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LG G Pro 2 hands-on: 5.9-inches of premium phablety goodness

Posted: , by Nick T.

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About a year ago, LG introduced its first true phablet to the world, namely the LG Optimus G Pro. It was based on the Optimus G, which was the company's flagship device at the time, but it was bigger and better in a number of ways. So now, here at MWC 2014, we were given the privilege to take the even larger LG G Pro 2 for a spin. Can you guess which LG model the handset has been inspired by? Those of you who answered "LG G2", you're absolutely correct. 

Design

LG G Pro 2 hands-on: 5.9-inches of premium phablety goodness
LG G Pro 2 hands-on: 5.9-inches of premium phablety goodness
LG G Pro 2 hands-on: 5.9-inches of premium phablety goodness
LG G Pro 2 hands-on: 5.9-inches of premium phablety goodness
LG G Pro 2 hands-on: 5.9-inches of premium phablety goodness
LG G Pro 2 hands-on: 5.9-inches of premium phablety goodness
LG G Pro 2 hands-on: 5.9-inches of premium phablety goodness
LG G Pro 2 hands-on: 5.9-inches of premium phablety goodness

So yeah, the LG G Pro 2 is, more or less, the LG G2's larger "cousin", if you will. As such, it has adopted a number of design features from the LG G2, including the unorthodox placement of the power and volume keys. These are placed on the back of the LG G Pro 2, which, theoretically, should make them easier to operate. Judging by our experience with the LG G2, the scope of this design trait is far from universal since some people just can't stand them, while others do get used to them eventually. 

Buttons aside, the LG G Pro 2 is a plastic-made device with a solid, reassuring feel. The back plate sports a fine texture that feels like a very fine mesh to the touch. It doesn't scream "premium" at us, but we still like it for it provides lots of grip and keeps fingerprints away. Taking a look around its sides, the phone's 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and noise cancellation mike are on the top, along with the built-in IR blaster and a retractable TV antenna (we're pretty confident that the latter will be present solely on the South Korean model of the device). 

As a whole, the LG G Pro 2 is wieldable, but operating it with a single hand is rather difficult, if not impossible. Thankfully, LG has this neat feature built into the interface – basically, it shrinks the entire display image down to a more manageable size. 

Display


LG has equipped the G Pro 2 with a gorgeous IPS LCD panel, the resolution of which is 1080 by 1920 pixels. We had just several minutes to feast our eyes upon it, but we were definitely impressed only after a few seconds spent with it. Graphics are detailed, colors are intense and eye-pleasing, brightness output seems pretty high, so overall, there's nothing for us to complain about. 

Interface and functionality


Kudos to LG for shipping the G Pro 2 with the latest version of Android that is available – 4.4 KitKat. We also appreciate the ton of features that Android has been sprinkled with, courtesy of LG. Really, LG's interface is loaded to the brim with goodies, most of which we already know from the LG G2. One thing that's new, however, is the KnockCode feature, which allows one to set their own tapping pattern for unlocking the device. Basically, the phone takes into account the exact spot of your tap – that's how you build your own pattern. Patterns of up to 8 taps can be enrolled, which means that there are over 86 000 available combinations. That is why LG claims that KnockCode is more secure than Apple's Touch ID. 

Another feature that feels almost mandatory in today's phablet league is the ability to multitask in real time. LG, realizing that, hasn't skimped on the functionality, and it works very well indeed -- you simply press and hold the 'Back' navigation button and a menu with supported apps will pop up. You can then drag several of those onto the screen in order to carry out several tasks at once if you have to. Another celebrated by PhoneArena feature is the fabled IR blasted, which allows you to take control of your TV, air conditioner, DVD player, and more. Lastly, swiping sideways on the software navigation bar minimizes your entire UI, and nudges it in the bottom left corner. This is extremely handy if, for whatever reason, you need to be using the 5.9-incher with just one hand. 

Processor and memory



A 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, and 3 gigs of RAM -- that's how the important part of the performance equation as to pertains to the G Pro 2 looks like. We won't beat around the bush here -- this configuration is wanting for nothing, and not even the heaviest piece of code can make it sweat. Gaming even the most exacting titles has, in the past, proved to be nothing of concern for Qualcomm's current flagship chipset, and the LG G Pro 2 didn't strike us an exception to that rule. Another area where the processor excels is browsing -- the chase is now on the desktop computer from just a few years ago, or that's at least how well the Snapdragon 800's scores in synthetic benchmarks read.

