Living with the LG G2: a long-term review
No man ever steps in the same river twice
In a seemingly very distant past, I was 11 years old. A kid that age has very few worries at that stage of his life, and I was no different, with the exception that I had a typical child craving for a particular toy that had an ad looping day-in and day-out on Cartoon Network. It was a rifle. You know – the airsoft type that shoots with one of those plastic pellets? Now, airsoft handguns were all the rage at that stage of my life – practically every kid in the neighborhood had a piece (and a bunch of pellet-shaped bruises) – but none had a rifle. I won't go through the set of rather shameful tactics a kid 'has' to go through to get a stupidly overpriced item like this – you all likely know too well – but long story short: I finally got one.
Now this rifle was a downright monster, complete with a magnifying scope and good for 'precision' shooting at up to 50 meters – it even had non-standard, larger pellets that supposedly helped with accuracy. It looked sturdily made, and I am fairly sure it had a ton of lead on the inside to make it feel realistic. And it was beautiful, not to mention that all those kids in the ad seemed to have a blast out of using it! The package, in other words, was perfect... until, of course, it wasn't. A few weeks into using it, I realized that it was no good for shooting at more than 10 meters, and that's only when no wind was present. I then quickly started stumbling into a recurring problem: it would glitch and the pellets would get trapped inside, forcing my dad to open it up and get it out. You can imagine that he was none too happy about it when this started happening every other day. Then, sooner rather than later, I ditched the rifle and it was the biggest disappointment of my adolescent life.
Why oh why?
So why did I just charge two paragraphs of not-phone-related-mumbo-jumbo worth of your life? I mean, you're all obviously smart enough to not get sucked into marketing fluff like I did – you're on PhoneArena after all, looking for the in-depth commentary you deserve. You're likely older than 11, too. Point is, while there certainly wasn't an airsoft-toys-reviewing committee at the time, there certainly are for phones nowadays – loads of them, actually. Unfortunately, these can get a little detracted from what I've always thought the essence – "Ultimately, will I like using this product?" – and get sucked into a standardized, droning commentary about the hardware and what it means, with a few lines on the software and its usability. So am I implying that this plunge into the depths of the LG G2 is somehow more objective and complete than the myriad of quality reviews, just a Google search distance away? Kind of, but not exactly.
If you're a PhoneArena regular (doesn't really matter), then you'll probably know that it hasn't actually been too long since I joined the team. In my estimates, we probably get about a dozen, give or take, devices a month for reviewing, and a bunch of accessories. Now, not all of these are exciting or good enough to go truly in-depth with, yet I can tell you first-hand just how meticulous the reviewing process is – it's standardized, measurable and as close to scientific as we can get. And I actually agree with the methods we use – they aren't simply something shoved down my throat. Sure, a lot of it stays behind stage, but these observations do shape the final review that gets to you. Yet, despite all these checks and guidelines, it isn't at all surprising that every now and then a colleague will simply come and cop a feel of a new device you're reviewing and make an observation that, as a reviewer, you've missed, usually through nobody's fault. And that's the practical reality and also why you're reading this – because it's simply impossible to live with every product for a few months in order to get sufficiently acquainted with it. But in the case of the LG G2, it's well worth it. And I did.
Here's how this is to go down
I by no means claim that what you're about to read is an all-encompassing, fully complete take on the G2 – one would need a lot more than a few pages for that and there's still a fairly good chance it won't be what it set out to be. But it is personal, and it is direct, and it is very much idiosyncratic, just the way it should be. Sure, my views won't necessary match yours, but the human brain, having been provided a context and a perspective, is pretty good at drawing parallels. And ultimately – that's the point – for you to draw parallels and hopefully even find this helpful, should you ever end up considering the G2.
Continues on page 2...
1. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 301; Member since: 24 May 2011)
Who is this chris P. I like your articles. Can you make this type of in depth articles and in depth reviews regular here? With most, if not all top flagship phones?
3. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 1871; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)
Chris P. is one of the very good writers at PA. I also like his articles. :)
12. cezarepc (Posts: 439; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)
The only thing missing is "Dear Diary" at the beginning. lol joke
Yeah my fave PA authors now are Chris and Michael.
39. MAXXtreme007 (Posts: 21; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
Yes, this in-depth review was great! I was honestly hesitant at first reading about his rifle, but it got better and better! Great article Chris! Chris and Michael are both superb authors!
28. 21babydoll12 (Posts: 29; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)
Agreed with everyones statement. Further in-depth review should be mandated for all brand flagships. Maybe even a guess brand like "CHINESE" branded phones to see how they really stack up to everyday usage. Wonderful article and you also hit all the key points. Looking foward to more in-depth reviews.
