Killer price for an unlocked smartphone, Fast next-generation CPU and GPU
Google has delivered an impressive smartphone with the Nexus 5 from LG, an unlocked powerhouse with a palatable price and solid performance, and the new Android 4.4.1 KitKat update largely fixes the phone's initial camera problems.
Great screen, Low price, Blazing performance
Although the issues we take with the Nexus 5 are considerable, they're not enough to keep us from recommending this device.
One of the issues we have, which is the lackluster camera, might be resolved with a software fix. And even if it were a minor fix, it's not so bad that you'll never be able to take good photos with it.
What really gets us here is what we're not used to seeing, and that's a device with these kinds of specs at this price point.
Impressively spec'd smartphone at a bargain price
It's a year since Google made a splash with an impressively spec'd smartphone at a bargain price. The Nexus 4 wasn't a financial success perhaps but making a profit off selling hardware is rarely the first thing on Google's mind. The pure Android experience was the major selling point and getting more people into their cloud services must've been worth the investment - the Nexus price is clearly subsidized, the way Amazon subsidizes its Kindle tablets so it can make profit on selling content.
Great features at a low price with no contract commitment
The Nexus 5 isn't the best smartphone on the market. In fact, there isn't a "best phone", because folks' needs are different: some want a small phone, others want lots of software features and still others want a phablet or a pen. The Nexus 5 is undoubtedly the best smartphone you can buy for just $349 full retail. It has a great mix of features for the price including a very fast CPU, a sharp full HD IPS display and the promise of always running the latest OS.
Pros: Value for money, display.
There's a lot packed into the Nexus 5, particularly given the £299 and £339 pricepoints for 16GB and 32GB respectively. For that money, you get a display that rivals devices that cost some £200 more, and a chipset that is, in many cases, more powerful. In addition to that, you have a Nexus device, meaning it's uncluttered by bloat and first in line for Android updates.
Great camera with 1080p video recording at 60 fps
The LG G2 is an outstanding smartphone almost every way you look at it. The screen is beautiful, albeit a bit off in terms of color temperature, while the camera is simply outstanding - definitely among the very best out there. Under the hood, the Snapdragon 800 processor is doing exactly what you'd expect it to do - making sure that everything operates perfectly smoothly with no hiccups or delays.
Amazing colors, viewing angles, great brightness and contrast
The LG G2 is not just the company's next flagship. It is LG's hope of getting their best shape back after quite a few uninspiring attempts. And this time around, the stakes are higher than ever as the competition out there is in its top form too.
The first thing LG got right is the timing, staying put well after Samsung and HTC unveiled their flagships. This allowed LG to offer the best chipset from Qualcomm, essentially coming up with a 2014 flagship in 2013.
Stunning 5.2-inch edge-to-edge display
The LG G2 is an impressive return to smartphone prominence for the South Korean company but one which still falls slightly short. It is a worthy rival to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One but thanks to plastic build, peculiar button placement and less than gripping camera is unlikely to worry its more illustrious competition too much.
Large and lovely full HD IPS display, great camera
The LG G2 is assuredly the company's best Android phone yet. We were bullish on the also very good Optimus G Pro, but the G2 is all that and more in a more mainstream size. The display is top notch, performance is fast and fluid, the camera is excellent and the rear buttons actually work nicely. We'd love to see a more interesting and attractive casing that didn't turn murky with fingerprints so quickly, but the phone is nonetheless solidly built and curved nicely to fit in the hand.
Pros: Visually appealing, feels great as a phone.
The G2 is easily a competitor for every other high-end smartphone out there. The "weird" button layout works for us, and it's paired with some smart touch functions that are well thought out. The phone looks and feels great, and just works as a smartphone should. There are some minor things about the G2 we don't like, but our overwhelming sense is that this phone does what we want and it does it well, with style and smoothness.
the LG G Flex isn't without its share of shortcomings
LG was the first manufacturer to break news of a curved phone in the works, only to be beaten by Samsung to the actual unveiling. Yes, the Galaxy Round made it to the stores before its rival but is still only available in its home market, so the G Flex can get one back with its global release. Anyway, neither of this will probably count for much in what seemingly will continue to be a two-horse race for at least another while.
Curved screen smarthphone doesn't fool us
The LG G Flex has some decent hardware including a great camera and more storage than usual. Excellent software is also a lure but its main feature, the curved screen, is too big, only 720p and offers no real benefits. This phablet is too gimmicky so you're much better off saving some money and going for LG's proper phone, the G2.
