LG 2014 Optimus G Pro

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Making its rounds across the big pond over in Korea, the true phablet device from LG is finally making its way over to our side of the world. Slated to arrive in stores starting on May 10th through AT&T for the 2-year contract price of $200, where it’s available for pre-order right now, the LG Optimus G Pro is undoubtedly the beefiest spec’d phablet on the block – beating out its highly esteemed rival in the Samsung Galaxy Note II in many key hardware categories. Regardless of that, LG’s offering seems poised to make a dent in the Note II’s strong grasp in the productivity market.

Display:

Well, considering that this is newer than the Galaxy Note II, the LG Optimus G Pro benefits from a higher resolution display. Specifically, it’s outfitted with a gorgeous looking 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display, which delivers an admirable pixel density of 401 ppi. There’s no arguing about its stunning detail, but better yet, its crisp looks is complemented by its rich color reproduction, strong viewing angles, and its sheer luminance. Outdoors, we’re still able to visibly see everything that’s on-screen thanks in part to its strong brightness output. Overall, the LG Optimus G Pro’s display shines to give the smartphone some much-needed attention.

Design:

Right away, the design will automatically draw comparisons to the Samsung Galaxy Note II. When they’re turned off, one would be hard pressed to definitively make out which one is which, seeing their designs are similar. Above all, the Optimus G Pro has a near identical flat home button. However, LG’s phablet is a smidgen narrower, which is nice on paper, but it’s still a wide device to hold in the hand. Taking some more design cues from the Optimus G from not too long ago, we like that there’s a cool looking pattern employed by its rear cover, which changes depending on the angle we look at it. With its glossy plastic casing, though, it tends to be a magnet for fingerprints and smudges. It’s not an original design, but we’re comforted by its decent construction.

Interface:

Hardly something new, the Optimus G Pro is running the same custom UI as before on top of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. Love it or hate it, there’s still a ton of personalization found with this latest Optimus skin – such as having an ample selection of animation options with the home screen. With its size and all, the interface adheres to the needs to productivity buffs, as “QSlide apps” offer some needed multi-tasking elements to the experience. However, its selection is rather limited and pales in comparison to what’s offered by Sammy’s multi-window feature. In the camera department, LG’s dual recording mode allows you to simultaneously record video using the front and rear cameras – something that Sammy is really making a big deal with its latest TouchWiz experience on the Galaxy S4. And finally, there’s also a nifty QuickRemote app that’s accessible in the notifications panel, which turns the phone into a universal remote thanks to is built-in IR blaster. In the greater scheme of things, the Optimus skin has made considerable ground with the experience, but it doesn’t quite have the authoritative totality seen with Sammy’s experience.

Expectations:

Flaunting a price point of $200 right from the onset, the LG Optimus G Pro is in a good position right from the start. Despite its beefier specs, it just feels as though the smartphone is rather late to the market – even more when it’s been available overseas for some time now. Knowing that Sammy is in the works right now to deliver its latest model in the beloved Note series, we’d be a bit hesitant to pick up the LG Optimus G Pro at the moment. Nevertheless, if you really can’t wait and want something right now, this is an option that’s right for you.

WATCH LG Optimus G Pro hands-on