LG's new flagship smartphone has many exciting features, but LG still managed to make some iffy design choices.
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LG's new smartphone, the G2, is an impressive device. It has a beautiful screen, powerful processor, pixel-rich camera, and thoughtful software. The spec list is among the best in the business, with LG adding some innovations of its own. Even so, LG made some design compromises that might give some buyers pause.
Here's a highlight of the LG G2's strengths -- and its weaknesses.
-- Screen: The G2's screen is among the best I've ever seen. LG's in-plane switching technology is used by Apple in the full-size iPad, and the same tech works wonders for the G2's full-HD screen. It is sharp, colorful and bright. Measuring 5.2 inches diagonally, the G2 offers a massive canvas -- for a smartphone -- on which to write emails, compose photos or watch video. It is gorgeous.
-- Processor: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor that provides the G2 with its power is among the best in the business. Benchmarks for the chipset are off the charts. The G2's Snapdragon 800 has four cores at 2.3 GHz each. It provides more than enough power to handle multiple applications running at the same time and still conserve battery power at the same time.
-- Software: LG did a great job adding some custom features to the G2 with its own apps and services. Stand-outs include Text Link, Guest Mode and Quick Slide. I like the idea behind text Link, which scans text messages for content such as event invites and then automatically populates the calendar with that data. Neat time-saver.
Guest Mode allows G2 owners to create alternate user accounts on the G2 that can't interact with the owner's content. It's sort of like Kid Zone in Windows Phone 8. It's also something that Google just added to Android in version 4.3. It will be interesting to see how OEMs incorporate this new Android 4.3 capability. Until then, the G2 offers Guest Mode.
-- Advanced wireless: The G2 supports LTE Advanced and Carrier Aggregation. LTE Advanced isn't available yet, but at least one U.S. carrier is working on it. Carrier Aggregation is the technology that improves bandwidth and doubles LTE data speeds. Further, the G2 comes with every radio under the sun, including GPS, GLONASS, NFC, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. That means the G2 will be compatible with many, many other devices for years to come.
-- Limited storage: The G2 comes with only one storage option: 32 GB. There is no lower-cost model with less storage. There is no higher-cost model with more. Worse, the 32 GB is not expandable. That means the phone has 32 GB and will only ever have 32 GB. In fact, users have access to just 24 GB of that storage, thanks to the system software and apps. That's pretty limiting.
-- Hardware missteps: LG made some interesting hardware choices. First, it decided to move the power and volume buttons to the back of the phone. LG touts the feature as innovative and more natural, but it represents a big change in how most people use their phone. Further, the G2 is made of cheap-feeling plastics and not the high-quality materials that flagship smartphone shoppers want. It's also not as thin and light as some of its competitors.
-- Bland looks: The G2 is nearly identical to the LG Optimus G Pro in appearance and design. The two are separated by very few features. The overall bland design of the device also makes it similar to the Galaxy S4. LG could have done a bit more -- other than moving the power and volume buttons -- to give the G2 more personality.
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