LG launched its G2 smartphone in India today, bringing yet another powerful handset to the already burgeoning Indian smartphone market. This device is a powerful competitor to the Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z1, HTC One and Nokia Lumia 925.
It has all the makings of a champion, from a powerful chipset, gorgeous screen, unique software, and a great camera. No doubt, LG G2 has us intrigued, especially when it comes to design. The company has done away with hardware keys altogether, placing the power and volume keys at the back instead of left or right side as it happens in conventional design.
We were not sure if this new positioning for the keys will make smartphone usage easier, or if it will make it much too difficult to hold the phone, let alone operate it with one hand. We played with the device for some time at the launch event to see what the LG G2 is all about. Here is what we experienced ..
LG G2 looks much too similar to the Samsung Galaxy S4 despite a minor difference between screen size (5.2-inch for G2 vs 5-inch for S4). However, a closer look reveals that the new LG phone bears some differences compared to the now six-months-old S4, such as on-screen keys, no hardware buttons on the sides and overall a bigger device.
The screen of LG G2 is as good as it gets, with beautiful and vibrant colours and crisp text and videos. Around the screen are very thin bezels, helping the phone keep dimensions to a minimum.
Coming to the buttons on the back. Below the camera you will find here keys – Volume Up, Power/Lock and Volume Down, in that order. After using the phone for about 15 minutes straight, it stopped feeling outlandish as we could get a hang of the keys and using them to do common tasks. More on what these keys do below.
Overall, we like the design and look of the G2. The only grouse? Plastic does not feel fantastic, especially after having used the glass-bodied Optimus G earlier.
While you can press the power key on the back to turn on the phone, another option is to tap on the touchscreen twice quickly. This is same as the functionality we have seen in some of the newer Nokia and Samsung phones.
Inside, the software is similar to the Optimus UI we have seen in previous LG phones. However, this time it looks a little less childish, which is the only issue we had with the Android skin.
The phone seems extremely fast, a result of the combination of the light Optimus UI and powerful Snapdragon 800 chipset. All tasks we performed in quick succession went off without a hitch, showing exactly how powerful the chipset is.
We checked out some of the software features of LG G2. Many we had seen in previous phones (placing phone next to the ear to answer calls without pressing any keys in Samsung Galaxy S3 and supersensitive touchscreen in Nokia Lumia 920).
One feature that caught our eye was Slide Aside, where you can use a three-finger swipe from right to left to push a running app to the sidelines. This feature allows users to move or retrieve a maximum of three running apps from the sides. Though not as good as Samsung’s multi app view, it is still worth checking out.
Using G2 for a little more time gave us an idea of how to use its rear-positioned keys for doing more. While the volume and power/lock functions were quite expected, we also used it to access QuickMemo app and turn on the camera when the phone’s screen was turned off. However, you cannot take screenshots with the handset without using both your hands, something we can easily do with a single hand in other Android phones. During our short time with the G2, we found it to be a very capable smartphone that can stand neck-and-neck with any top-end smartphone in the market. Its unconventional design is quite good and does not hinder functionality, even though it does not add much value to the usage.