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

Getting into mobile performance, LG’s 4G modem has really proven itself, with speeds exceeding more than three times what most people will achieve from ADSL2+ at home.

In the city of Sydney, we hit upon one of our best test results yet, pulling down data at an incredible 60Mbps rate at one point.

This phone hasn’t been out for long in Australia – barely a week, in fact – but it has in America, with the handset seeing release in September and October there. As such, the wait Australians have had to endure has made this fall behind just a tad, especially in regards to its screen, which is high definition, but not as high as competing handsets arriving this year, such as the recently reviewed Sony Xperia Z, the just announced Samsung Galaxy S4, and the inbound HTC One.

Those handsets all feature a Full HD (1920×1080) screen, and as a result hit pixel per inch counts of over 400ppi, which goes well beyond that of Apple’s Retina display. The reality is that the difference will be difficult to actually notice, however, and the LG’s 1280×768 is bright, colourful, viewable from all angles, and even works better in direct sunlight thanks to how LG has pushed the elements together and made the panel simpler.

One of the few smartphones we've seen that can work in direct sunlight at least decently.

LG has provided 32GB of storage, although you only get 25GB of that to play with, and there’s no microSD, similar to the Google Nexus 4, which this is based on. Some won’t be bothered by this, but if you desire more room to play with, you can’t upgrade this.

Plugging it into your computer requires LG-specific software in order to transfer files. We’ve encountered problems with this on both Windows and Mac OS, and while Android should be able to talk natively, LG seems to prefer the use of its software in order to let you transfer music and photos. Thankfully, it’s included on the phone and is easy to install, but we’re not big fans of unnecessary installations.

The on-screen keyboard could do with some more time in the shop, and while it can be used with some degree of accuracy, it isn’t the best on-screen keyboard we’ve played with. The keys are decently spaced and there’s spell check, but the version of a Swype-like keyboard – called “Path” by LG – seems to miss the words we wanted fairly often.

Fortunately, you can always replace this on-screen keyboard with a different one, and after a week with the phone, that’s just what we wanted to do.

One other thing that could stand some tweaking is the battery life.

A day of battery life. Damn. We had hoped for more.

Despite the more densely packed battery that LG is using in the Optimus G, the performance of our handset seemed to hit a little less than a day when web browsing, social networking, making some calls, sending texts, and generally using the phone.

Thankfully, LG provides a couple of extra modes here to assist, including “eco-mode”. This actually managed to provide two days of life provided that we let it progressively switch off services as the battery started to die down.


It’s a little later than we would have otherwise liked, but the Optimus G does manage to be a mostly stellar effort from LG. There is a lot to admire about this handset. From the simple and understated look to the fact that it just really performs, LG has made a device that can compete with the best of them.

There are some issues here and there – keyboard, battery life, and a screen that could have been more evenly matched with other 2013 models – but customers after an attractive performer on the Android front will likely be more than pleased with the Optimus G’s mix of hardware, design and cleverly-crafted software features. Recommended.



Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Lovely premium look and design; Blazingly fast 4G speeds; Not performance shy at all; Camera performs very well;
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;