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LG is actually in the running for best Android device of the year. Don’t believe me, here’s my review of the new LG G2.

Hardware
The G2 is a beauty hands down and could be LG’s best looking phone. LG decided to take the plastic route similar to that of the Galaxy line, and that isn’t a bad thing. I’m part of the rare breed that actually doesn’t mind the feel of the plastic but I hope LG tries something new in their next models. LG went with a gorgeous edge to edge 5.2 inch IPS display with a resolution of 1080×1920 (423ppi). As advertised, LG removed all button placings on the G2 to the back which includes your power/sleep button and volume rocker, along side the 13mp camera with Optical Image Stabilizer. The front facing camera is a good enough 2.1mp shooter.

Now on paper the G2 is the best smartphone currently on the market. The first to have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 CPU with 2.26GHz and 2GB of RAM. The G2 is offered with two storage choices, 32 or 64GB, with no access to external memory. There is also a 3,000mAh battery powering everything and its amazing. The G2 feels great in the hand and it didnt take long for me to get used to its button placement. Just like every other glossy phone, fingerprints and body oil gets all over this bad boy.

Software
LG’s Android skin is pretty heavy on the G2 but with the help of a Snapdragon 800, the phone flows with ease. Anyone familiar with LG devices and even users of the Optimus G Pro will notice a lot of familiar UI choices. Customization is something LG has done quite right with being able to change the icon on every app possible to even rearranging the face icon tray.

The notification window is still a cluttered mess. LG still keeps its Q-Slider for quick access to pop up versions of certain apps. Some are useful but its honestly a waste of space.

Camera
LG G2 Test Shot
I was very impressed with the 13 Megapixel camera on the G2, especially in daylight. Color reproduction is great with minimal contrast so it doesn’t look as dark. The LED flash worked good as well, creating a balance between white balance to focus on its target and not completely drown out the background. In low light however the camera takes a while before it recognizes anything and lags quite a bit, a steady hand is for sure needed. It can also shoot HD video at 720p and 1080p (30fps or 60fps). LG has really pushed its Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) on the G2 but it was honestly a hit or miss. Video is crisp and smooth when still but auto focus can get a bit buggy when moving. The 2.1 megapixel front facing camera is nothing special. Great for selfies and that’s about it. The camera on the G2 is great overall but I wish LG would have added more control options than the average ISO and White Balance control. The G2 does come with some special modes though. You get the Dual Camera, Burst Mode, Panorama and of course Shot & Clear, which allows you to erase unwanted background subjects.

Performance
Running on Android 4.2, LG has really slimmed down on overhauling the OS with its skin variation, making the G2 feeling somewhat Android stocky. The Snapdragon 800 processor is amazing. Everything is super snappy and smooth. Opening apps are quick and multitasking is handled with ease. This was by far the one of the fastest devices I have used so far. The G2 is actually the first device to be released with the new 800 processor and it was a great job of LG to have attained it. As mentioned, this is a 1080p HD display, so 1080p videos were handled with no problem. 4K videos on YouTube (rendered down to 1080p) looked sharp and crisp. Since we were testing a global version of the G2, we weren’t able to try out US LTE service on any carrier which limited us to HSPA+ on an AT&T SIM card we inserted. Though, data was quick and call quality was great.

Now where this baby shines is in battery life, which is very important for someone like myself who is in constant check of emails and social networks. On a regular use (emails, networking, text and calling) the G2 lasted over a day and a half on a single charge. So if you’re the type of person who rarely uses a smartphone, you can expect up to two days of battery life on a single charge. On days I used more media streaming apps like Hulu, Netflix and YouTube, battery life was enough to power me a full work day. This was truly impressive to see the G2 perform like this, which shows a good future for LG.

Extras
The G2 did include some extra features which could be useful for certain people. My favorite was Guest Mode. We have seen this on other devices before but having it on a mobile device seems much practical to me. Given option to choose which apps can be accessed by the guest is a plus especially for parents who like to allow their child to play with their phones. You won’t have to worry about your kid making charges to your credit card. Guest mode is activated via specific lock screen entry. Another I quite enjoyed was Knock On, which allowed you to turn on your device without ever having to press the wake button. A simple double tap on the screen is all it takes. There were moments when taps weren’t recognized because they were either too fast or too slow. Getting that right speed of tap took a bit to get used to, but I found Knock On to be very convenient nonetheless. LG has also introduced 24bit audio processing for clear audio playback and recording.

Wrap Up
The G2 is by far LG’s best mobile phone and alternative to users not interested in the Galaxy line. The specs on paper don’t lie qmd this screen is by far one of the best I have ever seen. This phone is a powerhouse and one of the best Android devices currently out.

The LG G2 is available on all major US carrieres with Verizon’s model having built in wireless charging capabilities.