19
Sep
Optimus-G_1

Greetings from New York! LG showed off the Optimus G today, their new monster of a phone. If you haven’t heard, it’s the first phone with a 1.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. Qualcomm's dual-core chips can hold their own against the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3, so this should be one of the fastest phones available. It’s also one of the first phones to have a next-gen Adreno 320 GPU, which, again, means it should be really fast.

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I got to play around with one for a few minutes, and yes, the real world performance lives up to the specs. Everything is blazingly fast, and animations are buttery-smooth. The speed allows them to do some pretty cool things, like beam a video to a TV while using the phone for something else (dongle required) or mirror a presentation while the phone displays thumbnails, notes, and a toolbar.

The picture on the left is showing off the memo ability. If you press both volume buttons at once, you can draw on the screen, and have it persist above the UI until you dismiss it.

I would have loved to try some benchmarks or harder apps, but the demos weren't hooked up to WiFi and had no SIMs.

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The Optimus G flexes even more processing muscle during a video. You can use pinch zoom on a live video, or even overlay a transparent browser over it. The slider at the top adjusts the transparency to your liking. I don't know how useful any of this will ultimately be, but it's an impressive display of power.

LG's skin is full of swoopy effects that seem like they would slow other phones to a crawl. Swiping on the home screen makes the icons fly away from the screen, and the unlock animation has a crazy fisheye effect. In general, the skin seems very "heavy," but the phone can handle it all easily.

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By the way, the version LG is showing off today is the Korean variant of the G, as evidenced by the pull out TV antenna and some Korean-only apps. LG assures me the antenna won't make it over here.

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No, those aren't on-screen buttons, they are old school, painted-on buttons, and they still included menu. That's depressing. The Optimus G, by the way, runs Ice Cream Sandwich.

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The back is a smooth glass surface, and has a decent amount of grip to it. Under the glass is a nice star pattern. The build quality is ok. The plastic frame doesn't feel cheap, but it's not super high-quality either. The construction seemed pretty sturdy during my limited time with it.

On the back, you see the 13MP camera lens and the rear speaker. The side has the volume rockers and SIM slot cover. Again, remember this is the Korean version, so expect the logos back here to be different.

The camera has a voice activation feature. You can say the command, and it will snap a picture. The example given was that this would be useful for self portraits, where finding the shutter button can be difficult. The voice command for the camera? "Cheese."

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The bottom features the microUSB port, microphone, and 2 screws. Here you can see the silver band around the outside, which goes all the way around the phone. It's a nice change over the usual thick chrome band.

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The skin is a dead-ringer for TouchWiz. Everything is candy-coated, and they even stole Samsung's notification panel power shortcuts. Also, like Samsung, LG likes to "brand" every minor software feature they can think of with a silly name. I've skipped them for the sake of everyone's sanity.

LG added swoopy animations to just about everything, and it makes the phone seem very powerful. I'll have to spend some more time with it to see if it gets annoying. More importantly, though, they don't seem to slow down navigation from one thing to another. I've got high hopes.

That’s it so far for LG's spec powerhouse. LG says they should be out in the US in Q4. You’ll know more when we do.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • tsunami1609

    Why do people like this phone again? We aren't really fooled by specs nowadays, right? No?

    • PINJ

      Yes. We. Are.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      I feel the same way. Software is so much more important.

      • MeCampbell30

        For the average consumer, yes. For people that frequent XDA, not so much.

  • http://twitter.com/mauaus mauaus

    after the optimus 2x, never buying from LG again...

    • Firehawkws7

      I love my G2x. I have not had a single problem with it, even when it had a stock rom it was solid.

  • jak_341

    Impressive. Most impressive. If this has an unlocked and non-encrypted bootloader, I may be interested.

  • jusatin

    Has one major flaw, that being LG. Say goodbye to updates if you decide to buy any of their phones.

    • http://twitter.com/mauaus mauaus

      my point exactly

    • Keith0606

      I'd buy it, if they add the name Nexus on it and it runs stock 4.1

      • polo2503

        and if the finition was a bit better (looks like a 199$ no-name phone).

    • itznfb

      If you're buying a smartphone for an OS that doesn't come pre-loaded.... then you shouldn't blame the manufacturer.

  • SWNBRN

    The moment I saw the design, I smell a law suit already.. Good luck!

    • Jeremy Bryant

      Yeah, my butt puckered as soon as I saw it, too. Granted, it has about 1.5x the screen real estate of the ip5, but Apple's legal team are a picky bunch...

  • Mo

    the demos we not hooked up to wifi you say? How come every picture has the wifi symbol?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Yeah, I saw that, but the internet definitely didn't work. The reps said they didn't have internet, and I even tried anyway. This stuff is usually pre-release software and hardware, so I didn't make a big deal about it.

  • RedPandaAlex

    Really want to see this thing benchmarked.

    As much as I usually disdain OEM customizations, I do kind of like the unlock animation.

    • Greyhame

      Droid-life has a video with a quadrant benchmark if you're interested. Scores somewhere in the 7k range.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ShinobiPhoenix Cody Shiranai

    With everything that is actually NEW on this phone, what exactly is so special and innovative about the iPhone5?

    • SetiroN

      That, unlike LG phones, it will still be supported after the first 2 months on the market.

