19
Sep
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Last Updated: September 20th, 2013

I am generally of the view that when it comes to high-end smartphones, most such phones are now squarely in the "pretty good" category. While the internet moans and groans about SD cards, removable batteries, and heavy-handed UI modifications, these things are trivial to most people in the day-to-day operation of a device. But much in the same way some car enthusiasts refuse to relinquish the manual transmission, some smartphone enthusiasts will not let go of the microSD slot until it is pried from their cold, dead fingers. And that's fair enough, even if they are unquestionably a very small minority of the smartphone-buying public.

If you want mainstream success with a high-end phone, then an SD card slot and a removable battery are not be-all, end-all features. These are not real deal-breaker sort of problems that LG's new flagship, the G2, has to worry about. No, the G2's real problems aren't quite so tangible.

The first is brand recognition. LG does not enjoy a big chunk if its respective product's market in the USA, that being high-end smartphones. While it's probably 3rd or 4th to Samsung, Apple, and HTC in top-tier device sales, no average person is going to see you using a G2 and ask "is that the new LG?" By contrast, such encounters are, I find, much more common when using a Samsung phone. This is definitely a problem for LG. While the company has started throwing much more money at advertising its smartphones in the US, LG still lacks the mindshare for a "pretty good phone" to be enough to get the public, let alone smartphone enthusiasts, excited.

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The second problem is that LG seems to have no idea how to reign in its catastrophically ugly and needlessly bloated software layer. It's not slow or anything, it's just so unnecessary. While I would be the first to criticize TouchWiz's endless list of often-useless features, at least with a Samsung phone there are some features that make compelling cases for existence, and most of them work. Many of them also generally stay out of your way, and Samsung is pretty hesitant to add buttons and toggles that clutter up the UI (to be fair, they hide it all in overflow menus). LG, on the other hand, is content stuffing your phone full of half-baked, half-functional tools and tricks that look to be the product of software engineers told only to "develop features," many of which are shameless Samsung photocopies.

To put it bluntly: the G2 isn't a terrible phone - it's actually quite good in some respects - it just doesn't seem necessary. I think if you're a phone enthusiast, at its best the G2 does little to excite, and at its worst is downright annoying to deal with.

LG G2: Specifications
  • Price: $199 on contract (VZW, AT&T), $99 + $21 / month (T-Mobile)
  • Processor: 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • Network compatibility: Varies (all 4 US variants support LTE)
  • Operating system: Android 4.2.2 with LG's UI overlay
  • Display: 5.2" True HD-IPS+ LCD 1920x1080
  • Memory: 2GB RAM / 32GB storage (US - 16GB model available internationally)
  • Cameras: 13MP rear, 2.1MP front
  • Battery: 3000mAh, non-removable
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi A/B/G/N/AC (dual band support), NFC, infrared, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ports / expandable storage: microUSB / none
  • Thickness: 8.9mm
  • Weight: 143g

The Good
  • The G2 is a really fast phone.
  • The camera is very good, and is the first phone I've used that compares well to the Galaxy S4 in terms of fine detail.
  • Big, bright, sharp display.
  • Excellent battery life.
  • 32GB of storage as standard on US models is certainly a good break from the norm.

The Not So Good
  • LG's software layer looks and feels hopelessly outdated, and is bloated to the point of ridiculousness. 60% of my notification bar is completely unusable on the AT&T / international variants. Just, no. Stop it.
  • Build quality seems subpar for LG, this feels like a Samsung phone.
  • The rear-mounted buttons just don't do it for me at all. Your results may differ.
  • The Knock-On gesture (tap twice to turn on the display) works maybe a third of the time you use it, so it's really not worth dealing with.
  • It just isn't a very interesting phone. It's great on paper, but in practice, I just find it totally unlovable.

Hardware

Design and build quality

LG has clearly decided it liked some aspects of the Nexus 4's design and incorporated them into the G2, though most of the inspiration is limited to the front of the device. The entire front fascia is much more round than the squared-off Optimus G, with very little chrome to get in the way of the display glass (aside from a speaker grille, the LG logo, and a very thin chrome band around the edges). This is a step in the right direction, I think, and does give the G2 a pretty clean look. The lack of any buttons along the sides or top of the phone take this minimalism even further.

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The back of the phone, though, does absolutely nothing for me. Aside from the power and volume buttons, it is unabashedly generic. It's not understated - it's not stated at all. It's a phone, and LG continues to show that it really has no intention of branding a design aesthetic at this point. To put it another way, it's like LG actively tried to make it not look all that interesting. The Verizon version, for whatever reason, manages to take this blah-ness and ugly it up a bit with some faux-metal buttons and a very out-of-place metallic blue  (edit: it's a sticker, and a fairly hard to remove one at that) ring around the camera lens. The Verizon version also has a tool-less SIM tray, so the SIM is much easier to pop out. Yay?

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I have to say, while I've typically lauded LG's build quality in the past, the G2 feels like a big step backward. The plastic back is slimy and greasy to the touch, it has Samsung-esque creaks and snaps, and the whole thing just doesn't feel all that premium. Maybe a glass rear cover was a misstep on the Optimus G, but the G2 really could have benefitted from some bespoke materials. I am very much not in love with the way this phone feels in the hand. The international review unit I received has very visible chassis separation around the SIM slot, which reinforces my belief that this phone is not up to LG's typical standards.

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The headphone jack positioned on the bottom is a bit odd for LG, though I think I understand why it's there - none of the other sides of the phone have any protrusions or major deviations from the shape of the phone. LG wanted three of the four sides to be clean (though the left side does house the SIM slot) and uninterrupted. I guess that makes sense. The external speaker (which is either stereo or just has two grilles) is along the bottom of the phone as well.

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The one thing the G2 does right, though, is efficient use of space. The vertical bezels for the display are very narrow, and no capacitive buttons means both the top and bottom chin are fairly small as well. It would be difficult to cram that 5.2" display into a smaller frame.

So, how about those rear-mounted buttons? Personally, I cannot for the life of me even understand how this made it out of an engineering test lab. Even after tying to get used to them for over a week, I simply can't convince myself to find any benefit whatsoever to this choice. It was done for the sake of doing it - it grabbed headlines, made for interesting rumors, and got people curious. The end result, for me, is a whole lot of fuss for zero benefit, and plenty of added frustration. The buttons are nearly reason enough for me to discard this phone from the get-go.

Your mileage may vary.

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Turning the display on or off with the power button means touching the screen itself (your thumb will naturally end up there as leverage), which just seems wrong. I'll sometimes end up launching an app as I hit the power button. That seems like a problem a lot of people are probably going to have. Aside from awkwardly clasping the edges, there's really no other way to consistently reach the power button. Oh, and you will accidentally confuse the power / volume buttons on the Verizon version - the power and volume buttons feel exactly the same. At least on the AT&T / international G2, the power button is a raised, glossy oval, while the volume buttons are flat and have a matte texture.

While of course it is possible to live with these buttons, I just wouldn't want to.

Display

LG makes some very solid IPS LCD panels, and the G2's is no exception. It gets reasonably bright (not as bright as the HTC One, I found), though it does seem to be calibrated in the typical LG fashion - blues and greens feel a bit too hot, giving whites something of a blueish tint. Aside from that, though, you're not going to find a massively better smartphone display. I still would choose the One's S-LCD3 because it looks slightly more natural, gets brighter, and is more balanced, but it's just splitting hairs (and personal preference) at that point.

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As far as sharpness, it's true 1080p. You aren't going to see any pixels. Viewing angles are very impressive as well. The one drawback is LG's auto-brightness software, which is terrible. Install a 3rd party app and never touch it again.

Battery life

It's certainly above average. While the G2 does pack a 3000mAh battery, the thirsty Snapdragon 800 processor in tandem with the big, bright display means you'll be sucking down the lithium ions as quick as any other high-end phone in most situations, if not more so. I think this phone will get a moderate user through a day of use very reliably, though, which is something that can't be said of the HTC One or even the Galaxy S4.

I will say this experience is with most of the knock-on, smart stay, and other such LG features disabled. I'm not sure how much they'll impact battery life when they're turned on, but I do doubt they'll do anything to improve it.

Overall, though, I'd say the G2 handily trounces its two main competitors (the One and S4) in this department. A big battery does make a difference.

Storage, wireless, and call quality

The Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T G2s both come with 32GB of storage as standard, while Sprint's variant has not had this specification announced. There is a 16GB international version of the G2 out there, so it's possible the Now Network may pick up that variant instead, but I'd probably bet on 32GB. We'll see. Of that space on the 32GB model, about 24GB is usable. There is no microSD slot.

Wireless performance has good, and the G2 much more readily connects to / recognizes my 5GHz Wi-Fi (aside from the AT&T variant, which has had some trouble with it) than any other Android device I've used previously, perhaps owing to its newer Snapdragon 800 chipset. LTE on both Verizon and AT&T is, of course, very speedy. Bluetooth seems to work just fine, and NFC functions well enough. Neither the Verizon nor AT&T versions of the G2 support FM radio (maybe they will with root, I don't know - the app is gone), while the international version does.

