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Product Reviews by Edgar Dworsky


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LG G2 Smartphone

LG G2 The latest entrant into the super-high-end smartphone race is the LG G2. LG provided a unit to Consumer World for our review.

The G2's screen looks huge -- it is 5.2 inches -- but the tapered back makes it feel very skinny. And it fits in a man's pants pocket easily and unobtrusively.

Consumer World reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S 4 several months ago, and much of this review will focus on the differences between these two high-end models. The S 4 seems small compared to the G2, partly because of an optical illusion since the black LG case and gorilla glass make the screen appear slightly larger than it really is. The display is full HD and head-on, it is hard to say which is better, the Samsung or the LG. However, when looking at the screen at an angle, the Samsung is far brighter and doesn't wash out like the LG.

In terms of specs, the LG has a newer faster processor and a 3000 mAh sealed-in battery. The battery life on this phone is nothing short of amazing. While the Samsung S 4 seems to drain its battery from the minute you turn it on, like the Energizer bunny, the LG G2's battery keeps on going. You could easily get a full day of normal use out of this battery. The LG unit gets much less hot than the Samsung when used too.

The G2 doesn't have its on/off button or volume buttons on the edge like most cellphones, but rather it is on the back of the unit, near the camera lens. While other reviewers think this is a generally a good placement, we don't agree. As noted in the picture above, the on/off button is sandwiched in between the volume up and volume down buttons. And the power button so subtly protrudes that is hard to distinguish which button is which by touch alone. It is also not easy to get use to this unusual placement.

The camera on the G2 is 13 megapixels, the same as the Samsung, but somehow the pictures are not as good. Photos seem a little over-saturated and not as sharp. The LG G2 also has a strange way of capturing a screenshot -- you have to press the power and volume down button simultaneously. That is not an easy feat, and you wind up most times just lowering the volume.

There are some other quirks too. The lock screen, where you enter your password to get access to the phone's features, only stays on screen for seven or eight seconds before blanking out. The LG "KnockOn" feature where you tap the screen brings back the display, but you should not have to wake up the phone immediately after turning it on. There does not appear to be any way to lengthen the time that screen stays accessible. Also odd is the phone's inability to accept your password the second the keypad is displayed. You actually have to wait a couple of seconds for it to be ready to record your taps.

Most of these quirks are just minor annoyances because the G2 really shines in some respects. It seems to pull in both a telephone signal and a data signal better than the Samsung S 4. That means where the Samsung may only show two bars, the LG shows three. And with respect to data connections, the G2 seems to pull in a stronger signal too for both wifi and cell data.

As to the quality of calls, more people have complained about the muffled sound they hear from the Samsung than the sound from the LG, but the LG is still not corded quality. The volume, however, seems to be louder on the Samsung.

Many people use their smartphones to check email and they may be disappointed with the LG mail application. It seems to have no setting to delete emails from the server when you delete emails from your inbox. It appears to only delete them from the server when you delete them from your trash folder. Very annoying. And although the email app is set to only retrieve mail manually, it seems to fetch it anyway when it feels like.

The phone comes with a remote control app, so you change channels on your TV or cable box easily.

The smartphone is typically $99 with a two-year contract at most carriers, but is currently free (as of Nov. 2013) at Verizon Wireless.

All in all, the LG G2 is a nifty phone that does not feel oversized but does feel slippery. It pulls in a stronger signal that Samsung, and is very responsive most times. It has a few quirks for sure, but what phone doesn't. As between the G2 and S 4, the S 4 has the edge in many respects, but the larger screen and superb battery life are the things that make the G2 special.

November 11, 2013 ========================================================

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