The LG G Pro 2 is a very good option for anyone looking to buy a large screen high-end/premium Android phone. The G Pro 2 offers a good feature set, impressive performance and a very aggresive price tag. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has some serious competition and Note 3 aspirers should give the G Pro 2 a hard look before deciding on which large screen Android smartphone to buy.
While not topping the sales charts, LG certainly knows how to design and offer quality smartphones. The company was the first to launch a dual-core smartphone, quad-core smartphone and 3D smartphone. The brand is considered to be an underdog, but has managed to surprise us with its flagship devices. We take a look at one of LG’s latest large screen smartphone, the LG G Pro 2 and check out what it has to offer and how it gives some serious competition to major phablets in the market. While it's prime competitor would be no other than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3
BUILD AND DESIGN
The G Pro 2 offers a slighlty larger display size as the LG G Pro, and has a whole new design. All the hardware keys have been removed from the front and the sides and you only have the volume and power/lock key just below the camera, which is actually quite convenient. You can even use these keys to control the camera as well. While the LG G Pro 2 is mostly plastic in terms of build, it never feels cheap of flimsy in terms of quality.
The handset is slightly larger than its predecessor, but is slimmer and weighs exactly the same at 172gms. The bezels are very thin and have shimmering metallic finish which is protected with the Gorilla Glass. The display is a 5.9 inch True IPS+ LCD capacitive touchscreen with a full HD resolution. It offers vibrant colours and high levels of brightness. The viewing angles on the display are excellent and under direct sunlight the display doesn’t completely wash out. Right above the display we have the front camera, the earpiece with a metallic finish, a notification LED and a bunch of sensors.
As we mentioned earlier there are no hardware keys in the front or on the edges. You get the microUSB port on the bottom edge and the 3.5mm stereo jack along with the InfraRed port on the top edge.
The back houses the 13MP camera with the LED flash, the volume and power/lock keys below the camera and the loudspeaker. The back panel is made out of plastic but it has a nice texture which gives it a good grip. The back panel comes off to reveal the microSD card slot, the microSIM card slot and the 3200mAH battery.
For the ones who love using phablets, the G Pro 2 is an excellent choice. The overall build quality and the design is definitely worth the price.
UI AND PERFORMANCE
Here is where LG has made the phablet even more exciting. The G Pro 2 runs on Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat with LG’s Optimus UI onboard. The UI seems quite heavy on customisations as the launcher has various options to personalise your experience with themes, animations, and so on. Surprisingly the handset is very smooth and the UI didn’t lag at any point even with all the animations and themes.
The handset comes preloaded with LG’s Knock feature which lets you wake up the device when it is locked. Just double tapping on the display wakes it up and you can unlock the handset with just a swipe.
The G Pro 2 comes preloaded with a number of apps including a file manager, an update centre, Box, a remote control app, memo and notebook apps, Polaris Office viewer, LG’s own app store called SmartWorld. You can quickly write a note or doodle with the quick memo feature which is easily accessible from the notification toggles. Once you open it you can just scribble away and save it as a memo or an image. There is also a remote control app which utilizes the infrared port to control your television sets, set-top boxes, audio systems, DVD/Blue-ray players, projectors and even air-conditioners. The app supports a number of brands which you can choose from and the feature works quite well. LG has also embedded some interesting features which allow you to use the handset with one hand. For example if you swipe over the Android navigation keys, you get a small secondary mini-display on your right or left depending on the direction you swipe. Now you can use this mini display to control your handset. Similarly you can make the keypad shift to the left or right which makes it much easier to use with just one hand.
LG has baked in a lot of features in the UI, and at a point we thought that it would be too much to handle. But the UI is very smooth and we didn’t notice any issues. The added features allow the user to navigate and utilise the UI more efficiently.
In the gaming department the G Pro 2 is a beast and it manages to run almost any game without working up a sweat. We played Asphalt 8 and Injustice on the G Pro 2 and loved the capability of the GPU to render the graphics. After about 20-30 minutes of playback, the handset did get warm at the back, but it wasn't uncomfortable or alarming. If you are an avid gamer, then you would enjoy playing games on the large screen device that is ably backed up by good graphics performance.
On the synthetic benchmarks front, the LG G Pro 2 was a little dissapointing when compared to similarly speced high-end smartphones. We suspect the heavy UI and custom launcher to be the prime culprit, hogging memory and processing bandwidth even while being loaded in the background. We ran Antutu X, Smartbench 2012, 3D Mark and Quadrant standard. Check out the results:
|Benchmark||Samsung Galaxy S5||Sony Xperia Z2||HTC One (M8)||LG G Pro 2|
|Smartbench 2012 (Productivity)||6145||7210||9873||5533|
|3D Mark Unlimited||13502||18614||17925||13546|
The 13MP camera on the G Pro 2 is quite interesting as it features OIS (Optical image stabilisation) which means the optics inside the camera lens move about to make the captured image much more stable. The camera UI is pretty straightforward with one section dedicated to various modes and one for you basic settings. You get your standard HDR, panorama and burst shot. Along with this you also get manual focus, ISO control, exposure compensation, and voice activated shutter.
Pictures clicked in bright conditions and even under basic household lighting turn out to be quite good. Colours are vivid and rich with details. The focusing system is fast and there is absolutely no shutter lag.
The camera handles low conditions very well and manages to retain a fair amount of details even when you are shooting under just a small light bulb.
Here are some samples:
The camera quality on the G Pro 2 is quite impressive and with OIS onboard, pictures are sharper and well in focus.
LG has done a good job with the G Pro 2 and it is quite a compelling product at its current reduced market price (Rs 36,000 - Rs. 38,000). The G Pro 2 is a good alternative for anyone looking at the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as long as the stylus is not an important consideration.The UI, while being busy, does offer some useful featues like the 'LG Knock Code" to unlock the screen, etc. LG's radical take on the placement of volume roker and power buttons will also find more fans than foes (we like it). And lastly, the 13MP camera bolstered by optical image stabilisation makes the LG G Pro 2 very capable device to capture good looking images.
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