LG Optimus G (AT&T & Sprint) Review
Try as hard as they can, but LG has been unable to make some movement in the always-competitive high-end market – to no surprise of course, they’ve been in an endless rut of some kind. In the past, we’ve seen devices like the LG Optimus 2X, Optimus 4X HD, and Prada 3.0, which on paper seemed like respectable offerings, but lacked the X-factor to truly keep them in good company with some of the more notable and grand smartphones out there. Rather than coming to market with a device that’s just catching up to the competition, the Korean based company is forging ahead by making some waves in bringing to market the world’s first smartphone to feature a quad-core processor and 4G LTE connectivity – the LG Optimus G.
Needless to say, it’s the marriage we’ve been patiently waiting for since quad-core smartphones started making waves earlier this year. Aiming to becoming its flagship for the foreseeable future, the LG Optimus G will soon grace the lineups of AT&T and Sprint respectively – albeit, there are some differences between the two models. Regardless of that, the core foundation is intact thanks to their combination of featuring a mighty 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset with 2GB of RAM, and of course, the always-lovable 4G LTE connectivity.
Considering that both AT&T and Sprint will be selling this bad boy for the usual golden price of $199.99 with a 2-year contract, it’s sure to capture some attention from hardened smartphone fanatics out there. Ultimately though, it’s going to need more than a high-end specs sheet to win over consumers, because as we all know, that’s only the answer to half of the equation. Timing is also on its side as well, since it’s hitting the scene slightly ahead of its competition, but it has only a short time to make an endearing mark.
The package contains:
- microUSB cable
- Wall Charger
- Quick Start Guide
- Warranty Information Guide
Although they share the same name, the designs of the two models are slightly different – with the Sprint variant being more faithful to the international version. To no surprise, the design of the LG Optimus G follows in form to what we’ve seen with the LG Optimus 4X HD and Prada 3.0 from before. Sure, we would’ve liked to see an overhaul with its looks, but nonetheless, it’s the design DNA that’s increasingly becoming standard practice for LG’s premier devices, so we’re accepting of it.
In all honesty, it’s appreciable on some levels thanks to its sturdy construction and more premium choice of materials. Before, we’ve been harsh towards the cheapish nature of LG’s devices, but with this, it exudes some sophistication due to its subtle chrome accents, star screws lining its bottom edge, slick feel, and “Crystal Reflection” rear casing. With the latter, it coughs up a neat effect that changes the pattern depending on the angle we’re holding it, which is nice but nothing that’s regarded as an instant attention grabber over other things. When it comes to size, it’s not hiding its wide figure at all, which makes for some difficulty using with one hand (just as any other phone with a large screen), but it’s still light in weight and svelte in frame to keep it in the same level as other contemporary smartphones out there.
You can compare the LG Optimus G with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
As we’ve mentioned already, there are differences between the designs of the two versions. Looking at the AT&T model, it’s sporting more rounded corners around its trim – while employing a cleaner looking plastic textured surface on its top and bottom edges. Conversely, the Sprint model has a slick chrome bezel trim outlining its frame. On one hand, we adore the slick feel exhibited by the two devices, but they’re notorious for getting dirtied by smudges and fingerprints very easily. Overall, it’s a predictable looking smartphone that lacks the polarizing designs of some of its highly-esteemed colleagues, but it’s still appreciable for its more premium look and feel over LG’s previous offerings.
The LG Optimus G is sporting three buttons below its display. Thankfully, they’re all spaced far away from one another to minimize accidental presses. Perched in their usual locations, the narrow earpiece and front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera are found above the display – with the latter having the ability to shoot video in 720p.
Strange to say, there’s more of a pronounced feel and responsiveness attached to the physical power button and volume control on Sprint’s model. However, we do like that the power button on the AT&T version doubles as its notification light as well, as it has a subtle red glow outlining the button – whereas, it’s in close proximity to the front-facing camera on the Sprint LG Optimus G. As for the commonalities found around their trims, they include the 3.5mm headset jack, microphone, noise-cancellation mic, and microUSB port. For those wondering, the microUSB port also offers video-out with the aid of an optional MHL adapter. We’ll talk more on its specific functionality a bit later on in the review.
Another distinguishable difference between the two, is that the AT&T variant is sporting a lower count 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash that’s flush to the surrounding surface. In contrast, Sprint’s model is packing the same 13-megapixel monster with flash found with the international version – and just like it, the lens is jutting out slightly. With their closed designs, there’s no access to their internal 2,100 mAh batteries, but with the LG Optimus G for AT&T, it features microSIM and microSD slots on its left side.
