LG Optimus G Android Smartphone Review

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: Performance wise, there's no denying that the LG Optimus G is in an elite class.  The quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC at the heart of this device is about as powerful a chip as you can get in a smartphone currently. The Optimus G put up one of the best scores we have seen in Linpack, and while graphically intense benchmarks didn't show similar gains, the Adreno 320 GPU is still plenty powerful. In real-world use, this phone feels as fast as any Android handset on the market, and that's without the aid of Project Butter, which is only available in Android 4.1 and beyond. With those optimizations, we can only imagine how zippy this phone would feel. Sadly, LG hasn't given us a definite date when we can expect Jelly Bean, but even as is, there's no denying the Optimus G is a powerhouse.

Beyond the high performance though, things get a bit murkier. If you're in the market right now for a phone like the Optimus G, then you are -- by default -- in a market that includes the Nexus 4. Strangely, that phone is also crafted by LG, and in practically every way it's a superior yet more affordable phone. The Optimus G is saddled with an old Android operating system (v4.0.4), with no confirmed for a Jelly Bean update. To make matters worse, LG's Android skin doesn't stand out. There's a handy Settings menu in the drop-down menu, and QuickMemo will be useful for those who like to jot notes on their screen in order to send annotated screenshots, but otherwise, the Nexus 4's pure Google experience will likely please more users. It's quicker, it's free of AT&T bloatware, and it's sure to be updated by Google well before most other Android phones.

On the design side, there's nothing inherently bad about the Optimus G. It's a solid piece of kit, doused in a fingerprint-attracting glossy black finish. It feels a bit wide in the hand for those who aren't coming from a phablet, and we aren't huge fans of the decision to hamstring AT&T's version of the phone with just 16GB of internal storage. The global version has 32GB, and while AT&T's version does offer 32GB of total storage, half of that relies on a microSD card. Moreover, AT&T's version of the phone receives an 8MP camera, compared to the 13MP camera on the global variant.

The Optimus G is $199 on a 2-year contract, but the real price (unsubsidized) is $549.99. When you compare that to the unsubsidized cost of a Nexus 4 ($349.99 for a 16GB model), it's very hard to find reason to justify the increased cost. The Nexus 4 lacks LTE,  and if that's a huge deal to you, be sure to take that into account,  but it more than makes up for it in our eyes by being a true global handset with wireless charging and a pure, Android Jelly Bean experience. At this point, and with its current version of Android, the Optimus G should be priced a bit lower in light of competing offerings. If it drops to $99 or less on contract for the holidays though, it'd be a very worthy contender, that will only get better when LG released a Jelly Bean update for the device.


  • Great performance
  • Slick design
  • On-screen doodle function
  • Inbuilt NFC & Miracast
  • LTE support
  • Poor viewing angles
  • Dated Android 4.0.4
  • No Google Wallet support
  • Loads of AT&T bloatware
  • 13MP camera found on global variant

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