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Here is why LG G2's buttons are on its back

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Here is why LG G2's buttons are on its back
The LG G2 comes with all of its physical buttons on its back. It’s the first phone of this kind, and while this may seem weird, LG explained its decision thoroughly, convincing us why this is the way to go with large smartphones.

The LG G2 features a 5.2-inch display - it’s big, actually that display is just a fraction of an inch smaller than the one on the first phablet, the Samsung Galaxy Note. Yet, the G2 is substancially narrower and more convenient for single handed use.

As size of smartphones increases, so does the difficulty of using buttons on the side, according to LG. The first smartphones were small and convenient for one-handed use averaging around 2.4 inches in width. That has grown to 2.7 inches now and the G2 is 2.79 inches.

Here is why LG G2's buttons are on its back
If you had the buttons on the sides, you’d be forced to do a lot of hand gymnastics to reach them on such a device, and chances to drop it increase. Consider this a pre-emptive measure.

Secondly, the back buttons are where your fingers naturally lay when you hold a smartphone. LG claims it’s simply more convenient.

Third, the back buttons double in function and for instance you can use the volume down button to open the camera and capture images. It’s extremely useful for selfies!

The fourth reason is that getting those buttons on the back actually allowed engineers to narrow down the side bezel and the screen looks almost edge to edge.

Those three are the main reasons for having the buttons on the back, but it’s up to you to decide whether that is meaningful innovation or just a gimmick, what do you think?

37 Comments
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posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:37 4

1. Daftama (Posts: 575; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Can you last longer than G1

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:37 24

2. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8840; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Until I demo the phone, buttons on the back seem awkward.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 12:01 1

14. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


I'm pretty sure that even after first LG G2 "Hands-on" videos in Youtube we will notice that people don't keep their index finger there.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 14:03 2

27. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 281; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)


I think they seem brilliant. Pressing the volume button has always been an unnecessary stretch. I think LG made the right move putting them where your fingers naturally lay.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 21:29

33. heyhi (Posts: 125; Member since: 19 Feb 2013)


something to get used to...when i saw the first pic that came out i thought it was ugly, but now seems ok..besides you usually look at the front part, not the back, so who cares...about usability and ergonomics waiting the reviews..i guess LG wouldnt make that move if it wasnt a good deal.

"The fourth reason is that getting those buttons on the back actually allowed engineers to narrow down the side bezel and the screen looks almost edge to edge."

phone looks great beacause of that.
the back of the white one looks nicer IMO.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:38 5

3. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


I don't think that it is so ergonomic and comfortable as LG wants to convince us.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:53 2

12. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5497; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


As far as I have noticed, people tend to keep Index finger in such position only when they are pushing phone to the ear, in other ways they don't keep Index finger here.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 16:44

30. US_Eminem (Posts: 12; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


yeah nobody keep their fingers in the middle of the back of phone .....they usually keep it at corners .......LG would have hit the right spot if they made the buttons at corner of back ........but then the phone would have became more uglier

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 23:57

35. ianbbaa (Posts: 217; Member since: 20 Mar 2013)


".....LG would have hit the right spot if they made the buttons at corner of back ....."

then they should release two versions - left/right handed.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:40 3

4. iWinDroid (Posts: 28; Member since: 17 Jul 2013)


makes sense..but is the power button chrome plated or what? coz it will fade for sure after few months of use..

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:42 1

5. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3023; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


"It’s extremely useful for selfies!"??
Seriously?
So the emphasis is on the front camera?
Selfies are for wannabes...no thank you!

Not everyone has the index finger hovering around the middle of the back, if you observe a l'le more closely, there are WAYS on how people handle the phone.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:48 7

9. Dr.Phil (Posts: 924; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


Yes, but you also have to consider that people adjust when they handle different phones. The way you handled your old phone is probably not the same way you handle your new phone (unless they happen to be identical in their dimensions). So, you have to factor in that people adjust their grip in response to where the buttons are. I remember when I had an HTC device, I adjusted my grip to better use the top power button than when I used a Samsung device with it's side power button.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 12:07

16. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3023; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Adjust...yes, that we do. But i don't like the look of this one.
Let's see what the reviews and critics say about it. Or rather, hear it from the ones who gets this device on this site.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:56

13. iWinDroid (Posts: 28; Member since: 17 Jul 2013)


u can do selfies using the rear cam, so that means that u'll get better quality picture of urself using the rear w/ higher megapzels than in front cam & its gonna be easier , since the cam shutter is on the back.. try to imagine shooting at urself using the rear cam & the shutter button is on side w/ this BIG phone, let's see if u wont injure ur hand! :P

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 12:04

15. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3023; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


You'll still need to hold it with two hands front or back...
Cause the buttons are close to the lens...you'll find yourself adjusting your fingers to the button.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:42 11

6. Dr.Phil (Posts: 924; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


I think that the consumers will ultimately decide if this is a good innovation or not. I'd rather a company attempt to offer something new than keeping with the same old, same old. It may turn out that people find it to be really useful as LG hopes they do. I hope this encourages other manufacturers to try to be bold in their innovation process. I would rather see a phone that offers something we haven't seen before over a phone that is just a tweaked version of last year's product.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:45 1

8. marbovo (Posts: 658; Member since: 16 May 2013)


100% agreed

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 13:19

23. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 1008; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)


I agree Dr. Phil, but I like to see the phone in person before I decide whether the phone is good enough for me.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 17:47

31. McLTE (Posts: 714; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Yes, but these attempts come at a great price for the company.

