Following in the footsteps of Samsung, HTC, and Sony, LG has announced a "mini" version of their G2 flagship, and they're showing the phone off here in Barcelona. The G2 Mini uses a smaller screen than the 5.2-inch G2, but it's also got considerably weaker hardware.

At 4.7 inches, there's nothing really "Mini" about this device, but you'll definitely notice the lower resolution on the LCD (960x540). The hardware inside is also less than inspiring, with just 1GB of RAM serving the 1.4Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 400. Around back you'll find an 8 megapixel camera hanging out above LG's now-standard rear power and volume controls. Storage is 8GB plus an open MicroSD card slot, and the removable battery is a respectable 2440mAh. The display phones were running Android 4.4.2.

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But of course, this isn't exactly stock Android. LG has covered the phone with its software "enhancements," and even now it's hard to tell them apart from Samsung's TouchWiz at a glance (if you ignore the virtual navigation buttons). One of the things that LG is pushing hard this year is KnockCode, an evolution of the KnockOn feature from the G2. This lets you tap out a pattern similar to Android's pattern lockscreen, but when the screen is off. It's just a little more personalized than KnockOn, and on our phone at least, it was fairly reliable. I'd like to see more options here, ideally something that would let you time your taps instead of positioning them on a physical part of the screen. This is mostly because I want to tap the Batman theme song to unlock my phone.

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The rest of the phone is, in a word, unremarkable. It uses the entirely safe styling and features from the G2, in a slightly smaller but much less powerful package. The build quality is decidedly plastic, with a matte finish and a chunky frame that screams "budget" in spite of the "G2" moniker. I doubt that anyone is going to truly desire the G2 Mini as a smaller and more comfortable alternative to the G2 (as opposed to the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact or the DROID Mini, which really do offer almost all the features and powers of their larger siblings.

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The G2 Mini has the relatively large battery and Android 4.4 working in its favor, and the low RAM and cheap build working against it. It's hard to see why someone would pick this over any other mid-range phone, including LG's own similar L90. There are certainly better alternatives - we'll see if it competes at all on price when it releases in Russia in March, then in Europe, Asia, The Middle East, and Latin America later this year. There's no word on any American carriers picking up the G2 Mini, but with LG's decent relationships with US telecom companies, it's a definite possibility.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Sourabh Sekhar

    Nobody except for Sony has made a true "mini" flagship till now.

    • Jephri

      And they were smart enough to not use the name "mini" which has been polluted by the other Android manufacturers.

      • http://platypus.blox.pl/ najodleglejszy

        although they were first to use it in the past - Xperia mini pro owner. I know, not a flagship.

      • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

        Notwithstanding the Mini Pro Evo Neo.

        Galaxy Grand
        Galaxy Grand 2
        Galaxy Grand Quattro
        Galaxy Grand Quattro Neo
        Galaxy Grand Quattro Neo Pro 2 Duos
        Galaxy Grand Quattro Neo Motherfucker Shithole NaughtyAmerica WhenWillThisNameEnd WhatTheFuckShamesung Pro 8.96 DUOS

      • Aaron Thomas

        I would consider the Moto X to be mini compared to most other flagships..

    • My name is….

      With (almost) the price of a normal flagship though.

      • Roger Siegenthaler

        Well the tech inside it is the same, so technically a higher price tag would be appropriate :P

        • Emexci Life

          inside is same but outside not. i mean plastic back ;)

          • Roger Siegenthaler

            Say what?, the compact has a glass back... I'm not sure, does the normal version have a plastic back?

    • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

      Don't forget Motorola. Droid RAZR M and Droid Mini.

    • Mohammad Ozair Akhlaq

      Minis are not meant to be a FLAGSHIP device, they are built for those who like Flagship's but cannot buy them.

  • http://platypus.blox.pl/ najodleglejszy

    those "mini" phones are getting bigger and bigger with every new announcement.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

    I don't understand manufacturers thinking that mini has to equal 1GB of Ram. Just because you want a smaller phone doesn't mean you want a suckier phone.

    • mustbepbs

      And it's not even that small, it's basically the same size as the Moto X and the Moto X trounces all over this piece of garbage. This thing probably costs more off contract, too.

