Yesterday, I was at the LG Optimus G launch event in Seoul and I could briefly play with a unit and post a hands -on. This morning, the LG flagship smartphone was launched in the US at a press conference in New-York.

I finally got the time to shoot additional photos of the Optimus G white version, which is the model I prefer.  So far, I am really impressed by the unit I played with, the unibody design is sleek and elegant, with a great build quality that encloses powerful performance.

LG is pushing hard its software differentiation by emphasizing its “unique user experience”, which is supported by a set of custom user interface features. Some people are not really fan of Google mobile OS customization since it  increases the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem, however, I found LG innovations very interesting, pleasing to the eyes and practical.

See the demo video above, another one is available in the full post with a detailed explanation. More information about the Optimus G in the full post.


Key Features:

  • SoC (System on a Chip): 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor Quad-Core
  • RAM: 2GB DDR
  • Operating System: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Network: 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (will vary depending on country/carrier)
  • Display: 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPSPlus (1280 x 768 pixels) / 15:9 ratio / 320 ppi
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Camera: 13.0MP or 8.0MP (probably for the US version) rear / 1.3MP front
  • Battery: 2,100mAh (570Wh/L) / Talk time: 15 hours / Standby: 335 hours
  • Size: 131.9 x 68.9 x 8.45mm Weight: 145g
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, USB2.0 HS, A-GPS, MHL and DLNA, NFC

Design

LG Optimus G more details   preview with videos
On the design side, LG developed and patented the Crystal Reflection process, which is applied to the back of the Optimus G. Crystal Reflection and its diamond shaped pattern conveys a unique elegant look.  This technique creates an interesting optical effect that displays different patterns depending on the viewing angle and lighting. In the photos of the black unit (see our hands on), you imagine that there is a texture on the back, but it is the visual effect, the nice glass finish on top of the pattern makes the device perfectly flat and smooth.  Additionally, the edge to edge display that eliminates the bezel on the front combined with the the thinness and the lightness of the chassis makes the device extremely stylish and minimalistic.

LG Optimus G more details   preview with videos

Performance

The LG Optimus G is the first handset powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Quad-core S4 Pro which provides excellent performance (we played with the SDK).  We have to wait for the final product to run the benchmarks, since the unit we tried was pre-production.

User interface, custom features – demo videos

In our hands on, we covered the product design quality and the perceived performances, and both are great.  On the software side, LG launched a number of unique features that are quite impressive. We do not know yet how many people will really use them and how they will exactly do it, however, just for the sake of the technology and its aesthetics, I like them a lot.

Henry Nho, Chief Research Engineer, Mobile Platform Architecture, LG, showed me a demo of the QSlide Function (video at the top of the article) , that allows to display two applications in the same screen by making the top application screen semi-transparent, so the user can see the second one underneath. In the demo, Henry shows how it is possible to watch a video and operate the home screen at the same time (to verify).
In a presentation that I attended yesterday, Dr Ram-cham Woo, Head of MC Platform Planning Division said that the application at the top needs to support the LG QSlide API to provide the feature.  The application at the top does not need any modification to be used with the feature. This feature is very cool, however I wonder if it is convenient to watch a semi transparent video while performing another task. Users will tell us I guess.

Henry starts the demo by showing visually attractive unlock screen which is now a 3D bubble that extend when you drag it with the finger, and uncovers the last application you used.

The second feature I was excited about is QuickMemo, basically you can jot or draw anything with your finger on top of any screen. This becomes extra useful when you need to write down a phone number rapidly and see it in your phone dial screen right away. Additionally, QuickMemo allows users to annotate any screen and share it instantly.

In the video, you can also take a look at LiveZoom, a feature that enables zooming in a video while it is being streamed.

In the second video you will be able to see how the Dual Screen Dual Play works. Instead of simply wirelessly mirroring the phone screen into the TV, it allows to perform different tasks in the phone and in the TV simultaneously.  For example when displaying a slide presentation, you can see the slide on the TV and you can operate the slide deck on the phone. During the presentation, prior to the recording of the video above, LG stated that Dual Screen Dual Play is based on Miracast, a technology and a certification program officially unveiled by the WiFi Alliance today. Miracast is available in the Optimus G settings from the “more” menu.

Entertainment

Video Playback

I was able to play a HD trailer from Youtube over WiFi. The viewing experience is good, the video was fluid and, thanks to the great IPS Plus display, the image quality is excellent. The audio quality available via the speakerphone is good, it is just a hair less powerful than my iPhone, but honestly, I prefer to watch video on a larger screen.

Gaming
The Snapdragon S4 has good performance for gaming, so I tried briefly the 3D game Riptide GP. The experience is very fluid and the game is very responsive. Additionally, the display quality makes the visual experience enjoyable.

Image Capture

LG Optimus G more details   preview with videos

Image shot with LG Optimus G – THIS IS NOT THE ORIGINAL RESOLUTION

LG Optimus G more details   preview with videos

Image shot with LG Optimus G – THIS IS NOT THE ORIGINAL RESOLUTION

The 13 MP rear camera looks good on the paper and I managed to shoot several pictures in various lighting condition. Not having the latest high-end Smartphones on hand I could not compare to the competition, so I decided to compare to my DSLR and the results are pretty good (see photos taken with the Optimus G – note that resolution has been reduced to be displayed in this article). Overall the camera software is better than previous LG smartphones such as the Optimus LTE 2 although the focus could be a little faster.

LG Optimus G more details   preview with videos

Image shot with LG Optimus G while moving in the bus, it looks like the motion detection works well – THIS IS NOT THE ORIGINAL RESOLUTION

Battery life

I had the opportunity to carry the LG Optimus G for a few hours today and I could get an idea of the battery life with regular usage. The 4G LTE and the GPS were on the whole time, WiFi was off. I never played a video, however I shot photos many times during the day. Besides shooting pictures, I checked my emails regularly, browsed the web from time to time, uploaded a couple of pictures on Facebook and checked-in on Foursquare several times. Quad-core eco mode was on and the 2,100 mAh battery lasted roughly 8 hours, which is very good knowing that 4G tends to drain batteries pretty quickly. We will test the battery with intense usage when we get the final product review unit.

Transparency: LG has invited Ubergizmo and other media outlets to this press conference and has paid for our flight and hotel accommodations. Although most media outlets never disclose things like this, we do. More about our travel policy.
This article was filed in Homepage > Cellphones > Featured and was tagged with Android, LG, Optimus G, quad core, Smartphone and snapdragon.
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