What would be much smarter for LG is to put out 2 versions.. the traditional button lay out and the new one. THEN let the market decide which they like better.

With today's phone market, the manufacturers cannot afford unsuccessful phones.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 22:10 1

34. Dr.Phil (Posts: 924; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


They would've had to redesign the phone with the 2nd version in mind. Remember, they had some various reasons for putting the buttons on the back besides the fact that it "felt natural".

Also, how many people would feel like trying something new when there is an option for the "same old, same old" that people feel comfortable with? This in a way "forces" (I use that in quotations because LG isn't really forcing consumers) consumers to try something new. The market system is still at play where if consumers just don't like the device then they won't buy it.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:44 1

7. marbovo (Posts: 658; Member since: 16 May 2013)


Even not convinced with the buttons position, I still think it is very nice a OEM try something new when we are so used with the way things are now, I am not saying that this is inovation, but everything begins like that.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:50 2

10. tizz06 (Posts: 12; Member since: 17 May 2012)


it makes since so now no one can say its a left or right handed phone since its in the middle i think its a good idea

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 11:53 4

11. Doctor_Drei (Posts: 18; Member since: 27 Jul 2013)


button still looks awkwards not to mention ugly..

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 12:20 1

17. Pyoung0560 (Posts: 26; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


What would happen if you accidently drop it on its back and lands on button, will it just damage the button along or button and camera?? things to consider

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 12:29

18. som (Posts: 768; Member since: 10 Nov 2009)


Front is copied from Samsung Galaxy S4 and back volume button is new invention but look ugly.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 13:43

24. zennacko (Posts: 236; Member since: 16 Jun 2013)


Bottom looks like the iPhone 5 as well, but a totally whopping new design when it has to be a rectangle (without round corners, because Apple invented that) is simply hard to achieve.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 12:35

19. mclifford81 (Posts: 69; Member since: 26 Jan 2010)


It really is a good location, if you own a larger pone such as a S4 as I do naturally my fingers rest right in the middle on the back.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 12:46

20. laheelahee (Posts: 213; Member since: 09 Apr 2012)


cool... makes me want to try it :)

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 12:48

21. _PHug_ (Posts: 386; Member since: 11 Oct 2011)


I would have preferred an SD slot on the back but maybe that's just me.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 12:51 1

22. smallworld (Posts: 438; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)


It's not the first phone to have physical buttons on its back. Acer also tried this with the Liquid Gallant Duo last year. Only the power button was on the back, next to the camera. They also used the same reason as LG (that it's easier to reach) but according to reviews it wasn't.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 13:44

25. Ronny666 (Posts: 108; Member since: 08 Jun 2013)


On Galaxy S4 u can also choose volume key to snap pictures.

If you are trying to stretch your hand as far as possible to take a pic of yourself, I don't think clicking the rear button is easier than the side buttons.

I would say this is just an excuse for LG engineers to make thinner bezels. No other logical reasons.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 13:45

26. zennacko (Posts: 236; Member since: 16 Jun 2013)


The best thing I can tell it's even a "gem" on this phone is that you can actually use the volume key long press to take a stealth pic, just pretend you're talking on the phone, turn off the flash (because it's supposed to be stealth!) turn the lens at the direction you want to picture, snap away! Nobody shall notice what you did.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 16:14

28. WirelessCon (Posts: 309; Member since: 11 May 2010)


This is a brilliant device, but LG doesn't have the marketing funds to make this a top seller.

Hopefully word of mouth will help, but we'll see what happens.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 16:30

29. Planterz (Posts: 1006; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


What about when you put a case on it? How easy will the buttons be to access when place in an Otterbox Commuter or Defender? I'm sure the case makers will find some sort of solution, but I'd be surprised if any work very well.

posted on 07 Aug 2013, 17:53

32. McLTE (Posts: 714; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


I'm just not drinking the kool-aid here.

really, who are these people that have such tiny hands that a 2.75" phone is a problem? my Note2 is almost 3.25" and I have NO problem using it one handed. Oompla Loompa hands anyone?

I'm trying to use my phone and find a way to hold it "naturally" with my finger in the LG spot.. it's just... awkward. I may be able to retrain myself, but with this button lay out, I'm forced to hold the phone higher in my hand - more prone to dropping if you ask me.

I'll check it out when it hits the stores, but looking at it.. it's very meh to me.

posted on 08 Aug 2013, 02:01

36. roscuthiii (Posts: 1863; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


I'm not so sure I'm picking up what LG is putting down here.

Holding my Razr Maxx in an Otterbox case (so, granted it's not quite as wide as the new "big" in phones, but still... it's kinda wide) and trying to fiddle with the back just doesn't seem to be the most ergonamically comfortable.

No... I think it comes down to this. Buttons on the back means you cannot leave it on the desk or table or what-have-you, as many operations & functions won't be feasible.
If you leave it on the desk, it's not in your hand. If it's not in your hand, you're not using it. They want you using it. So... buttons on the back and ouila! Now it's in your hand for mostly even simple operations.

posted on 08 Aug 2013, 03:05

37. glentomas123 (Posts: 70; Member since: 01 Jun 2011)


Really?? Let me know how fun it is taking photos in landscape orientation using those volume buttons (which LG says doubles as shutter triggers). Lol. Fail. Even portrait style is going to be awkward. The only unobstructed use of the volume buttons as a shutter is for the selfies, using the rear camera. Lol. Imo, real world use will show what a knucklehead decision this was.

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