The LG G2 is the beastly smartphone that is LG's answer to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. It's a massive, yet not entirely unwieldy, smartphone brimming with specs that would make the most discerning geeks drool.

So far, LG has been a distant cry from where Samsung and HTC find themselves in terms of popularity and smartphone ownership. And between the latter two, Samsung is really dominating the space.

Ratings in depth


Design


Features

LG G2 review

LG G2 review

LG G2 review

With the G2, it seems like LG took a lot of cues from its Korean counterpart and built what many called a Galaxy S4 clone. It's large, made of lots of plastic, shaped similarly and is jam-packed with more features than a single person can handle.

During its New York City presentation, we were a little baffled at what LG decided to highlight as the G2's key features. The first and most evident is the placement of the power button and volume control keys.

LG G2 review

LG went to great lengths to explain how it was listening to customers and observing their usage patterns. Somehow it all led to the awkward placement of those buttons, along with a few other things the phone can do.

In terms of price, the LG G2 is lording it over rivals as some outlets are offering it for £399 on PAYG, and £349 SIM free - that's only £100 or £50 more than the Google Nexus 5, which is modelled partly on this device. Given Google's model is subsidised pretty heavily, that's an excellent price for a phone which outdoes the more expensive Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5S in the power stakes.

LG G2 review

Contract pricing is pretty standard compared to the rivals (which makes that PAYG price all the more perplexing) but the G2, with more power than you can shake an S Pen at, is actually cheaper than the S4 on contract in a few places.

LG isn't going to outsell the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, even with the insane 'Everything's Possible' massive marketing campaign, but let's take a look at how the phone itself fares against its Android competitors.

Design

Diving right into what powers the LG G2 and makes it purr, you'll first notice a 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080 display, which gives us a 424 PPI density. The chipset inside is a Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800, with a 2.26GHz quad-core Krait 400. In terms of processing power, it seems that the G2 is in no short supply.

It comes in 16GB and 32GB variants, with 2GB RAM. Connectivity includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, Infrared port and 4G LTE.

LG G2 review

The camera on back is a 13MP shooter with a small LED flash. Like other high-end Android smartphones, it has a few tricks up its sleeves, too, but we'll get into that in our camera section.

LG also made a big deal out of the battery in this thing, which is a 3,000mAh Li-Po (Lithium Polymer) battery. It's shaped in such a way that it takes up as much space as it can in the phone.

To make more sense of it, curved backs tend to create more unused space for flat batteries. If you allow the battery to take advantage of the curvature of the phone, you effectively get a slightly bigger battery.

Design

Despite being a 5.2-inch display device, the LG G2 is very manageable in the hand. It still takes a reach to get your thumb diagonally across the screen, but it's not so huge that it becomes cumbersome.

To undiscerning eyes, it can be quite hard to tell the difference - at least on the face of it - between the G2 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. One can argue that there is only so much you can do with the modern-day smartphone form factor, but then again HTC and Motorola have very distinct designs.

The edges of the device are clean, free of volume controls and a power button. The bottom edge of the phone has a 3.5mm headset jack, micro-USB port and a speaker and microphone.

LG G2 review

The G2's backside is the business end of the phone. LG decided to put the volume buttons and power button just underneath the camera module.

LG says its the reason the volume and power keys were placed on the back is because that's where your finger naturally wants to rest when you're talking on your phone, which we generally found to be true.

LG G2 review

It can become awkward feeling around for the buttons, as In order to get enough pressure onto the power button, you have to hold the G2 a little awkwardly and make sure you get the correct leverage.

But the South Korean brand has made a huge effort to mitigate this, with elements like double knocking on the screen to open it up (which removes the need to press the power button) and most apps have an onscreen volume control to play with.

Plus over time we noticed ourselves becoming increasingly OK with the placement of the keys - to the point when we switched phones and found that we were pressing the camera button to turn the phone on.

Aside from the power/volume buttons and the camera module, the backside is emblazoned with carrier logos and LG's branding. But otherwise, there isn't a whole lot more going on back there.

LG G2 review

Up front you won't find any physical buttons at all. The back, home and menu buttons are all soft keys on the display, and will respond with haptic feedback unless you disable it.

Overall, the design of the LG G2 is nice, with the exception of the placement of the power and volume buttons. And although we're not particularly fond of an all-plastic body, it's not so bad here in this case.