LG has finally brought the successor of the Optimus G, which we reviewed, the new LG G2. Once again, LG will be launching the G2 with Qualcomm’s latest and greatest SoC. This time around, LG has opted for the new Snapdragon 800 SoC and they will be clocking it at 2.26 GHz, almost at the peak clock speed of the Snapdragon 800, which is rated up to 2.3 GHz. The Snapdragon 800 brings a new generation of CPU cores, Krait 400 series, as well as a new GPU, the Adreno 330. Each of these improvements not only increases performance but also improves battery life even greater than the previous generation.
The new LG G2 will also have a unique industrial design with a razor thin bezel, which will enable a new 1080P display within a 5.2" screen size which results in a pixel density of 423 ppi, still more than enough to deliver a great experience. Because LG opted not to make this phone a Phablet, they’ve really decided to position their phone to be the flagship device of the last quarter of this year and possibly the first few quarters of next year. It will come standard with 16 GB of internal storage and there will also be a 32 GB version. It will also have 2GB of LPDDR3 memory, which is more than enough memory to run all of your applications as well as LG’s own Android customization UI. Speaking of Android, it will not ship with the latest version of Android, but rather one slightly older version, Android 4.2.2. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing or a bad mark on LG when you consider the fact that Motorola supposedly didn’t get access to Android 4.3 until the day Google announced it about a week ago, and they’re owned by Google.
In order to enable the thinner bezel, LG also moved many of the buttons of the phone to the back of the phone, as you can see in the picture below. Initial reactions are that it does take some adjusting to, but it isn’t impossible to use and it does reduce the overall size of the phone. Plus, a lot of people argue about volume and power placement, so why not put them all in one place? We’ll see how this fares in our review.
Some of the interesting things about this phone are the upgrades to the camera. With the Optimus G, LG went with a 13 megapixel camera in the international and Sprint versions and 8MP for AT&T. While the AT&T version had a lower megapixel camera, it did not seem in any way worse. Not to mention the camera was not protruding like it was on the 13 megapixel version. It looks like LG has fixed that with this phone and added optical image stabilization to improve the quality of those 13 megapixel photos. While it remains unseen whether or not all of the versions of this phone will have the same camera, we hope that everyone keeps the OIS intact. Another cool thing about this camera this time around is that it will do 1080P video at 60 FPS, which means high-motion video will now be significantly smoother and that the SoC is capable of both recording and playing back at 1080P with 60 frames per second. Actually, this SoC is capable of 4K, but there are very few places you can make use of 4K and fitting a 4K sensor in a phone that doesn’t chew up all of the battery would be a task.
Another really great feature of the LG G2 is the new wireless connectivity with LTE-Advanced capability and carrier aggregation. This will enable download speeds of up to 150 Mbps over the latest LTE networks and uploads of up to 100 Mbps, a welcome addition. Admittedly, this will not mean that phones will suddenly get faster, as carriers’ networks have to be upgraded to enable these features and they have to have the available bandwidth to get anywhere near such speeds. But increasing the theoretical maximums will hopefully push carriers to improve their speeds to keep up with the devices. The G2 will also sport 802.11ac, which means that this phone will be blazing both inside and outside of your home as long as you’ve got the latest router supporting 802.11ac like the Western Digital AC1300 we’ve been testing.
Nevertheless, the LG G2 also has an impressively large battery with a 3000 mAh battery. And frankly, I have a feeling that this phone, with all of Qualcomm’s and LG’s power optimizations could probably outlive the newly touted Motorola Moto X, which we found to be incredibly overhyped. Considering some of the long-term battery figures we’ve been looking at from some other publications, it doesn’t seem like the Moto X will do much better than any of its competitors. Also, this phone will be available on ALL four carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint) which is a departure from their previous launches where they were exclusively on AT&T and Sprint. This will likely mean a HUGE boost for LG’s sales in the US and we will likely see them gain a significant amount of market share with this phone. As far as I know, all versions of this phone in the US will ship with LTE, so it will be a great experience almost anywhere you go, except for maybe Sprint since their LTE network is still developing and so is T-Mobile’s but they’re much further along.
If the specs live up to their promise, this phone could possibly be the best phone of 2013 and quite a bit of 2014. The price of this device is not yet known, but all indications point to a similar price point of around $500-$600 off contract and likely $199 on contract.