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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.