Today LG launched its flagship G2 smartphone at a press event in New York City. With the Korean electronics giant looking to distinguish itself amongst several of its Android rivals in the premium smartphone market, expectations for a new set of stand-out features were high in the weeks leading up to the launch.
And while the rumor sites were spot on with many specs, including the G2's quad-core Snapdragon 800 chipset and nano-SIM card slot, there were still at least a couple of surprises. Chief among them is a 3,000mAH battery that should go a long way toward powering the G2's headline feature: a huge 5.2-inch IPS LCD display.
Facing the challenge of breaking the 5-inch display threshold without crossing into "phablet" territory, LG utilized an ultrathin design they first announced last month which results in a display that is only 2.2mm thick. And just as importantly, LG has employed a dual router touch sensor to allow for significantly reduced bezel. The one around the G2's screen measures just 2.7mm. Put all these specs together and what they mean for the user is a large, bright display in a phone that still fits very comfortably in hand.
LG took pains to emphasize the ergonomics and usability features they've incorporated into the G2. The most radical step here is the removal of all buttons and keys from the edges of the phone. The G2's external controls are limited to a power button and +/- volume keys, all of which are located on the rear of the phone just below the camera lens. The reasoning here is that when holding the phone in portrait orientation, this is precisely where your index finger naturally falls.
The G2, like its predecessor, the Optimus G, features a 13-megapixel camera and a camera app with all of the requisite scene modes you'd expect from a current smartphone, including a panorama mode. What is new, however, is an optical image stabilizer (OIS) to counteract camera shake in longer exposures. You'll recall that Nokia also incorporates an OIS in its Lumia 1020. If this becomes part of a growing trend across premium smartphones, that's good news indeed for photographers, as high ISO image noise continues to be a concern for shooters who place low-light image quality at a premium.
The G2 comes in both white and black versions. LG is giving no word on retail release dates. But the company says that the G2 will be available on three global carriers and in the U.S. will be sold by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. No pricing was made available.
We've obviously only had a brief time with the G2 at display tables, but it is a very comfortable phone to hold, with its 2.7-inch wide shell nestling nicely in hand. The fact that a phone with a 5-inch-plus screen can still feel like a phone instead of a hybrid "phablet" is a testament to some clever engineering. And those of you who've inadvertently adjusted a phone function while gripping it by its sides may welcome a button-free perimeter. Asking users to embrace a single button located on the rear of the camera where they must reach it by feel, however, may be a different story.
What we're definitely excited to explore is the camera's OIS. In the few dozen indoor shots we were allowed at the press event, we were struck with how many images were recorded at lower than expected ISO settings, due to the longer shutter speeds the camera selected. Once we receive a production unit for review we're eager to put it through its paces in real-world settings.