Internal storage, at 32GB with the model we handled, is spacious enough for most use case scenarios, and we even found a microSD card slot at the back, under the removable shell. It's worth pointing out, however, that we handled the Korean version of the handset, meaning that neither of these two perks will necessarily end up in the international version. That's at least how things played out with the LG G2.

Camera



It's good to see that LG isn't content sitting on top of past laurels, for it definitely could -- the camera found on the G2 was, and still is, excellent. Instead, the South Korean giant has worked even harder with the G Pro 2, and the end result is an even more impressive hardware sheet, along with a bunch of handy software goodies. 

For starters, the 13-megapixel unit now touts LG's improved OIS+ technology that will hopefully get us even closer to shake-free photography than before. What's more, the snapper can now shoot in 4K resolution, for some seriously crisp footage, not to mention that LG has now joined the slow-mo bunch -- 120 FPS video capture is officially on the table. Another pretty cool-sounding feature is Natural Flash, which essentially takes two snaps in nighttime scenarios -- one with flash, and one without -- and then the software stitches parts of the two images together for a more realistic end result. We're also pretty interested in testing another cool trick -- Magic Focus -- down the line. You basically snap a picture, and then the software allows you to dynamically change the focus. Neat!


Expectations


Predicting how handset will do is among the abilities one could say should number in our arsenal, seeing as we're so close to the newest in tech all the time at PhoneArea. Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to properly call how the market will react to a new handset, as the variables are just too many. 

In the LG G Pro 2 we see the LG G2 perfected, and that's saying something. But the truth is that despite our positive experience with the LG G2, it didn't quite manage the sales we expected. Whether that's because LG's brand cache is still rather empty, or because the company wasn't aggressive enough with marketing the device, is hard to call. We feel that the same kind of scenario could play out with the G Pro 2 -- an ultimately great device, but one that doesn't neccessarily translate into a smashing commercial success.



28 Comments
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posted on 23 Feb 2014, 14:40 5

1. mike2959 (Posts: 186; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


I had the G, G Pro, and now the G2. In between I've tried the S4, One. Just kept coming back to LG. Gonna hold out for the G3.

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 14:51 2

5. Furbal (Posts: 197; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)


I sold off a g pro to get the note 3, then switch to the g2 and nexus 5.. might pick uo a g pro again just cause they are so cheap right now

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 17:33 2

11. E.S.1 (Posts: 289; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)


I did the exact same. Samsung and HTC are not nearly as good as my G2.

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 20:16 3

14. cheetah2k (Posts: 768; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


No thanks LG.

I've had the G2 (D802) since September 2013 and no 4.3, and still no 4.4.

Buy the LG Pro 2 and 4.4 will probably be the last OS you'll ever see on it. Maybe one day LG will realise people actually care about timely updates.....

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 20:49 2

17. E.S.1 (Posts: 289; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)


I'm sure some people do but some of us really don't care about updates at all.

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 21:34 2

19. iliketech (Posts: 53; Member since: 17 Aug 2011)


I think the updates are over rated... I've just come off having the Nexus 4 and all other Nexus phones and then the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google edition (still have it) and it's nice to get the updates but they took away the SD card functionality on my Sgs4 and made it basically inoperable! So, I'm not too happy with the updates. Oh, I was sooo excited to get first updates and all, but when Google pushes out the updates without thoroughly testing them and expecting us to test them for them and if not enough people complain then all must be well... Not. I'll go back to just having a good phone that may or may not get updated - but at the time I buy it I'm satisfied. Anyhow these phones are pretty mature right now.

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 22:40

20. E.S.1 (Posts: 289; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)


I could not agree more.... The phones are way advanced at this point. You are right.

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 14:42 1

2. technomichael (Posts: 18; Member since: 27 Dec 2013)


please release this in the united states LG, you got me sold on this device.

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 14:47 1

3. hafini_27 (Posts: 191; Member since: 31 Oct 2013)


Keep it up LG.

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 14:49

4. datphoneguy (Posts: 136; Member since: 15 Sep 2013)


Just curious if you have any more info on the "Hi Fi" sound they're promoting - does this mean better external speakers, or a more robust experience when your headphones are plugged in?

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 14:59

6. _Bone_ (Posts: 2099; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


I have an LG phone, a'ight? (Nexus 4). So I played around with the G2 the other day and Maa Lawd it lagged like a son of a gun! Shocking considering the firepower. Played around with the HTC One on KitKat, okay but not Nexus-like, the Note 3 was mostly fast but with TouchWiz stutters, the Xperia Z1, heavy, laggy but well built, the Lumia 1020, very smooth but uninteresting and the iPhone 5S, blazing fast but stuck in 2011...

