LG G2 review

LG G2 review

Last summer, LG presented a powerhouse of a smartphone to make competition sweat and restore consumer confidence in LG as a respectable smartphone manufacturer.

The G2 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2 GB of RAM and a 5.2 inch Full HD display with a 13 megapixel camera. Impressive but not necessarily striking features. All the more striking is the placement of the control buttons on the back of the camera. According to LG, after taking a detailed look at how users use smartphones, this is the ideal place.

Main competitors are the top models of the other major manufacturers. Such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and Sony Xperia Z1. In addition, Google's Nexus 5 is interesting as it is based on the G2 and also created by LG.

What's with the device?

The G2 is not very spectacularly packaged but the necessary accessories are in the box and are of good quality. To start with, of course, the microUSB cable and adapter plug but especially the headset with remote control, flat cables and tight silver earplugs looks very premium.

We also got a so-called QuickWindow case with the aircraft. This is an extra case that you click over the backcover. The front consists of a kind of smartcover flap with a hole of 3.5 by 5 centimeters. In that hole, a clock, extended clock with current weather or controls for the music player can be displayed on the screen. Unfortunately, the battery charge or notifications or previews of messages are not visible. As far as we are concerned, therefore, a rather useless accessory. Only advantage is that you can also make a phone call with the cover closed.


The appearance of the G2 can be described as boring but also as restrained and effective. At the front of the G2, the large screen of course catches the eye. Nevertheless, the device doesn't look very clumsy or frighteningly large. This is partly because there are no physical buttons under the screen and the edges next to the screen are very narrow. Apart from this screen to size ratio, the appearance of the G2 is not very spectacular. That does not alter the fact that the device is well put together.


To further enhance the slim appearance of the G2, the sides are rounded so that the back has a nice curve and the unit lies comfortably in the hand. Only the bottom is flattened to accommodate the headset connector, speaker and microUSB connector. The plastic backcover has a speckled stripe pattern and is very sensitive to fingerprints.


Following the rounded sides, the volume and power buttons have been moved to the back of the unit. They are located directly underneath the camera. To prevent the power button from being accidentally pressed when the camera is on the table, it is protected by small raised edges. This ensures that the device is not stable on the table.


In the advertisements LG emphasizes that the back is a logical and user-friendly place for the buttons. As far as we are concerned, this is partly true. The volume buttons are easy to operate, especially during a conversation, but we prefer the power button at the top or bottom of the device. To press a button on the back of the device, you need to clamp the device firmly and generally have your phone loosely in your hand. Fortunately, there is also the KnockOn technique, about which we will discuss more later.


Just like its monitor, the G2's battery with a capacity of 3,000 mAh is no small boy. This comes in handy in daily life and ensures that the G2 scores well above average. With normal use for us, the device was able to easily maintain a good 32 hours on one charge. This means that it can last a day even with intensive use and that the endurance can also be stretched to several days with light use.


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.

Call quality

The phone function of the G2 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 person. 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.


When calling, the sound quality is good but the volume can't be very high. It is also possible to reduce the size of the entire call screen so that all other functions of the device are available.


As we mentioned before, the G2 is actually built around its impressive display. The diagonal 5.2 inch screen with IPS technology has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This means that it shows 424 pixels per inch, which is very detailed. The colors may not be as deep as on a SuperAMOLED screen, but still look very good. Maybe it even gives a quieter image.


For on-screen display, brightness, time-out, screen-out effect, auto-rotate, daydreaming, font, font size, smartscreen and smart video can be set or enabled. In the case of the last two functions, 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 of the device, the screen can also be activated using KnockON, i.e. tapping. Tapping the turned off screen twice quickly displays the lock screen. By tapping an empty spot on the lock or start screen, the screen can be turned off again. Although the device doesn't always respond immediately, this is an amazingly fast action that we liked very much. It took us some time to unlearn it again when we were using our own phone again.


Also at LG they have done their best to completely customize the interface. They succeeded quite well. Some people argue that they copied it from Samsung, but that is unfair criticism. More has been adapted and as far as we are concerned, it is also more pleasant to use. Moreover, the user can make a lot of changes himself. Even up to the sorting of the virtual function keys at the bottom of the screen. Strangely enough, this does not include the standard Android multitask button. For this function, the home button has to be pressed for a long time.


