09-16-2013 07:47 AM
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  1. mase123987's Avatar
    (This is long, I know!)



    Review of the Optimus G Pro (and Android) by a WP Lover

    While on forums, I often find that trust is a hard thing to gain. Your ability to convince others is usually built on a foundation of posts count, titles, quality incites and the occasionally begged for Thanks and Likes. I have noticed that WPCentral forums are usually a little weary of those who you bring up devices with the other OSes. As my signature says, I enjoy multiple platforms and looking for the latest and greatest. Hence, my trip to AT&T corporate store bore a new phone to my collection, the LG Optimus G Pro. I’m going to compare it to the Lumia 920 with WP8, in some cases, as that is my primary phone. While I know they aren’t exactly direct competitors (phablet vs phone), they are both high end devices for their given OSes.

    General Specs:

    1.7ghz Snapdragon 600 quadcore
    32gb Storage with an sdcard slot
    2gb RAM
    AT&T LTE Capable

    Screen:

    The G Pro is packed with a fantastic 5.5”, full 1080p IPS LCD screen. That comes out to a whopping 400ppi. The colors look beautiful and stunning. Just from comparing the two side-by-side, the LG screen looks a tad bit better than the 920, though WP doesn’t seem to show off the screen quality as well as some Android setups. I found touch to be accurate and sensitive.

    Buttons:

    G Pro places the ‘power’ button in a similar spot as the 920. The volume rocker is on the left side in the middle with an ‘open’ button on the upper portion of the left side. This ‘open’ button is programmable with LG’s software in the settings menu. It comes as a quick access button to the memo utilities. These allow you to write over what you are working on and things of that nature. The button does have two levels of pressure, obviously for those people who want to turn it into a camera button (half way for focus, full push to take a shot). All the buttons are easy to press, though I would prefer them to protrude slightly more like the 920. On a bigger phone, they can be hard to find at times.

    The front-bottom of the phone has a thin, oval physical ‘home’ button surrounded by the typical capacitive ‘back’ and ‘menu’ buttons. The ‘home’ button is lit up around the edges by a multi-color LED that acts as a notification LED. I know I am not the only 920 (or WP owner in general) who wishes their phone had this type feature! It lights different colors depending on the notification. The center button is flush with the front, making it a little harder to press than I would like. I am hoping this is something I get used to.

    Overall, I prefer the 920’s button layout. On a phablet, I would prefer if all the buttons were on the button two-thirds of the device, making all of them better for one-handed use.

    Overall looks:

    The G Pro has a black face, aluminum band around the sides and a very dark blue/black on the back. The back has a diamond type pattern on it. To me, it looks like a lot of other phones (esp. the Note 2). It doesn’t have any features that really pop out or grab your attention. Even its size (actually slightly smaller than the Note 2) doesn’t get notice anymore due to the popularity of phablets.
    One of the things that pulled me into the 900 and 920 was dramatically different style Nokia used compared to any other company. Not only is it different but the colors said “Hey, look at me!” G Pro has classic style that won’t offend anyone, but you won’t be turning heads either (which in the business world might be a good thing).

    Camera:

    I won’t get into the specs very much for a simple reason: most people wouldn’t be able to pick out a certain megapixel or other stat just by looking at an image. I will say the Pro has a 13mp camera with an LED flash. Pictures produced are great for a smartphone, though the 920 still rules the roost when it comes to night shots. I haven’t had any time to take significant video with the Pro so I can’t comment on that. The FFC is just that, a FFC. Just like 99.9% of phones, nothing special to see here.

    Speaker/Speakerphone:

    This is a clear win for the 920. The Pro comes with a speaker right to the side of the camera. It isn’t very loud, has no bass and sounds okay at best. While I don’t find the sound coming from the 920 great either, I definitely hear clearer music. In a perfect world, all phone would have the speaker(s) in the front like the HTC One. With the 920, I can use my hand as a cup to guide the sound forward from the bottom of the phone. This provides a louder experience. The Pro’s speaker doesn’t really allow for this.

