By: Samir Makwana, The Mobile Indian, Mumbai
Last updated : Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 16:37
LG G Pro 2 brings alluring hardware married with several software level tweaks to deliver wonderful performance.
Pleasant display & great viewing angles
Packing top of the line hardware the phone offers top notch performance
Battery management is great
There is no dedicated camera key
Stereo FM Radio has been quietly knocked off
Couple of hiccups using the Knock Code
LG Electronics caught up with the rival Samsung by introducing a large screen smartphone - LG G Pro 2 back in mid-February. Later, LG showcased the G Pro 2 along with G2 mini in India. The G Pro 2 is obviously set to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. With the G Pro 2, it is quite evident that LG is playing the game very safe by introducing improved versions of success stories. In this case, the G Pro 2 is the iterated version of the Optimus G Pro and bears design language from the successful LG flagship - G2.
LG G Pro 2 in its arsenal packs a large full HD display, powerful hardware, 13 megapixel camera that promises 4k video recording and improved battery life. However, the G Pro 2 is several months late in the Indian market. Samsung has already offered similar hardware bearing Galaxy Note 3 with tweaked design and improved stylus features in the market.
Though late, LG G Pro 2 makes up for it with elegant design, stellar hardware, refined software and bunch of surprises for the smartphone enthusiasts. Let us take a closer look at G Pro 2.
LG has found the acceptable and different design language with the G2 smartphone last year. The company continues to refine that design and implement it in the most of the premium devices for this year. LG G Pro 2 offers an improvement not only in screen size but also thickness over the G Pro. The new G Pro 2 is 8.3 mm thick compared to the G Pro with 9.4 mm thickness. Surprising, the weight of both devices almost the same.
The G Pro 2 did surprise us with slimmer profile and packs a 5.9-inch display without looking humongous or bulky. LG has accommodated larger touchscreen area by knocking off the capacitive buttons and making the bezel more slimmer. Also the bezel around the screen has been given sparkles treatment to offer a shining metallic gray effect.
The Back Cover carries machined textures to provide better grip to the hands. Though the device is large and slim, the textured bearing back panel does aid at gripping it better on the palms. LG has placed the Power button between the Volume Keys at the back. All three buttons rest under the Camera module at the back. Interestingly, the Power Button carries Milky White tone since it has LED indicator integrated inside.
While the Power-Volume Button arrangement is quite different than the usual smartphones, it does take a while to get used to it. That way, Power Button-Indicator is visible but the display is at the risk. With the G Pro 2, there is a tiny LED indicator in the front as well to stay updated with your notifications. LG G Pro 2 obviously feels a little large in the hands but textured back and slimmer profile does provide an improved look and feel over its predecessor.
Rating for design: 7.5 (Out of 10)
LG has bumped the screen size of the G Pro 2 with a 5.9-inch True IPS+ LCD capacitive display with full HD 1080p HD resolution. This display is certainly a welcome improvement over the full HD display of the Optimus G Pro. However, bumping the screen size has given some smacking to the pixel density since the G Pro 2 offers 373 pixels per inch compared to 401 pixels per inch in Optimus G Pro. The new True IPS+ LCD display is constructed using the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 technology for protection against normal wear-tear and be slimmer as well as lighter in general. Great viewing angles and much improve colour production are two of the most pleasing features offered by the display. LG G Pro 2 is indeed larger than the Galaxy Note 3 but slightly shorter when compared to the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.
Under the chassis rests a quad-core 2.27 Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 mobile chipset teamed with Adreno 330 GPU graphics. This native hardware powers the entire system including the large 5.9-inch display. While most smartphones are being launched with the latest quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 mobile chipset, the G Pro 2 misses out on that update. LG has integrated 3 GB RAM to offer better memory bandwidth to the system and all the other applications.
For India, LG is offering both G Pro 2 models - one with 16 GB on-board storage and other with 32 GB on-board storage. The memory card slot at the back can accommodate up to 64 GB micro SD card slot and we believe even the new 128 GB micro SD card.
The LG G Pro 2 will support the 4G LTE networks at 1800 Mhz and 2600 Mhz bands to deliver faster mobile browsing experience for the Indian consumers. Besides that, the dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) along with Wi-Fi Direct will offer you fastest mobile experience if paired over appropriately relevant router. The smartphone carries DLNA certification to be connected to supporting large screen displays.
