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LG G2: Great features in a flawed smartphone

JR Raphael | Sept. 19, 2013
he new LG G2 Android smartphone has an outstanding screen and top-notch performance, but is that enough to make it worth buying?

Swiping between home screens on the G2 is smooth as can be, app loading and multitasking are snappy and instantaneous and Web browsing is satisfactorily swift. The G2 performs like a champ; no matter what I've thrown its way, I've yet to see a single sign of stuttering or lag.

What about storage? The phone comes with 32GB of internal storage, which means you get about 24GB of actual usable space once you factor in the operating system and various preinstalled applications. There is no microSD card slot for external expansion.

The G2 has a 3,000mAh non-removable battery that's more than capable of keeping the phone running for a full day and then some. Even on days when I had moderate to heavy real-world use — 20 to 30 minutes of 4G video-streaming, an hour of audio streaming, 15 minutes of voice calls and a few hours of scattered Web browsing, social media activity and camera use — the phone made it from morning to night with at least a solid 30% of its charge remaining.

The G2 supports near-field communication (NFC) for contact-free data exchanges and payments. Both AT&T and Verizon, however, prevent you from using Google's own Google Wallet payment service, so don't expect to have that as an option.

Speaking of carriers, I found voice quality to be perfectly fine on both the AT&T and Verizon models of the device. I could hear people loud and clear, and those with whom I spoke reported being able to hear my voice distortion-free as well. The G2 is an LTE-capable device; 4G data speeds were in line with what I've come to expect from both networks in my area.

The Verizon model, by the way, is the only G2 model that offers wireless charging. It works with Qi-compatible chargers; I tested the phone with the Nexus 4 Wireless Charger and had no trouble making a connection.

And finally, the audio: LG says the G2 is the first smartphone with 24-bit, 192kHz Hi-Fi sound playback. For most people, this won't mean much — in listening to regular MP3s and streaming music, it's impossible to detect any difference between audio played from the G2 and audio played from another comparable phone. (I did several side-by-side tests using Bose noise-cancelling headphones.) But if you're a hard-core audiophile who keeps lossless music files on hand, it's something to keep in mind.

Like its bigger brother, the plus-sized Optimus G Pro, the G2 has a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with optic image stabilization. And as with the Optimus G Pro, I found the phone's image quality to be good — more than sufficient for everyday use — but not exceptional, particularly compared to some of the excellent cameras on other high-end phones.


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