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LG Optimus G review

An awesome phone, but a little too late?

Our Verdict

If the Optimus G had landed last year, it would be a stand-out. In 2013, it risks being lost in the pack.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 32 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 13 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 15 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 768
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Stunning IPS screen Fast CPU
  • Miracast screen sharing
  • Cool, unique LG apps

Against

  • Faceless design
  • Average camera
  • No expandable storage
  • Some annoying software quirks

LG's road to smartphone success has been rockier than most. After false starts with the Optimus series, LG basically took 2012 off; a sabbatical from the top-tier end of the market to gather its thoughts.

During this time it focused on the pre-paid and BYO segment with its cheaper L-Series models like the Optimus L5, and having enjoyed some success with them, now makes its return to the big leagues with the Optimus G.

LG Optimus G review

LG is also responsible for the popular, but difficult to obtain, Google Nexus 4. If you are familiar with Google's mobile unicorn, you will have a headstart in imagining the Optimus G. They share the same glass finish, front and back, and an identically specced 4.7-inch IPS display.

LG relies on Corning Gorilla Glass 2 to cover its phones, and promises some durability in line with how Corning markets the Gorilla Glass products. Still, as it is with glass on any phone, you don't want to be dropping the Opitmus G.

LG Optimus G review

Starry, starry night

Both the G and the Nexus 4 have a sparkling, reflective back plate under the glass that catches the light, and your attention, when you hold it in a certain way. The handset shimmers, like electronic circuitry when the light bounces off this surface.

The Optimus G also has a stainless steel trim that runs around the edge of the phone and really pulls the design together.It feels nice too, with rounded corners, so it sits comfortably in the hand.

LG Optimus G review

All this said, the Optimus G still isn't particularly eye-catching. For all of the criticism leveled at Samsung for its plastic handsets, they are instantly recognisable as Galaxy handsets. The Optimus G is a featureless black box when not in use, but then, perhaps this is your preference.

LG Optimus G review

Button placement is similar to the Galaxy S3, with a power button on the right side and volume on the left. The Optimus has a headphone socket on the top of the handset and a micro USB port on the bottom.

A micro SIM can be inserted into a space on the side of the phone, under the volume rocker. To get this slot out you need a sharp pin, similar to the iPhone and HTC's range of phones.

LG Optimus G review

The handset is completely sealed, removing a user's ability to access the battery, and it doesn't have a slot for micro SD cards either.

The handset does have 32GB of storage though, which is rather generous, so hopefully most people won't miss the expandable memory option.

LG Optimus G review

On the back of the handset you'll find a small, square camera lens and an LED flash. Beside it, on our review unit, it states that the camera is 13-megapixels. This is a promise to photgraphers that the Optimus G never lives up to -- but more on that later in the review.

The first thing you'll see when you power the phone up is LG's very cool unlock animation. It is difficult to describe: it's sort of like a magnifying bubble that grows in size as you swipe your finger across the screen, revealing a distorted version of the screen underneath.

LG Optimus G review

It is one of those small touches that barely impacts on your use of the phone, but has the ability to make your day all the same. We challenge you to handle this phone for a couple of minutes and not spend the whole time swiping back and forth on the lockscreen and watching the mysterious bubble.

There's no official word yet on UK plans and pricing through the telcos, but Expansys is now selling the Optimus G outright for £469.99.

In Australia, the Optimus G is available through Telstra for $63 per month on a 24-month plan or for AU$699 upfront.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in Memory32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS
SAR Value0.43 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyOptimus G
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution13 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameLG
Battery Talk Time15 Hour
Product ModelE975
Screen Size11.9 cm (4.7")
Screen Resolution1280 x 768
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)145 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density320 ppi
Height131.9 mm
Width68.9 mm
Depth8.5 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerLG Electronics
Product NameOptimus G E975 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon S4
Product LineOptimus G
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberE975.AITABL
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.lge.co.uk
Marketing Information

NEXT GENERATION QUAD CORE SMARTPHONE

Optimus G powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 Pro APQ8064 processor, delivers a superior mobile experience for web browsing, games, user interfaces, graphics applications and longer battery life.

MASTERPIECE DESIGN WITH 'CRYSTAL REFLECTION FINISH

The Zerogap Touch offers an immersive and real touch sensing experience. Also, the Zerogap Touch reduced the thickness of the display for a slimmest design and sharpest viewing, even outside.The smooth metallic highlights, which was possible through the Laser Cut Contour, also offers a clean finish of simplicity with a unibody form.