2. E.S.1 (Posts: 284; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)
I have my LG G2 for about a month now. The phone is awesome, not even a single complaint...
6. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 301; Member since: 24 May 2011)
Its awesome. The only problem with LG is their updates. They are really slow to update their phones. Even though the xda community helps in solving most of the problems, i still prefer them giving new updates regularly. My S2 had 2.3.3, then was updated to 2.3.6. Then 4.0.1 then 4.1.2. My friend had bought the LG 2X at the same time and he didnt get updates for a long time. infact he was stuck in froyo for what seemed eternity.
LG makes great phones. And i hope they update their flagships atleast. And i hate that 18 month rule from Google which is plain bs. It should be atleast 36 months for flagships.
16. Piotrek007 (Posts: 75; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)
Are you for real ?? There are already LG G2 versions with 4.4 kitkat update and internationally it is going to seed at 1Q of 2014 !!
31. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 301; Member since: 24 May 2011)
4.4 is obviously a must. What about after that. Once the 18 month cycle finishes. I doubt LG will update their phones. Hence im blaming google. 24 months is a minimum time for updates to be given to phones.
36. mattkl (Posts: 124; Member since: 01 Feb 2010)
Why would you blame Google? Did you clearly think you comment through?
Google cannot keep up with every single Android device out there past 18 months efficiently. But guess who can? The manufacturer of your device since they only have a certain amount devices to service. Google allows them to take the most current Android OS and modify it accordingly to their hardware. If LG decides to not support updates after 18 months then that's not Googles fault. Google does not hold back the latest update from the manufacturers after the 18 months, so be upset at LG or whoever makes and services your device.
37. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 301; Member since: 24 May 2011)
you do know that Galaxy nexus is not getting kitkat? I blame google and only google for that.
38. mattkl (Posts: 124; Member since: 01 Feb 2010)
There you go getting a little closer to the point. I still don't blame Google though. They did NOT make the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Samsung did and if they wanted they could continue to support their phone and the software on it. Google will not upgrade it and Samsung decided not to support it past the 18 months either. Why would I be more upset with Google than Samsung? Do you get upset at Walmart for not upgrading the software on your GE microwave?
When I found out the GNex wasn't getting updated I made my own decisions and bought a Droid Maxx. I'll be buying a Note 3 off contract in a few. I have seen no plans as of yet from Samsung about updating the Note 3 at this point and I'm not upset with Google or Samsung about that (although not a huge Samsung fan). I read and have my expectations up front. If you get a phone that you like at the time then you'll be fine. Sounds like you buy phones you don't like hoping they'll support and upgrade until you're satisfied? Loved my GNex for the 2 years I had it, don't expect any more from it. Good luck. Maybe research a phone before you buy it so you won't be so angry. Not sure why you keep a phone you're unhappy with. Make moves, be a man, complaining like a child won't get you an update or new phone. You could always root if you're capable.
51. jinxed (Posts: 107; Member since: 10 Jan 2013)
I m not sure of this. but isnt the reason why Galaxy nexus is not getting the update is coz its chip manufacturer closed down or something ?
I sure wont blame Google even if the reason wasnt this. For what its worth, they brought out 4.4 so that devices with lower h/w can run the latest Android.
50. jinxed (Posts: 107; Member since: 10 Jan 2013)
He was just speaking from his past experience with LG. You cant argue that LG sucked when it came to timely updates. But I feel ,since it has start collabrating with Google, the updates has been more frequent.
27. 21babydoll12 (Posts: 29; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)
irrelevent statement...4.4 is scheduled to seed...need i say fanboyism
19. Chris.P (Posts: 163; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)
That's likely because there are several versions of the LG G2. We have 2 Korean models at the office, and both creak pretty seriously.
Are you on a Verizon/AT&T/etc version?
23. papss (Posts: 2870; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
I have the att version and unless i twist it it doesnt mske a plsound.
5. R-vjn (Posts: 116; Member since: 07 Jan 2013)
This article is really great. A real in-depth review i must say.
From my point of view, the best phone of 2013 is the G2.
7. androidfanboy (Posts: 162; Member since: 24 Jun 2013)
This article is so catchy and all the articles on this site need to be like this
8. iDroid8 (Posts: 155; Member since: 16 Oct 2012)
The first of Chris P's articles that I read. And it was nicely refreshing-being so different from other PA articles. :-)
P.S.-Chris, we don't mind these kind of introductions. Keep it up!