    Ports/Expansion/NFC/Charging/IR:

    Pro has the mini USB port at the bottom and the headphone jack on the top left. Next to the headphone jack is an IR blaster. LG includes software that is incredibly easy to use to setup the virtual universal remote. Once setup, typical functions can be accessed from the notification center, meaning it is also available from the lockscreen. This is a feature I personally have wanted since my Palm Treo 8 years ago. The blaster works well, as I tested it from about 20 feet distance from the devices. The phone also includes a slot for an SD card, which is located under the back cover. NFC and wireless charging is built into the Pro. It uses the QI standard and should work fine with any compatible devices. LG included NFC software but I haven’t used it at all.

    I wish the 920 had the IR blaster. While I don’t see that happening anytime soon, I highly recommend Nokia add it on their next flagship. It isn’t for everyone, but most people can find use for it. Like the 920, I find the NFC to be useless for most people. I know some people live and die by whether their phone has an SD slot so that is a bonus for the Pro.

    Software keyboard:

    Android has about a million different available keyboards. I am only going to talk about the stock keyboard the G Pro come with. First off, it sucks. Let’s just be perfectly honest. Compared to WP’s keyboard, the G Pro is a lot harder to type on without messing up. It has more options and the word prediction is fine, but the keys just stink. I will be doing more research to find a better keyboard on Android. WP8 phones all use the same keyboard and I find it to be much more accurate than the stock keyboard on any other device.

    Android:

    I swear I am not attemping to create a fanboy war with this section! Let me start off by saying I own a Nexus 7. It is the only Android device (before the Pro) that I currently own that I would consider high-end still. Frankly, I found Android (stock) on a tablet to boring and unproductive. While it has more options than SimCity, the amount of effort needed to make it close to what I wanted was too much. With phones, I have even less patience. I don’t want to have to change around launchers, kernels, roms, etc. to get what I want from my phone. Because of this, I depend on the OEM to have a well thought out layout from the start. Where I want the icons and what widgets I need should be the only two things I NEED to worry about from the start.

    For me, LG did a wonderful job with Android. It made it a colorful, fun experience that is quick and essentially lag free. Before I go on, let me address lag. Lag is both under- and overstated by most people on forums. WP does a great job of having very little lag on the main part of the OS. You can float effortlessly from one app to another and back to the start screen. It really is a joy to use. Android 4.1.2 on the Pro is also buttery smooth. I opened all sorts of apps (ESPN Watch, Temple Run 2, Chrome, Firefox, etc.) and then switched between all the apps. I did my best to slow it down and make me cry, but it didn’t (I have made my Nexus 7 come to its knees before). Everything seemed to flow properly like a flagship should. Just like WP, Android has its fair share of apps that are slow and frankly aren’t well done. When I hear people use certain apps as part of their lag explanation, I wonder if they realize a perfect OS can’t make a crappy app run well.

    When it comes to general user experience on apps, I did notice one thing on Android that bothered me. With some apps, the ‘back’ button is used to go back one page or option. On others, it is used to go back to the starting screen of the given app. While still on others, it is used to go back to the phone’s start screen. It seemed like there was a lack of consistence in the use. This happened both small and big named apps. On WP, use of buttons seem pretty universal. I think this could easily frustrate some more novice users of Android.

    There are some cool options in LG’s version of Android. The one I find most helpful was their lockscreen setup. It shows the time, date and weather at the top, while the bottom contains shortcuts to different apps (which you can change). To unlock the phone, you place your finger on any open area and swipe it in any direction. To unlock the phone to one of the specific app shortcuts, you place your finger on the shortcut and swipe up. This gives quick access to the apps you use the most.

    QSlide is a great feature exclusive feature of LG Android phones (though Samsung also does this in a different way). It is essentially small apps that can run on top of what you are doing. They included such things as a calculator or email. They show up as pop-up boxes. Sliding a bar allows for the app to become almost entirely transparent, giving the user to keep it up and working while using the main app. I can definitely see this as being a useful tool to those who do work on their phones.

