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| June 25, 2017

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LG Optimus G Pro Hands-on Review

LG Optimus G Pro Hands-on Review
Charles Chong

Only a few months after the release of the LG Optimus G, LG announced the release of the LG Optimus G Pro. At 5.5 inches, it is a primary contender against Samsung’s hugely popular Galaxy Note II. While it has already released in South Korea (on February 20th to be precise), it is expected to be released in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year. The Nanobyte team was able to get its hands on the Korean version of the LG Optimus G Pro for a few hours in Seoul, Korea. Now before I begin, here are the general specifications of this smartphone:

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spec

 

Hardware & Design

One of the first things I noticed while holding the phone in my hand was how solid it felt. While the majority of the phone was covered in shiny plastic, the plastic did not feel cheap or flimsy at all. Even when we removed the back cover of the phone, it did not feel like it was going to snap at any moment (unlike the Galaxy SIII). Indeed, the phone had a very premium feel to it with a very iPhone-esque aluminum band going all the way around the phone.

The left side of the phone houses the volume rocker and directly above it, a dedicated button for the Q-Memo function, which I will get into later. The right side has the power button; the top holds a standard 3.5 mm audio/microphone jack; and the bottom has a singular micro-USB hub (and a tiny hole which I presume is the microphone). On the front, there is a front facing camera as well as an ambient light sensor directly beside it and on the bottom portion of the front is a home screen button. This home screen button, however, has a little twist in the form of a color-changing LED light surrounding the button. The shifting colors are evident when you turn the phone on or off. Inside the back panel of the phone, you can see a 3,140 mAh battery, microSIM slot, and microSD slot. Between the microSIM and microSD slot are little pins that act as connectors for the optional wireless charging plate.

 

Performance

Powering this impressive phone is a 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2 GB of RAM. The Snapdragon 600 is considered a mid to high range processor and runs on DDR3 memory. The only other phone so far with this processor is the HTC One. *Updated Samsung GS IV to have the Snapdragon 600 for it’s LTE variant.

If you watch the review video, you can see that the phone is very responsive and snappy. Scrolling through the menus and the web browser was a cinch for this high powered phone. This is the case even when the phone is set to Power Saving mode, which lowers the clock rate of the processor. In comparison, the Galaxy S III and Note II are also snappy, but the moment you turn on Power Saving, you can see some lag when flipping through the menus.

I did, however, run into some lag with the phone. While I’m not 100% what caused the lag, it seems to have been caused by numerous programs running in the background while multi-tasking with the QSlide function (I will talk about this feature later on).

The battery performance was much better than anticipated. After intense use for about an hour (benchmarking, multiple apps opened), the battery dipped only 5% — not bad for a 1080p screen phone. The Sony Xperia Z dipped around 14% after an hour of use.

spec

 

Display

One of the primary features of any phone is its display, and in this regard, the LG Optimus G Pro has a beautiful screen. The display used in this phone is a 5.5 inch True HD IPS display with a 1920×1080 full HD resolution outputting 16 million colors. That puts the Optimus G Pro at an eyeball searing 401 pixels per inch. For comparison, the iPhone 5 has a PPI of only 326, despite having a smaller screen size at 4 inches. Indeed, several times I’ve tried to look at the screen as closely as I could in order to try to make out individual pixels on this gorgeous display. But alas, I could not. Even with my eye only a couple of inches from the screen, I could not make out any pixelation whatsoever.

 

Camera

The rear facing camera is 13 megapixels with autofocus and LED flash. The forward facing camera is 2.1 MP and capable of capturing 1080p video at 30 frames per second. The cameras on previous LG flagship smartphones have lagged behind HTC and Samsung flagships in terms of performance. That should change with the LG Optimus G Pro. With an improved sensor, there is significant increase in detail when taking pictures in bright environments. Snapping pictures is ultra quick and smooth and there is zero shutter lag.

