With the new G Pro 2, LG hopes to make would-be Note 3 buyers think twice. Like Samsung’s popular phablet, the Pro 2 boasts a huge, bright, and colorful HD screen as well as an excellent 13MP camera. LG also packs in plenty of software tricks and UI enhancements to throw veteran Android users a curve or two.
Of course the G Pro 2 will have a tough time deflecting potential Note 3 shoppers off target. While LG’s latest creation matches the current phone/tablet hybrid in terms of power and components, its design isn’t quite as classy as that of Samsung's killer, overgrown smartphone. Additionally the G Pro 2 lacks a stylus, so it can't tackle the same inventive S Pen features that the Note line brings to the table. That said, while the Korean model of the G Pro 2 we reviewed isn't sold in US or Europe, if you can grab it for significantly less than the Note 3, it's one heck of a bargain no matter where you live.
What's improved in the G Pro 2
The new G Pro 2 represents a huge leap forward, especially when compared with the older LG Optimus G Pro. While the previous G Pro relied on a quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor, the G Pro 2 uses a much more robust quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU. The Pro 2's screen is bigger, too: 5.9 inches as opposed to 5.5 inches. Also included in the G Pro 2 is a bevy of fresh software enhancements and interface tricks such as Knock Code to turn the handset on and off by tapping the screen.
Measuring 6.2 inches tall, 3.2 inches wide, and just 0.3 inch thick, the G Pro 2 is available in three colors: white, silver, and titan, aka black. Just like the previous G Pro, the device is massive. People with small hands will definitely have to use both of them to navigate the handset properly. When held side by side with the gargantuan G Flex, the G Pro 2 is just as large. There is a setting, however, that you can turn on to shrink the display image (more on that later).
Similar to LG's current marquee handset, the G2, the Pro 2 houses its physical control keys (including the power and volume buttons) on its back. LG has also added a lustrous but subtle overlay on the battery door, which we personally like since it gives a premium feel to the phone. That said, the faux-leather backing of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is more comfortable to hold and adds an extra touch of sophistication. By comparison the G Pro 2's thin edges possess an almost bladelike sharpness, not a trait handheld objects should have.
Along with its superslim 3.33mm bezel, the phone is equipped with a 5.9-inch full-HD IPS display that has a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. Though that's a slight bump in size from that of its 5.5-inch Optimus G Pro predecessor, pixel density has slightly decreased from 400ppi to 373ppi. We did not, however, notice any downgrade in quality. When viewing a sample HD video, images looked crisp, bright, and clear. True to LG devices, whites looked especially pure, and viewing angles were pleasingly wide.
Key components and hardware
Similar to LG's highly popular Google Nexus 5, the G Pro 2 is powered by a powerful 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and an Adreno 330 GPU. The removable battery's capacity has also increased since the Optimus G Pro's, jumping from 3,140mAh to 3,200mAh. As for its camera prowess, it has a rear-facing 13-megapixel camera (more on that later) and a 2-megapixel front-facing shooter.
New software goodies from LG
Although we had previously seen what is known as the KnockOn function (wherein users can wake up the phone by tapping twice on its screen) included in devices like the G2 and the G Flex, the Pro 2 takes it one step further with Knock Code.
Knock Code combines turning on your phone and unlocking the lock screen into one action. By dividing the display into four quadrants, users can tap a certain combination within these zones to wake up and unlock their device. With passwords ranging from two to eight taps, LG says there are more than 80,000 different combinations possible.
The function works rather smoothly, but we had to make sure that our taps were distinct and timed with equal cadence. It works mostly anywhere on the screen, too, but you’ll need to wait a few moments before your code is registered and the screen unlocks. Personally, we find a swipe code to be easier. Though it does save you an extra motion when you have your handset laying on a flat surface, it’ll be difficult to successfully unlock your phone through Knock Code with one hand, such as when you’re in a car. We did manage to do it a few times that way, using our thumb, but it was uncomfortable and we constantly felt as if we were on the verge of dropping the Pro 2 onto unforgiving pavement.