LG has produced some quality Android handsets over the last couple of years, but not many of them have been big winners in the US. Their devices often feature some “world’s first” piece of mobile hardware, but they haven’t been able to match the success of Samsung, HTC and Motorola. Could this be the year LG has the flagship smartphone for Android fans in the US?
This month LG will bring their best-of-best mobile technologies to their hero device the Optimus G. LG Mobile has teamed up with its sister companies LG Chem, LG Display and LG Innotek for the “ultimate battery capacity, viewing and user experience.” The global version of the device will be launched in Korea in September, and we expect it will be available over the next few months in the US on AT&T, Sprint and maybe a few other carriers.
On paper, LG appears to have created the perfect smartphone. It has all the latest technology you could hope for, but that doesn’t mean it will be a winner. LG has delivered some previous smartphones that we thought would be successful (T-Mobile G2x), but the product shipped with all kinds of hardware and software issues, and it left LG with a bad reputation among the hardcore crowd.
Let’s take a closer look at LG and the Optimus G to see if this is the year to give them another chance. We highlighted five key features that make this product stand above the rest, and then explained why we need some extended time with the device before passing judgement in our final words.
LG Optimus G Key Specifications:
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro Processor with 1.5GHz Quad-Core CPU, Adreno 320 GPU with 4G LTE
- Operating System: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
- Network: 2G / 3G / 4G LTE
- Display: 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS+ (1280×768 pixels) / 15:9 ratio
- Memory: 32GB
- RAM: 2GB DDR
- Cameras: 13.0MP rear / 1.3MP front
- Battery: 2,100 mAh
- Size: 131.9 x 68.9 x 8.45mm
- Weight: 145g
- Other: Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, USB2.0 HS, A-GPS, MHL, DLNA, NFC
1. World’s fastest mobile processor
LG teamed up with Qualcomm to produce the first commercial and global smartphone with the new Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064) processor with a Quad-Core Krait CPU, LTE supported capabilities, and the newest generation Adreno 320 GPU. This latest chip promises to deliver 40 percent greater CPU performance, more than three times better graphics, and improved power efficiency compared to other quad-core chips.
Early benchmarks of the Snapsdragon S4 Pro show it is easily the fastest chip in both CPU and GPU performance. Other companies are also working on improved quad-core chips, but Qualcomm will have the fastest one available in devices this year.
2. Cutting-edge display and touchpanel
LG already produces some great mobile displays, and their latest technology looks to extend that lead. The LG Optimus G will feature a 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS+ Display with 320ppi high pixel density (1280×768 pixels) and Stripe RGB IPS Panel with 15:9 aspect ratio. The new display is sharper and crisper with color accuracy of sRGB 100 percent to show natural and life-like images.
This will also be the first mobile device with LG Innotek’s G2 Touch Hybrid Display technology. This display is thinner than current touchscreen panels, and it offers clearer and sharper visibility, even outdoors. The screen itself is much stronger to withstand damage from impact.
LG’s True HD ISP+ display consumes 60 percent less battery while displaying a white background, delivers 1.6x clearer images, and offers brighter outdoor visibility of two-folds when compared to an AMOLED display.
3. Next-generation battery technology
LG Chem developed a high-density 2,100 mAh battery that provides more power capacity and prolonged charging cycles. The capacity of the battery has increased 5 to 6 percent, and new battery technology extended the battery lifespan to 800 cycles at 80 percent charging capabilities. This is much greater than the lifespan of 500 cycles in regular phone batteries.
Combined with the low-power display and processor, the LG Optimus G could offer some of the best battery life we have seen on an Android phone with LTE.
4. World’s highest resolution camera module
The Optimus G sports a mounted 13 megapixel camera, making it one of the highest resolution shooters we have seen on an Android device. LG’s camera is said to use Sony’s new stacked CMOS image sensor, which was slated to appear in the Samsung Galaxy Note II but then killed when Sony couldn’t meet capacity. We will have to wait and see some sample photos from the LG Optimus G, but it has the technology to deliver some of the best phone pictures ever.
5. Nexus device or LG experience
It’s only a rumor at this point, but LG is said to be one of the companies picked by Google to deliver a Nexus handset this holiday season. If that comes true, then LG should offer the most desirable hardware when compared to Samsung and Sony.
Even if the Optimus G doesn’t turn into a Nexus device, it could still be a great carrier branded device with LG’s Optimus UI. I have used all the custom skins (Sense, TouchWiz, Optimus) and have found that LG’s is the least annoying. The modifications are minimal, and most importantly, they don’t slow down the device.
I recently started using the LG Optimus 4X HD as my daily device, and it is surprisingly good. I just switched from a HTC One X that featured a better camera experience, but the LG Optimus 4X has a cleaner UI, crisper display, removable battery, microSD card and faster performance. LG has also been consistent with the software upgrades, releasing a new over-the-air update each month since the device was released.
If I wasn’t such a huge fan of the One X camera, I would easily suggest the Optimus 4X HD over the One X. I can’t believe I haven’t seen more praise for the Optimus 4X HD, but LG hasn’t released the device in the US, and we have been more obsessed with products from Samsung and HTC.
As an Android purist, I would love to see the LG Optimus G become a Nexus device, but I’m not holding my breath yet. Even if this device comes to the US as an LG experience device, I would still like to get my hands on it and see if it lives up to the promises.