Love 'em or hate 'em, "phablets" are here to stay as long as folks keep buying them. It's certainly taken LG long enough to launch a proper response to Samsung's big-screen devices, but overall we found the Optimus G Pro a worthy contender to the Galaxy Note.

We liked

If you're going to put a massive 5.5-inch display on a smartphone, make it a good one – and that's exactly what LG has done here. Paired with photos taken using its effective rear camera image sensor, this is a screen you won't mind spending hours looking at.

LG Optimus G Pro review

It also helps that LG's custom Android skin isn't completely heinous, and we rather preferred it to all but stock Jelly Bean. The customizable QuickButton was also a nice surprise, particularly when used with the built-in Camera app.

We disliked

Although we like the look, feel and placement of the home button, in day-to-day use we found our finger fumbling a bit to press it. We also found ourselves frequently worrying about the device slipping out of our hand(s), a legitimate concern for many users since there's not much to grip on the back cover.

LG Optimus G Pro review

Despite the gorgeous display, the Optimus G Pro is ultimately a tad too large for a smartphone. Despite LG adding custom one-handed features, there's just no getting around the sheer size, so users will need to get used to using it with both hands.

Verdict

It's a shame Samsung has deeper pockets and a larger marketing budget, because the LG Optimus G Pro is nearly every bit Sammy's equal – not just when pitted against the equally phablet-sized Galaxy Note 2, but also the largely overhyped Galaxy S4.

Unfortunately, LG and AT&T have their work cut out for them in selling the Optimus G Pro, which arrives during a mid-cycle lull between the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the latest model expected to launch in the near future. We've always been the type to root for the underdog anyway, so we say the G Pro is well worth a look.