LG G2 mini review

His name is small but his actions are great!

LG G2 mini review

As a manufacturer with great ambitions, LG could not lag behind its competitors, who are all releasing mini versions of their flagship. So they came earlier this year with the LG G2 mini.

Contrary to what the addition mini might suggest, the G2 mini comes with a 4.7 inch screen with q HD resolution. Furthermore, there is an 8 megapixel camera for photos and the processor is of the type Snapdragon 400.

In terms of size, a potential competitor would be the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact previously tested by us. It is similar in size, has a considerably smaller screen but is much more powerful. More realistic alternatives are the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, HTC One mini 2 or the Motorola Moto G.

What's with the device?

The smallest box we've seen in ages contains, in addition to the device, a USB cable with adapter for the socket and a headset. At the very bottom we also found a German quick start guide and the warranty conditions. It all looks neat but the earplugs of the headset lack comfort and the sound quality is not too good.


The G2 mini, just like its big brother, has little embellishment. Yet it doesn't look quite the same. The front of the device is still completely shrouded in black and only meant for the monitor, the ear loudspeaker and a small camera.


There are still no buttons around the device but we do see a thin silver rim. Compared to the large G2 the headset connection has moved to the top of the device. At the bottom is the microUSB connector and two grids for the speaker and microphone.


In fact, the G2 mini consists of one whole of which the back is protected by a thin plastic cover. This cover is dark grey with a grid pattern for extra grip. The cover can easily be removed to change the SIM card, a microSD card or the battery. Removing the SIM card is almost impossible without the sharp tip of a knife.

The G2 mini is almost a millimeter thicker than the large G2. This seems negligible, but combined with its smaller size it loses some of its slim appearance. Because of this, the need to place the buttons on the back seems smaller as well. However, without this peculiarity the G2 mini wouldn't stand out at all.


Furthermore, the device is neatly finished and feels solid. Because of its relatively low weight and rounded sides, it lies comfortably in the hand.


The interchangeable battery of the G2 mini is a 2,440 mAh one. Of course it's a bit smaller than its big brother's but still very substantial and that's reflected in the endurance. It took no effort at all to get through a full day without recharging. In a quiet weekend he even managed to hold out for 48 hours on one battery charge. A milestone we rarely reach with a smartphone.


The battery consumption is set out in a nice graph, which also gives a rough estimate of the remaining time. This remaining time can be extended by using a low-power mode. This mode means that a number of functions switch off or change at a preset battery level.

Call quality

The phone function of the G2 mini is, as on almost all Android phones, one with the contact list and the log. Each item has its own tab. With smart dial you can easily find the desired contact. The search result can be sorted by alphabetically but also depending on how often you have had contact with someone before. Initially one contact is visible but by pressing the arrow a list is opened.


The entire phone application can also be reduced to a so-called Qslide-widget so that all the other functions of the phone are available. The sound is slightly distorted when the volume is at its highest.


The fact that a phone with a 4.7 inch screen is called 'mini' says a lot about the sizes of other phones on the market. As far as we're concerned, it's a good usable format but unfortunately on the G2 mini it's a bit let down by the resolution. It is a meagre 960 x 540 pixels and brings the pixel density to 234 PPI. Colors and viewing angles are fine but the screen brightness is not very high. This makes reading in bright sunlight a bit more difficult.


Curiously, there is no automatic mode for screen brightness. Instead, it is possible to set the brightness at night between 24:00 and 6:00 automatically to 0%. It's not really convenient, so you have to make do with the screen brightness slider in the notification screen.


Further time-out, screen-out effect, auto-rotate, daydreaming, font and font size can be set for on-screen display. In addition, there are the smartscreen and smart video functions. These ensure that the device monitors whether and how you look at the screen so that it does not go out.


In addition to the button on the back, the screen can also be activated using KnockON, i.e. tapping. By tapping the screen twice quickly on the disabled screen, the lock screen appears. By tapping an empty spot on the lock or start screen, the screen can be turned off again. Despite the fact that the device does not always respond immediately, this is an amazingly fast action that we liked very much.

We did notice that we used it less often than the large G2. Probably because you can still hold the mini when you press the button on the back. The G2 mini now has the addition of Knockcode. With this you can unlock the device by an adjustable pattern of 2 to 8 taps in the four corners of the screen.


The interface is the same as the large G2 and so Android has been drastically modified by LG. So thoroughly that Android, even for the experienced user, is almost unrecognizable. It is not necessarily a deterioration or improvement but more a matter of taste. Just like the large G2, the touch keys below the screen can be adjusted by the user. However, some changes have been made. Instead of choosing from a predefined layout, now only keys for notifications, QuickMemo and the taskmanager can be added. The default keys cannot be removed. It would not be a disaster if one of the standard keys were not the menu key that has become obsolete in Android.


For the lock screen, type of unlock, animation effect with associated sound, background, shortcut keys and owner data can be set. It is also possible to adjust how quickly the phone should be locked after the screen is turned off. Convenient in combination with the use of KnockON.


In addition to the usual layout, a simplified interface can also be chosen. It is also possible to use themes. You can download several free of charge after registering with LG. It is also possible to increase the size of icons both in the application menu and on the start screens. The apps in the menu can be sorted by alphabet, download date or user preference.


