LG Optimus G Pro – The Unbiased Review

Before we start today’s unbiased review, we would like to tell you what the word optimus means. It means – ‘one of the best’, well that certainly says a lot about the phone we are reviewing today. The LG Optimus G Pro is absolutely one of the best phones we have held in our hand and it comes with immense new capabilities.

Optimus G is the proof that LG went to the drawing board and learnt from it shortfalls in the Optimus Vu device. Not only did they make a clear winner but also a device ahead of its time. Things that come for first time in this device are:

  • Largest 1080p display in a smartphone to date, a 5.5-inch pane
  • First phablet to have Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor
  • Lightweight for its size (at 6.2 ounces) and sleek, the slim 0.25-inch profile
  • IR Emitter on a phablet to control TVs, DTHs, ACs, Home Theatre etc

Hardware

The LG Optimus G Pro looks and feels solid. The front has a very thin bezel as the 5.5 inch display takes most of the estate. The phone measures 5.875 inches tall and 3 inches wide. On the left, you have a volume rocker almost in the middle of the body. Whilst trying to toggle the volume, you might end up hitting the empty space between the volume rocker and the Q button. On the top are a 3.5mm headphone jack, noise cancellation mic and a small IR emitter to control all your IR devices. On the right is a sleep/power button and at the very bottom is the microphone a Micro-USB port for charging and data transfer. The camera sits near the top-center of the back face with LED flash to the right and a speaker to the left.One hardware advantage of the Optimus G Pro is the Q Button, a physical button located on the upper left edge. This button is a user-defined shortcut button (by default its QuickMemo). It can be set to any application – Google+, for instance, or Google Now. If set to be a Camera shortcut, it doubles as a camera shutter button.

What’s most noticeable about the G Pro is that 5.5-inch full-HD IPS screen. It has a 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution and 400ppi and sports a 16:9 aspect ratio. Like most high-end LG handsets, its screen is bright and extremely responsive. We like how the display edges are similar to the Nexus 4′s, in that it contours down toward the bezel. It has a wide viewing angle, and you can see images clearly in both indoor and outdoor lighting. Colors are vibrant, icons are sharp, and text looks crisp.

We did find the Optimus G Pro much easier to hold than some other larger smartphones due to the minimal bezel along the sides of the display. The Optimus G Pro is 76.1mm wide, 4.4mm narrower than the Galaxy Note II.

We must admit that watching videos and playing games on this device is really enjoyable. Having that much more real estate is a relief to the eyes, and it gave me a more encompassing and engrossing experience than compared to phones with thicker bezels.

Though the screen size is great for entertainment, other things had to take some getting used to. Example, texting became much more cumbersome, especially in landscape mode. Also, as this phablet doesn’t ship with a stylus, which could have been beneficial for tasks such as these.

Above the display is a 2-megapixel camera and below it are two hot keys that light up when in use (back and menu), and a physical home button.The one redeeming feature of the hardware and design is the physical home button. It’s lined with multi-colored LEDs for a big, highly-customizable notification light. Even when the device is turned face-down, the notification light carries through the glass on the front of the device and lines the outer edges with a dim glow.

Easily, that notification light is the most notable part of the Optimus G Pro’s hardware.

The back of the device houses a 13-megapixel camera with flash. A small strip of chrome encircles the lens, which bubbles up ever so slightly out of the back plate. To the left is a small audio speaker. Using a small indentation on the left edge, you can pop off the backing and access the 3,140mAh battery and both the Micro-SIM and microSD card slots. Underneath the plate is an NFC chip. Lastly, the handset is capable of wireless charging, but you’ll need to buy a NFC enabled backplate/ cover from LG to make use of it.

Software features and UI

At its core, the Optimus G Pro runs Android 4.1.2. But at the surface, LG was sure to leave no stock Android element unchanged. Meet Optimus UI. You’ll find a bunch of standard Google apps like Messenger, Maps with Navigation, Local, Voice Search, Talk, Chrome, Gmail, Search, Plus, YouTube, and access to Play Movies and TV, Books, and Store. Because it’s running Jelly Bean, you’ll also get Google Now, which is search-based digital “assistant” tied into Google Search and Voice Search. To access Google Now, hold down the home key and press the Google logo that pops up at the bottom of the screen.

