LG G2 Mini
23rd Feb 2014 | 16:27
"Mini" is a bit of a lie, but don't let that put you off
The LG G2 Mini rocks up a little late to the "mini smartphone" party, and it looks like someone at the Korean firm has forgotten what mini actually means.
To be fair, the likes of the HTC One Mini, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and Sony Xperia Z1 Compact aren't exactly the smallest phones on the market, but with its 4.7-inch display the G2 Mini is a similar size to the flagship HTC One.
It also means there isn't a whole lot of difference between it and the 5.2-inch LG G2, and I'd still recommend the latter over the Mini if your budget can stretch that far.
The price of the LG G2 Mini is currently unknown, but I'd expect it to land around the same point as the Galaxy S4 Mini and One Mini.
Unlike the Xperia Z1 Compact, LG hasn't kept the same internal components of its bigger brother, meaning you'll have to make do with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, microSD slot, 8MP rear camera and a 1.3MP front camera.
Another feature the G2 Mini has over its larger namesake is LG's new Knockcode security system, allowing you to tap out a pattern to wake and unlock you handset without having to touch any buttons.
Your pattern can consist of anything from two to eight knocks, but I found that the system wasn't always overly responsive.
Sometimes I'd tap out the code and it simply wouldn't register, while at other times there was a good two second delay before the screen turned on - something I'm sure will grate after extended use.
The handset itself is relatively lightweight (121g), and that makes it comfortable to hold in one hand.
I almost didn't realise the additional depth of the G2 Mini thanks to the rounded sides of the device, but if you're worried about pocket budge it protrudes 9.8mm compared to 8.9mm G2.
The rear of the G2 Mini has a textured effect which supplies a suitable level of grip, and LG's rear button setup is present here.
Sadly they are the same size and shape as the ones found on the G2, rather than the enlarged, easier to hit buttons on the LG G Flex.
The Knockcode and Knockon features means you'll require these keys less than on a standard smartphone, but they can still be tricky to hit unsighted when you do need to use them.
I found that the G2 Mini also looks and feels noticeably less premium than the full size G2, and that's a little bit of a shame considering the One Mini's metal chassis.
A handy feature which doesn't often make its way into non-flagship devices is the inclusion of an IR (infra-red) blaster on top of the LG G2 Mini, allowing you to control TVs, DVD players, Hi-Fi systems and set top boxes from the phone.
I'd have preferred it located on the back next to the camera - as it is on the G Flex - but this isn't a huge issue.
The 4.7-inch screen may not be full HD, but the 540 x 960 resolution is still good enough to provide a decent level of detail and I found reading text and viewing images pleasing enough.
If you study the screen closely enough, or hold a full HD phone (or even a One Mini) beside the G2 Mini, you'll notice the poorer resolution, but in isolation it shouldn't give you any trouble.
Moving around the Android KitKat operating system was generally pretty smooth, but the LG G2 Mini does lack the additional zip of its higher powered bigger brother.
There is still enough power under the hood to play intensive games and I can't foresee anything giving the G2 Mini too much of a problem.
Browsing the web on the G2 Mini was enjoyable as web pages loaded swiftly - the desktop version of TechRadar for example took less than five seconds to fully load over a decent Wi-Fi connection.
That browsing speed should follow you outdoors and onto the open road, as LG has equipped the G2 Mini with CAT 4 LTE, giving you access to superfast 4G speeds.
The large screen on the G2 Mini also makes browsing websites more comfortable, plus it allows for a decently spaced keyboard complete with next word prediction.
LG has toned down the camera application on the G2 Mini, but it still keeps a few of the features from the firm's flagship device including Beauty shot, HDR, panorama, Time catch shot and sports mode.
Shutter speed is acceptable, but it's not the quickest I've experienced at this level and my pictures taken of the oddly lit demo area came out pretty well.
The LG G2 Mini also packs in a big 2440mAh battery, considerably larger than its rivals, which should hopefully result in some decent battery life and I'll be sure to put that to the test in the in-depth review.
If you fancy getting your hands on one then the LG G2 Mini release date is slated for March in some regions, with Europe following shortly after.
The LG G2 Mini is a decent smartphone, but it may have arrived a bit too late to really make the same sort of impact as the S4 Mini or One Mini.
If the G2 Mini does rock a similar price tag to its rivals then perhaps its larger screen and big battery will help it get some grounding in the market - but we're just going to have to wait and see.