Pros: Interesting design will 'turn heads', comfortable to use as a phone.
We do love the G Flex, because it's an interesting phone and one that worked for us. However, the reality is that most people will find it's too big, too irregularly shaped and, most crucially of all, too expensive. There will, of course, be those for whom this is a great choice, and to those people we can't endorse it enough. But for the majority this curved phone probably isn't the smartphone you're looking for. The screen shape is something of a gimmick.
Very light and compact for the screen size
LG is taking a sizeable risk by putting stellar specs in a 5.5-incher - despite that the phone is surprisingly compact and light for such a screen size, thanks to the minimum bezel, it still feels a bit unwieldy for anything but a Shaq-sized hand, though less so than the Note II with the same screen size, for instance.
New Snapdragon 600 chipset
The LG Optimus G Pro is the most advanced phablet on the market at the moment. It's also one of the few devices with a 1080p screen that's bigger than 5". The new Snapdragon 600 chipset is still rare enough too.
The updated version of QSlide is there to make full use of the hardware - you can have up to two floating apps running alongside a full screen app, the big screen and fast quad-core Krait 300 CPU wouldn't be giving their 100% otherwise.
Screen transitions and animations are extremely smooth and fast
The LG Optimus G Pro is a very fast and capable phone, let down slightly by a poorly designed user interface and a camera that doesn't quite live up to the billing. It is, however, one of the better large screen smartphones currently available if you can live with these annoying, but not terminal, flaws. You can pick up one of these phablets for as little as $99.00 with a two-year plan from AT&T (amongst other carriers), which is less than half the cost of the Samsung Galaxy Note and Note 2.
Huge IPS full HD display, very fast CPU and GPU, very good camera
The LG Optimus G Pro has everything a super-phone should, except Samsung and Apple's glorious reputations and marketing budgets. In fact, I do wonder if this Android smartphone will get all the respect it deserves. It's LG's best Android phone to date, and we're impressed at the rapid progress they show here in both hardware and software. Yes, it could look more chic and elegant, but one could easily say the same of other Android phones.
Competition to Note II
Seriously, this is one tough competitor to Note 2. I just played with it at my friend's place. Screen is amazing. 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.5 inches (~401 ppi pixel density). Without the stylus, it is same size as Note 2. The crapware on this is incredible. I tried the AT&T version. It has LG and AT&T crapware, and is locked, otherwise the international unlocked and AT&T versions are similar in specs. On the AT&T, out of 32 GB, around 10GB was gobbled up by stock firmware and other crap.
the LG G Pro 2 isn't offering enough to justify the 6 month delay.
Last year, the LG Optimus Pro almost did the unthinkable, beating the then-incumbent Note II at its own game. The LG flagship was better looking, more powerful and flaunted a better, higher-resolution screen than its rival. That was more than enough for it to get our nod back then.
Unfortunately for the G Pro 2, it hasn't been afforded the luxury of competing against a phablet of sub-retina sharpness or one with glossy plastic design that gets bashed from all sides.
a surprisingly light, streamlined phablet despite its 5.9in display
Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by the LG G Pro 2. It's sleek, stylish and lightweight despite its huge display, and we love the stunning camera and thoughtful software within it. We really do hope that LG decides to launch it outside Asia at some point in the near future.
Phenomenal price point
Specs-wise, the Google Nexus 4 is an impressive smartphone. Sure, it may not be the best in any particular category, but it's a very well-balanced package with an incredibly powerful processor and a gorgeous IPS screen. When it comes to its design, we do appreciate some of the delicacies of its premium exterior elements, but it doesn't really come off as something totally invigorating to cause us to drool over it.
Beautiful, elegant design, Excellent screen
Giving a handset on TechRadar a full five star rating is almost impossible. You could have the best phone in the world that can solve famine, pick the kids up from school and decipher Mandarin Chinese in a millisecond.
But it's not just about specs - value plays a huge part to play. A five star rating is reserved for a phone that we would say you should go out and buy pronto. Right now. Immediately.
The Nexus 4 comes SO close to that, it's unreal.
Performance and features of a high-end smartphone for half the price
As long as the storage capacities suffice, the Nexus 4 is the definition of a bargain. You quite simply get the performance and features of a high-end smartphone for half the price you would expect to pay. Unless you're set on an iPhone, the Nexus 4 is an unbeatable deal.