Still shot with 13MP LG Optimus G Pro

Still shot with 13MP LG Optimus G Pro

Still shot with 8MP Samsung Galaxy S III

Still shot with 8MP Samsung Galaxy S III

 

 

The ‘Silly faces’ feature is also a new feature in the LG Optimus G Pro. It allows the user to add cute little facial effects while recording live unlike similar apps that allow only editing.

camera 12

 

In addition, the LG Optimus G Pro is equipped with the “Virtual Reality Panorama” mode (Dual Recording feature) which enables the user to capture video using the front and rear cameras simultaneously. You can also touch each camera box to switch between the front and rear cameras as the main.

Camera 9

 

Video capture on the front and rear cameras was satisfactory. I have seen better video capture quality on the Sony Xperia Z however the LG did not disappoint, showing significant improvement in shadow detailing during video capture at night. The front facing camera, despite being only 2.1 MP, looks beautiful on the Full HD screen.

Although LG is not known for its camera, the LG Optimus G Pro is a huge improvement over previous LG phones and the best to date.

 

New Features

LG included some new features in this phone (and the LG Optimus G), which includes the Q-Memo and Q-Slide.

As mentioned in the introduction of this review, there is a dedicated QMemo button right above the volume rocker on the left side of the phone. Q-Memo is essentially a notepad that you can use to take quick notes such as phone numbers. What’s different about this notepad, however, is that you can overlay this notepad over the current screen to quickly transfer the information on the QMemo into your phone. For example, if you’re on the phone with someone and you’re being told a phone number to jot down, instead of frantically going through the phone menu to bring up the notepad to write the phone number down, all you need to do is press the Q-Memo button and jot the number down with your finger. Then after the conversation is over, you simply go to your contacts list, create a new entry and press the Q-Memo button again to overlay that number you jotted down over the screen. It’s simple and easy.

 

Q-Slide is LG’s answer to Samsung’s new Multi-View, which is a multi-tasking function. Instead of splitting the screen into two parts like with Multi-View, Q-Slide allows you to adjust the opacity of a window over the main screen. So if you’re watching a movie on your phone, and you want to chat with someone at the same time, you simply open your messenger app, press the onscreen Q-Slide button then play the movie. The window will be shown over the movie, but you can move the window around as well as change the opacity of the screen. This will allow you to chat while watching the movie on full screen at the same time. You can open up to three windows this way VS only one in the LG Optimus G version.

 

Conclusion

Due to the 5.5 inch form factor of the LG Optimus G Pro, some people may find that phone is a bit big. However, as we can see from the popularity of the Galaxy Note series, it won’t be much of a problem. In addition, due to the smaller bezel size of the Optimus G Pro, the actual size of the phone is a bit smaller than the Galaxy Note. The phone felt solid in my hand, and despite the (mostly) plastic shell, had a premium feel.

LG has created an amazing phone with the LG Optimus G, and it shows through the software and the hardware. I would highly recommend this phone to anyone who is on the ropes about which phone to purchase this year. In fact, I would even encourage current Samsung Galaxy Note users to check this phone out as a possible upgrade over the Galaxy Note II. You will not be disappointed.

Review Overview

Design
9
Display
10
Camera(s)
8
Performance
9.5
Software
9
9.1

Excellent

LG is making a huge statement in 2013 with this flagship device. With a top of the line display, a beastly processor, and a able battery, the Optimus G Pro is one of the top flagships available.
11 comments
bally555
bally555

This unit is LG F240L from LG U+, what 3G frequency does it support? both 900 and 2100? Is there any way you test it?

JaneSefo
JaneSefo

Sexiness. I can't stand the size of apple phones. This one should do well.

Jimmy Evans
Jimmy Evans

In your video with the Q-slide, does this work for only the browser + media (photos/videos)?

gosugadget
gosugadget

Q-slide looks awesome, especially the opacity changer. It's either going to be this or the Galaxy S IV for my next phone. Guess I'll have to wait until March 14th.

MattRosenberg
MattRosenberg

I read that the Japanese variant was only 5". Do you know what size the U.S. version will be?

EmmaChild
EmmaChild

dual recording looks so cool.. thanks for the review :)