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Call quality on the G2 has been pretty much what I'd expect, though it seems the AT&T G2 may have a leg up on its siblings in this regard - a second noise-cancelling microphone appears to be on the back of the AT&T variant that is not present on the Verizon or international versions I have. Those devices only appear to have one noise-cancelling mic, along the top of the phone (the AT&T variant has this one in addition to the rear mic).

Audio and speaker

The G2 has bottom-firing speakers, which is a big improvement over the original Optimus G, which had a rear-mounted speaker that became utterly muffled when laid down because of the G's smooth glass back. There are two grilles adjacent to the microUSB port, and each does indeed produce sound. Whether there are actually two speakers, I'm unsure (based on the volume / quality, my guess is no).

The volume is good, though not particularly impressive when placed up against the HTC One or even the Galaxy S4, which are both substantially louder. The quality of the sound is decent, but LG doesn't seem to have done much in this area otherwise. The HTC one and Galaxy S4 both easily outdo the G2 here, it's not really much of a contest.

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Audio from the headphone jack seems like every other high-end Snapdragon phone - very good. LG has been touting that the G2 supports 192KHz / 24 bit stereo audio, but I'm not even clear on what that means, because as a statement, it's not really complete. The hardware supports native decoding of 192/24 audio files? Does it work in all local music playback apps, or just LG's music app?

It doesn't really matter, to be honest. Even according to many audiophiles, 192KHz / 24 bit encoding is all but useless, and might actually make some music sound worse. For the record, a CD is encoded at 44.1KHz / 16 bit, and there is simply no way your smartphone's tiny DAC and headphone amplifier can even take full advantage of that level of detail. I'm not sure what LG was trying to accomplish in marketing this "feature," but as features go, it's a pretty weird one to gloat about.

Camera

LG's camera software is eerily similar to Samsung's (surprise!), but the camera itself is actually very good. While it won't be giving you PureView results, I think this is the first LG phone I've come away impressed with in regard to image quality, and the photos the G2 produces in good lighting will definitely stand up to the current Android camera leaders (Galaxy S4, HTC One).

CAM00007

CAM00010 CAM00014 CAM00022

CAM00020

HDR shot

I can't say how big a role optical image stabilization plays here, but the daytime stills I captured are definitely pretty sharp, even if there is some fairly aggressive smoothing going on when you really zoom in. Night performance still seemed to lag behind the Galaxy S4 in terms of detail, though the G2 does manage to create quite a bit of light in dark environments. See the night comparison below.

G2 One S4

Left to right: G2, HTC One, Galaxy S4

Software

Performance and stability

The G2 is really fast. It's noticeably faster opening apps, running Google Maps (which is really hard on most phones), and does seem to have a general speed advantage in most tasks compared to the Snapdragon 600-running Galaxy S4 or HTC One. This isn't super surprising, as the G2's Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor is clocked at a rather insane 2.26GHz. Faster thing is faster, surprise!

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Is it such a difference you won't be able to go back to a Snapdragon 600 phone? Absolutely not. The difference is there, but it's not huge, and it's not going to vastly improve the experience of using your smartphone.

Stability has been pretty good - no random reboots or anything - though I have had a few issues with app compatibility (odd bugs, glitches) that are pretty much par for the course when it comes to a brand-new phone. I'm sure many developers will iron things out over the coming months.

But the G2's real problem isn't a lack of speed.

UI and features

LG, just stop whatever you're doing and please, for the love of all things holo, redesign your UI. It's just so incredibly bad. Even TouchWiz looks classy compared to whatever you're calling Optimus UI now. You could not make this phone fast enough that I would want to deal with it. Case in point, the notification area.

Screenshot_2013-09-19-15-20-36 Screenshot_2013-09-19-15-26-23

The notification bar is so cluttered that Verizon thought it was too much. No, seriously, just look at this - on the left is what the VZW G2's notification bar looks like, on the right is AT&T's. Verizon had the good sense to realize that taking up two thirds of the notification area with a bunch of god-forsaken toggles and sliders was a bad idea. When America's Bloatiest Carrier is telling you take it down a notch, maybe it's time to start taking criticism about your UI a little more seriously. What's even more crazy is the amount of completely random differences between the three variants of the phone I've been given to review. Let's go over the ones I've managed to spot.

  • AT&T G2: black camera icon
  • Int. G2: brown camera icon
  • AT&T G2: Note app is called "Note pad"
  • Int. G2: Note app is called "Memo"
  • Verizon G2: Note app is called "Richnote" (all three apps are the same)
  • AT&T G2: Has various quick tips you have to dismiss and ask not to show again
  • Verizon G2: Has them, but they have more graphics and a different theme.
  • Verizon G2: Has a different app drawer icon (yes really)
  • All three versions have different icons for the SMS (Messaging) app
  • Verizon's G2 SMS app has a "+" symbol for a new message, the other two have the compose (pen and pad) icon.
  • AT&T G2: Google Search widget is on a second homescreen, rather than the default.
  • Verizon G2: Ships with Chrome as the default and only browser (hey, Verizon did something good!)
  • Verizon G2: Doesn't have a tabbed settings menu, just a big list.

These bewildering but generally harmless distinctions aside, I'm being completely honest when I say the notification bar layout alone is enough for me to kind of give up on dealing with this phone. The notification area is a crucial part of Android, and when 60%+ of it is blocked with QCrap, the user experience just sucks. I can't let this go. It's just so mind-bogglingly bad. Why, LG? You didn't even include toggles to remove some of the notification bar clutter (edit: the QSlide buttons can be removed via one of the notification bar toggles). You have configuration options for everything else - down to color scheme and layout of the software nav buttons - but not a single way to de-junkify the notification bar.

Speaking of the software navigation button customization area, it's both neat and kind of frustrating. There are six different layouts to choose from. Take a look (the one with the down-pointing arrow is a notification bar toggle):

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Notice anything missing? Like perhaps an option to set those buttons up in a way that includes a dedicated recent apps button and not a largely redundant menu button? Me either. But hey, you can change the background color (the default is a rather ugly gray), so that obviously makes up for it or something.

LG's floating app suite (aka QSlide apps) seems largely similar to what shipped on the Optimus G Pro, though the floating apps themselves seem to run more smoothly and quickly than before. They're nice to have, I suppose, but I much prefer the way Sony hides its version of these utilities in the multitasking UI, which to me seems pretty logical. LG just tacks them on to the notification bar. Yay bloat!

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The front notification LED can be toggled to a degree for certain notifications (colors can't be modified, just on/off based on activity type), and the white LED around the power button on the back is also configured to light up when you have an incoming call or an alarm that's going off. That's kind of neat.

LG has versions of Samsung's eye-tracking feature (which apparently LG patented and claims Samsung stole), forcing the screen to stay awake if your eyes are detected, or pausing a video if they're not.

LG has also done something rather weird called "slide aside," which as far as I can tell, attempts to force Android to keep an app in memory at its exact previous location. Slide aside works via a 3-finger swipe across the screen to the left, exiting the app in question. A three-fingered swipe to the right will bring back the app if only one is saved, or if multiple apps have been saved (the number of apps saved shows as a persistent notification), a paginated UI to choose which app you want to go back to. I see absolutely zero purpose in this, personally. Why is LG trying to create a completely separate (and somewhat clunky) multitasking solution from the one natively included with Android? I just don't understand. Here's what it looks like.

Screenshot_2013-09-19-15-37-22 Screenshot_2013-09-19-15-37-31

One of LG's more prominently-covered features that launch on the G2 has been "Knockon." Just double-tap anywhere on the front of the phone and the display will turn on. This would be a really great feature if it worked reliably. It doesn't. Turning off the display via double tap works fine (if you're anywhere but a homescreen, you have to double-tap on the notification bar for it to work). But turning it back on again is where I consistently ran into trouble. Oftentimes, if the phone has been off more than 30 seconds, double-tap doesn't work until your second or third try. This is, obviously, quite annoying. It was annoying enough that I stopped using the feature. I think if it worked properly all the time, knock-on would be an awesome thing to have. As it functions now, it just doesn't feel quite ready. LG has some of the Samsung-esque gesture suite, as well - bring your phone to ear to answer a call, flip your phone over to silence a call or an alarm or pause a video, etc.

Another interesting part of LG's UI experience is guest mode. It's actually kind of interesting, though it does require setting your phone to pattern unlock mode in order to work, because guest mode is turned on by entering a guest mode-specific pattern at the lockscreen. Exiting guest mode is as simple as turning the display off and then on again, and drawing your normal unlock pattern. Guest mode has no app drawer, no settings - you can't even pull down the notification bar - but it's also not the full-on Android multi-user experience.

