LG G2 announced, brings Snapdragon 800 and rear controls to multiple carriers in Canada

Daniel Bader

August 7, 2013 11:32am

lgg2-live-1
LG announced the followup to the Optimus G today, bringing a brand new design, a massive specs sheet and rear volume controls that promise a refined, mature Android experience.

The device will launch this fall across multiple Canadian carriers for an undisclosed amount, but we’re guessing somewhere in the $249 ballpark.

LG did a lot to improve the device over the previous version, and we’ll start with the most obvious facet: the screen. The device has been updated to a 5.2-inch 1080p IPS display that looks ab-so-lutely stunning. This may be the best smartphone display I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying a lot. Not only has LG managed to practically eliminate the bezels from the device — moving the volume and power buttons from the sides to the back facilitated this — so the device maintains a thin profile despite its size, but the viewing angles, colour saturation and sharpness is astounding.

The casing has changed, too, from last year’s Optimus G, which boasted a glass back that the company admitted was too slippery and prone to cracking under unfortunate circumstances. LG went with plastic for this year’s flagship, and while we can’t speak to its long-term health, it unfortunately takes on some of the characteristics of its rival’s top device, the Galaxy S4. The back, which is non-removable, gives off a slippery first impression, but there is a heft to the handset that is lacking on the equivalent Samsung product.

lgg2-handson-5

Of course, one of the main selling features will be the rear volume and power buttons, which LG says is more than a mere aesthetic change. The company says that your fingers naturally rest near that area anyway. The power button is slightly recessed, so it shouldn’t be an issue when resting in your pocket or a bag, but LG’s design gambit could be a liability. The volume buttons are not actually buttons, so unwanted presses shouldn’t be an issue, and they can be used as a camera shutter and app launcher.

In terms of specs, this thing is a beast. This is the first device announced in Canada to carry a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, which will have four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.26Ghz and the company’s new Adreno 330 GPU clocked at 500Mhz. This SoC is a huge upgrade over the Snapdragon 600, and should allow for next-generation 3D gaming (when it arrives). On first impression, the Android 4.2.2 interface is buttery smooth, with no hint of slowdown. Apps load quickly and games play smoothly, but that isn’t a huge departure from the last generation of Android devices, too. It remains to be seen how developers will take advantage of the new chip and whether the extra clock speed affects battery life negatively. There’s also 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.

Speaking of battery, the enclosed cell clocks at 3000mAh, and should be more than enough for a full day’s uptime. Keeping the battery sealed kept the device thin — the chassis is a svelte 8.9mm — but there’s no question some power users are going to be disappointed in that discovery.

The camera has also received a sizeable update in the G2, adding a brand new 13MP sensor and optical image stabilization for improved lowlight performance. The bar was set pretty low with the Optimus G, which had one of the poorest camera sensors of this previous smartphone generation, but we have high hopes for this one. The camera interface, too, has been souped up, bringing manual controls and a number of nice-looking filters to bear in the process.

lgg2-handson-8

Audio quality on the G2, both from the speaker and the headpiece, is supposed to be significantly improved over previous LG models and the company claims it is better than all of its competitors.

LG’s Android interface still looks quite bloated — you don’t see your notifications until halfway down the screen — but there are some substantive and useful improvements to the experience. QSlide, LG’s equivalent to pop-up video, has been enhanced with other usability in other apps. One can now tap the screen twice to turn it on, something that custom kernel users will be used to on other phones, but it appears to be one of the first OEM implementations of the feature.

There are also a few more interesting user-focused features, including Answer Me, which automatically answers a phone call when you lift the phone to your head; an intuitive Guest Mode; Slide Aside, which exits an app with a three-finger swipe; a IR blaster for TV remote control, and more.

The LG G2 will launch in black and white models, and we’ll update with carrier-specific information shortly.

  • Eric Tang

    Looks like a great device!

    • rgl168

      If the new Nexus 5 is based on this, it would be even better!

  • St. Misery

    The slogan should have been “Learning from Samsung” ZAP! It’s cool really, because they’re both equally gimmicky.

  • redbarbvs

    More competitive it gets, better it will be for us gadget aficionados.

  • Nathaniel James

    I will give them another chance. Hopefully it wont end up like my Optimus 2x.

  • Word

    i really liked the optimus G and my wife still uses it. the screen is still absolutely gorgeous. but i feel they’ve downgraded this sequel in the looks department. the idea of back buttons is interesting but it’s not a very attractive device. the original g is still very speedy and i haven’t had any issues with the glass build (touch wood). we shall see i suppose

  • Merags

    Now, turn this into a Nexus 5, and/or offer a Google Play Edition ( available in Canada), then we’ll talk :P.