Other task management apps include a native browser and e-mail client, music and video players, a calculator, a weather app, two video editors, a notebook, a memo pad, a to-do list, an alarm clock, a voice recorder, a dictionary, and a calendar. There’s also the mobile office suite, Polaris Office 4, LG’s app and game portal called SmartWorld, and SmartShare, which lets you share multimedia between DLNA-certified devices.
You’ll also get the note-taking feature, QuickMemo, which lets you jot down notes and doodles either directly onto whatever your screen is displaying at the moment, or a memo pad. This is one productivity app for which a stylus would be especially handy. There’s also QSlide, LG’s multitasking window that was introduced with the last Optimus G. Back then, QSlide only let you overlay a video while you browsed through your phone and accessed other apps. Now however, you can view other apps, like the browser, simultaneously, and you can resize your QSlide window, too.

Camera and video

Front 2.1-megapixel camera includes three photo sizes and two scene modes.You’ll also get geo-tagging, a timer, the option to save a picture’s mirror image, voice shutter, and beauty shot.

Video recording options with the 13MP rear snapper include five video sizes (from 176×144 to 1,920×1,080 pixels); antishaking; a brightness meter; white balances and color effects; and geotagging. There are four shooting modes, one of which is dual recording. This lets you record with both cameras simultaneously a step ahead of S4 which features Dual Shot for still photos. The front-facing camera has all of the same video options.

Photo quality was excellent, as so you can see in the camera samples. Shutter speed was fast, there was little to no lag between my moving of the camera and the feedback, taking VR panoramic shots was quick and smooth. With ample lighting, photos came out crisp and sharp, and objects were in focus. All in all the camera quality for both front and back, still and video was exceptional.

Performance

“>optimus-benchmakrsThe Optimus G Pro certainly delivers in the performance category, thanks to the 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 chip. Its scores in synthetic benchmarks were among the highest we have ever seen.

The Optimus G Pro zips through everyday tasks without skipping a beat. This can be credited to both the powerful chipset and the fact that the device runs Android 4.1.2, Jelly Bean, with Project Butter.

We installed several graphic-intensive games and played our hearts out. The games played perfectly, without the tiniest bit of lag. And no amount of multitasking managed to slow the device down.

Battery Life

LG Optimus lasted almost 7 hours for video playback and an gave us an unbelievable 22 hours of talk-time. Standby time lasted for a couple of days, and the phone can survive a whole day, or at least a good portion of it, with high use. The screenshot below proves the mettle of the mighty battery.

Call Quality/Network Performance

We tested the LG Optimus G Pro on Vodafone’s network in our Delhi office and call quality was excellent. Voices were clear and volume range was reasonable. During times of absolute silence, we didn’t hear any static or extraneous buzzing sounds. None of the calls we made dropped and audio was always consistent, with no one cutting in and out. We also took the handset on roaming to another state and it was far better in switching networks than the other phones we had.

Because the handset comes with Dolby Mobile technology, you can improve your music listening experience when you plug in headphones. In addition to a full EQ module you can customize, you have the ability to enhance the bass, treble, and vocals.

The Unbiased Conclusion

The Optimus G Pro is one helluva powerhorse with its 1.7GHz quad-core CPU keeps it running smoothly and swiftly, and the 1080p screen is simply impressive.

There seems to be nothing at par with the LG Optimus G pro in the phablet market at the moment, with the closest competitor being an aging device the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. As it lacks a stylus you can compare it with the likes of the Galaxy S4, HTC One, Xperia Z but that wouldn’t be fair as then it would be comparing each manufacturers trump card phones with a phablet. Even the Samsung Galaxy Mega is not the right comparison as Mega is bigger, better Galaxy Grand. So considering all this, the next big competition Optimus G Pro would have is the Note 3. Till then Optimus G is a sure shot winner and with the specs like this it might even fare better than the to be launched Note 3. For us its best phablet in the market and is must have for the features shared in this review.