Don't call it a phablet: Hands on with LG's new super-powerful G2 smartphone

With a 5.2-inch screen, the new LG G2 enters the ranks of big-screen Android smartphones

With its plus-sized screen, LG's just-announced G2 Android smartphone approaches the nebulous phablet territory, but it definitely looks and feels like a phone.

The G2, which is nearly bezel-less, is able to carry a 5.2-inch screen--that's just a bit larger than the 5 inches of the plus-sized Samsung Galaxy S4, but still short of the 5.5 inch display on the Galaxy Note II or a similarly sized screen on LG's own recently introduced Optimus G Pro.

Aside from its slightly smaller display, the G2 shares a lot of specs in common with its slightly older cousin, save one notable exception: The G2 trumps the Optimus G's Snapdragon 600 processor with a bleeding-edge Snapdragon 800 processor.

And the upgrade certainly shows. The G2 is able to bolt between multiple running applications with a mere sliding of three fingers. Using it is one of the best multi-tasking experiences I've had with a mobile device.

According to a spokesman from Qualcomm, the beefier engine gives the G2 a 30% boost for its CPU and a 50% power-up for its GPU.

Combined with the diminished processing demands of the relatively smaller display, the G2 not only blows the G Pro out of the water, but is one of the most powerful handsets currently on the market.

Downside

On a negative note, the phone's outward appearance doesn't seem to fit its impressive specs. Many newer phones have upped their design game with a more sophisticated approach outer casing.

The G2, on the other hand feels light and dressed in cheap plastic. You shouldn't judge a book by its cover--especially one with as powerful an engine inside--but the G2 just feelskind of like it deserves to sit on a bottom shelf.

Buttons to the back

One of the LG's big design innovations for the G2 is the removal of all physical buttons from the side or top. The only physical buttons on the whole device are on the back, just below the camera lens--they sit in a small module that consists of a main power button and two volume buttons.

The thinking behind the back buttons is that this is the area where your index finger will naturally sit when you hold the phone. The placement of my phone's buttons on the side has never been a huge concern of mine, and this new configuration seemed neither a major improvement nor a great detriment. I will admit though that, as advertised by the LG folks, the configuration makes taking selfies much easier. You know, if you're into that sort of thing.

The hottest new phone feature of summer 2013 is getting to the phone's camera in as few steps as possible. If you hold down the sleeping G2's bottom volume button, the camera awakens.

Additionally, holding down the top button on the G2 will directly launch the note-taking app. Unfortunately, though, you will not be able to personalize what apps these buttons launch, which seems like a missed opportunity.

The other cool innovation in the G2 is the ability to double tap your sleeping phone's screen into an awakened state: so-called knock-knock functionality. You can also double tap it back into sleep (you also can use the main power button on the back to do the same).

A smart camera

The G2's camera boasts multi-point auto focus, which can prompt up to nine auto-focus points while trying to capture a still image. Along with the phone's optical image stabilizer (OIS)--which LG claims is the first OIS combined a 13-megapixel camera--the technology promises to capture crisp clear images no matter how much you or your subject move.

The OIS and multi-auto focus seemed to work well enough. However, the camera function that caught my eye was tracking zoom. You can use this video functionality on the G2 to auto track your subject and keep it in focus within the frame at all times--no matter how the phone or subject move.

As a side note, the G2's camera also produces one of the most satisfying "click" sound effects of any phone I've experienced.

There's no word yet on a release date or price for the LG G2.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags smartphonesPhoneslgsamsungconsumer electronicsgalaxy

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Evan Dashevsky

TechHive (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?