    • hurric

      ya I was gonna say the same thing. Google Edition and we’re good

    • Balls O’Steele

      But the N5 must retail unlocked off contact for $299.

  • pk

    Great specs/hardware. Crummy UI skin and bloatware. I’ll stick with N4

    • Zed

      Root, flash .. win.

    • pk

      Root, flash, brick…lose
      Root, flash, wait for modders to get around to updating your phones software with new android releases….keep waiting…keep waiting..

    • JTon

      I’ve felt the pain of owning a device with a small dev community. I never thought there would be a network effect for android hardware as well

  • Tech Guru

    If this becomes the Nexus 5, and they return the power/volume buttons to normal – I’m in at $299/$349

    • Fawoo

      If the buttons were returned back, the bezel on the device would be larger. That being said I’m sure Nexus fans wouldn’t mind that at all for a price of ~$300.

  • Yuri Kozbit

    But it’s LG meaning it would only last a year at the most

  • Thomas Ramsay

    For $249 this will be my next smartphone.

    • spammenotdisqus

      That’s the on contract price, which now requires $70+/month minimum on Telus. Probably the other carriers too.

  • Bri

    I’m a little confused to what the price will be.. $249 for 2 years? or $249 outright??
    If that’s the outright price.. this will blow everyone’s mind.
    From the picture, I don’t like the look of the back of the device.. it just seems too blanky if you know what I mean. Some kind of patterns on the back would’ve been nice like what they did with nexus4/Opt G.
    I guess having buttons at the back to reduce the bezel size was a great idea except that it wouldn’t be as comfortable having them on the side/top since there are time where I use those buttons while the phone lying on the table/desk. But no biggie.
    I hope this comes pentaband so that I can use it on Wind.. and if LG provides better OS support, it would be great.
    I’m really looking forward to watch review videos on this device!!

    • Zed

      I donno how you can be confused. Of course it’s the price on a 2 year contract. Just like the S4 is/will be when all companies align to 2yr agreements.

  • spammenotdisqus

    $249 on contract, so what, $649 off? And on contract now requires a $70 minimum spend on Telus… Thanks, but I’ll just buy myself a $300 Nexus off contract.

    • Daniel Bader

      Just to confirm, pricing has not been announced. $249 is my guess, nothing more.

  • Travis Chalmers

    Volume and power on the back?! Those will be tough to press one-handed, and the shutter-on-the-back setup is not ideal. I’ll be passing on this one.

    • BB BB

      The G2 has this cool Knock Kock feature where you just double tap the screen to turn the device screen on without having to press power. I would have to check out the device in hand before I could judge that power button. It will be weird though when people slap a case on it. It looks funny I admit like the device has a nose.

    • Savbers

      Pick up your phone. Put your finger on the back, try to hold it normally. Now slap your finger on the back of the phone, hard. It’s much easier to do and you don’t loose grip of your phone – rather than having to change your entire hand posture to push a button on the side.

  • BB BB

    Sweet if only the new A10/Z30 had some specs like this to match BB fans and others would be all over it. That is the exact problem with BB. Rolling out FLAGSHIP devices with 2012 specs or older at the end of 2013 is not acceptable.

    • JTon

      Maybe. Maybe not. Moto X has mid-range specs and it’s a flagship. The specs arm-race is the kiss of death for hardware manufactures. So far, only east asian companies have been able to survive on razor thin margins.

  • Ceribaen

    No bezel? So the first time it’s dropped on its side it’ll shatter the screen… or when you put a cover on it to protect against that you’re losing visibility of screen real estate? There’s a purpose to having the edges of the glass protected – that’s the weak point on any tempered glass variant.

    Also in the crowd of those are some awkward controls if it’s the shutter controls as well.

    The whole superslim phone thing is silly, since most people end up putting the phones into significantly thicker cases to protect them.

    • Brett Arnold Allard

      Except LG has been working real hard on the Flex glass and other “like” products.. Your giving them less credit then they deserve!

      This however looks like a bold phone and might see a purchase from myself to sit beside my htc one.

  • fcuk

    “Keeping the battery sealed kept the device thin”

    Sealed must be the keyword LG imposed on all online journalists, cause I don’t see anyone dare to mention the G2 is having NON-REMOVABLE battery. Good work LG!!!!