9. 0scar1Ox (Posts: 12; Member since: 05 Oct 2013)
Do LG G2 after 2 months lag sometimes, like in UI or gaming? I mean, have it's performance droped a bit?
14. Omarc07 (Posts: 189; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
i have an lg g2 and galaxy s4 only that i gave my mom the s4 but anyways when playing games on both i noticed the s4 has lagged more when playing gta 3 or gta vice city the lg never lagged it plays both games smoothly
30. Tito73 (Posts: 11; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)
Actually my note 10.1"had note 2" doesn't lag with fifa 14, real racing 3, gta 3,...cpu 32 nm exynos cortex a9 quadcore 2gb ram, jb 4.1.2! S4 lags because of lack of optimization! But I have some ui lags sometimes!
Next phone will be lg or htc 5,2 inches at the most!
18. Chris.P (Posts: 163; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)
I haven't noticed any kind of slowdown.
10. yasir-921 (Posts: 74; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)
My review regarding the G2 is also same as yours.
Before the G2, I was using the Galaxy S4. Before it, I switched from the Note 2 to Xperia Z. When I sold my S4 and went to buy new one. I had multiple options: Nexus 5, Note 3, Xperia Z1, Htc One/ One Max and of course the G2. I quickly opted the G2.
I had already read a dozen of reviews of G2 including PhoneArena's, GSMArena's, Android authority's, Android central's etc.
Now its 3 weeks since I am using the LG G2. The white colour is more attracting in my eyes. I must say that this phone is amazing. Its a new experience after using every Samsung's Note and S Series.
For getting used to the back keys on it, It took me little time to adjust. Weather in landscape or potriat, the back keys are a joy to use. May be it is because that I read several reviews and had a high desire to own a G2, the back keys were no trouble for me.
The U.I, Display, Design, Utility Features are new for me. Moreover, the Camera is amazing. Shooting FHD video at 60 fps is really really smooth.
Not only this, I have rooted my phone and used XDA's Auto Hide Keys to hide the navigation keys occasionally. I am currently playing Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2. I hide the nav keys and play games on full screen. This exprience is also amazing.
To conclude, I say that instead of going for Note III opting for G2 is a wise decision.
11. freebee269 (Posts: 486; Member since: 10 Aug 2012)
very nice review. the only problem i've had with my at&t g2 is the low light performance of the camera. it's pretty bad. if it wasnt for some devs on xda that have modded the camera app and libraries to improve the camera's performance, i would not use this camera at night at all. i also have the battery issue of mysteriously draining from time to time. most nights when i put the phone on the charger it's at around 50% life left. but some nights it's at around 20% life and i know i havent used it any more than i did when it was at 50% the night prior. so there's definitely something that's randomly killing the battery. i've gotten used to the rear buttons and i can say i actually like them. i use a diztronic tpu case that's pretty thin and adds very little bulk. i too noticed the little stutter in the homescreen ui the first couple days i had my g2. but then someone on xda came out with how to turn off thermal throttling in the phones hidden menu and that solved that issue for me. it also solved the lag in the camera app. the only thing that worries me about the future for this phone is lg's speed of bringing out updates. they are pretty bad about that. i remember when i had an optimus g and it took forever for that phone to get an update and the update wasnt even the latest android that was out. i fear lg will give the g2 android 4.3 when other oem's are giving their phones 4.4. 1 last thing that kind of surprised me was the OIS on my g2. when recording video's with my g2 and having to walk or record kids that force you to move alot because they move alot, the ois isnt that great. i have a lumia 920 that has ois and i can tell you that my g2's ois is just not as good as my lumia 920's ois. but all in all, the g2 camera is good for what android has to offer.
i recommend this phone to people all the time and have actually caused 2 people to get it.
13. N-fanboy (Posts: 445; Member since: 12 Jan 2013)
Good article, i wish PA's reviews are as spontanious as this because it gets boring after a while...
15. housry23 (Posts: 67; Member since: 03 Jun 2012)
Thanks for the read. I like this type of in depth review from someone that has actually used the phone for some time, as long as he/she is objective and unbiased. With Chris being a Newxus 4 user and myself owning a Nexus 5 and previously a Nexus 4, it was good to see the review from you perspective.
With that being said, I just have 1 question and it's not for you or PA, but for the OEM's When are they going to learn not to clog up the notification bar and pull down with all those different color, different size icons and toggles and this and that. NO!!! Please stop! I had a Galaxy S4, and Touchwiz has become a complete mess. LG's looks about the same. The s4 was great with CM or some other stock Android like Rom on it and I bet this one would be too. I guess I'm more of a stock guy. I actually love what Motorola is doing. If I could put the G2 battery, Motorola software and iPhone camera on a Nexus 5, now that would be the perfect phone!
