Hands-On: LG Optimus G
LG brought the Optimus G to New York City and Phone Scoop took it for a spin. Here are our initial thoughts on LG's latest flagship smartphone.
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LG showed off the Optimus G to NYC press today. The Optimus G is LG's latest flagship device and it pulls out all the stops in an attempt to win back market share from Korean rival Samsung.
The G is one of the first devices to feature Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, which has four cores at 1.5GHz each and 2GB of RAM. The gorgeous display measures 4.7 inches, and uses the same in-plane switching LCD tech used by Apple in the iPad's display. Toss in a 13-megapixel camera, and you have the framework for a smash hit device.
The G is rectangular and has squared off corners and edges. They edges aren't sharp, but they are noticeable, and give it a chocolate bar look. The units on hand in Manhattan today were all white, though the G will come in black as well. The materials did not feel great. The back shell, in particular, was a bit on the cheap side in terms of quality. In contrast, the glass front had a smooth finish that felt good under the thumb. The overall fit and finish was just OK, but LG was sure to warn us that these were preproduction global devices, and not the final devices that will eventually be sold by U.S. wireless network operators.
The G is very thin, and this goes a long way to helping the device feel comfortable in the hand. The large screen necessitates that the G be tall and wide, so a trim beltline is welcome to keep the overall footprint down. The glossy surfaces means the G will slip into even the tightest pocket with ease.
The front of the G is nearly all screen. The display is luscious. It shone brightly under the harsh lighting in the event space and was still easy to read. Colors looked incredible, everything on the display was razor sharp, and the entire effect is quite good. With 1280 x 768 pixels packed in the 4.7-inch space, all the on-screen elements were smooth and free of pixelated edges. Images and web sites on the screen simply looked fantastic.
The controls of the G are kept to a minimal. The volume toggle is on the left, the lock button is on the right, the USB port is on the bottom, and the headset jack is on the top. The buttons were easy to find and use, and the travel and feedback of each was quite good. It would have been nice to see a dedicated camera button, but no such luck. The LTE SIM card tray is tucked into the left edge as well, but requires a paperclip or other slim point to extract.
The user interface is Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and runs the same skin from LG that we've seen on other devices such as the Motion 4G and Intuition. It was very smooth. Screen transitions were instant, and apps loaded in a blink thanks to the quad-core processor.
LG spent a lot of time going over the QuickMemo app, which has acquired new powers. It takes screen shots and then lets the user insert their own text and notes. What's really interesting is that it has new features that interact with web sites, and can snag URLs for web pages and so on. It appears to be a more robust offering than earlier versions of the app.
One really neat feature of the Optimus G is the ability to truly multitask. It can run video via Wi-Fi to a DLNA device, for example, and still be used to answer text messages or surf the web without interrupting the video.
In sum, it's one of the best phones I've seen from LG. It arrives in the U.S. in November, though LG hasn't announced which carriers will sell it nor how much it will cost.
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