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I noticed, for example, that pictures I'd taken on the G2 in normal mode appeared in the gallery in guest mode, and that if I gave guest mode Play Store access, it was my account that was logged in. You can choose which apps guest mode has access to, but even this is somewhat flawed. If I give guest mode the Play Store access, for example, I can use the share intent and a few taps to get into the Facebook app, even if that app isn't enabled. Suffice it to say, this feature might keep children out of things they don't need to be accessing, but it's far from "secure."

The included keyboard is also really not great. The strike zones are way too small and the whole thing just feels very cramped and inaccurate. The prediction engine is OK. The top number row is really its only desirable feature. I went back to the stock Android keyboard pretty fast.

Other than what you see above, there really isn't anything that exciting going on with the G2's software. For the amount of visual clutter and distraction (eg, a million "first time" prompts for random gestures and other features) you have to put up with, I'm really not convinced there's anything the G2 does that makes said clutter worth living with.

Conclusion

After reading the software section, you might think I hate the G2. I don't. If someone were to put it in my lap and say "live with this for 6 months," I wouldn't toss it out the window. For the most part, it's a pretty good phone. But it's also a phone that offers precious few compelling reasons for actually purchasing it, while its tacky and cluttered software layer offers several good ones for avoiding it.

The battery life is very good, the camera is very good, and the screen is very good. Those are entirely legitimate points. But the G2 just doesn't seem like the right phone to buy right now. The lack of innovative features, the sometimes poorly-thought-out software, LG's less than stellar track record on software updates, and upcoming phones like the allegedly G2-based Nexus 5 make this a 'no sale' for me.

As I said, there is nothing so truly, terribly wrong with the G2 (aside from the notification bar). There's just not much about it that excites, either.

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David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://papped.webatu.com papped

    That AT&T notification bar is ridiculous....

  • John Smith

    "I want you to click on this video and give it a good listen. This is the default alarm clock ringtone that comes with the G2. Someone, probably many someones, at LG thought that this is something people would like to wake up to. Go ahead and crank up the volume so you can give it a good listen. There are only two groups of people in the world who want to wake up to that: those boys' mothers, and serial killers. On the one hand, it's hilarious, but on the other, it's a sterling example of how completely out of touch this phone is." - Brent Rose - Gizmodo

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Pretty much.

    • Wyatt Neal

      You can't do that and not have the youtube terrible:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XewXEA8aWr8

      • andy_o
      • MindFever

        WHAT in the unholy name of ASS is this FUCKNESS?!
        Oh god ...LG is out of touch. Pun intended

        • The Man

          LG G2 IS THE FUCKEN GOD OF ANDROIDS BEST FUCKEN PHONE I EVER OWNED. GSLAXY S4 IS NO COMPARISON,,,,SO FUCK YOU FOR THE REVIEW.. AND FOR THE REAR BUTTONS FUCK YES. LED BUTTONS NOT THE FUTURE EVERYTHING LCD PURE JOY

      • Lychee

        The effect is to scare you up.

      • Steve W

        waking up to this has scarred me

    • flosserelli

      They forgot to add pedophiles to the list.

    • Jillxz

      It can be changed to something else. No big deal.

    • Erik Brice Wilson

      That's a bit narrow-minded, especially coming from a Gizmodo writer. If you assume that it's impossible to make a tone or alarm sound that everyone will like, then purposely choosing one which is this absurd is good because it gives you a motivation to change the sound quickly. Besides, it is hilarious -- although I'm sure I'd hate it too if I was unfortunate enough to hear it twice.

      The more choices there are for modifying a UI, the better. Who cares how its setup out of the box? If you don't like choices, go buy an iPhone or get a frontal lobotomy; either way, you won't be using your brain anyway. I hate when people just keep every single default setting from a device as it is out of the box; it seems excessively lazy or downright stupid. Nothing against stupid people of course, there are hundreds of millions of them out there, and they deserve smart phones too -- or maybe just phones that are slightly talented, in their own way.

      You'll probably use a device like this many thousands of times before picking something newer, and you don't have a few minutes to personalize it? Maybe you also prefer to use an abacus and a quill pen? Or maybe you won't buy a house because you don't like the color the walls have been painted? After all, such things are impossible to change.

      Maybe it's even worse than that for Brent Rose. Who knows? Did you avoid Play-Doh as a kid because you hated the boring round ball shape that it was right out of the tub? Ha!

  • psychoace

    It looks like you can get rid of the qslide bar and the phone audio slider. Unless you hate taking the time to setting up your phone to the way you like it I don't see how big of an issue the notification bar can be here

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Where? If the options are there - and I looked - they're certainly very well hidden.

      • jake044

        I remember watching a video from, I think, Pocketnow and the dude said you could turn off that feature and have classic multitasking back.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Classic multitasking? That's not even what what this person is talking about.

          • jake044

            Oops. For some reason, I was thinking qslide was the multitasking part. My mistake.

      • psychoace

        If you click on the QSlide button right above it will remove the QSlide bar. I'm not sure about the audio slider but the QSlide bar does take up most of the space and when removed gives you just as much space as the Verizon version.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Alright, that wasn't completely unobvious or anything. They really should make that clearer. There is no toggle for the audio slider. Thanks. And regardless, it's still significantly more space-eating than even Samsung's notification toggles.

      • mgamerz

        David I got some phone/android porn for you: http://i.imgur.com/Sadckxt.png

  • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael Luik

    "LG has versions of Samsung's eye-tracking feature" you mean the ones they patented before Samsung launched...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Fair enough, Samsung launched the feature first. I hadn't heard about this.

      • Thomas Lovett

        David, do you really only get the KnockOn feature to work a third of the time? I've seen multiple reviewers say the same thing. I've had the G2 since VZW launch and it probably works closer to 97% of the time for me, and when it doesn't, it usually doesn't register the first tap and will turn on with the third.

        Are you exaggerating, or do most reviewers really have this problem? If you are exaggerating, you should probably state so. It's a pretty killer feature that I'd love for every phone/tablet to have out of the box.

        • Josh

          I have this problem too. Maybe it's a problem with some of the phones, or perhaps a problem with our fingers. I noticed that the fleshy palm of my hand occasionally brushes against the screen and causes the screen to not turn on.

        • Andy Stetson

          I've noticed with my vzw version that the only time it doesn't work is if my taps are not in the same general area, otherwise, works ever time.

        • Sara

          For me the knock on feature just took some time to get used to. I can probably get it to work around 97% of the time now too. I think the reviewers just don't have it long enough to figure it out? I've noticed I have an easier time getting it to work when I tap a little slower. Not like a double click, but like a tap [space] tap. Also, like Andy said, on the vzw version it works better if I tap in the same general area.

        • Keith Stevens

          I have seen this same thing from reviewers. I use it and about the same 97% success. I have not used the power button on the back since buying it. Knock on is one of the best features.

        • Nem

          I think knock-on and the battery life are the best features that the LG G2 has offered. In term of usability, it works 95% of the time, 100% if you get used to it.

      • Bradly Aldridge

        you didn't know this, and you're a phone critic? hang it up bro.

  • mgamerz

    Scuse my language, by man that AT&T notification bar is fucking hideous.

  • Pascal

    That's lg, good hw bad sw.

  • leroybrute

    Well lg has no chance in the US with reviews like this. I have been and still a Samsung fan. I have an s4 and note 2 and love them. I would take my LG G2 over either one. Note 3 might change my thoughts a little but as far as the new phones go. Cant beat the the G2.

    • psychoace

      Read other reviews. Most give the G2 a high score.

      • Trysta

        Actually I just read arstechnica, the verge and gizmodo before getting to this one. All sites I have respect for. All of the reviews sounded almost exactly like this one. Something is seriously up with LG's software development team.

        • psychoace

          Gizmodo sounds like a big crybaby post. I read it and somehow all I could read was anger. Most of his points were terrible (like the white soft buttons during games. He could easily change it to black if he didn't like it) or he had an opinion that most other reviewers disagree with (back button being uncomfortable and knock on being unusable). Also most reviewers are stating that the notification bar is not customizable when in fact it is. Even worse David here stated that the Verizon notification bar was fine while AT&T's version was terrible yet if you go to Arstechnica they say the Verizon version is bloated as hell. I think The Verge got it right. They noticed the small software flaws but felt it didn't take to much away from the overall experience. If they felt it was a crap phone they wouldn't have given it a 8/10

          • thedosbox

            Arstechnica review was written by a former androidpolice writer, and includes plenty of examples of how horrid LG's UI is - regardless of carrier.

            Also, anyone who thinks a review score is meaningful is deluding themselves. Those things are just trolling for clicks.

