Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Thoughts On The LG G2

First up I would like to say that I am about 1 week late in writing this, I was supposed to write it up last Saturday but here I am today writing it. Well let’s get on to today’s article which is about the LG’s new flagship smartphone the G2 which is the successor to the Optimus G. Unlike its predecessor LG has opted to drop the Optimus name and leaving only the G. Moving on to the device itself; the G2 is the same as every flagship android phone released this year, by similar I mean that the hardware that the G2 is storing is currently as powerful as possible. Talking about powerful, the G2 houses the currently top of the line mobile chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor which in this case is clocked in at 2.26GHz, alongside the chipset is the Adreno 330 graphics chip, 2GB of RAM is in the package as well as 32GB of storage which cannot be physically expanded. Filling up the front of the G2 is the massive 5.2” True HD IPS display covered with Gorilla glass 3 sums up a 424 pixel density, turning back the device shows off the 13MP camera which does have optical image stabilization as well as the unusually placed volume rocker and power button. In the dimension standpoint the G2 is not the most thinnest device ever but it’s dimensions are bearable by all means. With all that impressive hardware, LG has jammed in a 3,000mAh battery which has a ‘stepped’ design (basically it means that there is more space for the battery cells compared to conventional battery designs). Other than that the usual wireless connectivity features like wi-fi are present on the device.
"the most powerful smartphone on earth period"
Moving on the design of the G2 which is a total departure from the standard smartphone design not in terms of form factor but in terms of usability. As you can clearly see there are no physical keys on the sides of the device, LG has relocated them to the back of the device which is just below the camera module. Well this is surely a bold move by LG but I think if the user gets used to it its actually a pretty practical change because in this past week I did try holding my phone with my fingers on the back opposed to my usual way of wrapping my fingers around the device because the buttons are on the side. I found that when I using the my phone to make calls the most natural place to put my finger is on the back and my finger is just laying flat on the camera module which does cause smudges to appear. LG did take into account that if you’re holding your phone like that you will be wanting to rest your finger on the camera module so they actually covered the camera module with a sapphire crystal glass lens cover to prevent smudges on it so your picture won’t come out being blur. In addition to that LG also demoed on stage during the announcement that taking selfies on the G2 is made easier with the volume rocker keys on the back which also can act as a camera shutter button. Another cool design implementation is the speakers which are dual speakers on the bottom of the device alongside the earphone jack and microUSB port. What’s interesting about it is that LG is stating that it is the first Hi-Fi smartphone and it is capable of pushing 24 bit 192kHz sound through the speakers. I’ll just have to try it myself to see what difference can it make and wheter it is better than the dual stereo BoomSound speakers on the HTC One which is currently the best on the smartphone market.
Dropping on to the display of the screen of the G2 which has a bezel which is 0.1” wide, the display is of course an IPS display and during the even LG even compared the display to the AMOLED panel found in the Galaxy S4 and they said that the G2’s display has more pixels than the AMOLED panel because the G2 is using the standard RGB matrix pixel arrangement whereas the AMOLED panel is having the pentile matrix where pixels are share thus there are lesser pixels present. Another innovation on the display of the G2 is the inclusion of GRAM (graphic memory cache) to help beef up the battery life during the use of static applications. The common usage scenario is when you’re either reading a book or browsing the web on the G2 the GRAM will come to play because in conventional phones when you are reading something off your screen the pixels will refresh automatically but in the case of the G2 the GRAM will store the image of that current screen and thus eliminating the need of refreshing the image every second and ultimately saving battery life. Other than that LG did some more thinking about the reposition of the power key which is on the back and when the phone is laid flat on the table the keys are not accessible. So they implemented a feature called KnockON which will enable you to lock or unlock your device just by double tapping the screen, this feature is similar to Nokia’s glance mode on Lumia devices rocking the Amber update.
Continuing to the software of the G2 which comes with quite a lot of novelty features but the feature pack is still not as humongous as Samsung’s. First up, the G2 is running almost the latest version of android which is 4.2.2 and on top of it is LG’s practicalUX which is a new name for their UI. Among the features, the one which I feel is the most practical is the SlideAside feature which is basically a cool new way to multitask. You literally store the apps you would like to multitask on the left side of the screen and when you want to use it you just slide it out and it is ready for action. I’ll have to try it out myself to see how nifty the feature is. Other features are AnswerMe which is something like Samsung’s Direct Call but it works differently, it enables you to answer calls just by putting the phone near your ear. Plug&Pop is yet another novelty feature which is similar to Samsung’s page buddy, it basically just recommends options or related features for your to choose from when your plug in either an earphone or a USB cable. In my experience of using the Samsung version of it, the feature is really a handy one and all OEMs should implement it. TextLink is something which looks and sounds cool but I don’t think its that practical to all users, It basically allows you to export information from the text messages to your calendar, memo, etc. QuickRemote is essentially just a fancy name for the universal remote app on the G2 powered by the IR blaster. GuestMode in the other hand is really like a carbon copy of kids corner on Windows Phone which can be enabled with a different unlock pattern on your lockscreen. Additionally LG also tweaked the software of the G2 of you can long press the volume rocker keys to activate smart memo and the camera. Alongside support of 60fps 1080P video, LG has also added a feature on the camera which is called Audio Zooming which basically enables you to focus the audio at a single point, I find that this feature will be pretty useful to most of the users.
“there are a bevy of software features on the G2”
Finally I’m going to talk purely about my opinions on the device. The thing which I absolutely adore about the G2 is not the display or the camera but the customization in the software. In case you didn’t know you can actually modify the icons on the G2, for me that is a big plus because currently on my phone I’m running nova launcher and I’m constantly changing the icons. The change in the icons can also strongly impact the look of your device. On the G2 LG opted for on screen keys, and I’m not such a big fan of it because when I’m using device with on screen keys I always tend to accidentally trigger the buttons. But one thing which LG did on the G2 is that they have a setting to enable you to change the order and the look of the on screen keys which is a big plus for me even though I somehow detest on screen keys. In addition, as a left hander i'm always complaining why OEMs won't put the power lock button on the left side but on the G2 it would be more fair because the buttons are on the back. 
"a little justice for use left handers"
Another thing which I was a bit down is that the G2 does not have a microSD card slot but LG did make it up by having 32GB of storage on the device. However in the news topics along the past week, the Korean G2 has been shown off and it has a microSD card slot but the negative about that is that the device is 0.1cm thicker. Moving down to availability of the device, till today there are still no solid dates but LG did say its happening in the fall. The device will be coming the over 130 carriers worldwide in launch and the 4 main US carriers will all have it. But the problem I can see LG facing now is competition with the devices being released in the fall. Devices like the Galaxy Note III and iPhone 5S will be hitting markets around in the starting of fall. In other stories, recently a Vietnamese blog said that LG will be making this year’s nexus phone for the second time in a row and the device will be based on the G2. My conclusion of the LG G2 is that it may succeed but don’t expect a big success because in this era of smartphone powerful specs don’t contribute much plus in about 3 months down the road these specs will be dethroned by newer chips. The success of the G2 is highly dependent on how LG is going handle marketing of the device. 

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