35. AppleHateBoy (Posts: 326; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)
Motorola is on the right path. They are using vanilla Android and they are optimizing it for speed, stability and battery life. But they are missing a crucial point. Motorola Assist, Migrate, Camera etc. are all great apps. But they have to follow Vanilla Android's style and ensure that each and every part of the UI follows Vanilla Android's design language to deliver a unified experience. Even Google doesn't follow their design language in some areas of Android. That's one the main attractions of iPhone and something that each and every Android phone lacks.
17. KillgoreTrout (Posts: 53; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)
Most people seemed to enjoy this article. I found it insanely boring and couldn't get past the 3rd paragraph. To each his own I guess. As for the g2, I have the verizon model. I really love it and it is a huge upgrade from my previous iphone 4. I have never used a non verizon g2, but just by the looks, I would say the verizon version buttons are slightly inferior. It is hard to tell where your finger is without looking. Mine does have wireless charging though and that really comes in handy. All in all, I love it.
20. donfem (Posts: 461; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
Particularly interesting to me is the catchy philosophical statement: No one steps into the same river twice. That made me go through the entire review. Interesting but detailed personal feeling about a very good device. I own one and love it. No headaches whatsoever. Thanks.
21. livyatan (Posts: 494; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)
Well, that was a good read.
One of the best on this site so far!
22. PBXtech (Posts: 465; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)
I too went from a N4 to the G2 and love the change. I don't use QSlide or Slide Aside, but the floating call is a nice feature. The feature that cuts down on steps a lot for me is when it recognizes a headset is plugged in and quick app options appear, makes going to Google Music that much easier.
And the battery is incredible, rivaled only by the beautiful screen. LG nailed it with both of those components. Took me about a day to get used to the back buttons, they always seem to be in the right spot.
Two things I don't like, is the screen rotation and Knock On. With the headset jack on the bottom, why does the screen rotation only allow 90 degrees. I plug the phone into my car stereo via the headset, 180 degree rotation only makes sense. As for Knock On, love the feature but it doesn't turn off with custom launchers. Can't settle without Nova, so that's a feature I wish worked both ways. You can still turn the phone on, just can't double tap to turn it off.
9.5 rating from me after about a month's use.
24. papss (Posts: 2870; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
I sold my note 3 and picked up a white g2 and really like it so far. Ive only had it a few days but it already seems like a great fit for me personally.
26. SBL_LNG (Posts: 6; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
Great writing! everyone will fall in love with G2 if they have read the whole text!
From a G2 user.
29. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 925; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)
This was one of the best articles Ive read from PhoneArena in a while. He was very descriptive about the phone. I didnt like the fact that the build of the phone is so flimsy that it broke in 2 and because of that.............I wont be buying the phone anytime soon. The media coverage of the phone is worth it, but I need a more rugged phone than that.
In my opinion, the G2 is worth buying for those that want a good phone for a decent price, but for tech guys like me, it doesnt "wow" me enough to buy it
32. zachattack (Posts: 318; Member since: 31 Jul 2013)
Sigh, how tired are we of hearing about people complain about LG's slow updates. Said the same nonsensical bulls*** about HTC and they were one of the first with 4.3. LG is going to be like the first company with 4.4. It's almost mind boggling to read the crap that you people think. 4.4 didn't even come out yet officially and you are complaining about LG's timing when they are going to have it in like 2-3 months. Not to mention, the G2 is still the best phone out there. It doesn't even need the update in the first place. The people in this smartphone atmosphere are real downers.
33. adk199 (Posts: 23; Member since: 04 Oct 2012)
I've had the G2 since it was out and i still enjoy it. I suppose the battery is what i appreciate most. No more charging every night. Second the knock knock. When i hit snooze in the morning i don't have to grab it to turn the screen off immediately. Also if there is a notification i don't have to find the "on" button. On a surface i can turn it on, read, turn off in just a few easy moves. Don't have to lift or press the phone. I know it isn't much but it's very pleasant to use.
In most other aspects it does what i expect from a good phone and fairly easy to add/remove features.
I dropped it a few times from my pocket to a hard floor and it hasn't broken yet. Perhaps i was just lucky :-)
34. commercialPilot (Posts: 4; Member since: 10 Dec 2012)
My experience with the LG G2 (4.2.2) for 14 days on T-Mobile USA:
Good: 1. An excellent camera with sharp images and correct color—the best I've seen. 2. Excellent reception and download speeds on T-Mobile USA LTE—the best I've seen. 3. Excellent battery life—the best I've seen. 4. Excellent screen colors—similar to iPhone 5S. 5. The OS was easy to navigate (for me).
