LG Optimus G Pro Hands On

Today LG launched its new flagship phone in the U.S.: the LG Optimus G Pro, a 5.5-inch phablet without a stylus that’s meant to compete with the Galaxy Note 2.

The new phone shares the specs if the Samsung Galaxy S4, but puts it all in a 5.5-inch smartphone that’s closer in size to the Galaxy Note 2. The size of the phone makes features like floating mini-apps and multiple apps on the screen at the same time seem more useful, but makes it somewhat difficult to hold in the hand.

The LG Optimus G Pro even has a plastic shell that’s similar to the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 2. The back of the phone feels slippery because of the plastic back, and just doesn’t feel like a premium device. It’s especially frustrating to hold a giant plastic phone knowing that Android manufacturers can put out great phone hardware like the HTC One.

LG Optimus G Pro 1

There is no way around how big the Optimus G Pro is, especially for someone who’s used to the 4-inch iPhone 5. It’s difficult to reach the entire screen when holding the phone in one hand. The screen does look very nice, especially when showing video, and the extra information on apps like Facebook or Twitter would be useful for some.

The LG Optimus G Pro runs Android 4.1.2 with a heavy skin that increases the number of apps in each row on the home screen to fit the larger screen. There are a lot of superfluous things added to the OS, however. Home screens flip on and off the screen as if they’re on a carousel, and the notification tray is full of icons and options that just take up space and push notifications to about the midpoint of the screen.

Those QSlide apps include a calculator, notepad, calendar and a video player. The latter three are actually useful, and users who don’t mind small windows cluttering up their screen. Users can change the size and opacity of the floating apps if they want to see what’s under the apps, which is nice, but may make it touch to see below the apps.

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LG Optimus G Pro 2

Those who prefer phablets without a stylus may find a lot to love in the LG Optimus G Pro, as will users who plan on rooting the phone to put on a custom ROM. The first impression, however, is that it’s just another giant Android phone with a ton of features that demo well but will ultimately just get in the way.

  

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