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Late but worth waiting for: LG 4G Optimus G reviewed

By Leigh D. Stark | 4:32 pm 26/03/2013

Previewed, hinted at, and promised since 2012, LG’s Optimus G is the company’s first major swing at the premium smartphone market in years. While LG has been building its presence in the budget part of the market with devices in the L range, it has also been working to make devices that people would consider over the Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and any other brand and model that deems itself to be high end.

With the Optimus G, LG is packing in what it believes is the best of the best of the best, and while this handset originally saw release in America last year, it’s now time for Australia to get its mitts on it. Was it worth the wait?

Features

LG’s Optimus G is the first Optimus handset we’ve seen to be released outside of the L series branding, which makes it a premium device in the eyes of the company.

Materials used in the construction seem to have a heavy reliance on glass, and the look and design is similar to another LG produced handset handled by another company, Google’s Nexus 4, which was built from a very similar design and specification.

As such, there are a lot of similarities, though there are two obvious differences, with the Nexus 4 supporting wireless charging, of which the Optimus G misses out and replaces it with a 4G LTE connection.

More similiarites extend to the inside of the device, bringing with it features that LG brands as top-end, such as a fast quad-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz, Adreno 320 graphics processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, and the not completely latest but still relatively up-to-date version of Android, 4.1.2 “Jelly Bean.”

The screen is spot on, too, with a 4.7 inch TrueHD In-Plane Switching (IPS) display using the 15:9 aspect ratio, which results in a resolution of 1280×768, a little wider than the typical 1280×720 we’re seeing on competing smartphones. With the slightly bigger display, the pixel per inch counts is very close to Apple’s “Retina” quality, sitting at roughly 318ppi.

Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 2 protects this element, just in case you plan on leaving it in a bag with keys, though it may not save you from a drop to the hard ground.

Connections on the Optimus G include 4G LTE, as well as WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n over a dual-band antenna, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, DLNA, Near-Field Communication (NFC), GPS, and Miracast, which will only work if you have one of the Miracast boxes to plug in your TV, available as an extra.

Over in the camera department, you’ll find a cutting-edge 13 megapixel autofocus camera with flash, while the front camera sits at 1.3 megapixel, perfect for those selfies.

As per usual with modern smartphones, there are very few buttons, and you’ll find only a volume rocker on the left, a power button on the right, and three soft buttons – back, home, and menu – on the bottom front of the handset just under the screen. Ports are much the same, small in number, with only a 3.5mm jack up top and a microUSB, which also takes care of HDMI with an MHL plug on the very bottom.

A microSIM tray can be ejected on the left side, and the battery – rated for 2100mAh – cannot be removed.

Performance

The first proper premium phone we’ve seen from LG in a while, the Optimus G certainly has our attention.

Marketed as a “superphone” by the company and not just a “smartphone,” it shares a lot in common with one handset we loved last year, the Google Nexus 4, which comes from a similar design and was also built by LG. A variant of that handset, the Optimus G aims to improve on the Nexus by adding support for 4G LTE connections, LG’s custom Android overlays, a better camera, and some tweaks here and there.

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Price (RRP)

$No outright price; Available on plans exclusively from Telstra

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Lovely premium look and design; Blazingly fast 4G speeds; Not performance shy at all; Camera performs very well;

Product Cons

Screen isn't Full HD; No microSD slot; Not remarkably easy to plug into a computer thanks to the requirement of LG's software; On-screen keyboard isn't the best out there; Battery life isn't great;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

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