Bad: 1. Bluetooth bug (ref. XDA Developers) which caused three different headsets: Samsung HM6000, Motorola Whisper, and even the LG 730 Tone+, to constantly disconnect. 2. Keyboard bug causing random keystrokes or words (extremely annoying!); two T-Mobile store managers reported this same bug. 3. Inconvenient power and volume buttons when combined with the LG 'QuickWindow Folio Case.' 5. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi issues with the top Play Store audio players. The T-Mobile LG G2 does not include a headset! My Sony, Nokia, and iPhone headsets were not properly matched and sounded terrible (low muted tones). Only my Samsung Note II headset sounded correct.
I wanted to love this phone—and initially I did; but, alas, I returned it—as bluetooth connectivity and a reliable keyboard for texting is important for me. Waiting until Q1 2014 (possibly into March) is far too long for these issues to be fixed.
I do not recommend the LG G2 until these bugs are expunged.
40. lonewolf2873 (Posts: 40; Member since: 21 Nov 2012)
I loved this article for the extreme amount of information.
I hated this article for how long winded it was.
Can't win for losing....lol
This has got to be the best unbiased article I've read here, long winded or not. This is how all devices need to be reviewed. I don't own a G2 but rather a Note 3. Regardless of my love for the Note 3, I felt I might be missing the boat.
I must go look at a G2 now, thanks Chris :-)
PA take notice of these comments about Chris, I think you have a great asset with him.
41. mattmattmatt92 (Posts: 3; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)
Great article. Two weeks ago when I got a new phone it was between the g2 and htc one. Both were $49. I didn't get the same a mount of time to play with the g2 in store because most places I went had it strapped down or a demo unit was non existent. Ultimately it was the plastic of the g2 that I got the htc one.
42. passion_plus (Posts: 4; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)
In the specs I see that this phone has FM Radio, but when I bought the Verizon version, I don't see the FM radio at all. I read somewhere that FM radio on Verizon phone was replaced by the LTE sim slot. Is that true?
I played around with AT&T version at a store and couldn't find the radio there either.
No mention of in PA review as well. Stragne I say !!
43. COZMAN (Posts: 92; Member since: 28 Nov 2013)
I love the G2. Easily the best phone of 2013. It just has something about it. Perhaps new ideas? Something that is lacking in todays cell phone market. Google, LG and Motorola will steam roll whats left of APPLE to the core in 2014. Have you seen the new MAC PRO black tube that costs as much as a good vacation. The billions in the bank has given them the gift of no creativity or motivation to do anything that registers even with its core customer. Get a new CEO fast.
48. Ethos (Posts: 15; Member since: 08 Sep 2013)
G2 a giant ? u are blind when u look at xperia z1 ?? g2 is SAME size as htc one or s4 .. just half inch taller display and that is better n ? the bezel is IDENTCAL with s4 !
49. COZMAN (Posts: 92; Member since: 28 Nov 2013)
SONY still suffers from lousy screens.
No matter how good the inside you still need to be good on the outside.
The G2 screen is superior to SONY.
So is the MOTO X and so many others.
52. Saafa (Posts: 27; Member since: 20 Mar 2013)
This review is amazing!! You're awesome Chris bro! :D
keep moving forward!
53. huzaif (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Jan 2014)
Its an awesome review , have been a while since reading such a review covering its every practical aspects .The best part was when u described about knock on feature and showed it to ur colleagues but it worked.The same things used to happen on my S3 when certain features would not work when required and so I shut all those features and was just using the raw power of the beast with very limited touchwiz crap.I was confused in selecting G2 over Z1 but now am certain will definitely go with G2 as despite its shortcomings its still far better than eye candy Z1. Thank you for this review and plz keep doing this sort of review on other flagships as well.One can only know his fn better after using it for months ...
55. sbdunks413 (Posts: 4; Member since: 01 Jan 2014)
Very awesome review. I'm regretting purchasing the nexus 5 last month when I could have got the G2 for only $100 more :/
59. WallySal (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Feb 2014)
Would it be safe to say that the G2 will be future proof? I really want to get this phone but just started to reconsider the Android platform as a whole; seeing how the experience is almost never smooth or consistent as oppose to the latest IOS.
I've been trying to make a decision for a while now. Came up with nothing solid yet.
NOTE: I'll be paying full price in the case of either purchase, and I'm not sure the iphone 5s can justify the increased price difference.