LG G2 (T-Mobile) review

The Android-powered LG G2 is both super-sized and super-powerful, but it doesn't quite have the chops to unseat the mighty Galaxy S4 as our Editors' Choice smartphone on T-Mobile.
Photo of LG G2 (T-Mobile)

The LG G2 ($99.99 up front and $21/month for 24 months or $603.99) is the most powerful Android smartphone on T-Mobile. And unlike with Verizon, there’s no carrier interference in the hardware design—the back-mounted buttons are still a bit odd, but they work better here. Still, for all of its power, the G2 just can’t overcome the Samsung Galaxy S4 with its better design, fewer bugs, and more polished package overall. The S4 remains our Editors’ Choice.

We’ve already tested the G2 on a few different carriers, so I won’t get into all the details here. Instead, this review will focus on the carrier-specific differences. See our original AT&T LG G2 review to get the full feature rundown.

Physical Design, Call Quality, Bloatware
Unlike Verizon’s model, the T-Mobile G2 is basically a carbon copy of the AT&T model. That means you get the still-bizarre, but more usable rear-mounted buttons than those found on Verizon’s model. I still found myself hunting for the right button, but with a more defined Power button there was less guess work. The “knock on” feature is as useful here as it is on other G2′s. You tap twice on the screen at any time to turn the display on or off. This works as reliably as on other models, which is about 80 percent of the time, and really helps with the usability of the G2.

Note: The slideshow below is of the AT&T LG G2, which is physically identical to the T-Mobile model.

The T-Mobile G2 supports quad-band GSM, UMTS, and LTE on 850/900/1800/1900/2100MHz bands. This phone also supports calls over Wi-Fi, which is a useful fallback when service is spotty. Call quality was a mixed bag here. The earpiece volume was good, with a high maximum volume that cuts through outside noise. Transmissions through the phone sound fuzzy, though, with a persistent static hiss. That’s made worse by the poor noise cancellation. In my tests, the phone produced a digitized murmur in the background that became really distracting when listening back to a call made from a noisy street. Reception is excellent, however, as the G2 was able to lock onto signal in our office basement, where many phones struggle. The big 3,000mAh battery was good for an impressive 13 hours, 42 minutes of talk time.

Of the 32GB of internal storage, 24.12GB is available to users out of the box. T-Mobile added six carrier branded apps, as well as third-party apps like Lookout Security and Polaris Viewer 5. In the notification shade, T-Mobile also added a persistent account detail area, which shows how much of your allotted text, talk, or data you’ve used. It’s actually a pretty useful feature, especially if you aren’t on an unlimited plan.

Pricing and Conclusions
T-Mobile eliminated the standard 2-year contract and carrier subsidies, opting for more straightforward device payment options. You can pay $99.99 up front for the G2, with 24 monthly payments of $21. If you cancel early, you’ll have to pay the balance on the total cost of the G2, which is $603.99. You also have the choice of paying that full retail price up front if you want. All T-Mobile plans come with unlimited talk, text, and slow data. The difference in pricing comes from how much high-speed data you’d like: 500MB/$50, 2.5GB/$60, or Unlimited/$70 per month.

The LG G2 is the fastest Android smartphone you can get right now, on T-Mobile and other major carriers. But for all its power, the advantages aren’t significant in real world use. Our Editors’ Choice Android phone remains the Samsung Galaxy S4, which offers very similar performance and more polish in a better design.

Specifications
Phone Capability / Network GSM, CDMA, UMTS, LTE
Screen Resolution 1920-by-1080 pixels pixels
NFC Yes
Dimensions 5.45" by 2.79" .35" (HWD) inches
802.11x/Band(s) 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Video Camera Resolution 1080p
Battery Life (As Tested) 13 hours, 42 minutes
Available Integrated Storage 24.12 GB
Processor Speed 2.27 GHz
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-Core
GPS Yes
Service Provider T-Mobile
Total Integrated Storage 32 GB
High-Speed Data EDGE, HSDPA, LTE, HSPA+ 42
Weight 5.04 oz
Screen Type IPS LCD
Operating System as Tested Android 4.2.2
Physical Keyboard No
Camera Resolution 13MP/2.1MP
Screen Pixels Per Inch 423 ppi
Bands 850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100, 700
microSD Slot No
Form Factor Candy Bar
Screen Size 5.2 inches

Verdict
The Android-powered LG G2 is both super-sized and super-powerful, but it doesn't quite have the chops to unseat the mighty Galaxy S4 as our Editors' Choice smartphone on T-Mobile.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
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