Introduction


We compare LG’s newest phablet – the 5.9” G Pro 2 - to the Sony Xperia Z1, a 5-inch stylish, water-resistant smartphone, that is large as well, but not gigantic. Both are high-end devices carrying the powerful quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip and two of the best smartphone cameras around, but look in the details, and you’d find tiny nuances that make one stand out from the other.

How do they differ and which one should you buy? We dive in the minutiae to help you answer that question - read on.

In this review, we have the Korean version of the LG G Pro 2 that could differ from the international model. This Korean unit features a slide-out antenna, a removable back cover and expandable storage, that – among other features – may not be on the international model.

Design


The G Pro 2 is big and it barely even fits in jeans pockets, but at the same time it is surprisingly light for such a big phone. The Xperia Z1 is also not a small phone, but it's much better suited for carrying in pockets.

We have two outstandingly well built smartphones in the G Pro 2 and Xperia Z1, but LG and Sony took starkly different routes to achieve that quality, using very different design approaches and materials. The G Pro 2 is made out of plastic, which may not sound all that great on paper, but its real in-hand feel is quite nice, and we like its slight curves and subtle, textured mesh pattern on the back. The Xperia Z1, on its part, comes with a strict, rectangular shape and a body made of glass that looks truly stunning, but those sharper edges make it a bit less ergonomic. You can choose one of three color versions for both phones: Sony’s phone is available in white, black and purple versions, whereas the LG device comes in more subdued grey, white and black tones.

The LG G Pro 2 has a much larger, 5.9-inch display, and it’s altogether a much bigger phone than the 5-inch Sony Xperia Z1. At the same time, in its class of phablets, the G Pro 2 is actually surprisingly compact, sporting a record screen-to-phone size ratio – something that LG achieves by keeping screen bezel at the absolute minimum. One thing that the G Pro 2 definitely surprised us with, though, is its light weight, especially for a device with such a large footprint. The choice of plastic materials for its body definitely has something to do with this, and it turns out that using a featherweight phablet definitely helps fight the size shock. In fact, the G Pro 2 weighs the same as the much smaller Xperia Z1! Moreover, the phablet is properly balanced, so it does not tip over in the hand. On its part, the Xperia Z1 is also considered large compared to the average phone - it’s much bigger than other popular 5 inchers - but it is smaller and that gives it the advantage of being able to fit in pockets much easier.

LG’s phablet uses on-screen buttons, while all physical ones (a volume rocker with a lock key in the middle) have been moved to its back, just like the ones on the LG G2. Using buttons that are on the back of a phone takes some getting used to, but once you remember not to reach out to the side to lock your phone, you’d be fine. The G Pro 2’s volume buttons can also be used as physical camera shutter keys, and since they are so clicky and easy to press, the experience is great.

Sony, on the other hand, uses traditional, side-positioned keys. The Z1 has a round lock key that is made out of metal and looks very stylish, but it can also be a bit too small and hard to press. The Xperia Z1 also features a dedicated two-step camera shutter key that we like.

Finally, Sony’s phone has one important extra feature - it is water resistant (can withstand continuous immersion in water beyond 3 feet deep) and dust-proof, carrying IP58 certification.

LG G Pro 2

LG G Pro 2

Dimensions

6.22 x 3.22 x 0.33 inches

157.9 x 81.9 x 8.3 mm

Weight

6.07 oz (172 g)

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches

144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

LG G Pro 2

LG G Pro 2

Dimensions

6.22 x 3.22 x 0.33 inches

157.9 x 81.9 x 8.3 mm

Weight

6.07 oz (172 g)

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches

144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

LG G Pro 2’s gargantuan display has great viewing angles, and that’s its biggest advantage over the display of the Xperia Z1 which washes out hugely at even a slight angle. Apart from that, though, both screens are fairly good, with nice, vivid colors.

LG G Pro 2 features a gigantic 5.9-inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels (pixel density comes in at 373ppi), and it’s a great, impressive display. The screen in the Xperia Z1, on the other hand, is smaller in size - 5 inches - but it comes with the same full HD 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution, so is even sharper.

Which one is better altogether, though? It’s hard to say as both have their pros and cons. The screen of the Xperia Z1 is at a more disadvantageous position, though, because of its disappointing viewing angles: tilt it just slightly, and the TFT (non-IPS) screen starts to lose a lot of its color and vibrancy. At the same time, color calibration is fairly accurate on the Xperia Z1, . In return, the G Pro 2 has an IPS LCD screen with very good viewing angles and fine colors - whites are a bit bluish, but for the most part, color accuracy is fine. The display on the Sony phone is also slightly brighter than the LG one, and overall the Xperia Z1 is slightly better for outdoor use.

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