    I could spend all day going over Android and LG’s version specifically, but those are some main points.

    WP will give you a much more uniform experience, from the apps to the OS in general. Microsoft has done a good job at making sure everything feels coherent. It is easier to setup and a lot harder to get lost in than Android. For myself, phones need to be quick and easy. WP is still the king, though Android offers a lot of options that make it great choice.

    If you are going from WP to Android, Android to WP, or using both, using the same base services are going to be hard. I use Outlook.com, Xbox Music, Office and other Microsoft products on my 920. Most of these are either significantly harder or impossible to use well on an Android device. The same could easily be said for using Google’s services on a WP.

    Conclusion:

    I guess the ultimate compliment to any device would be to say you recommend it. I would recommend the Optimus G Pro. I found it a quick, fun device to use that offered many options. I personally bought it over the Note 2 because of two reasons: better specs and $100 cheaper. The only thing the Note 2 has over the Pro is the S-Pen, and frankly I didn’t see myself using it frequently.

    Would I recommend it over my 920? In most cases, no. Both the 920 and WP feel like they were built better and more ready for the long haul compared to the Pro. I also find WP easier to use and better for smartphone novices or light users. That said, you can’t get the Pro’s sort of screen size and space on WP or iOS. Pro also offers abilities like IR blaster that you can’t get on other platforms. Android is also a lot more customizable and flexible than WP. Also, there are many apps that haven’t made their way to WP yet, so I would suggest checking out specific ones while making a decision. If these reasons are very important to you, the Optimus G Pro would be an excellent choice.
    06-22-2013 03:51 PM
  2. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    Excellent review!

    I would be interested in seeing some picture comparisons between both devices if you could take pictures of the same subjects with both devices.
    binthham and Bobert_123 like this.
    06-22-2013 04:00 PM
  3. mase123987's Avatar
    I will try and do that now. Take me a little bit since Skydrive isn't automatic on the Android!
    LeLee092 and Laura Knotek like this.
    06-22-2013 04:02 PM
  4. mase123987's Avatar
    This site and picture uploads really don't mix well! I will do it tom. when I am at home. My Surface RT is just laughing at me at this moment.
    nofiz likes this.
    06-22-2013 05:04 PM
  5. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    I will try and do that now. Take me a little bit since Skydrive isn't automatic on the Android!
    This site and picture uploads really don't mix well! I will do it tom. when I am at home. My Surface RT is just laughing at me at this moment.
    No hurry! Whenever you have time is ok.
    Rhoyz likes this.
    06-22-2013 05:23 PM
  6. NovaWiz's Avatar
    You mentioned that " in a perfect world all phone would have the speaker(s) in the front like the HTC One". However I disagree, in a perfect world almost every inch of a touchscreen phone's front area should be dedicated to the screen. Aside from the small speaker for phone call & front facing camera(all those should be bunched together near the top), nothing else should take away space from getting the maximum screen area possible within a given form factor. Dual speakers should be done, but they should be placed on the back of the phone.

    I do agree that having the single back speaker up top is not a very good idea, it is hard to cup the speaker at that location. Samsung did the same with GS3, however for GS4 they realized that mistake and moved the speaker location near the bottom of the phone so that it is easily cup-able while also raising the maximum volume quite a bit.
    06-22-2013 09:22 PM
  7. rits2011's Avatar
    Does anyone remember how Nokia did stereo speakers on their Xpress Music models? That's the ideal way to do it - on the sides. It doesn't add to the front face of the device and still gives wide stereo sound. Those phones sounded great and that was 5 years ago! Not sure how well it can be done with today's phones being so thin at the sides, but its clearly not impossible.