In this day and age, we’re bombarded by many smartphones packing extraordinarily large displays, which seems to be the trend with today’s premier smartphones. Rightfully so, that’s what we find here yet again with the LG Optimus G! Going with the notion of bigger is better, the handset is packing along a 4.7-inch WXGA 1280 x 768 HD IPS Plus display that interestingly enough, wins in many aspects – in size, detail, clarity, and outdoor visibility.
Drag the picture or use the keyboard arrows to rotate the phone.
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Drag the picture or use the keyboard arrows to rotate the phone.
Double click or press keyboard Space to zoom in/out
2. ryq24 (Posts: 503; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
lg always comes out with the first of everything in mobile phone but always lose to samsung in the end. maybe they need to improve their marketing strategy instead of always trying to be the first in everything.
4. sheik (Posts: 249; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)
The reason is they just wait and see what other OEMs offer and then come up with a better specs with a tag "Being first"... They even conducted a survey here by comparing their new device with more than half year old S III and one X. They are always late in to the party... the problem is specs isn't everything. Its the whole user experience that we get with the phone... They should play their own game here after... Anyway great review as usual...
26. -box- (Posts: 3797; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Let's review their accomplishments (at least for the U.S. market):
FIrst dual core phone.
First quad core phone.
First phone with a 720p display
First (to market) screen-dominated-design touchscreen phone(original Prada).
First with a 3D camera and display
What are they lagging in, exactly?
37. aoikemono27 (Posts: 177; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)
First does not mean good. The first dual-core G2x had a ton of hardware problems. The first 3D display was a gimmick that ahd no useful functions and the phone itself was big and heavy and mediocre. First 720p display was still running Gingerbread (or maybe even Froyo) and couldn't utilize it properly, and the other aspects of the phone were meh as well. These firsts are only ONE aspect of the phone, and if you fail at all the others, you might have an advantage in that one area, but the rest just drags you down to mediocrity.
40. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)
first doesn't mean anything. look at iphone, the only first it had was the apple logo, but why is it selling well?
the real story is how LG executes it.
if LG messes up on marketting, or there are numerous bugs, glitches, crashes, none of the features would matter.
68. cornpops (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Nov 2012)
ummm which one of LG's phones was the first to have a quad core processor?
71. MANGUELPR (Posts: 28; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
LG Optimus G, First Quad Core for all Carriers, not only that it was the first Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon thats why its rapped any phone in history till middle of 2013 and also won the CES 2013 Award the Most Advanced Phone ever made.
61. doejon (Posts: 351; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)
yep and samsung will bring a tuned exynos 5250 and will f**k the s**t out of this phone with a flexible screen 1080p hd amoled plus ultra display with 4000 map new batterytechnolgy (removable) sd card up to 128 gb and of course samsungs own camerasensor with 13 mp and it kill this optimus g and lumia 920 4 sure :-) u will see and dont forget the
kevlar ceramic unibody xD
ok.. ok ok.. we will see but a dream would be come true :P
bring it on samsung!
70. HeWhoDoesNothing (Posts: 157; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)
Still waiting....................... LOL
72. MANGUELPR (Posts: 28; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
LG is the actually first company in bring up the full OLED Ulta Flexible and it will be sold to other companies. keep waiting for Samsung, LG already had the product done not a concept jaja.
3. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
LG really, and finally, put everything they have into a product.
Best phone on Earth right now
5. MeoCao (unregistered)
After HTC Butterfly everything else looks very boring.
6. jan25 (Posts: 390; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)
this phone got a 9? hallelujah, i can only imagine how awesome the Nexus will be if it is based on this pone :D
8. Retro-touch (Posts: 260; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
Hope they used a different camera module on the Nexus cause it doesn't perform very well on the Optimus G
12. proto (Posts: 50; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)
I will be very happy, when they use same camara module on nexus 4 cause camera was always weakness on nexus devices and this one isnt best but decent and that's still 3 time better than on last SG nexus.
15. jan25 (Posts: 390; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)
at least we got the better performer 8 mp camera. for what it seems, that's the only department where the Nexus 4 will not be on par with the competition. perfectly fine by me.
64. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4023; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
Probably a 9.5 if it's the same reviewer. I would dock the Optimus G down a full point just for the custom UI, but that's gone with the Nexus.
7. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3012; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
I knew LG won't be doing good even if they were working on a new camera sensor. I commented and everyone didn't agree...and here it is.
Well, at least 9 was expected but i don't know why, going through the review wasn't exciting at all. Blame it on the pre-release hype??
