[Review] LG G2 (or how I learned to love a superphone)

Image courtesy of Droid-Life

At long last – the search is over.  Many of you will recall that I lamented over the lack of phone choices to replace my Galaxy Nexus (see the article here ) but I lament no more!  I have taken the plunge and purchased the G2 from LG, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier.  What the heck? you may ask – as this device was on the short list of possibles and was discarded as being unsuitable for my needs.  Well – no one is happier to be proven wrong than me.  Let’s take a closer and more in depth look at how LG’s newest flagship smartphone won me over.

Where to begin?  I despaired of ever finding a new phone that would meet my (admittedly) high standards and needs…but after a string of curious events, I was pulled – nay – destined to purchase the G2.  In a nutshell, here’s how it went down:  several friends were also in the market for new phones, so Sean and I were constantly talking and then looking over the latest and greatest in the smartphone game.  One day, while out and about, one of these friends picked up an HTC One for a song – the short time I spent looking over the One pretty much sold me on it.  During this time, the good folks over at XDA Developers had found a way to (in essence) unlock the One to make it rootable and also flash custom ROMs to it (one of my requisites)  The only thing that held me up was I really, really wanted it in black.  So I waited…during this time a quick side trip to a Verizon store after the G2s release really had me drooling over its beautiful screen and quad-core power – it was at that point that I hoped the G2 would get some development ported to it.  About a week after this Verizon visit, word on XDA popped up that first a rooting method, and then the ability to bypass the bootloader altogether (via a patch called “Loki”) was in the works for the G2 potentially making it a “superphone” – latest and greatest specs mated with a custom ROM that could take full advantage.  The decision was basically made for me – I went out that very night and purchased the G2 from Verizon.

Wow you’re probably saying…that’s a really big nutshell.  Yeah, it kinda is.  But the G2 really deserves it.  For those not familiar, here’s a quick rundown of specs:

*2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 quad core processor
*Adreno 330 graphics processor
*Beautiful 5.2″ FHD display, IPS LCD, little to no bezel and on screen keys
*2GB RAM, and 32GB internal storage, and 3000mah battery
*13MP rear camera, with optical image stabilization (OIS)

Image courtesy of Slash Gear

Yeah – on paper this bad boy will pretty much destroy any other phone currently out there.  LG has done a great job of putting together some fantastic hardware.  One of the reasons the screen is so large and has so little bezel was the design choice to move the physical control buttons (power, volume up/down) to the rear of the phone (as seen in the picture)  Some may argue this is too radical a departure from modern design to work – honestly, it hasn’t bothered me at all.  It took a day or two to get used to…and that’s it.

You might remember, I was looking primarily for something that had a large, nice looking display.  And LG crushed it with the 5.2″ display that’s on the G2.  Say what you want about the back buttons, but if it really allowed for this IPS LCD to show up in this phone, then I’m all for it.  Watching anything from Youtube videos to streamed TV and movies is a genuine pleasure to do.  I told someone just yesterday it’s exactly like walking around with a 5″ high def TV in my pocket.  And that’s a good thing.  The look and feel in hand is good; it actually feels smaller than a 5.2″ display phone should.  The only flaw in the whole design in the back, and here it is pretty awful.  The back plastic panel collects fingerprints, dust, pocket lint, and also small rocks.  You get the idea.  The good news is a case will do the trick for this problem, and I chose the Incipio Feather Case in grey, and its perfect.  Problem solved.

The quad core processor is blazing fast…there’s nothing it hasn’t been able to do for me with lightning fast speed.  I’m not much of a gamer (Angry Birds, Stupid Zombies, and Alchemy are about as far as I go) but the GPU renders smoothly and quickly.  And as mentioned, TV and other video is sharp, clean, and stutter-free.  And for streaming, with LTE speeds, this really makes a huge difference in your real life day-to-day usage.

Photo courtesy of BGR.com

While not loaded with stock Android, as I’d wished for, the LG UI skin really isn’t so bad.  Many of the the UI’s features are usable, and actually helpful.  The toggles in the notification shade are placed well, the Samsung-esqe additions (smart screen and such) can be turned off if unwanted, and within a few minutes, I found myself with a very different experience than what comes right out of the box.  Many of the “busy” features included might take a little time to warm up to, but better to have them than not I say.

Let’s talk about that battery – its awesome.  As my esteemed colleague noted in one of his articles, it really is all about the battery.  The 3000mah beast can last for 2 days off one charge, if you have light to moderate usage (and I’ve actually done this already) – one full day on an LTE connection the whole time is easily done (a not unimpressive feat)  No one cares how awesome your smartphone is unless it works, and it’s not going to work if you don’t have juice.  And the G2 has got the juice, for sure.  The rear camera is pretty impressive as well, if only slightly less so than the battery life.  Most other sites reviewing the phone have thrown out things like “best Android camera ever” and “above average camera with next generation technology.”  These pretty much sum up my experience so far.  The camera is really, really good.  Are you going to ditch your DSLR anytime soon?  No…but maybe you can leave it home more often if you have the G2 with you.

As for the rest…well suffice it to say that because the “Loki” patch works, I’ve already been able to root the device, push out a custom recovery, which then allowed me to wipe the phone and flash a custom ROM.  All this technical geekery really means is that, much like my beloved Galaxy Nexus, I can take advantage of the hard work and dedication of the ROM development community.  And from early returns, it looks like the future in that area is going to be very, very bright.

Even my wife is a little jealous, and I have a feeling we’ll be getting her one of them pretty soon too.  Great screen, unbelievably fast, and lasts a whole day and more.  I guess the final word here is that if you love mobile phone tech (as much as I do), and you are into tinkering with your device (like I am), then it doesn’t get too much better than the G2 from LG.  The better news is that even if you aren’t like me, I have a feeling you’d probably like the G2 as much as I do – even if it is for different reasons.

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One thought on “[Review] LG G2 (or how I learned to love a superphone)

  1. Hello! We are part of the LG Promotion Team. We are collecting reviews about LG's new flagship smartphone, the LG G2. We would like to upload your review on our microsite. If you however would not like for us to do so, we will honor your request immediately and delete it from our website. If you would like to offer your support, please provide us the URL of your review by emailing us at aidai_j@goldocean.co.kr Thank you.

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