LG has had quite a bad rep when it comes to build quality of its smartphones. This issue has been persistent since the days of the Optimus Black and continues to be a problem with the current LG phones as well. The Optimus G was the last LG handset we reviewed and while the design and look was definitely a notch above its previous attempts, the bezel was prone to chipping in the event of a drop. Today, we have LG's flagship handset with us, which entered the market rather late. The Optimus G Pro will take on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 5, Xperia Z Ultra and the HTC One. Is the G Pro’s late entrance fashionable or has LG missed the bus? Let’s find out.
Design and build
The Optimus G Pro looks nothing like its younger sibling and is more akin to the Galaxy Note 2. Instead of it being wider, it’s longer, so holding it is more comfortable. The phone is fitted with LG’s full HD IPS panel, which is quite stunning. It’s incredibly bright at 400nits and the viewing angles are one of the best we’ve seen. LG's zerogap-touch display also makes it very sensitive to even the slightest finger gestures and the near-borderless design gives it good presence. There are two capacitive buttons at the bottom and a physical home button. The translucent button is also home to a multi-colour LED notification system. This can be customised for different contacts and event alerts.
Not the most striking phone for a flagship
The Optimus G Pro isn’t very slim at 9.4 mm and is a bit heavy as well at 172 g. Personally, I like a little heft in my phones as it gives a reassuring feel when you hold it or place it in your pocket. The body is mostly plastic, with a faux chrome trim running along the sides. The power and volume rocker are placed comfortably within reach while there’s a quick launch button that can be customised to open any app of your choice. There’s an IR blaster next to the headphone jack on the top along with the noise cancellation microphone.
Very good build
The rear cover is removable and features the similar chequered design on the Nexus 4, minus the glass. There’s a 13MP shooter on the top flanked by a speaker and an LED flash. Inside, we have a massive 3140 mAh battery and a slot for the microSim card along with a hot-swappable microSD card slot. Overall, the Optimus G Pro is a handsome-looking handset, but it does lack the flair of the Optimus G.
LG has customised Android Jelly Bean (4.1.2) with the Optimus UI. The skin is so well optimised that everything just happens in an instant. There’s quite literally no lag no matter what you do, which makes it the perfect phone if you’re Flash Gordon. If you’ve used the LG Optimus G, then you’ll be right at home. LG has added some new software features to the G Pro, such as the new Quick Remote app, which can be activated from the notification bar. You can still only open two QSlide apps, though, which is ok since you won’t be able to use more than that on a screen this size. Other apps bundled along include File Manager, Polaris Office 4, LG SmartWorld, LG SmartShare, Video Editor and a Remote Call Service.
The interface is lightning quick
The 5.5-inch display is truly stunning and is on par with the displays on the iPhone 5 and the HTC One. It’s incredibly snappy too thanks to a boosted Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC. This is similar to the one used in the G, but the APQ8064T chipset comes out-of-the-box with a higher clock speed of 1.7GHz. Coupled with 2GB of RAM, we’re looking at some pretty impressive performance. We got a higher AnTuTu score of 20690 points compared to 17865 on the Optimus G.
Very good overall performance
The music player is exactly the same as the one on the Optimus G. The new brushed metal theme for the media player looks slick and is feature-rich too with support for FLAC amongst other formats. There’s also Dolby Mobile sound enhancement along with the usual suite of equaliser presets. The audio quality is good with a decent pair of IEMs. The bass is punchy and the midrange is well defined. Sadly, there’s no lockscreen widget for controlling your music if you have a pattern lock on. There’s 16GB of onboard storage, which can be further expanded to 64GB.
Very good media playback
The video player is pretty robust as well and is on par with Samsung’s TouchWiz player. There’s support for DivX HD video format as well and MKV files are also supported. The video player can be used as a QSlide app as well, so you can browse the web and watch a video at the same time. Full HD 1080p playback is handled without skipping a beat through the stock player.