Camera

The G2 joins an exclusive group of smartphones that include optical image stabilization (Lumia 920, 925, 928, 1020, HTC One). This works by physically moving the optical stack around inside the camera module to counteract hand shake and movements during image or video capture, using orientation data from a nearby gyroscope. The goal is to eliminate shakes during video capture and also to enable longer exposures during low light scenarios. 

The G2 includes a 13 MP Sony IMX135 Exmor RS CMOS sensor with 1/3.06-inch size and 1.12µm pixels. We've seen this CMOS in a lot of other devices, what's different is the optical system (in this case F/2.4 with 4.0mm focal length, for around 29mm in 35mm equivalent numbers) and of course the new module which includes OIS. 

I'm still working on a big analysis of the G2's performance, but so far I'm very impressed with the resolution that this affords and the G2's ability to still produce decent results indoors where light isn't so good and outside at night. I've only been able to use the G2 as a daily and take pictures with it for a short time, but including OIS is definitely a step in the right direction if the industry wants to adopt 1.1µm class pixel pitches. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

I had a chance to get photos with the G2 at our camera bench locations, of which 3, 4, 5, and 7 remain, and inside the lightbox with the lights on and off, and of our test patterns. I also took one in low light replicating the low light lightbox tests I've done before.

The G2 seems to have a low light mode it kicks into automatically regardless of whether you're in the normal mode or night mode from the scenes menu; when it's in this mode it doesn't record shutter time or ISO in EXIF, just like Galaxy S4, so I can only assume that LG is also combining multiple exposures. It makes it a little hard to figure out just how far you can push OIS in the G2, but the result does look very good. 

LG G2: ?, ISO ?
     

In addition the G2 can record 1080p60 video, something I've been waiting to see a mobile device do for a long time. The video encode block onboard 8974 can do up to 120fps 1080p video or 30fps 4K video (analogous since 4k is just 4 1080p frames), LG just chose to enable the 1080p60 route since the sensor can handle it. This 60 FPS video is encoded at 30 Mbps H.264 high profile instead of the 20 Mbps for 30 FPS. 

Because YouTube can't play back 60p content quite yet (nor can anywhere else online I'm aware of, the sample above is at 30 FPS) you'll have to download the two video samples and look at them side by side to gauge the difference. The change in temporal resolution is dramatic; I've been spoiled by 1080p60 from the GoPro Hero 3 Black for some time, getting this from a smartphone is a killer feature for the G2. 

OIS on the G2 is noticeable, but it isn't as dramatic as it is on some other smartphone platforms. I've been trying to understand the differences in maximum deviation / accommodation angle and cutoff frequencies for the various OIS systems that LG, HTC, and Nokia have devised, and there's a fair amount of difference in performance. 

To help me gauge some of the differences, I went out with my dual device mount and shot video on a few OIS platforms and current devices with EIS for comparison purposes. Because I'm simultaneously working on the Lumia 1020 review, I used that as the reference point. I walked a small circuit around the place where I normally take bench photos and recorded video, and shook the devices at the end of the walk each time.

The video really shows the differences in how much vibration each system really can damp out. What's crazy to me is how well the Lumia 925 does compared to everything else – the original goal was to compare the different OIS systems Nokia was using, but we can also gauge OIS performance across the spectrum here. The G2 can't quite damp out all the big jerky movements, but it does absolutely help when trying to do something like record a video standing still, walking around continues to be a very challenging test case. 

NAND Performance Conclusions
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  • Crono - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    I'm surprised this qualifies as a "mini" review (even for AnandTech), but I'm impressed by the graphics performance of the G2 more than anything else. I'm just wondering if there are any applications or games yet that can take advantage on Android. Reply
  • fteoath64 - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    The graphics benchmarks put the Moto-X in a strong position een though it uses the older cores and newer Adreno 320 gpu. Granted it has only 1280X720 resolution, the overall performance is very close to the S800 with FullHD screens. This actually means that the Moto-X SoC is well optimized for it purposes. It also seems to beat the SGS4 in most graphics tests. Reply
  • Krysto - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    The test was done at 720p - for everyone - which means Moto X is beating most everyone else in GPU performance - at the same resolution. If you take the real world case, and put the others at their native 1080p resolution, then in the real world Moto X will be 2x better in gaming performance since it will push half the pixels.

    Also Adreno 320 is not new. Is a year old, just like the S4 Pro CPU cores. Just because S4 and HTC One used the same GPU this year, doesn't mean it's "new".
    Reply
  • coolhardware - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    Pretty nice point!

    A question though, do any Android games render at a lower resolution and then upscale to fit native resolution?

    Also, the LG G2 comes in about 6th place in top pixel density of phones
    http://pixensity.com/list/phone/
    and it has the largest screen of those top 6 phones... #7 Lenovo / #8 Sony are bigger though :-)

    Looking forward to the final review and seeing LTE performance!
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    All the pixel density fad is apple's clever ploy to conceal their small screen. Resolution / size = density, so smaller screen will get higher dpi. However, it is quite obvious that if resolution is the same, larger screen is much easier on eye. Reply
  • FwFred - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    Agreed, we are well into the point of diminishing returns with PPI on high end smartphones. I'd imagine we are getting to the point where we are wasting power/performance for spec chasing. Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Sunday, September 08, 2013 - link

    RR3 doesn't render in 1080p on the GS 4, I can clearly see pixelation in the 3D parts. I guess it might be because they're perhaps lazy in utilizing multi-core hardware? Because the game lags considerably when there are a lot of AI cars in front of you. Reply
  • warisz00r - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    If the next Nexus phone is indeed based on this, then color me very stoked. Reply
  • Panickd - Sunday, September 08, 2013 - link

    Maybe loosely "based on". According to the FCC paperwork the Nexus 5 has a display of roughly 4.96 inches to the G2's 5.2 inches. Looking at the pictures the camera is also in a different place on both as well. Not huge differences, mind you, but seems like a lot of work going into making them different if they are indeed based on the same general design.

    I would plunk down for a G2 in a heartbeat if LG didn't have such a shoddy support and update record for their phones. I currently own an old G2x and am currently scanning around for it's successor. I'll have to wait to see what the Nexus 5 really turns out to be, I suppose.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Sunday, September 08, 2013 - link

    I'd take the smaller display and battery if it comes with a slightly better looking/feeling build (more Moto X and less Galaxy S). Reply

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