Marketing and buzz would have you believe that the Galaxy S III is the only Android phone on the market right now, but where’s the recognition for the brand new LG Optimus G? After going hands on with both, we have discovered that the Optimus G is an Android smartphone to content with. The LG Optimus G Android phone is extremely powerful, rocking a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 4.7″ True HD Display, blazing fast LTE speeds on AT&T, and a sleek design.
As you may have noticed, mondo-sized phones are the trend right now. They’re not for everyone, but if you’re looking for a large phone/screen, you’ll love Optimus G. There’s very little wasted space on the device, hence the squarish design. The Optimus face is almost entirely screen, with enough room on the bottom for some soft-touch buttons and enough room on the top for LG branding, front-facing camera, light sensor, and speaker. It’s noticeably larger than the new iPhone 5 however it’s basically just as thin (.33″), with smoother edges.
Optimus is a bit heavier than the Galaxy S III, but it’s not heavy. It feels like a very solid device with some heft. There’s a discreet cover along the side that reveals two slots, expandable micro-SD storage and a micro-SIM card. It includes 16GB of on-board storage with a 16GB micro-SD card and support for a 64GB card. The lock button is on the side and surrounded by a status light you’d never know is there. Unfortunately, there is no removable battery or dedicated camera button.
The screen is a gorgeous and vivid 4.7″ (768 x 1280) True HD IPS Plus Display. The screen looks amazing at any angle. At over 300 pixels per square inch, it’s fair to call it “retina” quality. The color and brightness are top notch.
Optimus has a 1.3MP front-facing camera and an 8MP rear-facing camera with LED flash. It records video in 1080p with or without audio.
The LG camera app is great, it’s well organized, intuitive, and has a few really neat useful features. Firstly, there’s the cheese shutter that will take a photo as soon as it hears one of the magic words like “cheese”, “kimchi”…or unsurprisingly “LG”. Even more useful is the time catch shot which takes 5 photos in succession, some starting before you even snap the picture; you’ll never have to miss a moment.
The Optimus G takes very pleasing photographs. It’s quick to take a good photo, without having to fumble around in the settings. The colors are good, as is the white balance and exposure. The shutter speed is surprisingly quick and will have you wondering if it took in the first place. I found that compared to iPhone, in overly bright or dark settings, Optimus took the more appealing photos however it sacrifices a lot of detail.
AT&Ts LTE network is no joke, it’s really fast…in New York at least. Download speeds over 1MB/second are not uncommon. Compared to my iPhone 5 AT&T LTE, I found speeds to be a bit slower, however coverage was better. Surfing the web and streaming video has been a pleasure. The Optimus was a life-saver for a few days during Hurricane Sandy when internet went out. It provided my apartment with a speedy WiFi Internet connection using the built-in mobile hotspot…. it may have even been faster then regular WiFi.
From a usability perspective, there’s not a lot you can do to slow down Optimus. The Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz quad-core processor is a beast and pulls its weight. The 2GB of RAM definitely helps with efficient multitasking. The capability of the processor is especially apparent when playing a video and translucently overlaying apps on top of it.
It’s funny, but the phone aspect of a cell phone is basically the least important aspect. Maybe it’s because everyone assumes it will work just as well as any other phone. Of course, this was the case. My callers and I agreed that phone calls sounded just as good as most any other call, not better nor worse. I never had any dropped calls, service was great, and walking and talking in the wind worked pretty well.
Optimus packs a 2,100mAh non-removable battery. These days battery is defined by how well a phone lasts us throughout the day, which is pretty sad…but not for Optimus! Optimus was able to tough out an entire day without breaking a sweat, it could even get two full days on minimal usage. That’s with LTE, syncing, and auto-brightness always on. Definitely impressive, wish I could say the same for my iPhone 5. The quad-core processor is supposed to be so efficient that it reduces the draw on power. It’s rated to get 10 hours of talk time and 13.5 days in standby.
The Optimus G is running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, with a custom overlay by LG. Android enthusiasts usually gripe about overlays on the stock OS, however the enhancements are perfectly complimented by Optimus’s speedy quad-core processor. There’s some nifty features and personalization options that are not available to any other phones. Quick Memo was a very neat feature for drawing notes or doodles on top of any screen. QSlide was an impressive feature for watching videos in the background of your android experience, with the option to change the transparency. Other featurs inclue Andorid Beam, LG Tag+, Wise Ringtones, Eco Mode, and live video zooming
On paper, the LG Optimus G is as good as it gets for Android; it has every spec you could possibly want. In-hand, it definitely lives up to it’s potential. As long as you’re okay with a very large handset, you’ll be happy. Even with large hands, it can be tricky, but it doesn’t take long getting used to. LGs enhancements are pretty nice and the quadcore processor is more than capable of handling all of the eye-candy. With a two year contract with AT&T (and it’s blazing fast LTE speeds), The LG Optimus G can be purchased for $199.99, which is a pretty solid price… off-contract it costs $549.99.
The Good: Sharp Design, Great Build Quality, Gorgeous Screen-colors/brightness/viewing angle/resolution, Micro-USB charging, Very Fast–Processing and ATT Data, Amazing Battery, LG Enhancements are useful and pretty
The Bad: No Dedicated Camera Button, No Removable Battery, No Jelly bean yet