The LG G Pro 2 is a follow up to the last year’s Optimus G Pro phablet, and is now much faster, feels nicer, has an improved camera and a bigger display, and runs a newer version of Android. But the idea is still the same – a really big device which tries to blur the line between a smartphone and a tablet, while taking on the hugely successful Galaxy Note 3 from Samsung.
Design & Hardware
But the design is nothing like the Optimus G Pro. Rather, it’s essentially a mix between the LG G2 and the LG G Flex. It comes with the same back-facing buttons, which aren’t too tough to get used to. Carrying LG G2’s design ensures that the G Pro 2 is far easier to handle than most big-screen devices. At 5.9-inches, the G Pro 2 is even bigger than the Galaxy Note 3, but those ultra-slim bezels accompanied with smart placing of buttons ensure that the single handed usage is still possible. The back continues to be plastic but comes with a new textured finish, which not only improves the gripping of the device, but also gives it a better look and feel.
Removing the back cover reveals a 1W speaker just below the battery. The best part is that the battery is now removable and that should please a lot of people. There’s a microSD slot which can push the external storage up to 64 GB, hidden below the microSIM slot, which can make swapping cards a pain.
Let’s get the specifications out of the way – The G Pro 2 comes with a 5.9-inch 1080p display, 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 13 MegaPixel rear camera, 2.1 MegaPixel front camera and 3,200mAh of battery. It has all the usual connectivity features like 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Infrared and microUSB 2.0. Although the back prominently features a 4G LTE branding, it currently supports only the 1800 MHz band which is still not operational in India.
The display has to be the biggest highlight of this phone. With 373 pixels per inch, the Full HD screen is a delight to use. The sunlight legibility and viewing angles are excellent. The color reproduction though could have been better as they look colder when compared to the likes of Galaxy Note 3.
The G Pro 2 runs on the near-latest Android 4.4.2 Kitkat with LG’s own Optimus UI on top of it. The custom skin from LG isn’t necessarily the best we have seen, but LG has managed to stuff in all the bells and whistles they could think of. The G Pro 2 comes with the Knock Code option for unlocking the device which isn’t gimmicky and works really well.
LG is notorious for wasting a lot of screen space when you pull down the notification menu. Along with a row for the quick settings, you’ll find the shortcuts for Qslide apps, brightness control and the volume slider, which take up over half of the screen real estate. Luckily, some of these can be disabled!
Being a phablet, the G Pro 2 comes with lots of software tweaks, including Mini View, that displays a smaller version of the screen which aids in single-handed usage. There is also a Dual Window mode which splits the screen vertically to display two apps at a time, all of which makes multi-tasking a breeze on the G Pro 2.
But my biggest gripe about the device is the lack of a stylus and the associated apps which makes Galaxy Note 3 such a special device. Luckily, LG has sort of made up for it by providing an IR blaster to control a multitude of devices ranging from televisions to air conditioners. And yes, it works great!
The 13 MP camera on the rear delivers photos that are true to life and offers great white balance and contrast as well as colours and details. Although this is similar to the cameras we saw on the G2 and G Flex, we found G Pro 2 churning out better images than both of these devices. Optical image stabilization works as advertised and helps maintain focus and avoid blurs in stills.
Moreover the G Pro 2 supports 4K recording, which isn’t found on the Exynos based Galaxy Note 3 in India. Other bells and whistles like Magic Focus, Burst shot and selfie mode are present as well.
The best thing about the LG G pro 2 is its performance. It’s a really snappy phablet in daily usage, and multitasking is a breeze. Gaming on a 5.9-inch full-HD display was a pleasure. The Snapdragon 800 CPU and Adreno 330 GPU, along with 3 GB of RAM ensure that there is no lag or frame drop even while handling resource-hungry titles like Riptide GP2, Dead Trigger 2 and Asphalt 8. The device does gets heated, but that’s a minor issue though.
The G Pro 2 bowled me over with its battery performance. The 3,200mAh battery has enough juice to get you through a day and a half without looking for the charger; you can even go two days without charging if you are not a power user. Mind you, it has a removable battery, which means you can snap in a spare if you’re on a long trip.
The 1 watt speakers are really loud, but lacks clarity when you compare it with the likes of HTC’s Boomsund. The call quality though is top-notch and the bundled earphones are of really good quality.
To sum it up, the LG G Pro 2 is a winner. LG almost screwed it up with their launch price of Rs.51,500, but the device is now being sold at around Rs.33,000. That’s extremely good pricing for a device which comes with a great 1080p display, decent 13MP camera, awesome battery life and the latest Android version. Keeping aside the price, G Pro 2 will still stand shoulder to shoulder with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, albeit for the lack of a stylus. It sorts of makes up with 4k Video recording and an IR blaster.
The LG G Pro 2 gets a BIG thumbs up from my side. We finally have a worthy alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which even outplays the latter in most cases including the price where it’s almost Rs.10000 cheaper.