LG G Pro 2 vs Sony Xperia Z1
Interface and Functionality
LG’s Optimus skin is packed with features and some like the new split-screen multi-tasking make a lot of sense for the G Pro 2. Sony has gone without such bells and whistles, but its skin is also lighter and gets the job done.
Being the newer device, the LG G Pro 2 also has a newer version of Android on board - it ships with Android 4.4.2 KitKat, while at the moment of this writing the Sony Xperia Z1 has been updated to Android 4.3 and is still waiting for the KitKat update. The difference between the two Android versions is not very visible on the surface (KitKat adopts white accent colors instead of blue, and it introduces features like Immersive Mode), but there are plenty of changes under the hood, including speed optimizations.
What makes the visual difference between these two phones much bigger are the user interfaces on top of Android. LG uses its Optimus skin, while Sony goes on to use its Timescape interface. LG’s one comes with a rainbow of eye-popping colors, flashy animations and transitions, and a fun, cartoony look. Sony’s skin looks more mature - with more toned down colors and - while animations are also there - they are not that much in-your-face.
In terms of features and apps, the LG G Pro 2 is just packed. LG has introduced quite a few optimizations for phablets in its interface, and our favorite one is the split-screen “Dual Window” multitasking that allows you to run two apps simultaneously alongside. The feature is similar to what Samsung has done with TouchWiz, but LG’s implementation is even sleeker as the feature is actually built in a new multitasking interface - you simply long-hold the ‘back’ button to bring recently opened apps and you can drag apps from there to enable this split-screen multi-tasking. Right now, there are 15 apps (among which Chrome and YouTube) that support this new multi-tasking feature. The G Pro 2 also supports a new one-hand operation mode that can shrink down your whole screen to a smaller size (swipe on the button bar to enable it) or just the keyboard to a smaller one (swipe on the keyboard to enable it). The handset also comes with a new security feature called ‘Knock Code’ that allows you to set a security pattern consisting of four to eight taps on a 2x2 square. You can then tap that pattern straight from the lock screen (without having to wake up the phone) to unlock it - neatly, it works anywhere on the screen, but you have to get used to the second or so that it takes for the screen to wake after you tap the code. Customization options are also rampant on the G Pro 2 with its support for custom themes and all sorts of tiny novel features - the capability to have a multi-photo wallpaper (with pictures changing as you swipe between home panels), to resize icons and to have support for landscape orientation in the home panel.
Sony’s handset does not have such features, but on the flip side of things, it is lighter on memory. Admittedly, Sony allows “small apps” like a calculator and a notepad to run on top of the main screen, but that’s as far as multi-window multi-tasking gets.
Both devices also feature a selection of first-party apps in addition to the phonebook and messaging. LG’s app suite includes a file manager, backup, notes, weather, calculator, alarm, email, video and music apps, while Sony’s selection is fairly similar except that it lacks the weather, backup and file manager apps. In reality, you can always rely on the Google Play Store with its catalog of over 1 million apps.
The G Pro 2 comes with an infrared sensor on top of it that you can use as a remote for say a TV, and to use that feature, LG bundles in its QRemote application that gets the job done without any bells and whistles. LG also bundles in its own voice assistant that it calls QVoice, and you can use it in addition to Google Now. QVoice comes with the preference of having access to core apps, so you can use it to say something in the lines of “call dad”, or “text my sister”, but for all other voice functions like searching the web we’d prefer using the quicker and more accurate Google Now.
Both phones feature large enough displays, so that the buttons in the on-screen keyboard are big and well-spaced, easy to type on. The LG keyboard has an additional row with the numbers and that’s definitely a time-saver, plus overall it felt just a bit more comfortable and snappier.
Processor and Memory
The quad-core Snapdragon 800 system chip is a tried and tested solution that brings smooth, lag-free performance, and is capable of running even the most intense of games.
The LG G Pro 2 and Sony Xperia Z1 are both high-end devices that pack a lot of punch and they both stand up to a standard of smooth, lag-free performance. “Civilian” users who don’t sweat over benchmarks and intense games would definitely find these two to be on par in terms of performance.
Digging up the technical details, there are indeed just very slight differences in what’s under the hood. Both run on the quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC (the MSM8974 version), and so much has been written about this tried and tested system chip that you probably already know that we don’t feel the need to go into much detail - fact is, it can easily handle even heavier loads with ease. The slight hardware distinction between the two handsets lies in the fact that the G Pro 2 features 3GB of RAM, while the Xperia Z1 has 2 gigs.
The G Pro 2 also features double the internal storage - it’s got 32GB on board, whereas the Z1 comes with 16 gigs on board. Even the 32GB on the G Pro 2, however, might not be enough for power users, so good news is that you can expand memory allowance on both devices with microSD cards of up to 64GB.
Internet and Connectivity
The gigantic 5.9-inch screen makes it much more enjoyable to browse desktop versions of websites, but in terms of speed and connectivity the two phones are on par.
Say all you want about how inconvenient it is to carry around a phablet, but it’s a liberating experience for web browsing. The 5.9-inch LG G Pro 2 is not an exception as desktop versions of many websites look much better (but not perfect) on that large screen, and that’s a plus. Both LG’s and Sony’s devices come with the Chrome mobile browser pre-loaded, and it gets the job done effortlessly with a well optimized for touch interface, quick rendering of pages and lag-free zooming and scrolling.
In terms of connectivity, you have 4G LTE on both devices with peak speeds reaching up to 150Mbps for downloads. All other basics are covered as well - the two handsets support dual-channel Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS and NFC. For connections to external monitors, the LG G Pro 2 relies on a SlimPort, while the Sony Xperia Z1 comes with an MHL port.