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LG's latest looks to be a worthy contender in AT&T's summer lineup

LG formally took the wraps off its latest AT&T flagship tonight in New York, and the US-version of the Optimus G Pro is just as impressive as we when we first met it back in Barcelona. A worthy contender in AT&T's summer lineup, the Optimus G Pro beats the Note 3 to the market as the next-gen phablet designed to compete: with a 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, 2 GB of RAM, and an eye-popping full 1080p IPS display, the Optimus G Pro hits shelves on May 10, joining the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 in the summer's most robust portfolio. LG's offering will cost $199 on contract. Hit the break for our initial impressions.

What you'll notice first and foremost about the Optimus G Pro is its size, particularly if you've ever used a Note 2. Despite what the spec sheets might call the difference in width (.17 inches, for the record), it lends itself to to a drastic difference in the feel of the two phones-- I found LG's model to be far more manageable in single-handed usage, something that I was never able to get past with the Note 2. Make no mistake- it's a huge phone, lugging around a noticeably-hefty 3,140 mAh battery - but it makes better usage of its footprint than the Note 2 does. There's also attractive detail here, like an illuminating physical home button and the sleek black paint job, that almost feels as if LG has filled in the Note 2's imperfections. 

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Optimus UI here feels insanely smooth, more noticeable than ever before, thanks in part to that Snapdragon processor, in part to LG's newfound focus on it. Quick Memo finally feels useful and, dare I say, fun, while Q-Slide's improved multitasking capabilities are a breath of fresh air.  The 13 MP camera brings with it a bevy of unique and well-done functionalities -- VR Camera is a cool little answer to the standard panorama mode, and is made even cooler by what appears to be pretty great photo quality. It's possible Optimus UI has finally grown into itself, though I'll withhold that level of judgment for a few more days.

LG's answer to Samsung and HTC this season is a savvy one, breaking from the pack by offering a jumbo-sized device in a flagship-friendly package. We'll be spending a lot of quality time with AT&T's Optimus G Pro ahead of our full in-depth review; should you be ready to roll before then, AT&T will begin preorders on Friday, May 3 online.