removable sdcard. Given that iphones sell so well, I'd think that there are very large groups for which this is true (roughly a third of smartphone owners worldwide). Samsung offers removable storage, but so have the other manufacturers (like sony) yet it hasn't/isn't helping them.
    Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    The people who are generally knowledgeable about phones are the ones recommending Samsung Galaxy S3/S4 to their friends. Partially because of the extra features like removable/customizable battery and storage. These features always get a mention in reviews also. You're a fool if you think they're not a factor in Samsung's success.

    Right now in my S4 I have the capability to add a 64gb microsd card purely for movies and TV shows and crap like that. That would cost me $50, whereas an additional device like an iPod touch would cost me a lot more. I'd rather just turn my phone into my iPod, but I just CANNOT do that if I have to constantly worry about my onboard space.

    All flagship phones going forward should be 32gb+.
    Reply
  • rocketbuddha - Monday, September 09, 2013 - link

    Dude!
    a) How many HTC phones have you owned?
    b) Do you know how many software updates HTC does for its "premium" phones in its life cycle?
    c) Have you seen the quality of the software releases for 1-2 yr old phones? Battery life/random restarts etc....
    Reply
  • Arbie - Monday, September 09, 2013 - link

    I agree with BabelHuber. No micro/SD = no sale. Talk all you want about how "most of us are streaming from the cloud" or "internal memory is lots faster" - but that means nothing to me. I *DO* want to watch and listen to media and I *DO* want to move it on and off the device quickly. Like when I grab the thing for a trip. Micro/SD lets me do this and works GREAT. You stream; I'll snap.

    Micro/SD is worth $$ to me. Conversely, I'm not going to spend $$$$ on a device like this without it. As Babel says: why take the phone with less options? It simply does not make sense.
    Reply
  • hughlle - Monday, September 09, 2013 - link

    Yet people happily take the iphone with less options time and time again. apple market their harware properly, and the lack of options becomes irrelevant.

    The lack of an SD card will certainly cause a loss of sales from a certain market, but it is a minimal loss of sales in the grand scheme of things. Rather like imagining the loss of sales from people who won't buy this phone because it's not available in pink. It's a non-event.

    As has been said, the majority of people care about total space, not removable storage. you can not put an accurate number on the ratio, but to try and argue it is otherwise is silly. The majority want to be able to take photos, record videos, dowload music and shows, not root around in their handbag or pocket or draw for the correct SD card that has their scrubs episodes on it. Average joe wants simplicity. they want to be able to press the screen and access their content. Not start swapping cards in and out.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    Yes, the power of branding is incredible. The words Samsung and Galaxy are pounded into the social consciousness to the point that they're now synonymous with Android (like Moto/VZW's Droid campaign early on). It's a very very strong effect. Reply
  • Impulses - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    I don't think sporting removable media and batteries is even amongst the top three reasons why Samsung outsells everyone... I think to imply so seems a bit near sighted. Samsung started dominating long before most manufacturers moved to sealed batteries etc, you can trace their upward track pretty closely to how much more they invested in branding with each successive generation (much to the carrier's chagrin, if it were up to them we'd still have five different Galaxy variations every year).

    Personally I could care less for removable media and batteries, but I do appreciate and applaud the fact that Samsung still offers that choice... I think it's one of the advantages of the Android ecosystem. I don't think the majority of the market cares about this tho.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, September 09, 2013 - link

    As someone who'd be moving from a Note 2 with 16GB internal and 64GB Micro SD, I think I'd actually appreciate the smaller unified space. It'd be a bit more of a pinch, but the fact is that after several re-formats and changes of software I'm getting sick to the back teeth of different builds treating my SD card differently (no exFAT support in CM10 is a real killer) and having to re-create links from my in-built storage to the external for apps like Google Play Music.

    The fact is that external removable storage is a pig to set up and maintain. It could work so much better than it does, but Google don't want to maintain it and I think the point where it's worth letting go has now arrived.
    Reply
  • [-Stash-] - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    No exFAT in CM10 is a pain, I'll agree, but since you root your phone anyway, just bung this on, it means you can even read/write to NTFS formatted storage (SD Cards, USB HDDs):
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.c...
    Reply
  • bill5 - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    This seemingly would be the phone to get if I needed one right now. Nice battery life.

    However my upgrade isnt for almost a year, like a lot of people I suspect, I upgraded right when SGS3 came out.

    That means I wont be due for another upgrade til SGS5 hits, and I'm guessing it will trump this phone, naturally. Such is the life of everybody trying to fight samsung...
    Reply

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