LG Optimus G Android Phone Review

GUEST ARTICLE: I love when a new shiny device arrives in the mail. For some reason an Aston Martin DB9 doesn’t fit in the mail box, so a new smartphone will just have to do. This time it was the LG Optimus G, which is the “street name”, whereas LG E975 is the device name.

LG Optimus G

A beautiful 4.7” 1280×768-pixel resolution (WXGA) screen greets you as open the box. Not quite as black as the Tycho Magnetic Anomaly-1, still it draws you in, wanting to lift the device and see what secrets it holds inside.

Being the owner of Samsung Galaxy SII, I did the simple thing Android owners do. I plugged it to charge. No worries about new custom power adaptors, just use my existing Micro USB chargers and I am away.

Of course switching from one Android phone to another shouldn’t be that much of a problem, should it. Punch in my Google username and horribly long WIFI key and I am away. At this point I would just back up a whole bunch of my apps to the phones micro SD card, swap the card to the new phone and I am back getting three stars on Angry Birds before you know it.

But I can’t. Taking a leaf out of Apples book the back of the phone is bolted down so that user can’t access the battery or add storage. Further from Apples book is the “redesigned” paperclip for accessing the sim card on the side. My #headdesk moments have started and the phone hasn’t really been on for more than a minute.

So off to my computer I go, expecting the phone to have its own software for connecting, isn’t that new, but Android should just drop back to MTP so I can drag and drop from my Win7 machine. But no, the phone taking a leaf out of my old HTC Desire’s connection settings has 4 settings when you plug in USB. Why, for the love of all that is good, why. So I install the drivers as the phone thinks it is a CD drive, once again #headdesk.

Now this isn’t that much of a problem at home, because once the drivers are installed the phone works just fine via MTP. But in a corporate environment Win7 locked down with no option to install drivers this becomes a problem. I’ve yet to get my work computer to see this phone via MTP ( works fine via PTP ( Camera Mode ). The corporate environment sees the phone as a portable drive wanting to install the software. This may well prove to be a major issue for a number of people, it is for me.

Now, this isn’t just an LG issue, but a number of Android phones do it, and it is a little thing that just makes me want to cry. Why is the back button swapped with the home button, compared to my SII. Two years of using a phone means muscle memory. This is just plain silly, frustrating and well to put it bluntly, not something Apple would do. Why is scrolling images in the camera different as well. Sure these are little things, but lots of little irksome things start to add up quickly.

The power of the 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor is something that is simply stunning. Seamlessly shuffling a 2gb bluray rip I made on the 1280×768 screen is amazing. Then adding LG’s zoom mode to this video as it is playing is a show off trick to amaze most people. Zooming in to and shuffling a video file that is 2gb in size on a device that fits in one hand is still in this day amazing.

The camera is very good for a mobile phone sensor. I carry a DSLR with me at all times, and the phone is just a backup. In going for the more megapixels are better theory, a 13megapixel shooter is onboard. Interesting to note however was that on first use the camera is only in 8megapixel mode. Outdoor shots are sharp, crisp and with a good richness of colour. Indoor shots get very noisy very quickly. Once again, megapixels don’t make up for sensor size. Leaving the camera on 8megapixel mode also seems to make autofocus faster. I found trying to get shots of children on playground equipment ( daylight and shade ) a bit hit and miss at times, with more blurry than sharp shots. The ability to grab still shots whilst taking HD Video is very nice, and is a feature I do use myself a lot, especially with my children.

I have found the battery life very good, especially when you take into account the power of the device. My old SII battery was dying and in need of replacing, something you can’t do with this device though. However, if you were to buy this phone, you would be replacing it within a year anyway.

If this phone was released in Australia at the same time it hit Korea (August 2012), not April 2013, it would be easy to say, despite its faults, buy it.

However it is no longer August 2012, with the HTC One X, Sony Xperia Z and of course the Samsung Galaxy S4, this phone isn’t the breakthrough device it once was. LG have shown they can make good hardware, their software needs a lot more TLC. The next iteration of this device I will at least give more than a passing look at.

I’m not the buy a phone and use it as is kind of audience. I am looking forward to stripping LG out of the phone, putting on a custom launcher at least, if not rooting it and going native Android, just to fix some of the issues I have. It is a stunning phone and for those on a budget looking for a 4G phone put it in your look at list, but check the price of the competition, you might regret not spending that little bit more.

This guest article has been written by my friend Wolf Cocklin (@wolfcat on Twitter). Wolf is interested in photography, mobile, GPS, tech stuff and what the future holds in all of these.

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