LG has peppered the main board with usual set of sensors - accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity and e-compass. Well, only if LG had tried to include couple of more sensors to get some leverage over the Galaxy Note 3 or Sony Xperia Z Ultra. The Stereo FM Radio has been omitted which is bit of a surprise for us. For Location based services, the GPS chip offers support for A-GPS, S-GPS and GLONASS support for accurate location fixing and locking. The G Pro 2 offers the same Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP and LG has provided MicroUSB 2.0 (SlimPort support) along with USB Host and USB On-the-go capabilities.
Rating for hardware: 8.5 (Out of 10)
LG had struggled in the past to provide latest Android versions updates to its customers. However, the company has really changed its game plan since last year. The LG G Pro 2 ships with the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update with the LG UI optimizations on top of it. The implementations similar to the ones in G Flex have been made on the user interface like the navigation bars appear more transparent. The user interface adheres to the new Android 4.4 KitKat design and look without drifting away much form it except in the applications.
LG can't stop bragging about the new security focused feature - Knock Code. Teenagers and niche groups have a secret knock sequence to confirm their membership in order to join a secret club. The Knock Code basically offers a grid of four squares to the user in order to feed in and confirm a Knock Sequence code. Knock Code also integrates a backup PIN just incase someone has figured out your secret Knock to unlock the display. LG boasts of about 86,367 different Knock patterns to choose from. Interestingly, the Knock Code falls under the Screen Lock settings but is not placed in the Settings App. One has to select the Hamburger Menu icon in order to access the Screen Lock options.
Single Hand Operation and Mini View are the two features that are consistent among the recently released premium LG devices like G Flex. The Mini View basically shrinks the user interface to almost 3.4-inch sized window and leaving the rest of area blacked out. There is a silver triangle on the top left side of that window to pull the UI for making it suitably big. The intention is to let the user operate the phone with one hand. While the Mini View is interesting it renders rest of the screen area absolutely worthless at the same time.
Notification Tray is an amazing boon for the modern day smartphones but it just keeps on getting cluttered with every new update. In the G Pro 2, on the top are the Quick Settings buttons on the slide bar. Just below that is the QSlide function supporting Apps. The QSlide function basically enables multi-tasking while using two apps at the same time - twin window view. The QSlide apps have very deep knit integration that let you perform two tasks without switching between the apps. Under that bar is the Brightness Control seek bar followed by the ringer control seek bar. When the Notification tray is pulled down, it easily consumes half of the display area leaving the rest for the app-related notifications. Of course, Quick Memo feature does allow quickly taking a screenshot and add a note on top of it.
LG has integrated the new Content Locker function that basically locks down the Gallery, Memo and Notebook. Now only if LG had made the same Content Lock accommodates SMS and Email in order to secure those two crucial communication channels.
On the Audio front, LG has quietly made two important changes. Firstly, the inclusion of the Smart Music Player that allows changing speed as well as pitch of a track in real time. And secondly, the speakers support 1W Hi-Fi Sound that boosts the audio output without causing any loss to the original audio expected from the source file. Basically add more aural punch and richer audio output. By default, the LG G Pro 2 offers Tasks, Notebook and Polaris Viewer 5 apps other than the system or Google Mobile Services app. The Polaris Viewer 5 supports Word Documents, Spreadsheets and even PDF Files.
Overall experience of the Android 4.4.2 KitKat under the LG UI is relatively smoother and fluid compared to its implementations in the previous generation models. The interface looks much cleaner and the app icons look better with transparency clad logos sans the background.
Rating for software: 8 (Out of 10)
The G Pro 2 in a nutshell carries the same camera of the LG G2 with couple of interesting improvements - 4K video recording and Optical Image Stabilization plus. The new OIS+ is claimed to be an improved OIS feature achieved through the software optimizations along with the hardware. For still images, the camera can capture the images at 4160x3120 pixel resolution. LG has tweaked the imaging code a bit to offer better imaging output by reducing the noise and boasts of making the overall image 20 percent better.
The LED flash next to the camera is referred as Natural Flash and powered by the Qualcomm ChromaFlash technology to reproduce more closer to natural colours while clicking an image using the flash. This is a single LED flash and in order to create more natural flash, the actual result messes up the colour balance.
