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.

For starters, there’s a ton of sharp detail found everywhere, as its pixel density of 320 ppi, which employs the more favorable RGB sub-pixel layout, enables us to watch videos and browse the web with full fidelity thanks to its superb details. Secondly, unlike some other rivaling display technologies, its IPS based display produces colors that are far more natural in tone than others – though, we do notice just a subtle hint of distortion at extreme angles, but it’s never to the point distracting. Lastly, we have to hand it to LG for delivering optimal quality with outdoor visibility, since we’re able to perfectly view the display in the full view of the sun. Also being a noteworthy item to mention, the Optimus G is LG’s first smartphone to feature “Zerogap Touch” technology, which simply combines the LCD panel with the glass and eliminates the air gap usually found there, to make it appear closer to the surface.

LG Optimus G Sprint 360-degrees View:

LG Optimus G AT&T 360-degrees View:



2. ryq24

Posts: 876; Member since: Oct 17, 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: Sep 12, 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: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

...what? 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: Feb 27, 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: May 22, 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.

54. Jericho unregistered

Optimus G LG's Next Big thing.

68. cornpops

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 29, 2012

ummm which one of LG's phones was the first to have a quad core processor?

71. MANGUELPR unregistered

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. //plus.google.com/+LG/posts/J5c417jzJP6

61. doejon

Posts: 411; Member since: Jul 31, 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: 158; Member since: Jul 15, 2013

Still waiting....................... LOL

72. MANGUELPR unregistered

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. knowyourmobile.com/lg/20492/lg-will-produce-phone-​flexible-ultra-hd-oled-display-end-year

3. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

LG really, and finally, put everything they have into a product. The result? Best phone on Earth right now

5. MeoCao unregistered

After HTC Butterfly everything else looks very boring.

6. jan25

Posts: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 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 unregistered

Hope they used a different camera module on the Nexus cause it doesn't perform very well on the Optimus G

12. proto

Posts: 59; Member since: Sep 12, 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: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 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.

53. Jericho unregistered

The Nexus 4. 9.5/10

64. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 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: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 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 unregistered

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: 649; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

I'm not quite understanding why the benchmarks are so different, if it's the same phone.

38. bxbomber718

Posts: 15; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

I noticed that too but it seems the reviewer and everyone else overlooked this...

11. BadAssAbe

Posts: 509; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

13MP or Expandable memory? Kinda wish US got a working TV tuner.

14. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

or you can get the unlocked one! NO BLOATWARE TOO

16. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 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: May 09, 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: Dec 13, 2010

That is if the US gov't doesn't ban it first...smh

66. enGet

Posts: 33; Member since: Oct 19, 2012

Which they should do. Only fools trust the Chiense. I live in china, I know.

21. scsa852k

Posts: 331; Member since: Oct 16, 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.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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