Hands-on with the LG Optimus G (video)

Daniel Bader

September 19, 2012 10:31 am

LG debuted its Optimus G “superphone” in New York at a bright-and-early event this morning, and it’s a truly impressive device. Irrespective of the gargantuan specs — and these are huge numbers — the Optimus G is a relatively compact device for its size, with an edge-to-edge 4.7-inch screen. It feels more solid than any product the Korean company has made in the past, and while we’ve teased the prodigious use of superlatives LG itself used to describe the phone, we’re looking forward to its debut in Canada in Q4.

Besides the 4.7-inch 1280×768 display, which LG claims to have less gaps between the glass and LCD as well as much higher brightness and lower power consumption than AMOLED displays, there is a 1.5Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro system-on-chip inside the Optimus G. There’s also 2GB of RAM standard. What this means for consumers is faster speeds in almost every area of the phone, especially when it comes to multitasking or doing processor-intensive activities in the background. To show this off, LG created Queue Slide Video, allowing users to overlay full HD video in the background while performing other tasks; you can adjust the transparency to a desired level, allowing you to continue working as you watch.

The design is as simple as it gets without being boxy; the flourish derives from a superb build quality and care to add a sense of style to the sides and back. The monolithic front is almost vacant when the screen is off, and you can barely tell where the screen ends and the bezel begins. In fact, the phone’s back is one of the nicest I’ve ever seen, with a repeating prism design that glints in the light without being too distracting.

At 8.5mm, it’s not the thinnest phone on the market, but it seems like it because of the massive height and width. At 145g, it has significant weight but is easy and comfortable to operate in one hand. It seems that LG did its homework in attempting to create a device that appeals to users with a wide range of hand sizes. This phone is meant to compete.

We didn’t get to test out the camera quality, but the shutter speed is about as instant as you get in the industry right now. The 13MP camera has smaller pixels than traditional models, and LG is boasting of some pretty amazing shots from this phone. Sample photos from other sites have some great depth-of-field despite the f/2.4 lens, so the Optimus G may be the first LG device to compete with Apple, Samsung and Sony for picture quality.

As for storage, there is 32GB on board and LG says that is a standard size that is unlikely to change when it crosses the pond to North America. LTE is on board as well with the separate MDM9615 baseband made on a 28nm manufacturing process. This means that the non-removable 2100mAh battery won’t be hit too hard by not having integrated LTE on the SoC; the power-sipping display will also hopefully contribute to this.

LG’s Optimus UI is running on top of Android 4.0.4, and it looks like performance is going to be fantastic despite the rather garish colour scheme. While we’d have preferred a stock Android experience, LG’s Quick Memo and Queue Slide features are quite valuable and will likely be used widely by the general population. Then again, we said the same about Face Unlock and S Voice, so your mileage may vary.

We don’t have availability of the LG Optimus G just yet for Canada, but the company says it’s coming some time in Q4.

Video is currently uploading, check back later.

  • First Poster

    First!

    • Osama

      yes, you’re the first loser of the day…

  • crunch204

    Yeah, but what about the battery? LG hasnt beena ble to grasp that challenge yet

  • Simian

    The UI looks almost TouchWiz-levels of suck but the rest of the package sounds nice. I wonder what the timeline for getting a 4.1 update will be.

    • Ron Mexico

      It’s LG, there won’t be a 4.1 update. The software it launches with is all you’ll get, ever.

  • Kristen

    Non-removable battery?? That kills it for me unfortunately.

  • Hilman

    Not an LG fan but looks like a very solid phone.

  • LolK

    Until LG learns to update their phones(Optimus 2x still at 2.2) no one should buy an LG phone. Seriously.

  • DocB

    No MicroSD slot? What am I supposed to do with my new 64 GB card???

  • Frank

    Amazing specs, but not a fan of the software- if this was an LG Nexus I’d be all over it in a heartbeat.

  • KevNIx

    what’s with the non-removable battery? These companies need to stop making ANDROID phones that way. First HTC, now LG. Who told them that is a good feature. What do you do when the battery starts giving out. That’s why I’ll be buying a Galaxy S3 phone.

  • Jack

    Why is the removeable battery such an import feature to you folks?
    Maybe if your phone lasted one work day, you wouldn’t need to carry a spare battery…. Like for the GS3.
    The razr v works like a charm and no need to replace the battery.

  • Mark

    The last LG phone I had didn’t even last 2 years and was unusable. How can I trust LG again?

  • AllanVS

    1:43 in the video… I think I spy a SGS3. *LOL*

  • imrangr1

    The non-removable battery isn’t as a big issue as missing the micro-SD slot. Function wise it’s step backward. Other then the iPhone 5 no phone vendor can fool you into buying a more GB phone with $100.00 mark-up for double GB.

  • Some Guy

    Was it just me, or was the hands on video kind of boring? Whose idea was it to shoot that video in front of a window? The automatic exposure of the video camera made it impossible to see the true quality of the screen of the phone, not that I would determine a phone’s screen quality by filming it, but I’m just saying…

    But all that aside, the specifications on this phone seem to look good, I’ve always enjoyed LG products, however we’ll how it does and how people like it.

    • Daniel Bader

      We were VERY limited in where we could shoot, and how far we could take the device.

    • Some Guy

      Oh, that’s unfortunate, but it makes sense, my apologies. Ultimately one would have to see the phone itself in order to get a true sense of how the phone is to use I suppose.

  • TheThought

    Why do people complain about non-removable batteries on phones but not for tablets?

  • SBR

    Canada only getting the 8mp camera version. Love the phone and still going to get it but I am extremely disappointed that LG shafted Canada in this respect. Such bs.

  • ByGeorge!

    I’m not hearing the best things about LG when it comes to Smartphones, but I know they make other really good products. The feedback seems that they are slow to post updates and that is a fair complaint – especially if things are not working properly. To be frank though, I’m drooling for this phone! The out-of-box specs seem incredible if not for the i/f, and 32GB is lots of storage, what with everyone having access to free or inexpensive always-accessible cloud storage. With the technology they’ve packed into it (which I believe is unmatched at this time), I wouldn’t want users opening the device to “fix” it either! Real tech folks will find a way to open it, strip it, mod it, etc. And if LG’s claim that the battery’s so effective, then why is it being trashed already if there are no benchmarks saying the battery dies in “4 hours”?!
    I really like the HTC One X although reviews haven’t been the best on that either. However, the users I spoke to really loved their devices! But I gotta say, I think this is the one for me.
    Next big Q: As it’s coming to Rogers, is it also coming to Fido?

  • FIRZEN

    yo i****s, it has a non-removable battery and no expandable storage because it had to sacrifice it for the design. It’s worth it to get that premium look that they have made of the OG. They had to embed the battery to get the thinness, the 2000+battery and other goodies thats packed inside this device.

  • Romps

    Wonder when the SAMboys are going to start freaking out and saying this is the worst device ever.

  • Jason

    I think the camera will be dropped to 8mp in Canada.