For what seemed like months we have seen commercials for the LG G2 on television. Recently Verizon Wireless sent one over for us to check out and I have been putting it through daily use. For the most part the G2 is a lot like other phones but it does have a very unique placement of its volume and power buttons. Where most phones have the buttons on the sides or top, the G2’s buttons are on the back of the phone. So today I’m going to talk a little about my experience with the G2 and Verizon Wireless’s network.

Product Name:  Verizon Wireless LG G2

Review Sample Provided by: Verizon Wireless

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

Specifications

Processor

2.26 GHz Quad-Core Processor, Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 MSM8974 Chipset

Network

LTE, CDMA/1xEVDO Rev. A (800/1900 MHz)

Global Network

EDGE/GSM (850/900/1800/1900), HSPA/UMTS (850/900/1900/2100)

Dimensions

5.45" (H) x 2.79" (W) x 0.36" (D)

Weight

5.47 oz

Display

5.2" (1920 x 1080) Full HD IPS Display

Touch Screen

Yes

Battery Capacity

3,000 mAh / SiO+

Talk Time

Up to 18 hours and 20 minutes

Standby Time

Up to 12 days

Total Internal Memory

32 GB

Wireless Charging

Yes

Android® Platform

Android® 4.2.2 Platform (Jelly Bean)

Network

Verizon 4G LTE Network

Mobile Hotspot

Share a 4G data connection with other compatible wireless devices

Bluetooth® Version

4.0

Direct/Android Beam

Share via NFC (Near Field Communication) and Wi-Fi

Wireless Storage

Share files between your phone and computer via Wi-Fi®.

Front-Facing Camera

2.1 MP Full HD Front-Facing Camera

Rear-Facing Camera

13 MP Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) Full HD Rear-Facing Autofocus Camera and Camcorder with LED Flash

 

 


Packaging

For packaging, the LG G2 has a white box with the G2 logo on the cover in multiple colors. When you slop the cover off the box you will find that the G2 logo is actually cutout and the paint splatter color pattern is actually all over the entire box.

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Inside it is business as usual. You get a getting to know your phone book from Verizion. You also get a Micro USB charging cord with an AC adapter to allow you to charge when you are away from your PC. The AC adapter is a skinny design that shouldn’t give you issues with other devices being plugged into the other outlet.

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Design

From the front, the LG G2 doesn’t really stand out from all of the other 5 inch screened phones on the market currently. It’s not really their fault though; the goal anymore is to pack the largest screen possible into the phone with the smallest bezel. With Android integrating the three control buttons into the screen, the main areas that phones can stand out from each other are materials (like the HTC One), shape (iPhones), and the back of the phone. The back of the phone is where most things are going on with the G2, but we will get into that further down. On the front though, you have the LG logo down on the bottom under the screen and the Verizon Wireless logo up in the top right corner. Up top you have the 2.1 MP front facing camera over on the left, a notification LED, then the mesh ear speaker. There is also a proximity sensor in between the LED and the front facing camera, but without looking extremely close you will never notice it. The 5.2 inch full 1080p IPS screen hardly seems to fit behind the front glass with the screen running all the way to the far edges of the sides of the phone. The front glass itself is gorilla glass 2 and much like the Nexus 4 that I loved so much, they included a nice rounded edge all the way around the glass.

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Making my way around the outside edge things are oddly boring. Down on the bottom you have a micro USB port for charging and data transfer. Also on the bottom is the speakerphone speaker on the right of the USB port, a small microphone port on the left of the USB and all the way on the left you have the headphone jack as well. All the way around the outside edge of the phone LG has slipped in a thin chrome ring that breaks up the front and back of the phone. The only other things you will find around on the sides of the G2 is the SIM card in a small tray on the left side of the phone. Up top there is a second microphone and a small dot that houses the built in IR blaster.

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As I mentioned in our opening and hinted at earlier in this section what really sets the G2 apart from all other phones is its unique button placement. It should be noted that the back button design is specific to the carrier, although they are all similar is design and in the same location. For the G2 LG placed both the volume up and down buttons as well as the power button on the back directly under the camera lens. The volume buttons are angled and the power button is in the middle with a slight bevel. The power button has a ring on the button that will light up when it is pressed as well.

Also in this same area they included the single LED flash to the right of the 13 megapixel camera. The rest of the back of the phone consists of rounded edges on each side, and if you look extremely close you can see a honeycomb design to give the back a little more styling. In the middle of the back the Verizon Wireless logo as well as the 4G LTE logo is just barely visible. Down at the bottom there is the LG logo and you can also find your serial number here as well, but ours wore off very quickly in testing.

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Performance

Now that we have covered the features of the G2, it’s time to take a look at the hardware inside and then talk about how the phone performed. First things first, the G2 comes with Qualcomm’s 2.26GHz quad core Snapdragon 800 processor and 32 gigs of on board storage. This is the big brother to the processor that we saw in the MAXX. The G2 uses the Adreno 330 GPU to help you play all of your games as well. When using the G2, page loads were snappy and I never ran into any lag or hiccups. I ran the phone through our normal benchmark suite as well to get a better idea of where it placed.  As you can see below, other than the Nvidia Shield with its much larger form factor, nothing compared in performance.

