The one thing Google’s open Android smartphone operating system comes up with is surprises. Some innovative and some not. Compared to the last predictable iPhone 5S and 5C launch, Android phones have been all over the map with new designs and functions, some raising eyebrows and some with ho-hum efforts.
Enter LG with the new G2 Android smartphone. It’s different from the get-go.
LG is no technology slouch. It dares to be different. The current Google NEXUS phone is from LG. It dared to be different in 3D TV with cheap and just as effective passive 3D glasses, putting the rest of the TV industry to shame.
What’s special about the G2?
The G2 starts off with no traditional side buttons. They are all in the rear, upper center, where designers maintain everyone’s index finger happens to be most of the time. Partially true…users hold phones differently depending on what they are doing. The G2 can be held the same way all the time no matter what you are doing, including pressing the easy-to-feel rear buttons.
The rear key along with the up and down buttons are under the 13 megapixel camera. They are made from different material so you know what you are pressing without having to flip the phone over to see.
Easier said than done, because most of us have been used to contorting our fingers to reach side buttons since the dawn of cellphones. With the G2, you still hold the phone the same way, resting on your right or left palm, index finger on rear controls while your free hand and fingers slide over the 5.2 almost bezel-free touch screen. The main rear key has different functions depending on what you are doing. For example, if the alarm goes off while the phone is face down, pressing the rear key turns it off.
Interestingly, most folks don’t get it the first time they pick up the phone. LG has gone out of its way to explain its “Learning from You” philosophy. To work properly, the G2 actually rests a little higher than other phones, making me wonder whether everyone had been getting wrong all along or LG just wanted to be different for the sake of change. After using it for a few days, I got used to it and found traditional side buttons on other phones “different”.
There are many tricks and features on the G2, some unique and others a different take that other phones already have.
Here are my favourites starting from the top:
-Amazing battery life with new space saving individual cells in the 3,000mAh battery, still keeping the phone light-weighted. Each of the four CPU cores vary their energy needs depending on what you are doing, extending battery life. It easily run for more than two days in my use compared to any other phone’s required daily charge.
-Response and power. Out of a special relationship with chipmaker Qualcomm, its Snapdragon 800 quad 2.26 GHz CPU, 2 GB 800 MHz RAM makes the G2 fast. Multi-tasking like Slide Aside for quickly switching between three open apps (you can do it Android’s old fashioned way but the G2 way is faster) and QSlide for floating two smaller app windows around feel more like a desktop OS.
-The 13 megapixel camera with optical image stabilizer delivers at par with the Samsung Galaxy S4 but in low light it has an advantage. In normal auto mode the ISO slides all the way up to 6400, not recommended for any phone, while the alternate night mode makes impossible pictures turn out, much like Nokia’s Lumia 920, but still with a slight sharpness hit. But a 13 MP picture that is 90 percent there is a lot better than no picture at all. Shooting is fast, fire off 20 frames in several seconds and you are immediately ready to shoot more, like the iPhone 5S.
-Common sense, features like KnockON button-free on-off screen by tapping it twice.
-Guest mode for letting anyone else, including your kids play with the phone worry-free, like no surprise bills.
-Phone ringing? Just put to your ear for answering. Who needs buttons or touch screens?
-The little things that get things done faster. Pressing the volume up key longer while the screen is off turns on Quickmemo. Pressing the volume down rear key longer while screen is off turns the camera on.
-Anti-fingerprint sapphire camera glass, for obvious reasons…that works.
-Customizable soft keys, arrange three or four at the bottom of screen.
-The FullHD 1920×1080 IPS screen can be viewed from any angle at 423 dpi resolution with more sub-pixels for better angle viewing…beyond sharp. The fullHD 60 FPS video capture, not available on all phones makes a noticeable difference in quality along with the OIS feature. Audio while recoding, zooms in to better capture the sound of what your lens zooms into.
-Don’t count on run of the mill headphones for the G2. Its 24bit 192kHz Hi-Fi sound delivers best, on quality headphones. When you plug headphones in the phone recommends apps that will use them.
-Not the first phone, but the G2 QuickRemote takes over control of your IR based devices remotes like fan, light, curtains, TVs and DVD players.
-Browsing features like Capture Plus captures the entire web page for reading when disconnected, even share images.
-Clip Tray lets you capture up to 20 images and texts and paste as you wish. Nifty.
The G2 has burrowed some useful picture taking features from competitors like Samsung like Dual Camera Mode where you get yourself in the photo you shoot and Shot and Clear where objects getting in the way of a busy picture scene are removed.
The very cool optional Smart Cover with QuickWindow protects your screen but leaves a smaller window that shows you just as small mini apps to get too without using the main screen.
Wish list: Additional external memory expansion