          • MindFever

            Unless it praises the device that someone impulse-buyed it right? Then they are suddenly "honest reviews". I would say that overly positive reviews are more of the click-trolls because many times people read such reviews to justify their decision or their acquisition... So they don't feel disappointment of their purchase ... I don't know if I make any sense,I just had a bad argument with someone important to me. That talking cat is so evil ...(that was supposed to be a joke,I'm not crazy )

          • MindFever

            Maybe because this phone induces anger ? :)

  • JJ

    Simple solution to make this an awesome phone: Cyanogenmod. Problem(s) solved.

    • train234

      or buy Nexus 5

    • Stocklone

      Man that would be sweet if Cyanogen could strike up a partnership with a major company like LG.

      • nonameneeded

        They did with Oppo, at least. Im not saying its a major company, but the phones they produce in combination with the cyanogen mod make them really intresting.

  • jonathan3579

    Sigh, I'm terribly saddened to see this review here. I love the G2. (And I came from a Nexus 4, HTC One, S4, and many others before that.)

    • Stacey Liu

      How many phones do you buy?

      • flosserelli

        He buys a phone, plays with it for a few months and sells it when the next latest & greatest comes out.

        • jonathan3579

          Bingo! It's not always an expensive hobby. (Unless you're importing, of course.)

      • jonathan3579

        Probably too many. Lol. I love technology!

    • Jillxz

      I agree. Do like I did with this review. Throw it out the window. It sucks .That review was biased against LG period.

      • Keith Stevens

        Amen... I have the LG G@ and it blows away the Nexus 5. And all the people saying its double the price is incorrect. nexus 32GB is 400. LG G2 is 520. i will gladly pay 120 more for a Infrared port a much better camera and screen and battery life almost double the Nexus 5 in real world usage. Plus Faster recharge than almost all phones on the market. Stock android sucks in my opinion... too boring. The LG skin is the most customizable I have seen. Bitching about no Muti task button is mute.... just hold Home button and bam...

  • wade_county

    David, the blue ring around the camera (on the VZW version) is just a sticker you forgot to remove.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Oh shit. That sucker was hard to get off.

      • serotheo

        Best reply ever.

      • DirkBelig

        That's what she said!

      • genevathompson

        I just got paid
        $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my
        divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels
        so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less.
        This is what I dowww.jobs34.ℂom

  • Konstantinos

    The first thing to do is obviously install CM10.2 on it. :) LG's software is the worst. Even worse than TouchWizz(which is beautiful but still has its bloat as well)

    • pookietookie

      Not available for the G2 yet though...I personally prefer AOKP but that too isn't going to happen for awhile...

    • Stocklone

      Beautiful is the last adjective I would use to describe TouchWiz. I think it is one of the ugliest out there.

  • Alex

    Review in summary:

    Buy the Nexus 5.

    • dude

      Although for those who are interested, Nexus 5 won't have removable battery and micro SD like the Korean G2 version. It also has a TV antenna....

      • Just_Some_Nobody

        OMFG! The Nexus devices NEVER have removable batteries or SD cards. Will we EVER be able to get beyond mentioning that!?

        • RXG9

          Galaxy Nexus.

          • ekh

            Nexus S
            Nexus One

          • jzjad

            Nexus 5 wont support verizon i do belive

    • Richard Yarrell

      Total bootleg which is definitely shameful. Samsung owns this space period.

      • squiddy20

        Firstly, are you saying the Nexus 5, a device we know next to nothing about, is a "total bootleg", or the G2? And of what? Or are we all just expected to read your mind over the magical powers of the Internet?
        Secondly, keep up those obviously completely unbiassed comments about how "pimp slapping" Samsung is. How much are they paying you again?

        • Dan

          @yarrellray:disqus -Samsung owns Marketing power in the states. LG owns damn near all the patents. If I invent and patent first but another company researches patents and new tech copies it and makes it slightly different....that makes ME the bootlegger? This is exactly what Samsung does. and they are great at it..just ask Apple. all in all everyone copies everyone. but know your facts before you call LG a bootleg company.

          • Donnya Burns

            Thank you!!

      • toomuchgame441

        its Yarrell... lol, aren't you still using your Evo 4G?

      • Just_Some_Nobody

        Seriously dude, if it weren't for trolling, you'd be a ship without a rudder.

        • Keith Stevens

          Lol....

      • northrode

        Ah, Mr. Yarrell is in this space praising Samsung. Shocking! Can you please take the Samsung love down a notch? Please, for the love of God, man! It borders on mental illness.

    • Jillxz

      Nexus brand is quite inferior to the other brands. This brand is for the Google fans.

  • Greg Cardall

    "And that's fair enough,even if they are unquestionably a very small minority of the smartphone-buying public."

    As Monty Python would say: "Explain the logic underlying that conclusion."

    Are there polls or graphs around showing this information? Excluding the iPhone (as a "smartphone" product), isn't Samsung largely considered the "king" of Android right now, based on sales figures alone, not to mention Android market share? So logically, even though an assumption is being thrown in, couldn't we derive that more people are interested in removable batteries and SD cards than your assumption concludes?

    I've seen so many forum posts where people start ragging on Samsung's build quality and the removable battery and SD slot, and those posts are constantly being down-voted.

    While I appreciate the well thought-out article, covering all the in's and out's of the LG arguments (most of which I wasn't even aware of having never owned an LG phone), the Samsung bashing is becoming tiresome.

    • smeddy

      I don't feel I'm in the minority wanting removable batteries.

      • Morten Lund

        But you are..

        • smeddy

          I'm not sure if your anecdotal evidence is any stronger than mine, and I bet I am in the minority, but until battery life gets better across the board, it's still necessary for me.
          Three ways we have regressed in technology:
          1) We lost supersonic flight through the loss of Concorde
          2) We have reduced our ability to go to the moon, at least without massively revamping our space program.
          3) We now measure our phone battery life in hours, not days/weeks.
          Personally, I and my girlfriend, and some of my friends all have removable batteries.
          It's why Samsung will keep getting my sales for the time being, even though HTC are dear to my heart.

          • Keith Stevens

            And most of those people that complain about not having removable battery... even when they have a phone that has removable battery they just use the one and never pull it out and switch batteries...they just plug it in like every other phone Plus I am not sure which part of being "removable" makes the battery smaller because you have to account for space and latch or plastic connection for the back. It makes more sense to meld the battery into every mm of space free. when you but removable battery in you don't have the same amount of space. My LG G2 lasts all day with never a issue.

          • smeddy

            And then what... bin the phone?

    • andy_o

      That the different iOS devices sell so well is very strong evidence that "some smartphone enthusiasts [who] will not let go of the microSD slot until it is pried from their cold, dead fingers" are a minority.

      That Samsung sells very well and they also have these features is not the same as saying these features are what make them sell well. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

      • Greg Cardall

        But you just said it yourself - you say "Correlation does not necessarily imply causation.", but just prior to that cite a "correlation" with iPhone buyers.

        My point, originally, was if a statement is going to be made regarding only a minority of smartphone-buyers looking for a removable battery and SD, and that statement is thrown out there as a fact, then I'd like to see some kind of graph/chart/poll out there to support that "factual" statement. If no reference is given, then the author should've began that statement with "it is my opinion that...".

        • andy_o

          I'm not getting at that conclusion just from the correlation, that's why I put the quote of what he said. "Smartphone enthusiasts [who] will not let go of the microSD slot" would not buy a phone without a microSD slot. In the same price range, most people buy iOS devices than Samsung, so they clearly aren't in that group.

          His point was that people who won't let go of the microSD no matter what are a minority. I'm sure quite a lot of people (like me) would be glad having a removable battery and SD card in the next nexus, but if it doesn't, it's not a deal breaker at all.

    • Stocklone

      No, logically, you can't derive that more people are interested in removable batteries and SD cards. The average person does not care. A far stronger factor is going to be what do your friends, family, co-worker have because your average person knows nothing about the intricacies of smartphones.

  • jamaall

    this is why i stuck with motorola. its look is much different with the kevlar backing and premium design and look. and its stock android... i couldn't live with LG's skin. and the speed i have to say wouldn't be much faster. Because motorola is stock android, i almost always have near 1GB of RAM available, which is most likely the reason it is so fast.

    • dan

      You couldn't live with LG's skin? You mean you cant allow yourself to take your time and customize it to your needs. really dude? - the skin can be almost what you want on LG. Kevlar backing? LMAO- why buy a phone because it has a great back. The Motorola doesn't touch the G2 in hardware. WHAT MATTERS?? SCREEN-BATTERY-PERFORMANCE-CAMERA. not a kevlar backing. (omg still laughing)

    • Keith Stevens

      Bet that custom back Looked great for about 5 seconds till you put your case on it. Lol.

