LG's flagship Android smartphone gets bigger, faster and ... a bit familiar-looking
You're forgiven for thinking it. We all are. It's impossible to pick up the LG Optimus G Pro -- the oversized, 5.5-inch Android half-phone/half-tablet unveiled this week at Mobile World Congress in Spain -- and not think of another Korean manufacturer's similar product. Go ahead and get that out of your system.
This is the Optimus G Pro. Not the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. But, yeah. There are certain physical similarities. You can't help by notice that. And for sure the folks in the 50 or so countries LG's planning on launching the Optimus G Pro in (beginning in the second quarter) will notice. Maybe that's the idea. Or maybe not.
In a nutshell, it takes all of the hardware and software LG brought in the original, smaller Optimus G in the fall of 2012 and expands it to a larger platform. The display sports a 1920x1080 resolution, for about 400 pixels per inch. The internal specs are beefier, powered by a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, the better to push all those pixels. Sluggish, this device is not.
There's nothing overly tricky about the button scheme. Volume keys and the on/off button are in the usual places. This is the Korea version we're looking at, so it's sporting an extendable antenna for picking up over-the-air television signals. (Which is still so popular in Korea that to ditch that feature might well cause a national revolt.)
Design-wise, LG has both changed and refined. The Optimus G Pro has lost some of the blocky edging of its predecessor, going for more rounded corners. It's also gained a physical home button, flanked by a back button and menu button. (With the security device attached to the USB port, the button takes on a cool green glow. Don't expect yours to do that.) The bezel between the display and edge of the phone is one of the thinnest we've seen.
The software is still pretty busy, but probably not by LG's standards. It's running Android 4.1.2 out of the box, with LG's custom user interface on top of it. If you're familiar with the Optimus G, you'll be right at home here. It's rife with all of LG's "Quick" features, like QMemo and QNote and all the overlays we've been using for months. It's a lot to take in at first, but there's a lot of functionality in there as well.
'Round back there's a 13-megapixels shooter that extends from the body of the phone ever so slightly. It's noticeable, but we've seen worse.
The Optimus G Pro has a removable 3,140 mAh battery that also can work with LG's wireless charging puck. The battery cover also can be swapped out for a flip cover to keep that large screen protected.