LG has — finally — moved to on-screen buttons with the LG G2, giving up the ghost (for now) on the capacitive buttons of old. That provides for some flexibility for how things work in addition to making things a little easier on the hardware side.

By default, you've got three buttons — back, home and menu. Yes, an on-screen menu button. Not recent apps.

You do get the option to move things around a little bit, as well as add a fourth button, which either can be a shortcut to QuickMemo, or it can quickly pull down the notification shade. (As for multitasking, you can "slide" between apps with a three-finger gesture as part of something LG calls "Slide Aside.")

As the image above shows, you've got the following permutations:

  • Back-Home-Menu
  • Menu-Home-Back
  • Back-Home-Menu-Shade
  • Shade-Menu-Home-Back
  • Back-Home-Menu-QMemo
  • QMemo-Menu-Home-Back

Interesting and confounding at the same time.


Reader comments

LG G2: A multitude of on-screen buttons, just not multitasking


I assume they will want you to use App Slide for app switching. Otherwise, I'm at a loss. However, at least its a quick software update to fix it, rather than a workaround for a hardware key setup (coughHTCOneCough).

Anyone who complains about the double-tap to multitask setup on the One has obviously not used it for more than a day.

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Why, do you get used to the delay it induces and stop noticing it or something?

Double tapping is a retarded.

I have an HTC One and literally 50% of the time I double tap especially while in the car I end up at the home screen instead. If it had a dedicated multitask button that wouldn't happen.

Like the samsung S series you probably just hold down the home key, and that will display your multitasking, and recents menu.

Is this an android first since Google has changed to this format? I know not as far as roms are concerned

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Maybe they will copy the screen and build quality too. This may be plastic but the latest Lg plastic feels a lot better than the S 4.

From what I've read, long-pressing the home button enables multi-tasking. Not sure about Google Now though. But seriously LG, how many drugs did it take to make you put a dedicated menu button?

At least the LG has a menu button, the One lacks that :( (ex. you need to go to settings from the app tray or notif dropdown, just to change wallpaper)

Ever try pinching the screen or long-pressing? Phones don't need a menu button as long as the developers can code their apps properly.

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Blaming the developers to save bad manufacturers.... Well done for PR.

Posted using Samsung GS III

Both are really to blame, if you're a developer and you follow the Google guidelines then it's irrelevant who puts the menu button where.

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I totally agree. Google Now would be a swipe up from the home on-screen button, I would guess. However, this is LG we're talking about so whatever solution they've come up with will likely not make logical sense.

This is very cool. I like some of the innovation that LG is bringing to the table with the G2, though there is still some lingering skepticism about them because of their track record.

Why oh why do companies continue holding on to the Menu button? It is slowing down the advancement of modern Android apps. Glad to see them move to on-screen buttons though.

Y keep menu button? Simple some fons r just dum, besides its easier to access functions in almost anything on a fon w a dedicated menu button. Htc one sux! Yes i hsve 2 of them. They both suck. Samsung doesn't multi text, & the s3 & 4 both suck. Now I'll try Lg G2 since it seems to combine what both HTC & Samsung r missing.

Say what you want and rub Android Guidelines in my face if you will, but I still prefer physical buttons. Having to waste a portion of the screen on those buttons is just not my cup of tea.

I agree too.... What's the point of having the screen space only to be covered up with buttons?

Posted using Samsung GS III

if you think that these buttons are using space on a 4.7 inch device buy a 5.0 inch device. Apply the same logic to any screen size

Yeah from my experience is much better having on screen navs since it gives more space for hardware and when you watch videos or developers actually optimize their apps and games for it you get full screen goodness.

Say what you want but why do manufactures still waste bezel size for buttons... I want a phone that is all screen and no bezel all around!
The UI can easily be clever enough to handle everything a button could

Yeah, but current UIs DON'T. They just leave the buttons there, sitting unused for most of the time! Now, they did something bold: They put the buttons on the back, thus reducing front bezel. IMHO that's not the best placement since I'm pretty certain butt and pocket presses are going to plague this particular design, but it's nice to see at least SOMEONE trying to go in a different direction.

Now, like I said in a post below, I'd be all for on-screen buttons if the norm was for them to be hidden by default and only visible when needed. Add to that some customization like what they did here, and even further if they actually let you define your own layout and maaaaaybe even custom icon/actions, and then I'd be TOTALLY sold.

I believe it was Huawei on the Ascend Mate and another phone of theirs, has on screen buttons with a down arrow button to hide them. A simple swipe up from the bottom of screen brings them back. I want more companies to adopt that kind of feature for phones with no capacitive buttons.

If that was the norm, then yeah, I'd be in favor of on-screen buttons. But no, they're a persistent waste of screen estate right now. Add the customization LG is adding here plus some more, and I'll be sold.

That being said, being able to customize the layout (and even further would be to customize the functions) of the buttons IS quite nice.

hello there phil! (this is my first comment in AC, i'm a big fan of your reviews), i know that Android standards have changed a lot since hardware/capacitive buttons, but personally, i just love that menu button, i usually find myself using it a lot, it is just way faster tap the one you know that is there than try to remember where on the earth were the options in this app (sometimes developers just love weird places).

however, i just like what LG did there, probably you can access recent apps holding Home, as does my LG L9 ( =C I would love to have something better or up-to-date, but getting something nice in my country can be Really hard, I'm from Venezuela), but it could be better if they add recent apps as an option in those settings, probably they'll notice it and add it on an update.

and just to know, when you said "JUST NOT MULTITASKING" you said it because of the recent apps ?

at last sorry for my bad English, just doing best.

Seems youve never tried a nexus device. It has 3 on screen buttons but a menu button appears only when necessary. Thats the way it should be

No, that is the way you like it and what Google wants it to be. It is not necessarily what it should be.