      • jamaall

        Pretty sure there isn't a case on my phone I would know

  • Shadow Pritchard

    ROFL the worst thing you could think of to describe build quality (or lack thereof) was to say it felt like a Samsung phone. Soooo true. Samsungs build sucks like a cheap china phone.
    from a mostly happy s4 owner :)

    • MindFever

      I think the S3 had excellent build ...the S1 and S2 were horrible though,I agree. Then there are Samsung tablets (yeah,remember THOSE things ?) ...god,the Galaxy Tab 10 review unit was so incredibly laggy. I fiddled with it a couple of minutes in our mobile carrier's store. Awful

      • Nem

        S3 has excellent build? I don't think so, I owned a brand new S3 when It came out. The bezel cracked by itseld all around the phone

    • Andrew Martina

      I own the G2 and honestly I don't understand the knock on build quality. Yes, the black model is a horrendous fingerprint magnet, but to me it doesn't feel at all as cheap as the S4 with that flexible almost paper-thin back cover. Squeeze and flex your S4 just a little bit, Ok now do the same with your G2... there is a HUGE difference there.

  • Jaywill

    Everyone certainly has a right to their opinion, but I've found the G2 to be an amazing device, and I think the software is just fine. At least there are a solid amount of configuration options unlike Touchwiz. Yeah I have a beef with a few things in the software, but it's not enough to overlook the other excellent features of the device. Buttons? Who cares? I rarely even have to press them and when I do it's no more difficult than a classic rocker on the side. I'll take my almost non-existent bezel over side buttons any day. Plastic feel? Yeah so is that other monster Android manufacturer. They seem to be doing just fine. I find the build quality to be just fine and no amount of "ooh cool" brushed metal or glass is going trick me into thinking a device is better.

    Beautiful 1080p IPS screen with minimal bezels, excellent battery life (7 hours of screen time at 60% brightness and 24 hours on a charge is a snap), great camera, and zippy fast experience. I'll take that over a few software flaws any day.

    Sadly, reviews like this yawn at best in class hardware these days as they know it'll be obsolete in 6 months, and want to be wowed. It is what it is. I'll be here enjoying the best Android device I've ever owned.

    • MindFever

      Well,I would have waited for the Nexus 5 if i were you...BTW ,what was the main selling point for you that made you chose the G2 ? I was tempted but I have the N4 and it looks a lot better and performs amazingly albeit is not as fast as the G2 of course (also N4 has a crappy camera :( makes really good pics in daylight though)

      • Keith Stevens

        Amen... I have the LG G@ and it blows away the Nexus 5. And all the people saying its double the price is incorrect. nexus 32GB is 400. LG G2 is 520. i will gladly pay 120 more for a Infrared port a much better camera and screen and battery life almost double the Nexus 5 in real world usage. Plus Faster recharge than almost all phones on the market. Stock android sucks in my opinion... too boring. The LG skin is the most customizable I have seen. Bitching about no Muti task button is mute.... just hold Home button and bam...

    • stangin91

      As a G2 owner, i was going to say the same thing. What an absolute horrible and biased review of this phone. It's clear the reviewer got the phone, punched a few buttons and quickly made up his mind. Hell, he didn't even know you could disable many of the software perks he hated (e.g. QSlide). This is clearly the fastest phone on the market, and the screen is ridiculous, the software perks i didnt care for, I disabled. Next time you do a review, turn the phone on first.

      • Vinay

        You are Right!! The reveiwer seems to be one of the paid Samsung guys (who got caught in Taiwan degrading another phones). Can't trust any review after Samsung has gone so cheap. Its proven, check how samsung pays for false reviews on any new site.

        • research-a-holic

          I've been researching my next smartphone for a while....did a lot of research (including hands on playing around at the local store). didn't like samsung s4's colors (too saturated), nexus 5 has now been launched since this review but camera not good enough, G2's screen seems better and I *love* features like knock on, automatic answering, flip phone to silence etc. very handy and useful *everyday*. the hardware on this phone is streets ahead of anything else. and after all that, it's now $540 on amazon (HTC is $580). HTC One was the other candidate on my short list - and I really like it - the size is perfect, feels great in my hand, stock keyboard is perfect, great sound, great display etc. But camera not nearly as good as G2 and screen, while very good, not as good as G2. So, G2 wins and I'm buying it! In the middle of this research, I've learned one thing: reviewers (like this guy David) are not representative of 90% of the buyers. They seem to represent some snooty minority of users who prioritize Design -> Flow -> Overall experience -> then software -> then hardware. Ok fine, I get it - I used to be a product manager at a global firm and I know what the cutting edge of design & user experience looks like. so these reviewers are not crazy - but really, who really cares about what they're caring about? The G2 has a beautiful screen, great camera, good sound and is super fast. everything else is android. end of story! so it has a cluttered view - personally I love the extra knobs and could find my way through this phone far more easily than the Samsung UI which does not get this much criticism. But even if it is cluttered - so what? most users figure out the few things that they like configuring on a phone - and for the rest of the life of the phone, they don't change much! they just use the same stuff over & over again. This is not a beauty contest! This review should be helping people select a day to day, productivity + communications device. And the G2 should be right up there at the top. Put a case on it which 80% of us do (who cares about the plastic back!), go to a stock keyboard...and enjoy this phone which is at the cutting edge of smartphone technology today. And for more balanced reviews - "you'll like this phone if..." - try Matthew Miller of ZD Net. I like his down to earth no nonsense style. Avoid reviews like this one which develop a super strong point of view to increase readership and call attention to themselves.

          • Shak

            How do I install the stock Keyboard on the G2?
            I cannot find the Google Keyboard on google play...
            I am used to my Nexus 3 keyboard and its predictive method, which was way better than the G2's

  • Eric Jones

    So what you're saying is, the Nexus 5 will be pretty sweet!

    • pookietookie

      Yeah, except for the battery life (presumably) since the FCC info on the Nexus 5 says it has a 2300 mAh battery instead of the 3000 mAh that this one has.

      • nonameneeded

        there will be an option, the 32gb will come with a 3000mAh battery. YAY

        • Keith Stevens

          Um no it won't. all versions of the Nexus 5 come with 2300mAh. As far as the LG G2 it does not matter what size. the battery option is by country sold.

  • Bamboo

    This article is the worst horse shit I have ever read. The writer is definitely an LG hater. This review is so flowed its beyond me. I don't own the phone but Have used it for a day and with any phone, software certainly has its issues. But to give the phone such a strong disapproval is just plane wrong. Thank God it's just your opinion, but the sad thing is, you are misleading people.

    • Defenestratus

      Hey Einstein... you realize that this isn't the only site that has panned the phone? It got an 8.0 on theverge which is pretty unbiased honestly.

      Here's what they complained about:
      BAD STUFF

      Overwrought software

      Awkward rear buttons

      Slimy plastic feel

      • psychoace

        You consider an 8 panning? So my guess is that unless it's an 10 out of 10 then it sucks? All the flaws listed are pretty much Samsung flaws yet people still love the S4. Nothing listed really makes the phone terrible or unusable. Is it perfect? No but no phone is. So why is the G2 getting slammed? Most software issues are ignorable and don't hinder performance. Most you can also turn off or change. I'm not seeing why it's such a bad thing to have options.

    • Jorge C

      Good thing you haven't read Gizmodo's

  • smeddy

    God the back of that phone is so ugly! My eyes! It feels like it's come from 1990s Japan.

    I think it's time I bit the bullet and ordered the Note 3

    • Keith Stevens

      You must be the 2% of people who walk around with no case on your phone... otherwise who gives a crap about how the back looks

      • smeddy

        No mine's always cased, but still... Someone signed off on that ugly back panel?

  • Sootie

    So why are people asking if your samsung phone is the new LG anyway?

  • Jeremy Janzen

    David, thanks so much for doing your homework on the 24bit/192khz stuff. It's refreshing to read that on a tech site - where mostly higher numbers are praised regardless of actual usefulness. From an audio guy - great job!

  • Sootie

    Excellent review as always David, and dont take this as argumentative as the g2 has a bigger battery so it should last longer absolutely. However I would consider myself a heavy user and I have never struggled to get through a day (or more) with my s4. I usually easily get 4 hours plus screen on time and still have 20% ish when I go to bed.

    Granted I have turned off google now (I love google now but its useless if you live in the sticks in Australia and causes heaps of wake locks) but other than that I watch youtube browse reddit play games etc for hours at a time and never seem to struggle, might just be my experience.

  • PhilNelwyn

    "The external speaker (which is either stereo or just has two grilles) [...]"

    Isn't it rather speaker/microphone?

  • Dave

    "Of that space on the 32GB model, about 24GB is usable." What??? 8Gb for system, is way too much!

    • fonix232

      2GB for system, probably same amount for a separate backup partition (most manufacturers do this so you can reset), some need of cache, etc., and you got 8GB.

      • thedosbox

        In comparison, a Moto X has 11GB free out of 16GB. Another price to pay for LG's horrendous skin.

        • fonix232

          It is not the skin :) It is actually the crapware they fill the phone with (and the extra space for carrier apps, etc.). They reached a point where the features added for easy access are actually a burden. I could live without many of their stuff running in the background, with a clean CM/AOSP build, but we have to wait for that.