Budget friendly Android smartphone
If you're looking for a budget friendly Android smartphone with high end features, the Google Nexus 4 certainly is it. It's fast, has an excellent IPS display and is sold unlocked for use with any GSM carrier. The only drawback in the US? No LTE 4G. The Nexus 4's other problem is availability; it's been out of stock since introduction.
In this price range you can get many phones that are much better
So, has LG managed to make an appealing midrange proposition with the G2 mini
? At the suggested 350 USD or EUR price tag we'd have to say no. What should be a scaled-down version of the excellent G2, turns out to be lacking on many important counts. Unfortunately, the visual resemblance to the flagship masks many weak spots, such as chubby body, sketchy call quality, poor screen resolution, and average camera performance.
Reasonably compact phone with the largest display in the segment
The LG G2 mini is lucky to share lots of DNA with a great smartphone - and we cannot blame LG for focusing on the outside, and going for budget-grade internals. After all, a super mini along the lines of the Xperia Z1 Compact would've been pointless mere months ahead of launching the company's next flagship.
Mid-ranged G2 offers new colours and software features
The G2 mini is almost exactly what you'd expect it to be. A smaller and lower spec version of the flagship G2. The phone looks and feels nice but we're waiting for the price. A key competitor is the Xperia Z1 Compact which is a mini version without the downgrades.
A watered-down flagship phone that's too expensive for its specs
Although it bears the same "G2" name as its big brother, the LG G2 Mini is watered down in every respect. Its screen has a disappointingly low resolution, its processor doesn't put up much of a fight and it has an 8- rather than 13-megapixel camera. Unless you crave 4G, the Motorola Moto G is a much better buy as it offers a better screen, the same processor and costs half the price.
Large, pretty screen, Snappy performance
While not perfect, the LG Optimus L9 II is definitely among the better-made mid-range Androids that we've come across lately. Sure, it might seem like a pretty humble smartphone at a glance, but trust us, once you take it for a spin, you realize that it is a device with plenty of potential. Or if we have to be more specific, it is a sleek and compact handset with a pretty screen and good performance - traits that make it a phone worthy of attention.
Excel at battery life, call quality, and data strength
Sequels are rarely better than the original when it comes to entertainment, but they are always better in technology. The nature of advancement and upgrades dictates that improvement is a given, so no one should be surprised that the LG Lucid 2 is a noticeable step up from its predecessor. What might catch some people off guard is that this is a step up from many midrange devices currently on the market.
Free with contract, Pleasing size
Since the LG Lucid 2 is currently available for free with a 2-year Verizon contract, there is a lot to like about the device. It is small and lightweight, making it easy to carry around, the 4.3" qHD display is a nice size with clear text and images, the user interface is well laid-out and easy to use, not to mention the device has good call quality and a larger capacity battery.
You won't get a top-tier display or camera, but it's a good value
Overall, the Lucid 2 is a fantastic deal -- it's a great bang for the buck device at a great price. Sure, neither the screen nor the camera is top-tier, but you aren't paying a high-end price as well. I can't think of a better budget device on the market.
Manageable size, sharp display, removable battery
If you're in the market for an Android smartphone on Verizon but don't want to spend much money for the phone itself, the LG Lucid 2 is easy to recommend. That doesn't mean the Lucid 2 lacks solid competition if you're open to other platforms: from the older iPhone 4, to the relatively new Nokia Lumia 822 running Windows Phone 8 for $50 or less.
Extremely responsive with the dual-core processor
So in closing is the Lucid a device we'd recommend to someone who is considering the iPhone 5, Galaxy S III (or S4) or any other high end device? Nope! Nor does the device deserve any such sort of recommendation. What we will say is for a teenager or a first time smartphone buyer the Lucid 2 for free is a pretty good option, and something worth taking a look at in a store near you.
Powerful processor, Good rear camera
If you have eyes, it is obvious that the LG Lucid 2 is not the most glamorous phone available on Verizon. But with a price of free ($200 cheaper than many competitors), it's not a bad choice for those on a budget. If you can spend an extra $50, we do like the Motorola Droid Razr M a lot, and it is similarly sized, but there isn't much to dislike about the Lucid 2. She could use a prettier chassis, a little more memory, and a higher resolution screen, but all-in-all, we like what we see.
Nice looking display for a mid-ranger
Taking into consideration everything we've checked out with the LG Optimus F7, we have to admit that it's a very well rounded contender that's above most other mid-rangers that are out on the market. And to an extent, it can very well hold its ground against some higher-end devices, especially when it's priced to attract at $100 with a 2-year contract.
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