      Another swing and a miss from LG. Maybe if they started pushing out updates, I'd give them a pass once in a while. With all the success of the G2, you'd figure they'd care about their customers more.

    • Sean Royce

      So rare to see a girl that likes tech.

  • Jephri

    Isn't it bad enough that kids get mini candy bars at Halloween now instead of the full sized candy bars given out to our grandparents generation?

    Isn't it sad enough that most of us were not alive when mini skirts were in style and worn everywhere?

    Isn't it strange enough that the Mini countryman exists and is the size of a Honda CRV?

    Is Minnie mouse any less grand than Mickey because she is smaller and female?

    This is an abomination LG. Humanity cannot stand such deceptions and half truths! Begone LG mini, you charlatan of smartphones. And take the Samsung S4 mini and the HTC one mini (and Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber too if you don't mind) and leave this land forever!

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      And pretty much every "Mini" version out there

  • Android Police FAN!

    I heard someone from Android police almost got into a fight at LG.

    • jak_341

      Say whaaa?

  • DJ

    International market? Not everyone can afford a premium phone. Whats with all the LG bashing.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

      If you can't afford a premium phone, you should seriously look into second hand devices. That's what I've done in the past. These 'new mid-range' phones are priced like 'premium one-year-old' phones second hand.

  • blairh

    I'm currently using an equally low powered phone. (HTC First.) I never game but it does everything else just fine. The only issue I have with G2 Mini is the screen resolution. That is unacceptable. I also agree with others saying that OEM's should follow Sony's lead and produce smaller phones with flagship specs.

  • Bryan Pizzuti

    Aren't some of them getting a Tegra 4i rather than a Snapdragon? I would think that a Tegra variant might actually have a reason to exist if only for the gaming enhancements.

  • TJG

    To be honest, I just recently hooked up somebody with a HTC One Mini and I thought to myself how wrong and discriminatory I've been to the mini lines. These mini versions of flaghships are slowly creeping in on us and you best believe the mini low end phones are what's sav-ING and WILL save the big companies. I agree with the comment on Sony not adding mini to their mini phone but the thing is mini has become synonymous with lower specs therefore you don't wanna give out a wrongful illusion to the consumers, but in all honesty these mini's have a great future that's being overlooked right now other than the companies that's making them at this moment.

  • My name is….

    What really bugs me is the resolution. I expect at least HD.

    The rest depends on PRICING.
    If its really cheap, its good. If not, no way Jose.

  • TK

    I'm wondering about the pricing, the G2 is already down to 350€ off-contract at many places. If it follows the Sammy-typical 400 upwards for Minis, this thing is redundant and overpriced.

  • ElfirBFG

    Marginally faster processor than the Moto G and qHD instead of 720p on a larger screen than the G? The battery is a bit larger, better camera and the mSD slot are a nice touch, but I don't see much of an improvement over the $200 Moto released months ago. I think I'd take an N4 before this as well.

  • Emexci Life

    after using blackberry z10 and moto x all new phones looks cheap for me. no premium materials, even z1 compact has no premium materials. i know because i used it. 500€ device and back side is easy scratched in 3 days. very sad that new phones comes always with crap materials. no iphone blackberry or motorola premium standards.

    whatever they announces, i will only buy motorola or blackberry.

  • guest

    You ask "Why Does This Phone Exist?" Because not everybody want's to wear baggy pants (and a goatee) just to fit their phone in...

  • Mohammad Ozair Akhlaq

    @AndroidPolice: You reviewed the phone good in the video and now asking why does this phone exist?

    This Phone exists for them those who cannot buy a High End device because their pockets are too short.

    And for the people who are asking the question "Is this called mini?", Mini doesnt mean small. And Moreover Its a "LG G2 Mini" Not a "Mini Phone"! Got it?

    The only bad thing about this is its resolution. It could have been 720p atleast.

  • Matu

    Sharp Aquos Mini!!!!

  • Eddy

    It's hard not to look at the G2 mini as the runt of the family because of its decidedly mid-range spec sheet, but LG didn't give it the G-series badge because of its hardware. No no, it's all about software features here.