I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to competing amongst the best Android smartphones, LG’s offerings lagged behind the competition. However, things changed after LG scored a deal with Google to offer Nexus 4. Based on a similar hardware, LG announced the Optimus G and we took it for a thorough spin.
Similar to the Nexus 4, LG has adopted an all-glass design for the Optimus G. The front is graced by a nice 4.7-inch 720p display whereas the back sports glass as well. Now the general consensus of putting a glass at the back of a smartphone is like inviting trouble but Optimus G’s glass is pretty durable. In fact, on the launch day in India, some of my peers tried dropping the phone from a reasonable height on a hard floor and to everyone’s surprise, the phone survived.
To cut the long story short, Optimus G is really well built. The glass and the design at the back gives the phone a premium finish and wouldn’t mind using it unprotected without any cover or case, considering its durability.
As for the placements, the front has the display, earpiece along with few sensors, touch-sensitive menu, home and back buttons; left side has the volume +/- buttons; right features the power/lock button; 3.5mm headphone jack on the top and microUSB port on the bottom. Back of the phone has the 13MP camera with flash.
When LG announced the phone last year, they announced it on Android 4.0 but the good part now is that it comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS out of the box. This is a welcome move considering LG does not have a good impression when it comes to providing timely software updates.
Just like most Android manufacturers, this LG device too comes laden with a customised user interface. LG calls it the Optimus UI and to be honest, it’s a pretty neat interface with nifty features.
The UI comes with features like Quickmemo, QuickSlide, Privacy Call, Safety Care, Live Zoom and more.
Quickmemo is not a new feature as its already found on other LG devices but is worthy enough to get a mention. A Quickmemo tab stays right in the notification panel for quicker access. It allows users to write down hand-written notes and even overlay them on the screen to copy in another app.
QuickSlide is a new addition and has been implemented quite nicely. Think QuickSlide as a culmination of Popup Play and Multi-window found on Samsung devices. Although limited to few apps, QuickSlide will allow users to do two things at once and even allow to adjust the transparency of the QuickSlide app according to their preference. For instance, you can write an email while at the same time watch video on the QuickSlide app.
Privacy Call is another new feature. It allows users to conceal some information on a call.
Safety Care is a nifty app that can be adjusted by the user to alert some preset contacts in case the phone isn’t used for a particular amount of time. It can even send the GPS coordinates to the contacts that can be used in case of an emergency.
The Optimus G also comes with a swipe-based keyboard à la Swype, Google’s Gesture keyboard or the Swiftkey Flow and Smart Screen that keeps the screen on when it detects you’re looking at it.
Optimus G is LG’s ‘Optimus-ed’ avatar of the Nexus 4, which means it has the same 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor along with 2GB of RAM. Needless to say, you won’t find it slowing down. In our moderate to heavy use, the phone didn’t show any signs of lagginess.
Games render well, thanks to the Adreno 320 GPU and even has some good multimedia playback support as well. Default video player is capable of playing almost any file we threw at it and is a similar case with the music player. To add to it, LG Optimus G also comes with Dolby Mobile and Qaudbeat earphones that add to the overall multimedia experience.
Perhaps you must have heard a number of times that megapixel count is not an important factor but adding megapixels help companies to market it better. Optimus G comes with a 13MP snapper and the first thing you’d notice is the protruding camera lens. Not a dealbreaker but just makes you a bit cautious to not damage the glass that protects the camera.
As for the camera performance, I wouldn’t rate it as stellar but it’s not a slouch either. The colour reproduction is good but you’d find a decent amount of noise in the photos as well. Optimus G also comes with all the bells and whistles like various shooting modes, voice shutter etc.
On the video front, the phone can shoot full HD 1080p videos at 30fps and even allows to take still pictures while shooting the video. LG also adds some elements to enhance the video shooting experience.
|LG Optimus G Sample Images|
Optimus G comes with a non-removable 2100mAh battery. Now given the battery capacity new smartphones carry to give a decent amount of runtime, Optimus G does a great job to improve the battery life. With moderate usage, Optimus G easily lasted a day and a half with a mix of Wi-Fi and 3G and almost a day when done with a bit of gaming, video watching.
Does getting an LG Optimus G make sense considering the breed of next-generation smartphones are just around the corner? Admittedly, LG is a bit late to the party but Optimus G is a formidable device. It packs some serious performance and gives a run for its money to devices like Galaxy S III that compete in the same price range.
Pros: Build Quality, Performance, Battery Life
Cons: Mediocre camera