TechRadar Reacts: LG G2

7th Aug 2013 | 15:43

TechRadar Reacts: LG G2

Is LG ready to take on the smartphone heavyweights?

It wasn't exactly a secret that LG would launch its Optimus-less LG G2 today - so were there any surprises in store?

We're not all sold on the idea of having buttons on the back of our phones, but the souped-up Qualcomm processor and dishy 5.2-inch screen is certainly getting a few of us hot under the collar...

  • For a more in-depth look at the handset, check out our hands on LG G2 review

Marc F - Editor, Mobile Devices (US)

LG's new G2 looks like a Samsung Galaxy S4 clone. Its stand-out feature, at least according to LG's presentation, is the G2's backside. There was a lengthy discussion about placing the power and volume buttons—the only physical buttons on the phone--on the back of the G2. The design was apparently the result of LG's ability to listen to customers and users, though putting all the buttons on the back, right underneath the camera, seems a little awkward to use. The G2 seems like a nice phone with a good battery and decent design, but nothing jumps out at me. Why would I buy the G2 over the Galaxy S4, HTC One or the Moto X?

Knee-jerk score: 4

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Patrick - UK Editor in Chief

I'd love to see an LG flagship phone that really catches the mood. You have to applaud LG for trying to do something interesting with the buttons although I'm not convinced it 'shifts the paradigm in smartphone design' as LG suggests. That said - the specs look great; two gigs of RAM, a meaty processor and a chunk of audiophile tech shoved in to boot. I just hope LG can get people excited about this.

Knee-jerk score: 4

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Kate - News Editor (UK)

You may not think it fair of me to base my entire reaction on one (relatively minor-in-the-grand-scheme-of-life) feature but look: when Apple moved the headphone jack to the bottom of the iPhone 5, it really upset me. It's a stupid place for a headphone jack and it annoys me every single time I use my phone with headphones on - and reader, that is a lot. So I'm worried about this buttons-on-the-back nonsense. The LG G2 could be the best phone in the world but if this regularly-used bit of hardware is annoying, I'm never going to like using the thing.

Knee-jerk score: 3

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Hugh - Staff Writer (UK)

I'm actually really pleased with what LG is offering in the G2, especially in terms of that lovely big screen. Although the big song and dance it's making about putting the volume and power buttons on the back might seem a tad OTT, it's undoubtedly a great way of going big without compromising on functionality. Features like Answer Me also show similar thinking. Shame about not getting Android 4.3 but this is a minor gripe in what seems like an otherwise respectable, nicely spec-d handset.

Knee-jerk score: 4

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Dan - Associate Editor (UK)

I must say that having a big button thing on the back is a terrific gimmick. It's no more than a gimmick – although it makes a little sense in terms of where you have your hand - but at least LG has tried to do something genuinely different, probably prompted by some board meeting in Seoul at which somebody slammed their fists on the table and said "we must do something different than Samsung". Shame then, that LG decided to launch this handset in an old music hall in New York. Which is precisely how Samsung launched the S4.

Knee-jerk score: 4

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Marc C - Deputy Editor (UK)

LG has gone down the Samsung route of offering up a huge screen for those who like a whole lot of glass with their mobile phone. This isn't a bad thing, given the amount of media consumed on portable gadgets nowadays, and LG G2 certainly impresses with its 423 pixels-per-inch image density.

I'm not sold on the lack of a physical home button though and the volume rocker on the back looks a little strange – it could be a problem in the pocket too. I can foresee some accidental pressing when you are trying to stuff it into your jeans... which reads a lot ruder than it should. Not having Android 4.3 is annoying as it means that an inevitable update will have to happen soon after you buy it but a decent 3,000mAh battery life is certainly welcome.

Knee-jerk score: 4

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James - Reviews Editor (UK)

If that's where LG thinks I rest my index finger when I hold a smartphone, it's very much mistaken. I just tried it and it feels very uncomfortable indeed, so I'm not at all convinced by this 'rear key' idea. But maybe that's just me. Apart from that, the phone looks quite smart – plenty of cool features, the promise of an excellent screen and camera. Some cool software ideas. But there's no X-factor that I can see – the launch event was dull and uninspiring and I can't see anything in this handset that's going to persuade many people to choose it over the Galaxy S4 or HTC One.

