Mobile Phones Guide

LG Optimus G Pro review

LG Optimus G Pro - A Show Stopper?

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Launch SRP S$868
Latest Price From S$520 (Check Latest Prices)

Overall rating 8/10
Design:
8
Features:
8.5
User-Friendliness:
8
Performance:
8
Value:
8.5
THE GOOD
Large and beautiful IPS display
Smooth performance
Handy Q shortcut button
THE BAD
Battery performance could be better
Slippery back
Overwhelming size and weight for some users


Performance and Benchmarks

Performance

The Optimus G Pro is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7GHz processor and 2GB RAM, which puts it on-par with the recently released Android smartphones (ASUS PadFone Infinity, HTC One, HTC Butterfly S and the Samsung Galaxy S4). 

As usual, we'll be comparing the performance of the Optimus G Pro against its immediate rivals such as the Galaxy Note II and Lenovo K900. We also compared it against the 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega with LTE and ASUS PadFone Infinity. First, we used the Quadrant benchmark to evaluate the CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics of the Android devices.

How the Phones Stack Up
Device LG Optimus G Pro Samsung Galaxy Note II Lenovo K900 Samsung Galaxy Mega with LTE ASUS PadFone Infinity
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7GHz Exynos 4412 Quad
quad-core 1.6GHz
Intel Atom Z2580 dual-core 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7GHz
GPU Adreno 320 Mali-400MP PowerVR SGX544 Adreno 305 Adreno 320
RAM 2GB 2GB 2GB 1.5GB 2GB
OS Android 4.1 Android 4.1 Android 4.2 Android 4.2 Android 4.1

The Optimus G Pro easily took out its immediate competitors with the newer Snapdragon 600 processors. This is not surprising since we have seen similar benchmark scores from the likes of the PadFone Infinity, HTC One and Galaxy S4. When using the Optimus G Pro, we were generally pleased with the smooth operation of the interface. Loading of apps were quick and interface transitions were snappy.

 

Multimedia Performance 

LG is placing huge emphasis on the 5.5-inch full HD IPS display of the Optimus G Pro. It doesn't take much to guess the rationale for doing so - to tout the superiority of its IPS display over the Super AMOLED-equipped Galaxy Note II.

The Optimus G Pro also edges out the Galaxy Note II in the aspect of pixel density (400ppi vs 267ppi). This leads to a much better viewing experience which is characterized by sharper text and more vivid images. The nature of an IPS panel also gives the Optimus G Pro an edge in terms of brightness and color reproduction.

According to LG, the full HD IPS display is brighter than the AMOLED displays used by Samsung Galaxy smartphones. AMOLED panels have limitations in increasing brightness as the lifespan of organic light-emitting diodes decreases rapidly beyond a certain point of brightness. In contrast, IPS displays uses the backlight of its panel to increase brightness.

LG also made another bold claim that its display consumers the lowest amount of power at any environment, whereas the battery consumption of AMOLED changes significantly according to the percentage of white in the display. We will put this claim to the test in our next section.

The Optimus G Pro comes with 16GB onboard storage and has a micro-SD card slot that supports memory cards up to 64GB in capacity. Unlike Samsung which has tie-ups with Dropbox to provide 50GB free cloud storage for two years on its mobile devices, LG does not have any partnership with any third-party cloud storage service provider for the Optimus G Pro. Nonetheless, a total combined storage capacity of up to 80GB should suffice most users.

 

Imaging Performance 

The Optimus G Pro sports a 13-megapixel rear camera and a front-facing 2.1-megapixel camera. While the hardware aspect is nothing to shout out about by today's standards, the software is what makes the Optimus G Pro comparable to the Galaxy S4. 

There are two unique camera features that are developed specifically for the Optimus G Pro. They are Dual Recording and Virtual Reality (VR) Panorama. Dual Recording is similar to Samsung's Dual Camera function on the Galaxy S4; it allows you to capture photos (dual-camera) or videos simultaneously with the front and rear-facing cameras.

If you think Samsung is the first to bring such features, you are wrong as LG laid claims to the Optimus G Pro being the first. Regardless of who is the first, we believe this feature is useful for people who tend to take self portraits frequently. VR Panorama, in essential, is LG's own take on the Android 4.2's Photosphere (we've showcased this feature in our review of the LG Nexus 4. This enables you to take 360-degree view photos.

