LG Optimus G Pro hands-on review
MANILA, Philippines - Not commercially available anywhere outside of Korea and Japan since its reveal at last February’s Mobile World Congress, chances are, the LG Optimus G Pro won’t find its way to the Philippines anytime soon. But with impressive specs, software enhancements, and some cool extras thrown into the mix, LG’s newest smartphone begs to be considered.
By virtue of its 5.5-inch display the Optimus G Pro looks to compete directly with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 - both fall into the phablet category - larger than your usual smartphone but smaller than your usual tablet. They may looked oversized, and may not fit into every pocket but since this class of devices was introduced, pick-up has been great, and they have risen in popularity.
Head-to-head the Optimus G Pro trumps the Galaxy Note 2 on paper, largely a result of the former being a 2013 device. While both are almost at par in terms of processor speed and battery capacity the Optimus G has a superior screen, a gorgeous Full HD display and a better camera. On the outside it is slightly narrower - with a smaller bevel. TechRap only had limited time with the device...but in the few hours that we got to play with it we came up with this list of standout features.
Notifications Shade: While the stock version of Android comes with a very basic pull down menu, it still does much more than the one on iOS - which for the most part, I hardly use. On my Android phone and those that I have had the pleasure to test, I almost always rely on the pull down shade to access quick on and off switches for things like wifi, volume, and mobile data. LG takes it a step further with the Optimus UI by allowing you to customize which menu items you want to appear.
Dual-Shot Camera: A feature that was much trumpeted at the Galaxy S4 launch in New York, dual shot allows you to use both front and rear cameras at the same time - this feature is also available on the Optimus G but unlike the S4 the dual shot on the Optimus G Pro only works on video mode. It’s a great feature - I wonder why no one thought of it sooner.
IR Blaster and Remote Control: This is really more of a nice to have feature than anything else but I can think of a few instances where a remote-control built into you phone would come in handy - like when you’re in a restaurant and someone switches the channel. Take control! :)
Multitasking: While I’ll be the first to say that Samsung does a much better job at multitasking with a feature call "multi-view" which allows you to line up two apps and use them side by side. LG takes on a different approach with a feature called QSlide apps, app-like widgets that float over your screen. We tried watching a video and kept it floating over a browser. Problem is there are only a few QSlide Apps available at the moment.
Buttons: LG is re-thinking the indicator lights that appear on the top some smartphones that glow whenever you get new messages or emails. On the Optimus G its a glowing LED light around the home button. It’s a nice touch and you can customize the color and assign it to different types of alerts. The phone also has, on its left side, an assignable button (LG calls its the "QButton")- which you can dedicate to frequently used apps like the camera.
TV on your phone (well sorta): The unit we tested was purchased in Korea and comes with a pull-out antenna - which in Korea allows you to watch TV on your device. It is pretty cool actually but doesn't work outside of that territory - but then again in the Philippines there are a host of "China phones" that allow you to do that for some much less. But hey - with smartphones being able to do almost everything - why not give people the ability to watch TV.
When it comes to smartphone size, manufacturers are still figuring things out. While most flagship smartphones now average between 4 to 5 inches expect more and more phones to tow the line further all the way till 6. And in the space of phablets the LG Optimus G Pro presents a great case - if only it were available globally.
Shortly after its February launch in Korea, the phone launched in Japan last month BUT the Japanese version of the phone was 5 inches and not 5.5 - the same size as the company's flagship phone the Optimus-G which was launched in Manila last March. The phone is rumoured to hit the US market in May but details have not been revealed. With all these different geography-related iterations, it isn't clear what the phone will look like when and if it reachers our shores.