In this first part of the review, I will look at the hardware and accessories, and will look more at the software in the second part.
What came in the box:
The review unit came in the regular retail box with the phone, a quick start guide, in-ear earphones (with controls and mic), micro USB cable and travel charger. The Quick Window cover (flip case) came separate. Strangely, there was no SIM tray ejector tool included.
Good thing LG made the hole for the SIM tray ejector slightly larger than that of the Nexus 4 and a regular paper clip could be used to eject the SIM tray.
a. Overall design
The G2 looks sleek. All black, with silver accents from the speaker grill and LG logo and silver trimming round the edge. There are no buttons around the edges, the power and volume buttons have been moved to the back (more on that later). There is a noise cancellation mic on the top edge, nothing on right edge, a SIM tray on the left edge, and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, micro USB port, speaker and mic at the bottom edge of the phone. The back is smooth plastic with diagonal lined details, with the 13MP camera in the upper middle part of the back with the power and volume buttons directly below the camera lens. The single LED flash is to the right of the camera lens.
The bezels on the phone are absolutely miniscule! The side bezels are 2.65mm and the top bezel about 9.5mm and the bottom bezel about 12mm. This has allowed the phone to pack in the huge 5.2 inch display while keeping the overall phone size to a minimum. At 71x139x9.4mm and 143g, it is not the smallest or lightest phone out there, but for a phone with such a massive display, it is feels amazingly light and compact. The weight is well distributed and balanced and the curved edges on the back make the phone comfortable to hold and it sits really well in the hand.
The phone is well built, and feels solid in hand. No flex or creaks under normal usage (though if really wanted to and purposely flexed the phone, it would flex a bit and will creak). It looks and feels pretty much like how a flagship product should.
The power and volume buttons at the back of the phone is something that needs getting used to. It actually feels much better adjusting the phone volume when you have the phone on your ear with the buttons at the back. In most other situations, it’s just a little adjustment and you can quickly and easily adjust the volume using the soft controls on screen. The biggest issue I have with the buttons on the rear is when taking screen shots. It gets a bit fiddly when trying to press the power button and the volume down buttons at the same time due to the close position of the buttons and the fact that you can’t see the buttons. If you are the sort who needs to see the buttons, you’d have to do it with the phone face down and you can’t see the screen. Of course, there is the alternative of using the QuickMemo software to get the screenshot (Access the QuickMemo software and share the current image).
The most prominent feature of this phone is the screen. The 5.2 inch IPS display (1080x1920), 424 ppi screen, is just lovely! It’s big and bright and the colour saturation, brightness and sharpness of the screen is second to none! It’s the first thing that jumps out at you when you when you turn the phone on. The brightness and sharpness are distinctly better than the iPhone and the colour reproduction is much better (less artificial) than the Samsung displays. It’s very usable in sunlight and is right up there as one of the best screen on a mobile device out there right now.
The phone comes equip with a 13 megapixel shooter with optical image stabiliser (OIS) with a single LED flash on the back and a 2.1megapixel camera up front. The phone features LG's own camera app which features controls for switching between the front and rear cameras, turning the flash on or off, selecting between the Normal, HDR, Panorama, VR Panorama, Burst shot, Beauty shot, Intelligent Auto, Shot & Clear,Dynamic Tone, Night, Time Catch and Dual camera photo modes and for accessing the camera settings.
The camera starts up reasonably quickly, taking about 1.3 seconds from when you press the camera app to when you can start taking pictures. There is a little pause (maybe 0.5s) between when you press the button to when the picture appears as a preview thumbnail, this seems more like the time required to process the image into a thumbnail, more than shutter lag. This won’t affect your every day photos of people, animals, scenery and food. Pictures taken outdoors or under good lighting indoors are excellent. The autofocus is fast and the pictures are sharp with good colour reproduction, contrast, white balance and detail. In low light situations, the photos are still pretty good and LG has done well in minimizing noise levels, though the loss of detail is apparent, especially when viewed at 100%. The photos are definitely good for posting online and still good enough for printing, probably up to 5R. You can easily use this as your everyday camera.
The review unit came with in-ear earphones (with controls and mic), micro USB cable and travel charger and the Quick Window cover.
The micro USB cable and travel charger are pretty standard, so I won’t talk about those.
The in-ear earphones provided are quite good. The sound quality is good (I’m no audiophile) and the sound isolation is pretty good. They come with 3 different sizes of buds, so choose the one with the best fit. The ear phones have flat cables to reduce tangling and a mic with controls on one side. The rubbery plasticky coating on the cables feel somewhat cheap though. They are reasonably comfortable and I was able to use them on an 8 hour flight with little discomfort.
The Quick Window cover is a must have accessory! It is purpose built for the phone, so it is slim and form fitting. It protects the phone yet adds almost no bulk to it. There is a magnet on the cover that automatically wakes the phone when you open the cover and puts it to sleep when you close it. The little window automatically activates when the cover is closed. It can either show a clock (you can chose different clock displays by swiping up and down), the time and weather (you can swipe up and down to choose the different countries you have set, and the times change automatically) or music. KnockON works on the small window as well and you can double tap the screen to turn it on and off. The only criticism I have for this cover is that there is no magnet to hold the flip cover in place.
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