        • dan

          LG comes with 32gb- Motto comes with 16gb. Moto was 199 when it was released. LG g2 is 199. Spare me the Space crap. even of the useable space is 24---its still 13gb more than the on the Moto. Plus the Hardware KILLS the moto. Although big ups to Moto being made in the US. IF only they can better their hardware.

          • thedosbox

            Um, you can spec 32GB for the Moto X on Moto Maker. So, yes, you'll end up with more on the X than on the G2.

            Plus you don't have to put up with LG's obnoxious UI (or crapware as fonix calls it).

          • Keith Stevens

            Then maybe you should compare "Available" space on the 32GB version. Also the LG G2 is available for 520.00 no contract. How much was that Moto X 32GB without a contract? oh thats right 630.00

          • thedosbox

            Amusingly enough, the developer edition is now available for $550 - no contract and unlocked.

  • fonix232

    "But the G2 just doesn't seem like the right phone to buy right now. The lack of innovative features, the sometimes poorly-thought-out software, LG's less than stellar track record on software updates, and upcoming phones like the allegedly G2-based Nexus 5 make this a 'no sale' for me."

    1. The G2 right now is the cheapest Snapdragon 800-based phone, with ginormous amount of storage (compared to other competitors, e.g. the Sony Z1).
    2. Why need innovative features? DO WE really need something brand new and smashing every time someone releases a flagship phone? We have a basic set of features, finetuned more or less for everyday use, and every phone introduces something small. Here, the back buttons and the KnockOn are what we can call new features. They are small changes, not game-changer, but still, they make a sale point.
    3. LG not updating - That's not true for the G2. If I recall right, VZW G2 owners already received an OTA, fixing some stability issues, including the launcher redrawing, and similar. Plus, there'll be the dozen and one custom ROMs spreading out really soon, most probably official CM support (one of the KM models already received the initial support tree), and so on.
    4. Allegedly G2 based new Nexus -- Given that the Sony Z1 looks really similar on the back layout, I wouldn't rule it out - especially as there were talks about Sony and Google making some kind of agreement about a future Nexus device. I know, so far all the evidence points to an LG device, and I see why, but I wouldn't take it 100% sure.

    In my opinion, the G2 is worth it, especially if you don't plan on using the stock firmware.

    • flosserelli

      "...the G2 is worth it, especially if you don't plan on using the stock firmware."

      Never EVER buy a phone expecting more than what it offers in the store (unless it's a Nexus). You may get an OTA update or two, but you aren't even guaranteed that. Developer/mod support is even more of a crapshoot. If your phone gets roms, etc. down the road, then great. But encouraging people to buy a phone but not use the stock firmware is downright irresponsible.

      • fonix232

        No it is not, especially for a flagship device - if it was some ultra-low numbered Alcatel, I would agree with you, but as in the case of all the flagships, CM support is ensured. Though I am indeed a power user, always using customized systems whenever it is possible, so I might be a bit one-sided.

        Still, if you compare prices - device with same hardware is almost double the price (at least here in Denmark - at 3, you can get a G2 for 3300DKK, while a Sony Z1 costs over 6k!), so even if you're not too happy with the software, the hardware itself is worth it.

  • Bloodflame87

    2 words. Paranoid Android. Then it's perfect. Right?

  • solbin

    Good review. I wondered why this phone wasn't taking off. The specs looked great on paper, but I guess the shitty rom hindered it.

  • n3ti

    "LG G2 Review: A Pretty Good
    Phone Held Back By Some Pretty Not Good Software"

    This is precisely what I want :D Now put some AOSP and it will be perfect!

  • Andy Stetson

    Verizon version does have the tabbed settings list, it's just not the default. hit the menu key when looking at the settings list. Other variants may be able to switch to 'big list' view.

  • RoachForLife

    So the G2 + Cyanogenmod (which replaces all the negatives in your review) should be one hell of a device

  • Michael

    I really like that you can change nav bar icons!

  • TechPastor

    I own the G2 and really like it. I am new to the Android world, but I am enjoying the change after four years on iOS. While I agree that there are several software features LG included that I will never use and Verizon definitely filled the phone with their crappy bloatware, I do not feel those things ruin the phone. I really enjoy my G2. The display is amazing, battery life is stellar, the UI is fast and smooth, and everything works very well. Knock ON works about 95% of the time for me, and the rear buttons have grown on me and I like them. The back of the phone is a glossy fingerprint magnet, but I put a case on it and no more problem with that. As I settle into the Android ecosystem I am finding the experience pretty good, but I do generally find die-hard android fans to be pretty fanatical about things that do not matter very much. I have never seen so many passionate rants about carrier logo placement and the amount of clutter in the notification shade in all my life. Maybe I am just too easy to please, but I like my phone, and I think anyone who buys the LG G2 will have a great phone experience.

    • anonymous

      Are you me?

  • mikegonzalez2k

    How is the SD Card slot in the minority. The GS4 which is one of the highest selling Android phones in the market has an SD Card slot. I would say lots of people specifically chose that phone because A) SDCard Slot B) had a removable battery.

    The bottom line is that it's easy for a company to implement these feature, and idiotic not to.

    There are many of us who like to use 64GB MicroSD cards for media, be it pictures, movies, music, or emulators. Why don't people get that. It's not rocket science.

  • TylerChappell

    LG seems to bring new meaning to the term fragmentation. I don't understand why they have to release the same phone....that has totally different versions of software on it with pointless little variations among the different carriers? Is it really so hard for them to deliver an identical fecking software experience? This happened last year too, so they clearly haven't learned anything. I never recommend LG phones to anyone, unless its a Nexus device. That's the only thing capable of saving their reputation of being a Samsung clone in Android land. Fortunately though, they will not be making the 2014 Nexus.

    • Jadephyre

      You sure about that ? Last thing I read was that LG will be making the N5...

      • TylerChappell

        Everyone one knows that. But a non-Nexus LG is just kinda bleh. All because of their gimmicky Samsung bloatware cloning.

  • Jadephyre

    The UI is utterly ugly and nothing can change that.
    Spec-wise this phone looks great, but the first thing i'd do if I was given one, would be to unlock its bootloader and flash CyanogenMod or another aftermarket ROM if available.
    The last phone i've see with such a shoddy UI is the SIII that my buddy uses.

  • Stocklone

    I got tired of having a ton of toggles in my notification drawer on my Note II since I like to, you know, be able to see my notifications. So I installed a Control Center knock off which of course is superior to Apple's version since you can customize the crap out of it. And I couldn't be happier to have all that space back. 4.1.2 is getting old. Seriously.

  • Ethaniel Ayala

    me want LG G2! :( Should i still get it, its faster than galaxy s4

  • Sanjay Negi

    LG G2 has 5.2 inches Full HD IPS Display, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS, 2.26GHz Quad Core Processor, 2GB RAM and 13MP rear camera with OIS. With rear buttons design, this phone seems better than Samsung Galaxy S4.

    http://www.91mobiles.com/lg-optimus-g2-price-in-india

  • Dan

    David, Purchased the LG 2- The phone damn near perfect. Screen-Battery-Size-Performance and a very customizable UI. As you mentioned on your EDIT- all you have to do is turn off the toggle for Qslide and you gain a large portion of the notification screen if you so choose.(at&t version). You should remove the comparison with At&t and verizon since this Qslide can easily be removed. I also find the icon "changing" option to be a great feature! (which hardly any one mentions). The only way to do this on any other UI is to purchase a skin which opens up all types of other issues. Everyone talks about Nexus- And although I do like the fact that carrier bloatware is not present- barebone Android is boring and ppl tend to apply skins over them anyway, which again,introduces bugs and battery issues. You can customize this thing to look like what you want and if the speed and battery are not affected...I dont get why ppl down the software. THERE'S NO LAG WHAT SO EVER. As for the Knock feature- it's hit or miss by knocking twice but, If I knock 4 times it works. lol (irritating at time)- on a side note- I get tired of reading about LG copying Samsung. Almost all of LG's patents came before Samsung. You also didn't mention the fact that the camera is 13mp WITH OIS- first phone to do this at 13mp. Plus you can record on both front and rear Simultaneously!(@1080p rear,720p front).Minimal bezel was genius! love how the phone looks like its all screen. Buttons in the back were easy to get used to. Plus the down button launches the camera! I used this a lot over the last 2 weeks. Ultimately to each their own, but we shouldn't down a UI that can be customizable. I am disappointed at LG's historic lack of Marketing in the States! They have one hell of a phone. Top 5 things I look for in a phone- Screen quality,Battery life, Speed, camera,Customization. This monster has all 5.