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When it came to battery testing I ran the G2 through a new battery test. In the past I have used GLBenchmark 2.5.1, they have updated the software a few times and with their new GFXBench 3.0 software they have once again included a battery benchmark. That does mean I can’t directly compare the battery performance number from the G2 to previous phones, but I will say that this seems to be extremely close. Below are the old results, to compare the G2 is rated for 235 minutes using the new test. Considering this is using a 3D game to put the phone under load, this is a very respectable number and much better than most of the phones we have tested. The Note 2 and the MAXX are the only two phones that best the G2 and they have larger batteries. Please keep in mind, like most phones that pack in large batteries, the G2 doesn’t have a removable battery. This shouldn’t bother most, but some people do prefer to have the option.

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While we are talking about battery performance, the Verizon version of the G2 is the only model to offer wireless charging. I can’t talk highly enough about this feature. It’s great to be able to just drop my phone on the charger without having to fuss with the plug. It also makes it easy to pick up a call when the phone is charging as well.

Moving to other performance aspects I really wanted to talk about the biggest issue I had with the G2. The decision to move the buttons to the back of the phone might seem logical when you think about small hands and large phones. But in a lot of other aspects I found the buttons to be extremely frustrating. First, just trying to unlock or lock the phone using the power button can be time consuming. Not being able to see the buttons I found myself randomly pressing buttons. This caused me to turn the volume down when trying to lock the phone multiple times. To be sure it wasn’t just me; I let a few other people give it a try. Every single person struggled then flipped the phone over to try to understand them. Even after having the phone for almost two months this continued to be an issue, but using the double tap feature on the front of the phone to unlock helped. It’s sad that they had to include a feature like that just to compensate for oddly placed buttons.

Even worse, at least 5 times I found myself driving and heard a clicking noise. With the phone in my left pocket it unlocked and started taking pictures over and over. The first time I saw 30+ black pictures in the gallery I thought maybe the data was being corrupted, but once I heard the pictures being taken It all made sense.

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The G2’s has two built in cameras. One is a 2.1 MP Full HD Front-Facing Camera and the other is a 13MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization. What did this mean for camera performance? Well the front facing pictures were good enough to get the job done, but nothing impressive at all. The 13MP camera did take nice photos when you have enough light. But I did end up with some photos that were a little blurry. As it turns out the button placement haunted me once again, getting greasy fingerprints on the lens a few times when trying to press the buttons under it. Here are a few photos, the cat was taken inside in medium light, the snow outside on an overcast day, the sunset well was a sunset, and the picture of Koolaid was under bright lights.

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I mentioned the double tap to unlock. There were a few other quirks to the G2. First as of this review the G2 was running on 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. LG included all of the features that we know and love from Jelly Bean but they did also slip in a few of their own tweaks. The most noticeable to me was the odd blue apps button. I have been a big fan of the app button on the Nexus devices because of its simple look and centered location. Having it be the same between my nexus devices as well as the Shield made it easy to find as well. LG moved their app icon over to the right side and changed it to a blue icon. This might sound silly but it took me a little while to get used to it. I thought it was just me until I saw my wife struggle to find the apps a few times as well. Anyone who picks up the G2 will adjust to the minor change, but keep it in mind for your first use.

LG also included a few of their own apps with the G2 like the notebook app for creating drawings or notes, Polaris Office 5 to help you open up your office files on the go, a quick translator, even a video editor. My favorite though was the quick remote app that uses the build in IR blaster to let you turn the G2 into your whole house remote control. I tested this on our TV and cable box with great luck. Setting everything up took only a few minutes. If your device isn’t preprogrammed you can also point it at your phone and manually program it as well. It’s good they included this because LG has the IR Blaster locked down, meaning no other apps can use it. I would be upset about this but honestly their app is as good if not better than everything else on the market.

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Overall and Final Verdict

Now that I have covered my experience with the G2 as well as its performance stats, has my opinion of the phone changed from when it came in? Well yes, in both good and bad ways. When the G2 came in I had heard about its good battery life but I was surprised at how well the phone performed as a whole. The Snapdragon 800 processor did extremely well in our benchmarks but most importantly all through the time I tested the G2 I didn’t have any lag issues with the phone. Really the G2 is a great phone, the paired up good performance with a 1080p IPS panel and great battery life. Sadly what makes the phone so unique is also what made me so frustrated with the phone. How could you make sure a great device and make the controls so difficult to use.

Running the G2 on the Verizon Wireless network also had a few benefits. For one with this being a Verizon model the G2 had built in wireless charging, something that I just can’t live without on my phones anymore. But I also had the chance to use the G2 on my trip to Chicago recently as well as a trips to Columbus and Dayton. In all three cities I experienced faster LTE performance at times as Verizon has been testing opening up more LTE capacity in a lot of areas. This is because Verizon is finally taking advantage of the band 4 spectrum. To give you an idea of what to expect, in the Chicago area I was getting 55 down and 14 up with a ping of 55. Going into 2014, we should start to see this more and more, assuming your device supports band 4.

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Would I recommend picking up the G2? Well it is a great phone if you can adjust to the new button location. I would recommend getting your hands on one before buying just in case you are like me and just can’t handle the rear mounted buttons.

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld replied the topic: #33914 05 Feb 2014 14:22
I hope everyone is enjoying the snow today. Today I took a look at the LG G2 with its interesting button locations. Giving our review a look might be a good way to pass the time while you warm up from outside.

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