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LG G2 review - Software, Performance and Camera

Luke Johnson

By Luke Johnson

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

LG G2 - Software

The LG G2 is an Android phone with a custom-made LG interface on top. Building on Google’s Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS, the LG UX interface has all the features and functions you would want and expect from a high-end phone. The G2’s UI is not as elegant as that on the HTC One, or as overloaded as the Samsung Galaxy S4's, but instead is something of a happy medium that impresses but never really excites.

The LG G2 software is not brimming with masses of filler features. The phone instead plays host to a few neat extras that make the overall user experience simpler, and more pleasant. The first of these to get to grips with is KnockON, a feature that lets you forget about the awkward button placement by using a double tap on-screen to unlock and activate the phone.

LG G2

Although a far more intuitive way to access your phone than reaching for an out of sight physical key, KnockOn is not always flawless and smooth, proving slightly temperamental during testing. As it requires you to tap the exact same spot twice in very quick succession, we feel a BlackBerry Z10 esque 'slide up to unlock' motion would be a more useful and fool-proof.

Forgoing the eye-tracking filler features of the rival Samsung Galaxy S4, the LG G2's software has a few more useful extras instead. A Guest Mode lets you keep all of your personal data safe when you hand the phone to a friend, while LG’s Plug and Play is a welcome inclusion. Inserting a pair of headphones causes a pop-up menu of app shortcuts to appear, bringing music, video, YouTube and phone apps to the fore. A simple addition, but a real time saver.

The LG G2 might not feature a single killer software feature, but what it does offer is an user experience that is pleasant, engaging and sure to satisfy both hardcore users and smartphone newbies alike. Most importantly, the UI keeps the phone feeling smooth and prompt.

LG G2

LG G2 Performance

Having wowed us with its screen, the LG G2’s performance continues the trend, with the 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor marking the phone out as one of the speediest on the market. It's among the first phones to feature the new Snapdragon CPU, alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1.

Back to the LG G2, though - the phone was more than capable of handling anything and everything we could throw at it. Strong across the board, the G2 pairs the 2.26GHz CPU with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of DDR3 RAM. Launching apps is a prompt, fuss-free affair with multitasking handled with ease. Jumping from web browsing, to constructing an email, to a casual gaming session in quick succession and the G2 doesn’t break a sweat.

Multitasking is one of the LG G2’s fortes, too. Tackling the issue from multiple angles, three finger swipe multitasking lets you drag across apps running in the background. This proves to be a quick way to move between programs in very easy fashion.

Further multitasking benefits include Q Slide. Having featured in past LG phones, Q Slide lets to pin certain apps (calendar, memo, calculator) over whatever else you’re doing. A transparency slider lets you make content more or less prominent.

On to gaming. Real Racing 3 is a stumbling point for many entry and mid-market phones, but the LG G2’s processor barely misses a beat. The GPU ensures that graphics are on point and, combined with the Full HD IPS screen, overall gaming visuals are second to none. Video content again benefits from the screen and graphics partnership, with motion blur and image lag now a thing of the past.

LG G2

LG G2 Camera

The LG G2 camera is a 13-megapixel offering with optical image stabilisation (OIS) thrown in for good measure. Although an impressive camera on paper, in reality, the results fall slightly short of expectations with long focus times and an unreliable white balance bringing the performance quality down. As you would expect from a modern flagship phone, 1080p Full HD video recording is also possible.

The first 13-megapixel smartphone camera to benefit from OIS, the LG G2 is a largely well balanced offering that, like the phone’s software, impresses but doesn’t really excite. Despite having OIS, slightly blurred shots are still an all-too-frequent occurrence, with the image stabilisation features proving more of an occasional improvement than a regular shot saver. It's not as effective as the OIS found in the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Despite what LG would have you believe, the G2 camera is not going to stop shots in less than ideal lighting being prone to blurring either. A steady hand is still required to capture strong pictures.

LG G2

Further enhancing the G2 camera, LG has packed the phone with all manner of shooting modes. Everything from the standard night mode and action shots, to dual camera shooting and LG’s own Photo Sphere rival is included.

The result is an array of options capable of tackling most shooting environments. Although it has an LED flash, the LG G2, like most smartphone cameras, is not the best of indoor performers.

LG G2

The flash is one of the better additions, not completely whiting out your snaps. The G2 camera does generally struggle with its brightness management, though. A bit happy on the whites, shots can end up overexposed .

LG G2

Hardly a game changer, but a fun extra, the ‘Cheese Shutter’ takes a snap when subjects say ‘cheese’ - sure to make the kids happy to get in front of the camera. Giving the physical controls a bit more purpose, the down volume key can be held to launch directly into the camera app from the lock screen.

The LG G2’s camera collection is about more than just the 13-megapixel showpiece, with a secondary 2.1-megapixel snapper on the phone’s front. Shameless selfies will not disappoint. The forward-facing camera is capable of relatively detailed and bright shots. As you would expect, though, depth to images is not the secondary camera’s strong point.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

G2forme

August 8, 2013, 9:00 pm

Beautiful beast!
impressive specs... i love it!

adred

August 9, 2013, 6:12 am

Why can't Ubuntu Edge have this type of display? I love this phone just for that single feature.

andrew

September 9, 2013, 9:14 am

Low outright price, first rate screen, software that betters
all Android competitors (by a small margin), probably the
best 13mp shooter, bettered only by Sony's 20mp on the
new Z1 and of course Nokia's 41mp camera on the 1020
model.
Will the Nexus 5 be an exact replica of the G2 if LG is once
again asked to make it? Who knows. One this is certain
the Nexus 5's price will be subsidised by Google and will
probably sell for under $400. Many are saying it will be the
first smartphone to use 3GB of ram. Personally it won't make
much difference to performance. Also really will the latest
Android 'key lime pie' be actually better than HTC, Samsung
or LG's overlay. I doubt it. Android purists will always want
the real deal, which is something I respect.
I was set to buy Sony's incoming Z1 untill one site quoted the
price of over $1100. Am I disappointed that it has a slippery
glass surface on the back (again) instead of the rumoured
carbon fibre....you bet. Also no 4k ultra high def video recording.
Acer and Samsung will have it on their respective phablets.
So LG gets my money.