Camera app brings in plethora of options to select the viewing modes, or make adjustment to other settings. One can always choose the usual ones or experiment a bit with the Dual Shot, Beauty Shot, VR Panorama, Time Catch Shot or Intelligent Auto Mode. The new feature in this crowd is the Magic Focus which allows the user to refocus on a subject by capturing several shots of the same scene with different focus points. With the resultant image, the user can choose the focus on the subject and blur the background. The Magic Focus is quite similar to the Nokia Refocus feature.
In terms of quality, the images in the G Pro 2 is a pleasing improvement over the G2 by offering nice colour accuracy and decent white balance. While noise does seep in with inadequate light conditions. One can easily go ahead to click fantastic landscape images with the HDR mode.
For video recording, LG has matched up to the Galaxy Note 3 with the presence of 4K resolution video recording. Apart from that, the users can experiment with slow motion HD videos at 120 frames per second. Recording full HD videos is not going to be an issue unless you are going record everything in full HD which might force you to add more storage. The video recording menu offers the Audio Zoom function that allows the user to pan and focus on a particular object or person.
We believe that the LG G Pro 2 certainly has improved imaging experience and can offer quality images as well as videos worth enjoying on larger displays.
Rating for camera: 8 (out of 10)
Large displays are ideally meant to enjoy visual multimedia. Full HD resolution bearing True IPS+ LCD display allowed us to enjoy full HD movies and videos like a breeze. Basically the Adreno 330 GPU does show its true potential when viewing a full HD video or playing heavy 3D graphics loaded game. Obviously, gaming would be absolutely fun on this powerful hardware clad device. We had no issues enjoy the most casual to graphics heavy games.
Starting off with Graphics Benchmark, the G Pro 2 scored 17666 in the Ice Storm Limited test and easily ranked to be one of the most powerful devices available in the market. Overall performance measured using AnTuTu benchmark bagged 29230 score for the the G Pro 2. While the Quadrant Benchmark awarded 18236 to the handset. Finally in the Vellamo Metal benchmark, the device scored 1292 and proudly leapfrogged the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
Audio quality of the voice calls was clear and fine without any issues. LG has packed powerful GPS support and thus the GPS lock happened in about less than two seconds on the test device. While we tested this in a building and barely in an open space, we believe the phone can offer better location accuracy in open space areas. With the new Knock Codes, we did face couple of hiccups while unlocking the device.
Considering the synthetic benchmarks, camera performance, audio performance and user experience, we can comfortably say that this smartphone is a great all-rounder.
Rating for performance: 9 (out of 10)
Bigger than the usual smartphones have a fair advantage - capability to hold a larger battery. LG has followed that to cram 3200 mAh battery inside the G Pro 2. Though the display is large, the big battery does offer comfort to enjoy HD movies for as long as almost 10 hours. With a single charge, the phone easily remained functional even after calls total of more than an hour, some web browsing, social apps usage and watching few videos. We must say that the battery life is relatively improved over the last installment offering very similar battery capacity.
We did not try to measure the battery capacity using the ART mode from developer options since it is currently in experimental phase and also breaks compatibility with multiple apps. Banking on LG to offer next major Android update, we can only anticipate ever better battery life on the G Pro 2 with ART enabled.
Rating for battery: 9 (out of 10)
Images by Sushil Kumar
LG introduced the G Pro 2 for Indian consumers at Rs 49,900 MRP and is already being sold for less than that figure. At the same price point, the G Pro 2 has competes with the Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3 and even the mint-new Sony Xperia Z2. Though it may not be able to beat all these devices in every sense, the G Pro 2 certainly promises powerful performance and great battery life - two top concerns of any user who buys a premium device. The LG G Pro 2 is a welcome iteration that basically marries the best of the LG G2 and Optimus G Pro to offer a better large screen touting package. Featuring a slim profile, slightly different design, and great battery life, the G Pro 2 is certainly one of the top five large screen devices. LG G Pro 2 is ideally for anyone seeking a large screen with powerful hardware, smooth user experience and supporting great battery life. We believe the G Pro 2 is a badass phone but LG has introduced the G Pro 2 couple of months late in the market. We hope that it continues to share the visibility space and does not repeat the fate of getting sidelined like its predecessor.