9. Retro-touch (Posts: 260; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
I know what you mean I expected a better camera at the least, everything else is great but they should have made an equal or better camera than Samsung if they wanna edge em out, specs are great but I expect issues with this product
10. The_Innovation (Posts: 558; Member since: 18 Jul 2012)
I'm not quite understanding why the benchmarks are so different, if it's the same phone.
38. bxbomber718 (Posts: 15; Member since: 13 Dec 2010)
I noticed that too but it seems the reviewer and everyone else overlooked this...
11. BadAssAbe (Posts: 434; Member since: 22 Apr 2011)
13MP or Expandable memory?
Kinda wish US got a working TV tuner.
14. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
or you can get the unlocked one! NO BLOATWARE TOO
16. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3012; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
I'm not saying it is a bad phone. Hell, who am i to say the phone is crap? The specs are a kill!
I wrote negatively on the camera because in the past, there was an article about LG working on a new camera sensor for the G here in PA. If they were working on it, the result here is not worth what i read then.
19. bhagi108 (Posts: 21; Member since: 09 May 2012)
why is it so hard to get a good QUAD core phone on t-mobile?
well I am going to give the Huawei Ascend D1 XL U9510E a try.
lets see how that works out!
36. bxbomber718 (Posts: 15; Member since: 13 Dec 2010)
That is if the US gov't doesn't ban it first...smh
66. enGet (Posts: 27; Member since: 19 Oct 2012)
Which they should do. Only fools trust the Chiense. I live in china, I know.
21. scsa852k (Posts: 292; Member since: 16 Oct 2012)
$199.99 for a phone with spec like this sounds almost like a steal.
But sad reality is that LG products will never outsell Apple or Samsung.
22. IHateApple (banned) (Posts: 122; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)
The best way to make an Android phone:-
1. Make all the hardware in the best way you can.
2. Get all the drivers for all the hardware components.
3. Call up Cyanogenmod and hire them to port the latest Android to the device.
4. Tell CM team that their phone should be the first phone to get the stable release of the latest CM. No other phone should worked upon during this period.
5. Release the phone and get 10/10 from PA.
23. roldefol (Posts: 2868; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
And then make few sales because it's not labelled iPhone, Galaxy or DROID. Sad but true.
24. yasir-921 (Posts: 79; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)
This review seems biased. Why Q-Slide feature is distracting? Its a new feature and after spending some time using this feature, it will definitely be a fantastic experience.
We should wait for the International model. Carriers' phones are not the phones which exactly the Universal models are.
Lets see what the International version does.
25. downphoenix (Posts: 2329; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
The score is right, the review is wrong.
1) The camera is very good on both deviecs. It may not be the BEST on the market but it stacks up among the better ones.
2) The nighttime video they show is stacked against this, when they did the nighttime video for the iphone 5, it was CLEARLY a better lit area. Of COURSE the video is going to look better in that case.
3) Saying the Q slide is distracting but the pop up play is not does not compute, when its essentially the same thing, except it seems the Q Slide feature has more options from what I've seen of it, such as setting transparency, which is nice.
4) Overall the choice is apples and oranges I guess. Its nice that the ATT version has the Microsd slot, and the Sprint version seems to fair slightly better in the camera department. Any other differences they cited, like the call quality being iffy on the sprint version, seems to be bogus. They mentioned themselves in the review that the signal in their area wasnt as good with Sprint, so Id wager something like that is attributed to the signal in their area rather than an actual difference in the earpiece of the phones or how the phones handle the calls. Also the quadrant they rant on the sprint vs AT&T version is questionable, given that the other benchmarks were pretty much identical, sounds like a background app may have interfered with the benchmark on the sprint version.
28. gauravkrishna121 (Posts: 6; Member since: 29 Aug 2012)
phonearena....... r u having fight with sony??????????
30. Mke5Mke (Posts: 18; Member since: 10 Oct 2012)
This phone was given a 9. The HTC One X only got an 8.5 and it's an incredible phone. I'm not sure how seriously this rating system can be taken. That said, the LG Optimus G will most likely be my next device come November 2.
31. osanilevich (Posts: 245; Member since: 29 Sep 2009)
kind of annoying how ATT ditched the reflective crystal thing and put a glass slab on the back instead
33. dicemoney (Posts: 57; Member since: 28 Mar 2011)
By may next year this phone will be forgotten just as always LG is always first but always end up being last
35. Mke5Mke (Posts: 18; Member since: 10 Oct 2012)
By May next year, the iPhone 5s will be all anyone is talking about. The iPhone 5 will be forgotten. The iPad Mini will be forgotten.
