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.
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 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.
Can the LG outgun and outsell the Galaxy S4 and HTC One? It'll be tough without a massive marketing campaign, but let's take a look at how the phone itself fares against its Android competitors.
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.
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.
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.
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. The button design varies a little based on your carrier model, but they all do the same thing.
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. Perhaps that's true for some, but not all.
Moreover, it becomes more uncomfortable and awkward when you aren't on the phone and you're feeling around for the buttons. 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.
Perhaps in time the power/volume button situation will become easier to deal with, but we don't think you should ever have to. It should just be easy.
Even during the first few days, the button situation became rather infuriating. We couldn't turn the phone on or off blindly find the power button. Whenever we tried turning the phone off or on, we'd end up adjusting the volume somehow, or vice versa.
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.
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.