I will adapt to thing when I find a phone what I like, so far it has been nothing but off screen buttons and I am ok with this.

If that's what the Android design guidelines say it should be, then that's what it should be.

Guidelines are just that, guides. Not the 10 commandments passed down from the mighty Google itself.

It is the direction that we *should* go in because that is how Google sees the ecosystem evolving, but it is still just a guide.

I would say that we are in a transition period with them where more and more are going with them. Like I said somewhere else, the softkeys, on screen or off, is not going to sway my decision on a phone, especially now that we have moved to 5" being the norm on screen size (back at 4.3-4.5 I thought it was too much real estate to give up for not real good reason).

Let's not act like any phone is inferior because a simple guideline discrepancy.

i agree with you, as far as it keeps being easy to reach: back/home/recent apps/menu(i know this is not necessary since every app should have it, but for me this is a PLUS. there should be no discussion about this, and the end you'll get used to it

that's right, i have never tried a nexus device, but i know the way they work, and i know what google have been doing with them and what they expect from developers, how ever for me,i repeat: for me, it's more useful having a menu button, and hold the home button for recent apps, it's just the way i like it.. Google should make those settings about the 3 buttons stock on android, so people can switch them the way they want

I love the Optimums G (Fall, 2012). The only annoying thing about it was the menu button. And now it is six times annoying, all of the available on screen button configurations force you to see it!


flagship phone with on-sceen menu buttons, that can be configured 6 different ways, none of which are nexus-like??

back - home - multi

Its the best config for me... and what i am used to.... and what i want.

well i agree that they should have used recent apps in that arrangement, but as i said in another comment, it isn't like you cant go to recent apps, it's just in another place, doesn't look like a big deal to me .-.

I've seen that Theme section peek out at the bottom but haven't seen anyone go into it yet...I'm assuming it lets you change colors of buttons and whatnot?

I *love* that they give us options.

I *hate* that one of those options isn't the Android standard. That's seriously retarded.

What a travesty not including a recent tasks button like Google intended. Why do these companies think they can build a better OS than Google? At least when CM 10.2 gets onto this bad boy I can get rid of that stupid menu button. Doofuses.

"Why do these companies think they can build a better OS than Google?"

Well, in many ways, because they can. Android is an amazing foundation for lots and lots of goodness, but there are so many ways that it can be improved. And the benefit of Android is that they let this happen. Most of the Touchwiz and LG UX features are excellent.

Yeah, but only when these manufacturers really make an "improvement," not an outdated menu button or way too cluttered UI (and features that most of the people find useless).

This is sweet! I wish Samsung (everyone) would use the soft nav buttons! To be able to select a custom order/set is just icing on the cake. Not as good as AOKP but the next best thing...

Hey Phil what about holding down the volume up while on the lock screen which brings up quick note, is this customizable?

Agreed, AOKP does it best, theming and height of the buttons, colors, highlight and buttons shown. I love menu, home, back, recent and notification as all bottom buttons. It keeps my thumbs at the bottom - always thought reaching the top of the screen should have ended with the advent of screens larger than 4" I despise the top shade on a 7" tablet. Google does not know best IMHO.

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Wow, I love the way that they let you customize on screen nav. This phone is looking nicer with each feature

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I clicked off the page but saw this drivel and had to come back.

You have to an apple guy. This is no different than any other phone not named Nexus.

Skin- Check
Added Features- Check

What is so damn different?

I like the recent apps button on my N7 and Galaxy Nexus, but really wish stock at least had an option to display Menu in the action bar. I know I can root, but the only two things I can't do with stock that I want to do is have a permanent menu button and back up paid (protected) apps.

After almost two years, I still haven't adjusted to the overflow. I really just want a consistent place to access options/settings. Sigh...

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I don't understand the hard menu button. It's VERY context sensitive and isn't applicable in all situations. It's horrible UI to have unresponsive buttons. Buttons that you can click that don't do are confusing and appear to be bugs when not responsive.

The dedicated menu button also pushed inconsistent designs after press. Instead of an options menu on an action bar that looked relatively the same from app to app, you'd get developers that would bring up different looking modal popups, menu bars, etc. The menu button is also disjoint from an action bar on top that would have the most common actions (in an icon) with some more hidden options in the options icon. If a dedicated menu button was standard, the most common action options would be buried in a hard button, or in a completely different location on the screen.

Being able to customize the arrangement of software keys is a great idea, and one I wish Google would implement in stock Android. HOWEVER, why the heck is the menu button still there? It's been deprecated for years, apps are supposed to use the action overflow these days. A menu button that is always there, whether or not there is actually a menu available to open, is useless. It also doesn't tell you anything about what it's actually gonna do when you press it, while that is completely obvious with the action overflow. ALSO, why the heck is a task switcher button not an option? Yeah, they have their three-finger gesture, and yeah, you can probably long-press the Home button to open the switcher, but having a dedicated button for it is so much nicer. It makes switching between apps snappy and effortless, while holding down a button is a bit of a chore. I just don't understand why these companies refuse to follow the conventions of the OS they're using on their phones. At least this is better than Samsung's permanent, backwards key configuration.

I just want to know how much is it going to cost me off contract? That's all I want to know. How much?

Unless some other manufacturer comes out with a phone with an S800, I'll be buying this after it hits Verizon.

I HATE when they do away with the multitasking recent apps button. Holding the home button down takes (imho) way too long.

This is a travesty. Why can't these guys get on board with the regular on screen buttons?

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I think its cool you can change the doc but no option for app switching? I know LG has their 3 finger swipe they want you to use but come on! Hopefully a software update comes to add that option. If it had the task switcher I would seriously consider this over the droid maxx.

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