So I guess I realized how Nexus experience beats everything else. You do whatever you want on it with zero lag on ART, I dare you to name such a versatile phone that's faster in real-life usage. Maybe the Nexus 5, possibly the Xiaomi Mi3, but noticeably faster than the Nexus 4? I don't think so.

So post-rant, I'm just not too excited about this G Pro 2 or tomorrow's Samsung big boy. Maybe the iPhab or metallic Note?

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 15:02 2

7. networkdood (Posts: 6227; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Nexus 5 is great even without ART - I get 3 days of battery life with moderate use by installing a different kernel and I am using the BoBCaT ROM with xposed framework - awesome - phone is so smooth..btw, what is an Iphone?

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 17:12 1

10. bnick25 (Posts: 34; Member since: 05 May 2013)


You could go developer setting and put animation level to zero it takes alot of lag away on lg g2 but nexus 5 screen size and battery cant compare to lg g2 and dont say my nexus 5 i get two days sure,give it to me i'll barely get six hours.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:35

21. networkdood (Posts: 6227; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


I said moderate use - sometimes I do not use my phone much and I want the battery to last - now, if I play games and watch Netflix - sure, 6 hours sound about right...no different than most phones...

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 15:02

8. networkdood (Posts: 6227; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Damn, only 5.9 inches of screen?

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 15:29 6

9. maherk (Posts: 775; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


And that's your Phonearena's hypocrisy again. How is this glossy plastic premium and Samsung's cheap?

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 17:41 1

12. E.S.1 (Posts: 289; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)


It looks so good with no buttons on the sides.
LG showed others that it's possible.

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 18:24

13. Professor (Posts: 126; Member since: 02 Aug 2013)


Sometimes going too different from conventional hurts. I think that even if the buttons in the back are better many people (including me) decides not to buy the phone due to this. Others maybe due to its high price compared to the Galaxy or the Note.

In my case what I don't like is the extra software that LG and the carriers add to the phones (including Samsung's). That's the reason my phone is a Nexus. The only way I will buy an LG2 Pro, or an LG3, or even a Galaxy or Note phones if they are Google Play Edition version...

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 20:27 1

15. Pancholo (Posts: 371; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


How is this a "premium" phablety goodness when it's made out of plastic? I demand that every upcoming flagship Samsung device gets called "premium" as well! :P

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:36 1

22. networkdood (Posts: 6227; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Dude, you must be an iZOmbie - get over the premium definition that it has to be metal - take away that mental roadblock that Apple has brainwashed you with...

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 20:37

16. mottykels (Posts: 363; Member since: 15 May 2013)


Is magic focus is same with Nokie Refocus?
A muliti window? Who has it first? samsung or lg?

posted on 25 Feb 2014, 14:41

24. Topcat488 (Posts: 1102; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


Samsung has multi-windows for the Original Galaxy Note for years now, thats old news. LG copy. O.o

posted on 23 Feb 2014, 21:32

18. iliketech (Posts: 53; Member since: 17 Aug 2011)


I think the updates are over rated... I've just come off having the Nexus 4 and all other Nexus phones and then the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google edition (still have it) and it's nice to get the updates but they took away the SD card functionality on my Sgs4 and made it basically inoperable! So, I'm not too happy with the updates. Oh, I was sooo excited to get first updates and all, but when Google pushes out the updates without thoroughly testing them and expecting us to test them for them and if not enough people complain then all must be well... Not. I'll go back to just having a good phone that may or may not get updated - but at the time I buy it I'm satisfied. Anyhow these phones are pretty mature right now.

posted on 25 Feb 2014, 14:44 1

25. Topcat488 (Posts: 1102; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


Google Edition phones are boring and plain, but thats just my opinion.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 11:50

23. MANGUELPR (Posts: 26; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


I had currently the G Flex and Im coming from had G and G2... right now Im more than happy with my Flex and ill wait for the Flex 2 or G3 probably more to wait for Flex 2.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 08:23

26. benson123456789 (Posts: 12; Member since: 01 Dec 2013)


i want to know if it has the face tracking feature with the power button light, like the Lg g flex

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 22:49

27. madmikepr (Posts: 82; Member since: 09 Aug 2011)


what about the battery ??

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 12:34

28. mojtaba_mn (Posts: 157; Member since: 22 Feb 2013)


it,s better than s5 but wait to see new one

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