Knee-jerk score: 3.5

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Paul - Global Editor in Chief

Given that I'm forever switching the screen off by accident when taking a photo or nearly dropping my phone while trying to change the volume during a call, moving the buttons to the back of the handset seems like a smart idea. Being able to launch the camera with a press of a button would also be welcome and, although a bit gimmicky, I have to admit that the KnockON functionality appeals. Lovely big Galaxy S4-beating screen, too, but with Android 5.0 around the corner I'd be reluctant to get tied into another long contract at this stage.

Knee-jerk score: 4

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Wil - US Editor in Chief

Putting the buttons on the back is definitely an interesting design decision. I really appreciate how it makes the device basically all screen. Of course, that Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor is really promising, as this handset should be fast while also boasting great battery life. Add to that 16GB and 32GB and availability on all four of the major US carriers, LG could be giving the Galaxy S4 a serious run for their money. Of course, I don't know how I'd feel once Android 5.0 comes out.

Knee-jerk score: 4

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John - Phones and Tablets Writer (UK)

I like the look of the LG G2. It seems to offer a decent package which will be able to rival the likes of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 - it's certainly got a ton of power. The buttons on the back are intriguing and, while I'm not sold on their ergonomics just yet, I'm keen to find out what they're like when I get my hands on it.

LG is capable of making quality smartphones - I love my Nexus 4, I was impressed by the Optimus 4X HD last year and the Optimus G Pro I got my mitts on earlier this year did enough to win me over. I have two big issues though - timing and availability. The 4X HD failed to make waves as it arrived months after the Galaxy S3, Xperia S and One X, while the G Pro was only released in a handful of mainly Asia-based countries.

Hopefully the G2 will get a worldwide launch which will certainly help, but I worry that it's arriving a little late to the market.

Knee-jerk score: 4.5

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Michelle - News Editor (US)

On paper, this is a really impressive phone. It packs a punch with that 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 and carries a heavy 2GB in RAM. Throw in a 13MP camera, 5.2-inch display and a 3000mAh battery, and I'm throwing thumbs up at LG. Visually, it won't be the most striking phone on the market (that may go to the Moto X) but I like that LG is taking a chance by putting the only physical button the backside. I'm not convinced that's actually the ideal spot for it, but we'll see if it hits a chord with consumers.

Knee-jerk score: 4

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Lily - Assistant Editor (US)

The LG G2 is a bit on the boring side. It seems like a decent device especially with that 13MP camera and tiny bezel but I'm not convinced because there aren't exactly any other features that stand out and give it that wow factor. The most interesting addition is "guest mode" and that isn't exactly groundbreaking. Also, if I hear a children's choir ringtone, that thing is going in the garbage no matter what kind of phone it is.

Knee-jerk score: 3.5

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Alex - Associate Editor, Reviews (US)

Another big phone from LG, but undoubtedly the boldest one I've seen yet. Buttons on the back, that's pretty brave, but I'm wondering how that will work day to day. I'm pleased to see LG has ditched a physical home button and gone with Android software controls.

Ultimately though, I'm having a hard time getting excited about another massive Android phone. Maybe it's the sensible little Moto X I've got in my pocket for review, but a cell sucking quad-core and a giant display ready to rip my pants pocket just isn't what I'm after. And all that software LG has poured over Android 4.2 just looks like a mess to me.

Knee-jerk score: 3.5

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Nick - Managing Editor (AU)

I'm really excited by what LG is trying to do here. After playing in the shallow end of the smartphone pool for so long, the Koreans are really trying to add their own unique take on the high end. Sure, I have concerns about that volume rocker on the back snagging in my pocket, but there's more than enough in the specs to squash any concerns.

But my biggest concern is around that global release. Sure, LG has said 130 countries, but if we have to wait six months like we did for the Optimus G, it will be too little too late.

Knee-jerk score:4

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Farrha - Online Editor (AU)

I'm a fan of big-screen phones, so I'm immediately attracted to this handset. While the 3,000mAh battery worries me when looking at the giant screen, it will be interesting to see how the Snapdragon 800 processor handles to help prolong the handset's life.

The major talking point will be the button on the back, and though it may not necessarily be a game changer, LG is at least trying to do something a little different and it should get points for that. At a glance, the G2 has a lot of things I like. That LG has turned up to the party with a serious Sumsung/HTC alternative is only a good thing.

Knee-jerk score:4

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Total knee-jerk score: 3.7

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