I'm not sure you understand that 8 months is a lifetime in mobile-technology years.
49. Seymur (unregistered)
43. droiddomination (Posts: 203; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. boring! this thing will be one penny by Christmas on amazon. trust me, lg phones have piss poor resale value. they are like that cheap kia car that tries to compete with a honda, same specs and all but when you drive, it, it is missing the refinement and fluidity of the big boys. maybe one day they will get it right. they could start by stop putting that ugly gold looking att globe logo thing on their phones. make them look soooo cheap!
44. droiddomination (Posts: 203; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
i mean that lg logo, they need to totally redign their logo. might work for their refrigerators but not for a phone.
48. linneti15 (Posts: 49; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)
PHONEARENA IT IS NOT THE WORLD'S FIRST QUAD CORE WITH LTE, IN AUSTRALIA THERE IS THE GALAXY S3 4G WHICH SHIPS WITH ANDROID 4.1, QUAD CORE EXYNOS AND LTE. AND IM SURE THERE HAVE BEEN QUAD CORE'S FROM SAMSUNG IN KOREA THAT HAVE LTE TO. AMERICA ISN'T THE ENTIRE WORLD YOU KNOW!!!! THERE ARE OTHER COUNTRIES, DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE MAKING SUCH BOLD STATEMENTS. IT IS THE FIRST IN USA WITH QUAD CORE AND LTE.
57. BadAssAbe (Posts: 434; Member since: 22 Apr 2011)
SG3 DualCore in US
US is part of the world
LG Optimus G has no dual core phones anywhere in the world
LG Optimus G FRIST
50. maxha97 (Posts: 6; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
In south korea, lg promised optimus g jellybean update until november and optimus lte2 jellybean update until this year. It is faster than samsung..... I expect optimus g of us version can get jellybean update soon!
51. Shino (banned) (Posts: 196; Member since: 23 Jul 2012)
"...In this day and age, we’re bombarded by many smartphones packing extraordinarily large displays, which seems to be the trend with today’s premier smartphones." - PA, WTF?! The best selling smarphone on the market for years has a 3,5" display, what trend are you talking about? If it is the trend in Android or WP phones, than it is corect. About this LG - all I can say is: The same ol' yellow brick, only a little worse than Samsung. Nothing impressive, really nothing.
55. dok2005 (Posts: 55; Member since: 18 Apr 2012)
lol nothing impressive so the specs not impressive at all really i suppose to believe that those bench marks is not running circles around the competition. lol so what you call impressive. second iphone as a brand been selling like hotcakes, but even they change there screen size correct me if im wrong. to top it off further than that as far as phones sales last time i check samsung in number one mobile operator in the world. also there plenty of phones that i can name on top of head and so can you that screen sizes just been getting bigger and bigger. so they have a valid point duh.
60. BadAssAbe (Posts: 434; Member since: 22 Apr 2011)
2GB of RAM
Bigger 4.X in Screen
WIFI direct Steaming
iFans= OMG its magically revolutionary
52. ey1108 (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Oct 2012)
will all lg optimus g's featres be on the lg nexus?
58. barondebxl (Posts: 102; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)
How can LG launch this amazing spec'ed phone with ICS in october 2012? That tells you a lot about LG. With that being said, this phone is the most powerful phone on the market, even more powerful than my beloved note 2. But more powerful doesnt mean better!
59. 12013E12T (Posts: 37; Member since: 08 Sep 2009)
So much for the hype around "32GB of native storage and 32GB microSD slot." :(
62. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)
at&t version looks rubbish compared to sprints,,,sprints looks much more slick..the phones looks nice spec wise but i still cant accept high end phones being released 5 months after the release of jb coming out with ics
63. dok2005 (Posts: 55; Member since: 18 Apr 2012)
true coming out with ics seems like bad move but think about when the phone was made and went into production and you know how carriers are constantly testing out firmware t make sure it work so thats the reason why it coming out with ics with reports of jb update soon to follow. yet again im one of those people whose not waiting on carriers i will wait on developers in xda/ other communities to make this bad boy deliver us to the promise land.
65. ChiX017 (Posts: 308; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)
I finally figured out why LG never succeeds in smartphones (apart from their lack of support), they never innovate but always jump ahead, while others (Samsung, Nokia) create new paths(competition) like Pureview, S Beam e.t.c doing the best of what currently is, doesn't necessarily put you on top but as first especially when there is no proper support.