The notification screen hidden behind the status bar houses the same load of functionality we saw with the larger G2. The top line is for a whole zwik switch that can enable or disable connections and applications. Beneath that is a rule with so-called QSlide apps. These are widget-like versions of normal applications that are quickly accessible in this way. There is a choice of 10 apps, but the rule can also be made invisible in its entirety. Underneath we see a slider for screen brightness and one for ringtone volume. Only after the line with the date and a shortcut to the settings menu we get to the actual notification screen. This makes the quick access to notifications, just so typical for Android, of secondary importance and that's a pity.


The functionality of the phonebook corresponds to what we know from standard Android. By linking to email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, the contact list can be easily filled. Moreover, available profile photos are also retrieved immediately. To save the overview, the list can be filtered and sorted according to the user's wishes.



The brass capacities of the G2 mini are very complete and also work properly. For the SMS/MMS application, even the text balloons can be adjusted. In addition to the regular messaging app, Hangout from Google can also be set up as the standard SMS app. The QWERTY keyboard is large and spacious with a separate line for numbers. Just like the large G2 it is possible to display the keyboard more to the left or right of the center. So that it is easy to operate with one thumb. Although this will be less necessary on the G2 mini. In the horizontal position the keyboard can be split in two by making an inverted pinch-movement with two fingers.


Besides the obvious Gmail app, the G2 mini also has an application for other email accounts. It works well and has a combined inbox for multiple accounts. In terms of interface, there is certainly room for improvement, but folders and messages from web accounts are neatly synchronized.



The G2 mini has onboard support for 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC. Using these techniques, the Android Beam and SmartShare Beam applications can be used to exchange data with other devices or play files on other devices.


In addition to these connection techniques, the G2 mini also has an infrared transmitter. This transforms the device with the QuickRemote app into a remote control with which all kinds of multimedia devices can be controlled. The remote control can also be displayed on the lock and notification screen.


For web browsing the G2 mini has Google's Chrome and its own application of LG. They do not evade each other much in terms of functionality. Although the LG browser seems a bit faster and can be displayed in a smaller size as a QSlide app. Chrome, on the other hand, synchronizes Chrome's bookmarks and tabs on your PC unnoticed. It does, however, not support Flash.


Chrome offers a more fullscreen experience with hidden options while the LG browser also has a minimalist interface but is slightly more integrated with the rest of the operating system.


In contrast to the large G2, the G2 mini has a camera with an 8 megapixel sensor. The interface is otherwise unchanged. By default, the camera is set to 16:9 format and therefore takes photos with a maximum size of 6 megapixels. To be able to use the full 8 megapixel, the ratio is changed to 4:3. The camera can be opened while the screen is off by pressing and holding the lower volume button.


On the right side of the screen is the switch for photo or video mode, print button and shortcut to the gallery. On the left we see buttons for flash, front or rear camera, mode and other settings. Because of the inferior hardware of the G2 mini, the number of photo modes is also limited. The available modes are normal, HDR, panorama, series shooting, embellished photo, time catch and sports. These modes can be shown in a grid or as a carousel.


In normal mode, the options voice shutter, brightness, focus, size, ISO, white balance, color effect, timer, geotag and shutter sound are adjustable. The volume buttons can be set to take a picture or zoom. Both are awkward because the buttons are so close to the lens. For zooming, there is unfortunately no other option than to 'pinch' on the screen.

Especially in daylight, the G2 mini still takes good photos despite its simplified hardware. Colors and details are beautifully displayed. The photos may seem a bit underexposed, which we also see in conditions with less light. Noise and reduced detail can be seen quickly. The flash can only partially compensate for this. The G2 mini can shoot videos at a maximum 1080p resolution and in a maximum of 30 frames per second.

Existing programs

Calendar, Alarm/Clock, File Manager, Box, Calculator, Cell Broadcast, Downloads, Drive, McAfee Family protection, FM Radio, Photos, Gallery, Voice Search, Google+, Hangouts, LG Backup, Maps, Memo, Music, Google Play, QuickRemote, RemoteCall Service, LG SmartWorld, Tasks, ThinkFree Viewer, Update Center, Video, Voice Recorder, Weather and YouTube.


Compared to the package his big brother was equipped with, the G2 mini has clearly made some savings. Still, some things have been added as well. The apps Box, McAfee Family protection, RemoteCall Service and ThinkFree Viewer have been added. As far as we're concerned, of these four, only Box is an asset.


His name is small but his actions are big. When the G2 mini's screen is turned off, it is an extremely inconspicuous device, but just like its big brother, there is some decisiveness behind it. Especially the size of the screen compared to the rest of the device and its stamina distinguish the G2 mini from the competition. The camera also performs well. Unfortunately, the addition 'mini' also appears to be in line with stripped down specifications in a number of areas. This is especially noticeable in the moderate screen resolution. We have little to complain about the speed of the camera.

The LG interface has its good sides and its bad sides. Personally, we like it more in use and look better than Samsung's TouchWiz because it is more functional and coherent. In some areas LG is a bit outdated, while in others the interface looks quite outdated. The first images of the new interface of the LG G3 promise a lot of good in that respect, but it is still the question whether the G2 mini will eventually have this at its disposal.

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