Peter Blanco

September 10, 2013, 8:16 pm

Note 3 has 3 GB of ram being the first, nice try though.

le_lutin

September 19, 2013, 9:18 pm

I think he meant smartphone (as opposed to phablet).

le_lutin

September 19, 2013, 9:21 pm

From the first paragraph:
"The phone is available in both black and white, and the LG G2 will set you back around £400 SIM-free."

Where is it available at that price? Might be tempted.

Kurt Smith

September 20, 2013, 9:14 am

Missed a couple of key points. You dont need to use the physical on button a double tap on the screen wakes up and sleeps the device. Also worth mentioning things like the video player has a gesture based system like mxplayer so you can change the volume without having to reach round.

Agyei Kwadwo

September 20, 2013, 11:35 am

The records are straight you can't ignore the LG G2 for any other smartphone to date.

Colin

September 20, 2013, 11:56 am

Does it have microSD expansion slot? What memory size do you get for £400 SIM free?

Cade

September 21, 2013, 3:19 pm

It seems the G2 does not have "accurate" colours as Luke Johnson has stated in his review. According to tests done by Erica Griffin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Mark

September 24, 2013, 10:34 am

'dramatically reduced bezel...while keeping the phone's overall footprint small.' I'd like to suggest that a phone with dimensions of 138.5mm x 70.9mm x 9.1mm does not have a small footprint regardless of the over-exaggerated description of the reduction in bezel size. Nothing is dramatic about a smartphone featuring a 5.2" FHD display except perhaps its physical size...

Roy Rogers

September 24, 2013, 12:36 pm

All I know is this: while browsing phone-to-phone at my local At&T Store...this is the one that really attracted my attention. Had I not just purchased a 4S (another location)...I'm certain I would be a G2 owner.

Max

September 24, 2013, 4:29 pm

I have read in other reviews that the camera is very good.

Jhai Alarcon

September 25, 2013, 4:46 am

Your right, if you are using mxplayer its easy to change the volume just slide your finger up or down.

Zeus

October 1, 2013, 11:13 am

Looking around on google no :( both androidpolice and techradar sites mention this.

Zeus

October 1, 2013, 11:33 am

Please add No MicroSD card to the Cons.

Rod

October 1, 2013, 12:49 pm

£400 for 12GB of available storage? No. The lack of MicroSD card support is completely baffling, especially with a screen that large. Perfect for dragging and dropping photos / films and music on the card. I have more than 12GB's of Audible books! Also with video-out capabilities and a full HD screen, you'll want HD video files and much higher resolution images on the phone than one with a smaller screen. All of which take up much more room. 1 compressed BluRay title can still be over 4GB. Weird choice.

michael sanchez

October 2, 2013, 2:51 pm

I owned a galaxy s4 and traded it in for the lg g2. This is a much better phone in every aspect. And for the buttons on back it take a day to get use to it and feels really natural, landscape mode it doesnt work as well.

eks

October 7, 2013, 4:19 am

That back looks really cheap and ugly. Why is it that so many of these manufacturers have so little aesthetic sense and appreciation for beauty? This is an opportunity for them to create a work of art, at which a customer should take one look and declare, "I want that!" That's pretty much what happens with the iPhone; the features that it offers are a bonus on top of its looks. But with these ugly phones with poorly thought-through designs, you have to go through the specs sheet in detail, then think for a while and say, "okay, fine, I'll buy this, I guess. It's not really all that ugly, you know..."

d

October 8, 2013, 2:09 am

All I keep hearing is how "ugly" these phones are getting and how the casing feels cheap as opposed to others like the HTC One. It's not a work of art, its not a beautiful car, its not supposed to be. It's a hand held computer. I had a droid that had a kevlar back and dropped it and the screen shattered. I don't care what your phone is made out of it's only as strong as the case you put it in. I look for 3 things in a phone, screen, speed, and most importantly battery. All of which are superior on this phone compared to the competition. Battery lasts all day with heavy use, the screen is large and beautiful, and its the fastest phone I have ever seen with absolutely no lag. There is no expandable memory or removable battery. These are the only cons of this phone. However, with 32gb of internal memory, and an operating system that never locks up it's definitely a good buy.

Brian

October 23, 2013, 8:28 am

I hear what you say, but when your paying out so much money every bloody month, why not have something which is well made and beautiful as well as practical? This is not a cheap phone, so it ought to be worth the money. It should be well engineered, robust, reliable, fast, and beautiful.

Brian

October 23, 2013, 8:30 am

yippee-ki-yay

K

October 25, 2013, 3:28 pm

Not sure why you can't get the 32gb version in the UK. Only way to get it is by taking a risk on some dodgy importer on eBay. The first phone that has tempted me to leave iphone and it's just not available in a higher capacity. Come on LG sort it out!

Rejkelie

October 26, 2013, 6:04 am

Just pop over to Sweden for vacation, I've only seen the 32GB model here (which I got by the way) :-)

cigs645

October 28, 2013, 7:07 pm

Did a google on the G2, too many call quality and gps locking issues posts from VZ subscribers, a phone that just came out on VZ . Id wait till they come out with an update to address those issues. It is a beauty of a phone

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