For the lock screen, type of unlocking, animation effect with associated sound, current weather info, background, shortcut keys and owner data can be set. It is also possible to adjust how quickly the phone should actually be locked after the screen goes out.


In addition, two themes have been installed for the entire interface that completely change the appearance of widgets and icons. In addition, the size of icons can be adjusted both in the application menu and on the home screens. The apps in the menu can be sorted by alphabet, download date or user preference. Opened apps can be put on standby by swiping three fingers across the screen to the left for a moment and then reactivated in the reverse direction with the same movement.


The notification screen that is hidden behind the status bar houses a load of functionality that we have seldom seen before. The top line is for a whole zwik switch that can enable or disable connections and applications. Beneath it is a line with so-called QSlide apps. These are widget-like versions of regular 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.


Below is 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 easily be 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 so-called VU Talk is also integrated in the contact list. An explanation of this appears the first time the contact list is opened. This can be used to draw or write on the screen while chatting with a contact. In addition, the image on your screen can be shared in real time with a contact. Probably this is only available on the LG G2 because we could not test it with one of our regular contacts.


The brass capacities of the G2 are very complete and also work properly. For the SMS/MMS application, even the text balloons can be adjusted. The QWERTY keyboard is large and spacious.


Due to the size of the screen, 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. In the horizontal position, the keyboard can be split in two


In addition to the still improving Gmail app, the G2 also has an application for other email accounts. It works well and has a combined inbox for multiple accounts. Unfortunately, folders created online, read and deleted messages are not synchronized and exchanged messages with the same contact are not displayed as conversation.


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


In addition to these connection techniques, the G2 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 browsing the G2 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 LG browser also has a minimalist interface but is slightly more integrated with the rest of the operating system.



The G2's 13 megapixel camera starts up quickly, focuses smoothly and prints without any significant delay. At first glance, the camera has good specifications and a pleasant interface. The virtual option button of Android is visible but has no function at all for controlling the camera.

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. The available modes are normal, photo taking & erasing, HDR, panorama, VR panorama, series shot, embellished photo, dual camera, time catch, auto intelligent, sports and night. These 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.

LG G2 camera samples

Especially in daylight the G2 takes good quality pictures. Colors and details are beautifully displayed. In dark conditions and a little helped by the optical image stabilization, the results are also satisfactory. Indoors, the flash does its job properly.

Videos can be made by the G2 at 1080p resolution and in up to 60 frames per second. This results in quite stable and smooth images. This is where image stabilization comes in especially handy. Color and contrast are well taken care of. Unfortunately, the autofocus is a bit overactive during filming. The four available modes - normal, dual camera, live effect and tracking zoom - do affect the maximum shooting resolution.

Existing programs

As with the interface, LG did not hold back on the application package either. We found the following apps when starting up the phone: alarm/clock, file management, calculator, Cell broadcast, downloads, FM radio, Gallery, voice search, Google+, Hangout, LG Backup, Life Square, Maps, Memo, Music, Notebook, Play Books, Play Games, Play Music, Polaris Viewer 5, Quick Translator, QuickRemote, Safety Care, LG SmartWorld, task management, tasks, update center, video, video editor, video guide, voice recorder, weather, dictionary and YouTube.


Life Square is an automatic logbook and collects 'life events' such as calls and messages, photos, video and voice recordings and messages on social networks.


With QuickTranslator a text can be translated using the camera. Although it does not work very smoothly. The standard dictionary is English-German. Probably because Dutch is not available and German is closest in the eyes of LG. In both cases, downloading Google Translate will yield more results.


LG wants to re-establish itself at the top of the smartphone firmament with the G2. In order to achieve this and compete for the favor of the consumer, they have a lot of reputational damage from the past to make up for. With the G2, they were able to do this quite well. In any case, it won't be due to its capabilities. The appearance may be called somewhat boring, but it is well built around the excellent screen. Furthermore, the camera, stamina and speed are also strong points.

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. The look and feel of Android has been thoroughly adjusted by LG and sometimes they have gone a bit crazy. However, the setting options have been retained and even further expanded. We therefore recommend that after purchasing the device, you take the time to become familiar with the interface and adjust it to suit the user's personal preferences.

Moreover, there are now signals that the G2 will be updated to the latest version of Android in the coming months. We can only applaud this and will contribute to the improved reputation of LG and the G2.

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