LG hasn’t exactly been in Australia’s mobile space in a big way this year, focusing instead on the budget market with its L-series range of Android handsets. From what we’re hearing, there won’t be a 2012 release of a flagship handset locally, but we’ve played with the future, and it’s looking pretty sweet.

Coming in 2013 and currently in testing with the various telcos in Australia, the Optimus G aims to throw LG back in the mobile flagship fight, a place the electronics giant has been missing from for the better part of a year.

Mobile World Congress came and went in February, and LG had some pretty impressive announcements there, but since then, we haven’t seen a single flagship phone out of the company.

A few weeks ago, LG threw back the covers from its mobile section and unveiled the Optimus G, the world’s first quad-core 4G device, featuring a plethora of features, including a big 2300mAh battery, Near-Field Communication, 4G, quad-core processing, and more.

Last week, LG announced that unlike it’s big-screen brother – the Optimus Vu – the G would be coming to Australia, and we’ve been given an exclusive hands-on.

In the hands, there’s a very sturdy feeling, with LG crafting its 4.7 inch flagship out of plastic but then encasing it in glass, providing what feels more premium than many of the models it competes with.

It’s sort of a cross between the feel you get from the Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 4S, with a slick feel that manages to carry enough heft to feel solid while also being well-balanced. We’ll have to spend more time with it to see if it’s not a touch too slippery, but it does feel nice in the hands.

The design is very rectangular, though with softened edges, almost reminiscent of the Galaxy S2, with thickness closer to the Galaxy S3, in fact.

But it’s a hell of a lot faster than both of those phones. In fact, it’s possibly the fastest phone around, with LG showing us a benchmark with the Optimus G toppling the HTC One X and XL handsets, out in front by a massive lead.

You can see the speed when using the handset, with no lag or slowdown as you switch menus, browse through the homescreens, or loads an immense amount of apps. Some of this comes down to the 2GB RAM being used here, an increase of a whole gigabyte on top of most smartphones, which no doubt makes the Optimus G better at multitasking.

LG hasn’t done much to Android here, either, with a look and feel closer to that of stock Android with very little customisation, which doesn’t seem to hurt it. You can see the widget loader has changed, as have the drop down phone controls, but it generally feels close to Android the way Google intended it to be.

A few features were shown to us, standout bits that make LG’s Optimus G shine and are specific to the handset.

One of these is the dual screen technology, which – when paired with a special wireless streaming box for HDMI inputs on TVs – allows the handset to send the screen to the TV, in pretty much real-time.