    Oh and great review. Wish more people looked at competing platforms without bias.
    06-22-2013 09:36 PM
  8. badMojo69's Avatar
    I left my nokia Lumia 920 and 900 for this phone. I love it!
    06-22-2013 09:41 PM
  9. Joel S.'s Avatar
    Nice review. I liked tinkering with my phone when I had an Android device, but eventually it just became cumbersome. My gf loves my Nexus 7 though, she's taken it over since I primarily use my Surface Pro now. :)

    For the keyboard, I've used Swiftkey and liked it for the most part, but the predictions can be a bit intrusive (forcing uppercase because the first time you used the word it was uppercase, swapping in silly words, etc.). The stock JellyBean keyboard is available on the Play Store now. It's not bad.
    06-22-2013 09:47 PM
  10. mase123987's Avatar
    I could see why someone would want the entire front to be dedicated to the screen, but I just feel cheated out of better sound because of looks (in a way). I dealt with many laptops with horrible speakers, to the point that I thought all were like that. Then I got a Lenovo that had great speakers. I could actually enjoy games without headphones! While I don't expect to fill a room with my phone, I would like to be able to put my phone down in a quiet room and enjoy decent music.

    Never used a Nokia device before WP. It would be interesting to hear how speakers on the side would work.

    I won't be selling my 920 anytime soon, though I could see how someone might for this phone.
    06-22-2013 09:56 PM
  11. mase123987's Avatar
    Nice review. I liked tinkering with my phone when I had an Android device, but eventually it just became cumbersome. My gf loves my Nexus 7 though, she's taken it over since I primarily use my Surface Pro now. :)

    For the keyboard, I've used Swiftkey and liked it for the most part, but the predictions can be a bit intrusive (forcing uppercase because the first time you used the word it was uppercase, swapping in silly words, etc.). The stock JellyBean keyboard is available on the Play Store now. It's not bad.
    That is something I will have to play around with. Who knows, maybe their are some options in the LG keyboard that will make it better.
    06-22-2013 09:59 PM
  12. tgp's Avatar
    The stock JellyBean keyboard is available on the Play Store now. It's not bad.
    I agree; you should install this keyboard. I was never too impressed with stock keyboards until I got this one on a Nexus device. In my opinion it's hands down much better than WP8 or iOS keyboards. Anymore I hate using any keyboard that doesn't have the swipe feature.
    06-22-2013 10:37 PM
  13. garfnodie's Avatar
    I absolutely loved this review. I'm a pretty die hard Android fan myself, I've owned six Android devices so far, and I love the level of customization that it offers. I'm a tinker and love to tweak things to the limit, but that's me. I've owned an iPad, and I loved it, but had to sell if to make rent so I no longer have it. I have a Nexus 7 and love it as well. I'd like to get an iPad again to use for drawing, and I also want that new Samsung Ativ Book 9 running Win8. I have over the years recommended iPhones to many people, because I know they wouldn't like Android. I get so tired of all the fanboy flame wars, it's nice to see a review like this. Every device/platform has it's plus' and minus'. Use what works for you and don't be a **** just because someone else doesn't use the same thing as you.
    Linda Paauw likes this.
    06-22-2013 11:45 PM
  14. mxtremex6's Avatar
    really..how could be so justified?...with both the OSes!....GR8 work....ps. if i write a review like this, either of the phone wouldv been bashed :P
    06-23-2013 03:06 AM
  15. MYNAMESALEX's Avatar
    I registered to comment on this. Excellent review, I really enjoyed reading it too. I went from webOS which was extremely consistent from app to app, and had the best multi tasking I have ever seen; to iOS with the worst app consistency I've seen aside from android. And even worse options, but a stable and easy to use ui (also iTunes is king in Canada, there is no comparable source for user friendly digital download music shopping)

    I couldn't agree more with your analysis of android. I happen to like options, so this is the os for me now.

    Do you want good keyboard app suggestions? I suggest the newly released Google keyboard, it will be different than yours now. See the app store. It is stable, loads instantly, has ok customization and good accuracy, plus it's free, and supports Swype (Swype is not as good on this keyboard as on others).