    • Keith Stevens

      Could not Agree more. You can also add Fast Charge. This phone charges faster than any phone I have owned. Infrared Remote with software to make your own custom buttons and learns all remotes. Not to mention that 1080p video is also 60FPS. I also love how the text messages pop up no matter what app your in and you can just respond without going into the text app

  • WookieSensation

    I love my G2. Easy pick over the S4 at the same price. The LG software is easily customizable to get rid of clutter. I find it hard to complain about manufacturer software. That's what you get if you get a non-stock phone. Flash a custom rom or don't make it out to be such a negative. The double-tap to open the phone works for me 95% of the time. Tap hard and fairly quick.

  • WookieSensation

    You might want to update your review since I and many others have debunked most of your negatives.

  • Chris

    This article is a tad ridiculous, mostly with regards to the Notification quick toggles. I honestly prefer the amount of quick toggles on the G2 and it was a reason for me to stay away from the S4. In my opinion the S4 has entirely too much clutter on their Notifications window and the G2 is much more organized into useful features. The pictures and text in this article are quick to complain about the loss of screen real estate due to this quick toggles but do not specifically state that the QSlide quick apps can be hidden by the toggle switch immediately above them, making this mostly a non-issue. I personally enjoy the quick options, as they are mostly streamlined into the most important features - screen brightness and audio volumes. It was a pain on my previous Android phones to have to create a separate shortcut in order to get to lower or raise screen brightness. i could do without the volume levels (as that is what the volume buttons are for) but I am content with the amount of space in my Notification window.

    Also, KnockOn or Knock Knock works extremely well for me; just about every time. The problem I have is actually tapping too fast and the screen not registering the first tap. I believe the issue is that your finger doesnt make enough contact or long enough contact for the phone to register the tap. You don't have to be super quick about it, a lazy tap tap in the same spot turns my screen on immediately.

    I was quite intrigued by the rear button placement and I find that it works out pretty well. I no longer have to worry about hitting volume or lock when holding my device with one hand, especially when watching videos, making it much easier and nicer to hold. Also, no matter which way the phone is oriented it is always easy to figure out which button is volume up and which is volume down (an issue I ran into with my Xperia TL). I understand and see that the Verizon G2 has a different set of buttons, so I cannot speak for it (based on the pictures I'm glad I have the AT&T version), but the lock button is easy to find and differentiate from the volume buttons. I have no problem with this as it is pretty intuitive and I openly welcome LG's change from the norm!! My last Android was also different in this respect; the Xperia TL moved the lock button in the exact middle of the phone on the right side of the screen - easy enough to reach and to unlock, but not as nice in my opinion compared to the G2.

    This phone is incredibly intuitive and includes features I wish I had years ago on a smartphone. LG really changed the game in my opinion with this phone, it bests the S4 in every aspect - the only thing that can really be considered "cons" are the lack of expandable memory and removable battery/cover. My last three Android phones have had non removable batteries so I no longer care about this feature - but giving up my expandable memory was a real sacrifice I made for the G2, and you know what? I hardly miss it. Honestly. Because when it comes down to it I wanted a fast phone that is good on battery life and this phone nails it.

    2.26 Quad-Core Snapdragon 800 processor
    2 GBs RAM
    3000 mAh battery (I average 12-15 hours with LTE and heavy texting!)
    13 MP camera

    You really can't beat it.

    Don't let this review fool you, this is a great phone. This review does not do this phone justice. I previously never owned any LG device before, which was a risk I took when purchasing this phone, but I have a new respect for the company now.

  • michael burton

    I bought this phone the other day and i like it. The camera is great,the ui is smooth, everything works fast. Sure there's a couple things that some people wont like,but i think its a better value than the s4 and a solid phone.

  • C

    Well, I don't know....I bought it 3 days ago and I'm SO HAPPY with it....My old phone was HTC One X and I'm so afraid that I will not have these incredible sound for my music playback (I mean, I bought Beats Headphone and it will be a waste if I don't have a good music player)
    Well, this LG G2 has a pretty good music playback, the speaker is not good *but I am not listening my music through speaker* and it suits well with Beats..The bass is more clearer and lighter in LG, so it depends on ur taste...I like it though, BEATS from HTC One X is very good on speaker, but it's just so heavy on headphones...

    For software, well, I like it...I'm a girl and the marshmallow theme is just so CUTE! For me, this is the best phone with a cute built in theme (I mean, I'm using Apple and HTC before and I'm just so bored with its all masculins themes....AND I FINALLY I found my MATE!)
    Well, u can't find all features in one phone...S4 does it all, but I'm more excited and prefer LG G2 than S4...I don't know, when the 1st time I touched S4, I don't feel anything..but my 1st hands on with LG G2 was a CRUSH!^^v

  • Devin

    Honetly one of the worst reviews ive read on a phone. Ive owned an s4, note 2, htc one, and nexus 4. The g2 is best by far. None of the negative features you commented on about the phone seem true to me. Lg did an awesome job on this phone. I give this review a 1 star.

  • porshej

    Um i do not care what this review says, i love my g2. I had a galaxy, i had a htc, i had a iphone, and this phone is by far the best phone i have ever owned in my life!
    Oh and that knock on feature, you werent doing it right, if you want the screen to come on you have to knock on the top of the screen as the same way to lock it. Otherwise it wont work like you claim.

  • Ralph Niederlander Jr.

    I love this phone a well. Knock on works very well. I do not mind the UI. I lovr the themes feature. The notification area could use work but i do not hate it. I bought a car that took care of the button issues he mentionef and i wonder how hard he presses the buttons that he needs to use his thumb for leverage on the screen. Ii it it my favorite feature? No, but i got used to it. What i want to know is how every reviewer says the Verizon setting is list view instead of tab. Did they actually look at the options? I simple setting switches between tab or list view in settings.

  • Carlos

    Knock on works every single time and the notification bar you put in there what you want. All I have in mine are the brightness and volume.

  • Brent Yard

    The verizon lg g2 does have a tabbed settings view, just press the menu button and it says switch to tabbed view

  • Jillxz

    This is obviously a biased review against the LG brand smartphone and I take this all with a grain of salt. The LG brand which I have used both in feature phones and smartphones is quite superior to the Samsung brand although not as popular with some tech sites such as this one . Just as as I have had good results with LG in the past , I will be using them a long time in the future. The brand is so obviously better made than Samsung , but the Sammie fan boys will never admit that.

  • Lg g2 best phone

    Dude you gotta be the worst reviewer i've seen in a very long time. I come from, iphone 5, dna and note 3 that I took to give it a try and Ive never seen a better software implementation then this phone. Battery is great. This phone is nearly perfect.

  • KB

    one speaker, the other is the mic. tested several times covering it the left grill and it mutes all sound from my phone call, video, voice recorder. a little disappointing honestly.

  • Sharkh20

    Just put CyanogenMod on the two that I just got for my family. Great phone minus the back buttons. Seems like something you just need to get used to but I kept trying to press buttons on the side of the phone that weren't there. Screen is beautiful. Went with the Nexus 5 myself. I just like the no nonsense quality of it.

  • Anil

    I am really surprised with this review. May be it's true it's not have the most brand value. But definitely the time will change. Great phone with very good battery and fast processing. I used the samsung s4 and HTC one. But i really fell in love with this mobile while using. It seems to be 5.2 inch but easy to handle without any difficulty. In the current samrtphones it's lead the position if u don't look for the brand value.

  • Timmy

    Glad I didn't read this review prior to purchasing the G2. While the UI is a bit much, coming from a TW phone (Note 1) it's not much different and it doesn't slow the phone down at all that I can tell. It may have helped if you had a T-Mobile version. It's slightly different from the international one and much less bloated than the AT&T version.

    Agreed, slide aside is not necesary.
    Notifcation LED can change colors for contacts.
    Battery life is OUTSTANDING!

    KnockOn works about 95% of the time. Use your knuckles, it works better.
    Buttons on the back I rarely use with KnockOn. Volume controls are easy to use and I agree that I do hit the main screen a few times when using the buttons, you can train your brain to adjust to the new position.

    Battery life is OUTSTANDING!

    Why is the back side of the phone of any importance? I typically use the front where all the apps and things are. If it is smudged, how will you know? If it's a big deal to you, get a case. Metal ones dent easily (although they do look better) but that cheap plastic is lighter. What user decides their next phone purchase because of its back side?

    Overall this is a great phone and by the way, the battery life is outstanding.

  • Keith Stevens

    Your review is one of the worst i have ever read... Just one thing out of many that was ridiculous is saying that "Knock On" works only a third of the time. Lol. works perfect for me. Your Bias is extremely evident. Way to nitpick a Amazing phone.

  • GS

    This guy reminds me of a politician that is totally out of touch with the common people he claims to represent. THE REMOVABLE BATTERY ISSUE IS A DEAL BREAKER FOR THE COMMON PERSON. ON THE GO NO REASONABLE PERSON WANTS TO BE HOOKED UP TO SOME OUTLET LIKE A DIALYSIS PATIENT HOOKED TO A DIALYSIS MACHINE. GET WITH IT DESIGNO-TECHNO-KNUCKLEHEADS!

