The South Korean tech giants, LG and Samsung, are at it again, and the battle will be taking place in phablet land this time around. The humongous LG G Pro 2 and Galaxy Note 3 are, no doubt, direct competitors. Both, in the minds of consumers, and on paper. The underdog in the face of LG has had some more time to work its magic, but when we're talking about facing off the critically-acclaimed Note 3, that's not necessarily enough. Has LG finally found its voice? And can it truly challenge Samsung in its own game -- a game it essentially invented? Only time will tell, but that shouldn't stop us from taking a peek, now should it?
Plastic-fantastic! That is the underlying theme for both phones, despite the attempts to shake off the cheap feel. But it worked -- we're definitely happy with the way both these devices feel in our grasp, and there's no mistaking their high-end nature. The Galaxy Note 3 carries the now familiar faux-leather soft plastic back, and a metal trim on its profile, while the G Pro 2 is going for a more consistent, polycarbonate look and feel. Unlike the LG G2, however, the rear of the G Pro 2 has a textured back that helps with fingerprints, and feels very nicely. It has a fine grid-like pattern, which is pleasantly rugged to the touch. It provides a good grip and catches no fingerprints. Both phablets, however, provide a good grip, and drops should not be common at all.
As many of you have come to know, LG is now transitioning to the rather unorthodox placement of power and volume buttons on its flagship models - these now sit at the back. These have been slightly changed from the LG G2 - they feel just a tad more raised and clicky.
Lastly, the LG G Pro 2 is the bigger of the two devices, both in height and width, but not by much, especially considering it's got the bigger screen. Both devices are unsuitable for one-handed use, of course, it's just that with the G Pro 2 that possibility is slightly more thoroughly crushed.However, both devices are reasonably slim, and roughly same in weight.
The LG G Pro 2 comes with a larger screen - a 5.9-inch 1080p IPS screen compared to the Note 3's 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display of the same resolution. At first glance, the LG G Pro 2's display looks really bright and beautiful. If you are seeing both devices for the first time, we believe you will be instantly attracted to the LG G Pro 2 before taking a good look at the Note 3. Both displays are sharp and have great viewing angles. Of course, the Note 3's display has the artificially sweetened colors AMOLED panels are known for, while the LG G Pro 2's IPS matrix goes for subtler, natural beauty. With the ability to regulate the Note 3's color intensity through its software settings, though, you won't be necessarily stuck with a display that's overly colorful.
On the LG G Pro 2, we have Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 runs Android 4.3 and is about to be upgraded to the latest version. Of course, both phones come with custom interfaces that add a whole bunch of new extras and features. One of the cool things about the LG G Pro 2 is the new "Knock Code" security unlock feature. Basically, it lets you set your own personal tapping unlock pattern on the screen (comprised of up to 8 taps), which will unlock the phone straight from standby mode.
Also, being phablets, both devices have features that let them take full advantage of the real estate that you get with their huge displays. On the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, you have the Multi-Window feature, which lets you run applications side-by-side. The LG G Pro 2 has a similar feature that works very much in the same way. The point is, both phones offer a true multi-tasking ability.
However, let's not forget that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, being a Note device, comes with a smart stylus for note taking and sketching. The LG G Pro 2 doesn't have one out of the box, so if you are interested in using a stylus, the Note 3 might be a better fit for you.
Processor and memory
As far as hardware and specs, both the LG G Pro 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 run on Qualcomm's tried and tested Snapdragon 800 silicon. It's a quad-core CPU that can run at speeds of up to 2.3GHz. Thanks to it, both phones are very responsive and fast. We're pretty sure they should be able to handle any heavy processing you throw at them. Also, they both come with 3GB of RAM, which means flawless multi-tasking and speed on both phones.
Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and LG G Pro 2 come with 13MP cameras. However, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 relies on software image stabilization, the LG G Pro 2 offers true optical image stabilization. In this case, it's an advanced version of OIS+ which LG has implemented into its device. It should provide even better stabilization for those times when you are filming while in a moving vehicle, for example.
In terms of camera features, both phablets can capture video in 4K resolution, which is quite impressive. Not many current phones have this feature. However, the LG G Pro 2 has some other tricks up its sleeve. One of them is called Magic Focus. It lets you take a photo and adjust its focus after the fact. Another cool extra is called Natural Flash. At night, the LG G Pro 2 takes two photos - one with a flash, and one without a flash. Then, it uses an advanced algorithm to combine both images into one finely lit picture. Of course, Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 has some tricks of its own to counter the G Pro 2 in the camera department, such as a plethora of different camera modes for pretty much any scenario you might find yourself in.
Both the Galaxy Note 3 are great Android phones in their class. We expected a solid competitor to the Galaxy Note 3, and other big-screen smartphones, which LG seems to have delivered. However, with the possible exception of its camera extras, the LG G Pro 2 doesn't have any outstanding features that will make you completely forget about the Galaxy Note 3 the moment you take it in your hand. It's mostly an answer, not a list of a questions that Samsung and other makers will have to take in mind when they are planning their next phablets.