      • LiamBryant

        Besides the fact that iOS "major updates" only entail a few minor tweaks and such, that is the best thing about the iPhone. For whatever reason, carriers don't want Android phones to be able to upgrade and it really detracts from the platform. If you don't know how to root, there's still some phones stuck on Gingerbread and probably even Froyo. Android really needs to figure out a way to step it up here...maybe they should find a way to make Android updates available through the Play Store! That'd be genius! But then again, how would all the supposedly "unobtrusive" skins and custom UIs get on there? Oh heavens how would the Galaxy S III survive without TouchWiz?

        • SetiroN

          You're misinterpreting: only you read a pro-apple comment in what I said, i'm simply stating the obvious: apple might have been releasing incremental upgrades as revolutionary new phones, but at least they support them. LG keeps on releasing the highest specced phones there are, but they don't support them (almost) at all.

          It's not about carriers.It's not about updates being major or minor.It's not about custom UIs.It's not about rooting.
          It's about LG being SHIT at supporting their phones. Their 3 2011 flagships (2X, 3D, black) are stuck on a poorly implemented 2.3 OS. And you might be Ricardo Cerqueira himself, but there is no way to properly run 4.x on them until LG releases their updates, until then the best you can do is run it awfully with an hacked HAL and horrible performance.

          Who cares about them releasing the best specced phones when the software will NEVER be on par?
          Yeah, this phone will probably see JB soon after release, but the next major Android release will never see the light on it. Or it will 12 months after it would have been needed, when it's too late.

  • fixxmyhead

    ron what are those silly names

  • SetiroN

    Seeing how LG screwed people over with every single one of their phones, starting with their flagship, I sincerely do hope for this Nth specs-only device to fail miserably.
    I really do hope people realize not to trust LG mobile ever again.

  • Alex

    Dear Mr/Mrs. LG,
    I hope your reading this. I want to congratulate you on specs (I was first to buy the LG G2X, remember that?). I want you to sell many many phones, more manufacturers building Android is a good thing.
    Here is my personal input:

    When going bigger than 5 inches, you are hitting a niche market. A market I (SGS2 owner) "considered" too big everytime I saw the Samsung Note1. I would walk past the Note1 and think "DAYYUMM, thats a huge b*tch" lol.
    AND GUESS WHAT, I'm planning to buy the Note2! Why? Because the "niche" finally caught up to me, by the way of Samsung marketing. They showed sooo many countless features until 1 in particular got me... It was/is the pen crop the web content! I like to collect and save cool stuff from the web and that specific feature of Note2 I believe will help me trim down and help my digital life.
    So, why would I hold this "huge b*tch LG" against my head? Your selling a geek (me, others) specs? Sure, specs matter, as I'm waiting to try the Note2 in person and see if the "specs" help with the SPen lag/response... So, it's a combination of specs and features. Going big is not always better IMO.

    There is another thing you could push... It's called "sexy". Yet, this LG looks like a "huge b*tch" lol. In other word, looks like a cheap wh*re willing to bang for cheap.

    To summarize this, LG... you need a new design, marketing team. I bet your paying lots of money to someone to help you stand out, yet IMO they have failed AGAIN before it's even released. Maybe you need some average/hardcover user like me to lead your team because your "pros" are missing the mark as usual. Or maybe you should consult with your successful LG Cinema team to inject some sexy to your phones.

    Regardless, it's only my 2cents and your millions and I wish you all the best, skip...

  • Lou

    "The
    back is a smooth glass surface, and has a decent amount of grip to it.
    Under the glass is a nice star pattern. The build quality is ok. The
    plastic frame doesn't feel cheap, but it's not super high-quality
    either. The construction seemed pretty sturdy during my limited time
    with it."

    Can you at least tell us how it fairs compared to the GSIII's build quality? Is it better or just the same, maybe worse?

    • polo2503

      definitely looks thicker ... probably due to the design.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      I didn't have a GSIII on hand to directly compare, but the Optimus G is probably a little thicker. There really isn't a huge difference in build quality between the GSIII and Optimus G, but I would probably give the edge to LG. The plastic is gripper, and the back at least has some kind of patten in it, as opposed to the ocean of cheap looking flat plastic on the back of the GSIII.

      It really strikes me as LG's version of the GSIII. It's a lot of fast parts in a bland box, and Android smothered with a heavy skin.

  • http://twitter.com/Pascalwb Pascal

    Nice design, looks like new Optimus 2X, but never LG. But I hope next Nexus will be LG, I love their simple design. I don't like samsung design. LG make good HW, but SW support is cap. What they think in LG, that customers are stupid?

  • beboo

    did anyone notice that phones with quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor.(APQ8064) don't support SD card like ( LG Optimus G, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 MDP/T, Xiaomi MI-2 & Oppo Find 5
    ) Why is that ?

    • MeCampbell30

      Coincidence

  • Freak4Dell

    "No, those aren't on-screen buttons, they are old school, painted-on
    buttons, and they still included menu. That's depressing."

    No, that's not depressing. That's awesome. In fact, it's double awesome; one awesome for the physical buttons, and another awesome for the button that's actually useful, rather than that stupid recent apps button that could easily be tied to one of the other 3 buttons.

    Anyway, that thing looks monstrous.

    • jim

      the redundant button because it is actually ALREADY tied to another button. you just hold the home button down and it is there.

      • Freak4Dell

        Oh, wow...I didn't realize that recent apps was still tied to the home button even if the recent apps button is there. That's double stupid.