    I use that and the official Swype keyboard. The Swype keyboard is a couple dollars, and sometimes pauses for a half second when you click a text field before it pops up on my Xperia ZL. But it has the most accurate keyboard I've seen for type, and most efficient and accurate Swype by a landslide. It pulls dictionary info from your connected social networking sites, and adds your commonly used words for dictionary additions or just better auto correct prediction. It is the most adaptive keyboard available, the ONLY one I know of (correct me if I'm wrong) that pulls data from other sources in this manner to optimize the keyboards type/swype experience. It also has better customization options.

    Honestly I switch between the two, depending on whether I'm having serious typing like this post, or small random typing like multiple sms/Skype, whatsapp, etc chats. I suggest you try both.

    The swiftkey keyboard earns honorable mention, for good accuracy in both type and Swype and the most customization for keyboard themes and settings. The catch it's that it costs about the same as the Swype keyboard but it's not as good at anything except for keyboard themes.

    I wouldn't bother with any other keyboards until minuum is released to the public. YouTube that if you haven't heard of it. Minuum. Two u's yes.

    Hope that helps you with keyboards! Also don't get anything GO branded (GO locker, GO sms, GO launcher etc). The company makes half decent low res cartoony ui customization apps, that are packed with bloatware and ads for their other products, even if you buy all their products you will still be shown ugly sore thumb style ads that sit in your launcher settings, sms screen, home screen, etc. They are a sickly popular brand probably because of their aggressive marketing. Don't be fooled, there are superior alternatives to every single app they make.
    mase123987 likes this.
    06-23-2013 05:03 AM
  16. TechAbstract's Avatar
    Just wonder how long have you had the LG phone. Android usually doesn't get laggy or buggy right away. It takes time.
    TechFreak1 and Jazmac like this.
    06-23-2013 05:33 AM
  17. mase123987's Avatar
    Just wonder how long have you had the LG phone. Android usually doesn't get laggy or buggy right away. It takes time.
    Not very long. While I tend to agree with you, I can usually see the signs early on. On my nexus 7, I could see some issues from the beginning and that it would only get worse. Also, I don't plan on doing a lot of customizing (such as live wallpapers, different launchers, etc) that tend to cause issues.
    06-23-2013 06:07 AM
  18. mase123987's Avatar
    mynamesalex, GO products have gotten worse over time. I agree, I wouldn't use their stuff. Swype is a cool product but I was never able to get into it. I used it for awhile in the past, and while it worked well, I still felt faster just typing regularly.
    06-23-2013 06:11 AM
  19. MYNAMESALEX's Avatar
    mynamesalex, GO products have gotten worse over time. I agree, I wouldn't use their stuff. Swype is a cool product but I was never able to get into it. I used it for awhile in the past, and while it worked well, I still felt faster just typing regularly.
    I think they're both a about the same speed for me actually. Then get the free android keyboard. Swype keyboard is great, but it's for Swype. If you use Swype later you can get it (the Google keyboard still has its Swype mockery to experiment with.)
    06-23-2013 08:31 AM
  20. Kvoth's Avatar
    Great review! a few thing I'd like to point out though:

    1) It's micro-USB, not mini-USB... at least I certainly hope it is!

    2) It's not just Android novices that get frustrated by the back button... I'm a highly competent Android tinkerer/dev and it bugs me sometimes too. Though in reality it's no different to lag - Android has some pretty basic guidelines on their developer's website about how the back button should function, but most devs are too lazy to read it or think they have a better way. Like you say even a perfect OS can't make crappy apps become good.