  

Battery Performance     

Our standard battery test for mobile phones includes the following parameters:

• Looping a 800 x 480-pixel video with screen brightness and volume at 100%

• Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on

• Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

Test Phones Compared
Specifications/Device LG Optimus G Pro Samsung Galaxy Note II Lenovo K900 Samsung Galaxy Mega with LTE ASUS PadFone Infinity
Processor
  • Quad-core 1.7GHz
  • Quad-core 1.6GHz
  • Dual-core 2GHz 
  • Dual-core 1.7GHz
  • Quad-core 1.7GHz
Display Size
  • 5.5-inch
  • 5.5-inch
  • 5.5-inch 
  • 6.3-inch
  • 5-inch
Display Type
  • IPS
  • Super AMOLED
  • IPS 
  • Super Clear LCD
  • Super IPS
Display Resolution
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • 1280 x 720 pixels
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels 
  • 1280 x 720 pixels
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels
Dimensions
  • 150.2 x 76.1 x 9.4mm
  • 151 x 81 x 9.4mm
  • 157 x 78 x 6.9mm
  • 167.6 x 88 x 8.0mm
  • 143.5 x 72.8 x 6.3 - 8.9mm
Weight
  • 172g
  • 180g
  • 162g 
  • 199g
  • 145g
Battery
  • 3140mAH
  • 3100mAh
  • 2500mAh 
  • 3200mAh
  • 2400mAh

 

Despite having the largest battery capacity in its class, the Optimus G Pro failed to last as long as the Galaxy Note II. Our standard battery test indicates that the Optimus G Pro managed an uptime of 5 hours and 55 minutes, whereas the Galaxy Note II lasted a whopping 12 hours and 49 minutes.

Its lower battery mileage can be attributed to the higher resolution display which will inevitably draw more power. This is evident in the Power Consumption chart where the Optimus G Pro registered a power consumption of 2.02W. In comparison, the Galaxy Note II has a power consumption of 0.89W, further aided by the AMOLED screen type.

As a result, the Optimus G Pro ranked lowest in the Portability Index where each device is assessed on its ability to balance battery mileage with its size and portability. It seems that the rather dismal battery mileage more than outweighed its slightly shorter, narrower and lighter chassis. 

Under normal usage conditions such as web surfing, uploading several images and messaging (though on an intensive side of things), the battery drained quite rapidly even when 4G LTE connectivity was not turned on. On a general note, the Optimus G Pro could last a day of usage, but you have to keep a close eye on the battery level.

To maximize battery mileage, you can turn on Power Saver mode and Quad Core control. According to LG, when Power Saver mode is selected and when the battery level reaches below 30%, the phone will automatically switch off functions such as Wi-Fi, Vibrate on Touch and Front Key Light.

You can turn on Power Saver mode via the pull-down quick settings or within the usual Settings section. Quad Core control will make the device automatically switch to dual-core function so as to optimize CPU control for extending battery life

 

Conclusion

Is the Optimus G Pro the best phablet you can get today? Well, it turns out that the 5.5-inch full HD IPS display is a double-edged sword. If not for its below average battery performance, our answer would have been a resounding yes. 

Don't get us wrong. The LG Optimus G Pro delivers an outstanding multimedia viewing experience, but the sheer size and high resolution of the display simply draws too much power. That aside, the Optimus G Pro does come with a compelling set of specs which include the fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB RAM, micro-SD slot, useful software features and a 13-megapixel rear camera.

If you are in the market for a 5.5-inch phablet, the S$868 Optimus G Pro is a very decent buy. For a lower price, the LG Optimus G Pro offers you a rather compelling feature set that is superior to the Samsung Galaxy Note II. However, the Note II has even more software feature frills, a built-in a stylus with stylus related software functionality and offers a much better battery performance for not much more (SRP is S$998 but street price is lower now).

In our opinion, the LG Optimus G Pro is a good alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Note II, but it unfortunately falls short to supersede it. Timing of availability also helps and it might have made a much strong impact had the phone debuted within the first quarter of the year.