by Jin S. Kim
LG: LG’s best, codenamed G and the first quad core LTE smartphone powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 CPU, is rumored to sport a 4.7-inch True HD IPS+ LCD. Naturally LG Electronic’s sister company LG Display (LGD) developed the LCD, which sports a 1280×768 pixel format, a 15:9 aspect ratio, and RGB sub-pixels. The 317.6-ppi LCD has a white brightness of 470 nits and uses 70% less power than previous LCDs.
The touch screen called G2 Touch Hybrid Display, developed by LG Innotek, sports a laminated touch screen, eliminates the gap between the touch panel and the LCD panel, and results in a 30% reduction of thickness.
Wish list: stock Android 4.1, optically laminated cover glass, 3D symmetric design, less plastic more metals, absolutely no logos on the front.
Update 2012.08.27: LG (Korean): LG’s new flagship smartphone is called Optimus G and will be available in South Korea next month on SK, KT, and U+. Japan’s NTT Docomo is expected to carry the Optimus G in October or November. In addition to the impressive 4.7-inch IPS+ LCD the 8.45-mm smartphone will sport a 13 megapixel camera.
Although LG didn’t come through with everything I wished for, the overall design of the Optimus G looks quite nice. The front, with the exception of the earphone slit on top, is completely flat and devoid of any buttons suggesting it will sport capacitive touch buttons. I’m not completely fond of capacitive touch buttons, but I do like the simply flat front. If only the LG logo on the front wasn’t there. The shape seems to be symmetrically rectangular, which I like much more than the curvy Samsung Galaxy S III. Let’s hope LG made copious use of metallic materials and left the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich bone stock. Looks like a winner to me.
Update 2012.08.28: Jeff Blagdon at The Verge took the Optimus G for a spin at NTT Docomo’s launch event in Tokyo, Japan. He was impressed:
[...] the 4.7-inch 1280 x 768 LCD is impressively bright and crisp — without a doubt one of the best displays we’ve seen on any device.
He’s not thrilled with the boxy construction or the large top and bottom bezels, but I am particularly happy about it. Boxy means straight symmetric lines, which I prefer to nebulous. The top and bottom bezels (looks like they are the same width—bravo!), probably at around thumb width, are necessary for a comfortable hold in landscape orientation.
Three things. One, LG need not have wasted time on its Optimus UI 3.0 skin. Let Google do fuss over it or work with Google to make the stock Android UI better. Two, taking a close look at the photo gallery (granted it’s the Dokomo version) LG seems to have made liberal use of plastic. Yuck. Three, the off-centered camera (I don’t like the off centeredness of the camera on the iPhone either) on the back looks overblown with the chromed plastic bezel.
Update 2012.10.15: Dieter Bohn, The Verge:
Branding aside, the display is simply great. Unlike the Galaxy S III or RAZR HD, colors aren’t overblown and blues are given equal treatment to warmer tones. At nearly 318 PPI and with a standard RGB subpixel layout, text is crisp and beautiful. LG also has managed to get its brightness in a good range: with automatic, you set a “base” with the brightness slider or you can adjust manually. Viewing angles are excellent, matching the iPhone 5 and coming within spitting distance of the HTC One X — although even now I still have to give the One X the edge as the best display on a smartphone.
I understand why AT&T and Sprint want customized versions (software and hardware), but I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. The AT&T version has an 8MP camera off to the side while the Sprint version has a 13MP one in the center. There are other differences, but here’s the point: The LG Optimus G should be the same thing whether it’s on AT&T or Sprint. Even when it was a nobody developing the original iPhone Apple had enough balls to say no. No to custom hardware. No to proprietary carrier software. And no to ugly carrier logos. HTC, LG, Samsung, and every smartphone manufacturer should grow some.
When I saw the photo at the top of this post I thought, “Wow, LG is finally getting design.” The photo sported a minimalist, symmetrical design I thought was quite beautiful. Well, the photos taken by The Verge show a different smartphone, one that looks cheap.
Update 2012.11.05: Hmm. Maybe the photos taken by The Verge didn’t give the LG Optimus G enough justice. The photos by Ars Technica tells a different story. (Tip: Clean the display before taking a photo.)
This phone is, simply put, gorgeous. It has a 4.7-inch True HD IPS Plus display covered by a sheet of Gorilla Glass 2. The screen is framed by a barely-there black bezel, with textured bottom and top panels and rounded corners sealing it all together. The whole package looks sleek, industrial, and business-like.