    I would also like to add my recommendation for Swype keyboard. It's far, far better now than it was in its beta days. I was a big Swiftkey fan but when Swype left beta I decided to give it a second chance and I haven't looked back. It has some really handy shortcuts you'll be familiar with, too (the"swype" key is like ctrl... ctrl-a, ctrl-c, ctrl-x, ctrl-v, etc.) If you don't want to spend the 99c then the stock Android keyboard would be my secondary recommendation. Sucks that LG put their own, inferior keyboard on it.
    06-23-2013 08:36 AM
  21. Jazmac's Avatar
    Not very long. While I tend to agree with you, I can usually see the signs early on. On my nexus 7, I could see some issues from the beginning and that it would only get worse. Also, I don't plan on doing a lot of customizing (such as live wallpapers, different launchers, etc) that tend to cause issues.
    I have the Nexus 7 and until I rooted it with SentinalRom,something I never intended to do, it was on the fast track to Craigslist. Not that is isn't still going, just not today. :)

    But I digress. I can't disagree with you about how smooth the Optimus G Pro is because it is. But its one of those things until you get one home, you only get to half the picture. My son reviews these things for his blog so we get review units in. I've had one over a week as a daily driver. The first thing I notice with this is how decent the battery is for such a large display. I got almost 2 full days on it. It also has built in QI and if i sit it on my wireless charger, it charges. Camera isn't bad and I did like the photo management.

    It runs pretty well with the few apps I installed on it. And its thin. So thin in fact it feels emaciated for lack of a better word. I'm used to the heftiness of my L920 but got used to it after a few days.

    One day I opened the flood gates and let almost my full complement of android apps have at the Optimus G Pro. And while I agree some android developers are worse than others, apps like Flipboard, that ran great before, developed a noticeable stutter. It wasn't constant and not easily reproducible but definitely noticeable. Several others did too. My Lumia 920 is pretty thick with apps and games and I have yet to experience lag. But props on the compare and contrast post.

    I am curious about something though, what are your thoughts on the HTC One?
    06-23-2013 10:13 AM
  22. mase123987's Avatar
    I really can't say much about the One. I know people with it but I haven't owned it myself. Wish I could afford to pick it up also.

    And to the guy that mentioned USB, I get them mixed up all the time! Every time I buy a cord, I have to look up which it is.

    I haven't had lag on the Pro yet and I have thrown numerous hungry apps at it at the same time. That said, even the best computer will see at least a little slow down over time.
    06-23-2013 11:59 AM
  23. unstoppablekem's Avatar
    Wow, this was an amazing review! You need to be hired to work for Mobile Nations now as an author (AHEM Kevin). :D
    mase123987 likes this.
    06-23-2013 04:39 PM
  24. Dethzilla's Avatar
    Good review dude...
    I left WP8... and specifically the Nokia 920 for one specific app I use to help with my business... I got a Galaxy S4.... and boy, do I miss my Windows phone. Two features I didn't realize I would miss that much is 1. The Dedicated camera button. 2. The home button which on the nokia is literially just a area you touch... I HATE THE F****NG BUTTON ON THE GALAXY S4... Like...I literally want to throw it... but the phone's so light it would float to the ground like a feather. Heck...I even miss the weight of my 920.
    06-23-2013 05:42 PM
  25. mase123987's Avatar
    Good review dude...
    I left WP8... and specifically the Nokia 920 for one specific app I use to help with my business... I got a Galaxy S4.... and boy, do I miss my Windows phone. Two features I didn't realize I would miss that much is 1. The Dedicated camera button. 2. The home button which on the nokia is literially just a area you touch... I HATE THE F****NG BUTTON ON THE GALAXY S4... Like...I literally want to throw it... but the phone's so light it would float to the ground like a feather. Heck...I even miss the weight of my 920.
    Dedicated camera button is nice to have. Even if you don't use the one 'open' button on the Pro for the camera, you can still open the camera directly from the lockscreen. Not a bad option at all. Also, I feel you on the home button. It does feel like more work when you are used to a capacitive home button. Though I think, as a former 920 user, you can agree that sometimes the back button on the 920 could use being a physical button! I don't know how many times I have accidentally pressed it.
    06-23-2013 05:59 PM
29 12

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