LG G Pro 2 preview: Gadget Watch

In the lead-up to the Mobile World Congress, LG announced it was releasing a new 6-inch phablet called the G Pro 2.

(For the unfamiliar, a phablet is simply a large smartphone, featuring a display larger than a 5-inch smartphone but smaller than a 7-inch tablet.)

When the new device is released later this year, it is set to go head-to-head against Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3.

So will the new device be good enough to compete? It’s time to find out.

Hardware and features

The LG G Pro 2 is a 5.9-inch phablet running Android 4.4.2 KitKat and powered by a quad-core 2.26 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor.

It comes with a 1080 x 1920 pixel True IPS+ LCD display, a 13-megapixel camera, as well as either 16 or 32 gigabytes of storage (expandable via microSD) and 3 gigabytes of RAM.

It measures 157.9 by 81.9 by 8.3 mm and weighs 172g.

LG says the device will be available in titan (the colour known to the rest of humanity as “black”), white or silver.

What’s the consensus?

Is it possible for a smartphone to get too thin, have edges that are too sharp or a screen that’s just too big? According to CNet, the G Pro 2 has reached that point:

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.

PC Authority liked the knock-to-unlock feature, and generally found the G Pro 2 to be a larger version of its sister phone, the LG G2:

The G Pro 2 is essentially a blown up version of the G2, with the same rear power and volume button placement.

Its rear has a grippier texture, which is an improvement over the slippery back of the G2, and oddly enough, it doesn’t feel much heavier in the hands, as the extra weight is spread out across the larger body.

The G Pro 2 takes this one step further by letting you create a custom combination of taps to lock and unlock the device itself.

It replaces Android’s standard PIN and Pattern unlock, and we found it quite fun to use.

SlashGearnoted that while it is nearly identical in size to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, it does not have an equivalent to the Note’s S-pen stylus:

This machine is very, very similar in size to the Samsung Galaxy Note III. These two devices are also quite similar in capabilities, while the Note III boasts its unique S Pen capabilities and the LG device boasts the larger display.

LG has taken a great device in the LG G2 and has blown it up to a much larger size in the LG G Pro 2. Again, this isn’t so much a follow-up to last year’s LG G Pro, but a compliment to the LG G2 instead. Working with one of the finest processors on the market and a display that’s both sharp and bright in essentially any environment, there’s little to dislike about this handset.

As Engadget points out, one of the more curious features of the LG G Pro 2 is the ability to ‘shrink’ the display area to 3.4-inches, or roughly the same size as a smartphone with a sensible screen:

With the new G Pro 2, LG’s introduced a new feature called Mini View designed to make one-handed use a little more feasible. In truth, Samsung already does something similar with the Note 3, but the implementation here is different. Swipe left or right on the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, and the interface will shrink into a 3.4-inch window that you can move around and even resize (it goes up to 4.7 inches).

Meanwhile, there are plenty of options for those of you who enjoy the extra screen space. Dual Browser is LG’s version of the Galaxy Note’s Multi Window, which lets you view more than one app at the same time. Hold down the back button to bring up a small menu of apps, and you just drag apps to either side of the screen. There’s also QSlide, a suite of apps that appear as floating windows. While hovering over the rest of the screen, you can choose to make them as transparent as you’d like in order to make sure they’re not distracting you when you need to focus.

Should I get one?

Overall, the LG G Pro 2 looks like a nice phone. If you’re looking at getting a Galaxy Note 3, this will almost certainly be the other device you’ll probably think about getting.

That said, if you’re one of those people who think smartphone screens have already grown too large for comfort, this is probably one device you’ll not want to look at.

Likewise, if you want S-Pen functionality or have particularly small hands, this isn’t the device for you.

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