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LG Optimus G – Review [Video]

Well, after all the rumours came out and were proved true that the Nexus was an LG, I had to re-pursue my contacts in that company to see about getting a review … and I got the next best thing to the Nexus 4.  The Optimus G.  Really, there’s some pluses to it that might even put it above!

Like many of you I was ‘leery’ of the LG brand, but I don’t think I could have been any more wrong.  (is that good grammar?)

This is truly a top-end device.  I can just see how it went down.  Google must keep close contacts with all their OEMs and popped by LG and saw their new prototype for the G, and just looked at each other and collectively said to the reps “can you make this as a Nexus?

If you take anything away from this article, or it’s TL;DR, know this… if you missed out on getting the N4 (like me), you’ll be very happy with the Optimus G.  I’d almost be willing to trade my SGS3 for it.

Let’s dive in.

First off, the device I’m playing with is from Rogers, and is the model e971.  As you look around for true specs, there’s a lot on the e970, and the e973.  Similar… but just so you know.

Specs

  • 4.7″ @ 1280×768 TrueHD IPS+
  • 1.5GHz x4 S4 Kraits
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB storage (no microSD)
  • NFC & LTE
  • 4.0.4 (update is slated for Q2 of 2013)
  • 8MP / 1.3MP camera

Hardware

It’s a solid phone, and feels a little hefty, but not weighty.  You know you have a great phone in your hand.  It’s not delicate.  It’s got gorilla glass 2 on both back and front; and speaking of the back, it has that nice ‘speckled’ look to it that we’ve all kinda drooled over for the Nexus 4.

A sealed in 2100mAh battery, sounds ‘standard’, but it actually lasts a long time.  My ‘stress testing’ meant that I played some heavy games for about 2 hours (some Angry Birds and Dead Trigger as well as a ton of benchmarking) and it was at 50%… so 4 hours of HEAVY usage… means that you should easily get about 8 hours of standard usage.

Software

It’s Android 4.0.4, and apparently the 4.1 update is scheduled for some time in 2nd quarter of 2013.  That would definitely be great; however, I don’t know how much more ‘snappy’ this phone can get with the project butter.

It does have it’s own ‘flavour’ of a skin, just called “Optimus UI v3.0″.  It’s light, and doesn’t muck up the usage or navigation.  Most apps still have a stock feel.  My immediate notice of this skin is in the lock screen.  Beautiful.  Love the bubble, and very ‘natural feel’ to it.  The apps are customizable and give you unread notifications (where applicable).  After the locks creen I notice that it’s not Roboto font out of the box.  Funny that’s what I first notice.

    

Some of the added advantages are ‘power widgets’ in the notification tray, and it’s nice in the fact they’re customizable, but also scrolling and remember your position the next time you bring it up.  One of those widgets is “Eco mode”, which allows the phone to turn off 2 of the 4 cores to conserve battery.  I didn’t use it, and I still got some excellent life out of it.

  

The menu layout is a little different than ‘stock’, so it takes some getting used to, like finding the battery stats was in a different spot so I had to hunt for it.  No biggie… just different.

You also have a neat “quick memo” feature in the notification tray.  Like the Note 1 and 2, it’s like taking a screenshot that you can write on, then save/share.  Again, great for doodling.

Another feature is customizing.  It’s a small thing, but without a 3rd party app you can organize your files into folders (nothing new), but resize these folders and colourize them.  Cool.

 

Camera

A decent enough camera, that has a pretty easy to use UI. I LOVE the fact it’s got HDR out of the box.

The shutter is fast, and you can even set it up for verbal cues to take photos.  Neat.  (great way to trick your kid into getting a picture of them taken)

Overall

This is awesome.  I’m really stoked about the new Nexus 4… if we can only order one.  Had I not just paid out for an SGS3, I would buy this phone.  Really.  It’s solid, it’s got space, it’s got LTE.  And it’s blazing fast.

 

My ‘stress test’ showed NO HICCUPS whatsoever.  Only time it ever slowed was in Earth if my internet connection was slow.  I haven’t found an app yet that it stutters on.

Well done, LG.  Well done!

Now, for those of you that (like me) are looking to this device to size up the N4, here’s your link:  http://www.gsmarena.com/compare.php3?idPhone1=4941&idPhone2=5048  (note it’s showing the e973… which has the 13MP camera)

Only differences?

  • Optimus G – has LTE, has 32GB space
  • Nexus 4 – ‘stock 4.2′

this was only on HSPA for testing… no Rogers’ LTE in my area

Tough call.  I would prefer the ‘screen drawn buttons’… but I can see how much extra real estate it offers.

It retails for about the $600 mark, but you can snag it for as little as $130 on a 3 year contract.  Very good price points.

Video

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  • http://www.jessydiamond.com/ Jessy

    You can access the Quick Memo feature by pressing between the two volumes buttons. It’s really nice!

    I tried it in store today, it is a great phone. Do you know how the phone handles notifications? The model in store didn’t have a SIM card installed, we were not able to send a text message to see what it would do. I think there’s a light around the power button, is that correct?

    Still debating between the Optimus and the S III.

    • http://about.me/ryanmmoore ryanmmoore

      the notification light is up by the front facing camera

      • http://www.jessydiamond.com/ Jessy

        Can you play with the colors or duration with an app like LightFlow ?

        • http://about.me/ryanmmoore ryanmmoore

          to be honest, never tried. never really used lightflow. do you have to be rooted to use that app?

        • http://about.me/ryanmmoore ryanmmoore

          read some other reviews on the device and it looks like it’s available to use on the G

  • http://twitter.com/brunes brunes

    Locked bootloader is what is killing this phone for me and thousands of others.

    • George Valenzuela

      I’m sure the folks at XDA will come up with something eventually? Either that, or LG will relent and let us at the bootloader?

  • George Valenzuela

    So … as a frustrated Canadian wanting to get a Nexus4, sitting on my EVO3D … should I buy the SGS3, wait for the N4, or jump to the OG? What’s your take? I really like the Nexus line and want that unlocked phone … but … looking at this review and the specs, the OG looks to be just about perfect?

    • http://about.me/ryanmmoore ryanmmoore

      I like the SGS3, but I find it a bit of a larger ‘bill’… it’s got some cool stuff, but i’m not a fan of touchwiz, and for the price it’s not returning as much as say the N4, or the OG…

      If you can afford teh sgs3, save some bucks and get the OG.