  • GS

    This guy reminds me of a politician that is totally out of touch with
    the common people he claims to represent. The non-removable battery issue is a major problem for people on the go for extended periods. People do not like to have their phones tied up to some outlet much like dialysis patients hooked up to dialysis machines. Samsung has got it figured out and I am just worrying that Apple is trying to put them out of business where the common people may very well have no choices for removable battery phones. Makes me think of the qwerty dying breeds that never have the specs of the high tier smartphones. Is there an external agenda going on here besides their claim its a better design?

  • Cassandra Sampson

    Hi i HATE the grey background! how do you change it? Actually thinking of swapping it for a galaxy s4 because of the colour

  • Steve W

    I totally agree with what Jaywill says below. It's a great phone. In fact for Verizon customers who cannot have the Nexus 5, it is the BEST phone available at the moment IMO. It might even be better than the Nexus 5!

    My problem is I am having to get a new one from Verizon. My first G2 phone is having problems after 1 month! It gets stuck in a loop where the screen turns off and locks. I can only get it to unlock for about a second at a time if at all. Several times I have been on the phone when this happens. Sucks to hit someone's voicemail and not even be able to hang up! Totally unusable at times!

    Oh and don't call LG customer service with high expectations. They told me and the Verizon rep that LG didn't even make the OS, Verizon and Google did. LG was only responsible for the hardware! You kidding me???

    The Verizon rep and I called again, where the LG rep invited me to send the G2 to them at my cost and they would repair and send back at their cost. I might have considered this had the tech support LG rep not sounded totally clueless.

    Both times LG support claimed they had no record of this being a known issue, while Verizon has it listed as a known issue.

    Thank god Verizon was reasonable and is sending me a new G2 free of charge. This support alone will probably mean this is my last LG Mobile phone. Too bad as it is a great piece of hardware!

  • Zulqarnain Nizamani

    wanted to know about GPS but.................., you people consider it as useless?

  • Young Kim

    I've been going back and forth from android/ios. Ios is easy to use and had more apps and retina display. I'm back to android and got the g2 (Wife the note 3) WOW what beautiful and large screens that blow iphones away. Took some time getting used to android but customized and loaded app's all the apps I used on ios and couldn't be happier. I am very happy with the g2 and don't have a reason to go back to an iphone. I just want the best phone and the g2 is fast and display is beautiful. Iphones are getting dated and nothing worthwhile since Jobs left us.

  • Christopher Hazard

    I don't like the LG interface too much, but it's not as bad as this makes it out to be... knock on/off works great for me, buttons on back took a week to get used to, but with being able to tap the screen.... i hardly use the buttons.... this phone is my favorite phone in the states right now... if you like AOSP, the dev community is there... hoping the kitkat update tempts LG to shine up their additions or get rid of them... I really am surprised that the "knock on" is listed as bad in this article... i hate using phones without it after owning a g2 for a month. My only complaint about the Verizon version is that i wish it had sound like the one X....

  • Bradly Aldridge

    I think you're an idiot who picked this phone up, played with it for five minutes, then made a judgement call. this is by far the greatest phone available on the market. and by the way, i LOVE the buttons on the back, and i never hit the screen while pressing the power button. but then again, i have large man hands. not soft girly hands.

  • Anonynous

    You're just a samsung/htc peasant who talks shit about g2.Have you ever had a g2 in hand?I had htc one,s4 and g2 and the lg g2 was the greatest phone of all,it has some ram issues with the built-in os but that's all.And the camera is not copied from samsung though....

  • george

    Your a douche whoever wrote this lol

  • a G2 user

    Sounds like someone might have been drinking thr samsung branded purple cool aid. I am typing the response to your self-important tirade using my LG G2. Perhaps you shouod do more than use the phone for a couple of hours before you decide that it isn't good. Ive plYed with a family member's S4 and this phone runs circles around it. Have you ever considered that maybe the reason Samsung has their software configuration dialed in to a manner you find pleasing is because people buy the phones and give their opinions? Or does Samsung just have better engineers? (Sarcasm, in case you have to realized) if you are going to be unbiased as a reviewer, be truly unbiased. You sound like an Apple fanboy moaning about how Intel based systems are worse.

  • Tom Vera

    Malladus LG based debloated stock rom. Nova Launcher cleaned up notification bar. Done lol

  • Tom Vera

    Also transparent bar

  • Andrew

    This just seems like a really ill-informed android-fanboy type of article. The G2 is an excellent phone. I've had no problems with it at all. The knock on feature always works for me, except when i do it immediately after locking the phone. The build feels very solid to me. As for the rear mounted buttons, they do take time to get used to, but the feel much more comfortable to use than side mounted buttons. Not noticing that the blue ring around the camera is a sticker is laughable mistake (I'm not laughing with you).

    TL;DR - Anyone considering the LG G2, don't use this review to sway your opinion.

    • duke69111

      That was my thought exactly after rereading this article. It doesn't act like he used it as a daily driver to get a feel for it and its features. This article makes me want to cry.

      Note: The settings menu has tabbed settings, just click menu and then tabbed settings.

  • KoolGXXXX

    Biased review, well the notification bar I agree is not nice to look at, apart from that i see this phone to be quite good.

    1. One need a phone that last all day long, this phone last almost 2 days with moderate use.

    2. The screen is georgeous, it stands out like in the middle of amoled and lcd.

    3. It does not feel plasticy at all.

    4. Who needs more than 32gb storage on a phone?

    5. One of the best camera on a smartphone.

    6. It reads my ntfs memory card which samsung does not even with the android 4.3 update (support fat32 only)

    what else does someone need on a smartphone?

  • rosa

    How to browse the web and be on a call at the same time

  • C Kim

    ive had the samsung s4 and now have the g2. this blog was great and i agree with the writer. lg g2 has an amazing screen resolution i believe it is over 400ppi, better than s4, camera is great 13 mp like s4 and it is really great with low light. i HATE the rear buttons. hate it. and the knockon does not work all the time to get the screen to turn on so i also turned that feature off. one thing i like is when u watch videos, u can adjust volume and brightness by sliding your finger on the left or right side of the screen. one thing i HATE absolutely hate is the touch home/back screen etc bottom nav bar. i much prefer the physical buttons like on samsung s4. i accidentally touch home/back all the time, these are hard decisions and i wish it wasnt part of the screen (although i think it is cool that u can customize this, but i just customized it to the way s4 was as i was used to that and liked that). so even tho like the writer said the screen is better, it is slightly faster, i still love s4 more because of the ui. i like the power button and volume btns on s4 and the physical menu buttons. so i have this phone because i got a deal on black friday and i am not rolling in dough, and i am fine with it, BUT if i had a choice, i would stick to s4. i also hate headphone jack on bottom of phone on g2, i believe it was on the top for s4 - i really like head phone jack on the SIDE that is just my prefence. on the bottom is the worst though because sometimes when i am laying on bed i like to rest the phone in portrait on top of bed or something and headphone jack is in the way. i like charging port and headphone jack on the side, it is just easier for me to live that way. last thing is the lg keyboard, samsung predictive text and interface for keyboard smashes lg keyboard to pieces it is ridiculous. i remember when i first got my s4 and texted with it, it was miraculous. it started predicting EVERYTHING i would say, spell check was a breeze the way it worked, this small thing is a big thing when we communicate everyday. lg keyboard can spell check but it is just difficult for me, hard to explain why, but just believe me on this. i miss my samsung keyboard, it was da shiet. sorry no paragraph breaks and misspellings, i just wanted to share thoughts.

  • mongoose

    The knock on unlock/lock feature will only unlock if you tap in the center of the screen

  • Mr Pangy

    David, that was quite the opinion piece. It is clear by your writing that you are not an Lg fan. But not being a fan of any particular brand shouldn't detract from a good evaluation. Let me fully disclose that I was not a fan of Lg and when buying 4 phones for the family I initially wanted 4 Samsung S4's. After reviewing the technical specs., and realizing that android 4.4.2 will utilize some of the advanced features on the Snapdragon 800, I purchased 3 Lg G2's and 1 Samsung S4 (even though the S4 had the lessor Snapdragon 600, lessor graphic ability, less internal memory, etc.). The "feel" of the phone is subjective and in my belief inconsequential as most people add a case to their phone. Per the poll in my house, the placement of the buttons has proven to be a great idea, or at least better then having so many on the sides of the phone. Having side mounted buttons caused issues when the phone was nocked around in a purse or removed from a pocket. The "bloat ware" issue between the two phones is about the same, with Samsung having some cool, for the moment, apps while Lg has some "productive"/utilitarian apps that work 90% of the time. The small group I take my observations from are aged at 18, 24, 45 and 51 and a mix of male and female. Two love technology, two are utilitarian and one is more into social opinion.

  • tedster11

    And you get paid to write this shite?