Body and design
LG made some interesting choices when it comes to the G2's design. First, the company traded the patterned glass back of last year's Optimus G flagship for a glossy plastic (though still non-removable) material.
Unfortunately, while glass has its share of downsides — fragility, most notably — glossy plastic seems like a step in the wrong direction. The material looks and feels cheaper than other smartphone surfaces (even other plastic ones such as the Moto X) and also serves as a magnet for messy-looking fingerprints. Compared to many current flagship phones — even the Optimus G — the G2 has a less distinctive and premium feel as a result.
One area where the G2 does stand out is in its button configuration: In an unusual twist, the phone has no physical buttons anywhere on its face or sides. Instead, the power button and volume rocker live on the device's back panel — a placement LG believes will prove to be more natural for users.
One thing's for sure: The setup requires some serious adjustment. I spent the first few days struggling to get used to finding buttons on the back and had more than a few instances of fumbling around with the phone while trying to power on or off in a hurry.
At this point, I'm generally okay with the configuration but still find it more awkward to use than a standard button setup. Maybe it's just years of using phones with side-sitting buttons, but when I pick up a device, my fingers naturally wrap around its outer edge; it actually feels a little unnatural to me to have to shift to the back and slide my fingers around to search for buttons there. I suspect it's going to be one of those love-it-or-hate-it sorts of things; despite my best efforts to adapt, I find myself falling into the latter camp.
The Verizon model, it's worth noting, has smaller and flatter buttons than the AT&T version of the device. I found those to be particularly difficult to find by touch — much more than the AT&T arrangement. This quirk appears to be limited to Verizon; the Sprint and T-Mobile models are both expected to use the same setup as the AT&T model, which follows the blueprint of LG's international design.
To help make up for the sometimes out-of-the-way placement, LG allows you to turn the G2's display on or off by tapping twice on the display. While nice in concept, I found the action to be inconsistent in practice; sometimes I'd get the display to turn on with a single double-tap as advertised, but just as often, it'd take two or three tries for it to work. At that point, it's more of a frustration than a convenience; combined with the added second it takes for the screen to turn on even when the double-tap does work, I found myself reaching for the power button more often than not.
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