The LG G2 ($199/32GB with 2-year contract) is a study in one-upmanship: From its slightly larger screen to its slightly faster processor, the G2 edges out the Samsung Galaxy S4 in the spec war. But that’s just on paper. The modest performance gains aren’t enough to overcome some of its bugs and its senseless carrier customization. Still, the G2 is an excellent Android option that’ll satiate spec fanatics, but it falls just short of replacing the Galaxy S4 as our Editors’ Choice Android phone on Verizon.
We’ve already tested the LG G2 on AT&T, and there are a few notable differences we’ll cover here, but check out our original AT&T LG G2 review for a full rundown of features.
Physical Features, Performance, and Call Quality
The G2′s dimensions, weight, and display are the same across carriers. Despite its large 5.2-inch screen, the G2 handles similarly to the 4.9-inch Galaxy S4. All carrier G2s have the bizarre rear-mounted Volume and Power buttons below the camera, but not all of the rear-mounted buttons are created equal. On AT&T’s model, the Power button is raised between the Volume buttons, and the plastic has a different texture that makes it feel more defined. Verizon, for reasons unknown, made all three buttons smaller, flatter, and the same texture. It’s hard enough to get used to AT&T’s setup, but Verizon has rendered these buttons fairly useless—I very rarely found the button I was looking for on my first try. You’ll be using LG’s clever “knock on” gesture a lot. I really like this feature, and it works about as well as AT&T’s, which is about 80 percent of the time. Tapping twice on the screen at any time brings the phone to life. Somtimes I had to tap faster or harder than other times, but it worked more often than not.
The plastic back also features a subtly different look, with a honeycomb pattern instead of the carbon-fiber-like weave on other models. There’s also only one speaker port on the bottom of the Verizon G2, versus two on AT&T’s. Oddly enough, however, the Verizon G2′s speaker got much louder than AT&T’s. Audio quality is otherwise equal, with tinny audio that lacks any true bass.
Note: The slideshow below is of the AT&T LG G2, which has identical dimensions, but a different button design and carrier logo.
Aside from the buttons and back design, the G2 is basically identical on all carriers. You still get the excellent 1080p IPS display and blazing fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. In our synthetic benchmarks, Verizon’s G2 turned in nearly identical scores on every test. It’s the fastest Android phone out right now, but like we saw on AT&T’s model, LG’s aggressive Android skin seems to be holding the G2 back a bit.
The Verizon G2 is global-ready and supports CDMA, GSM, and LTE on 800/850/900/1800/1900/2100MHz frequencies. In my tests, the G2 had excellent reception, even showing two bars of LTE in our office basement, where many phones struggle to have any connection at all. Voice quality is average, falling noticeably short of the Galaxy S4. Calls made with the G2 are easy to hear, but not as crisp or clear as the S4. Voices sound a bit muddy with some annoying static at the beginning and ends of phrases. Noise cancellation is excellent, as the G2 was able to eliminate most of the loud construction noises during a test call. When on LTE, the G2 averaged between 1-2Mbps down, which is consistent with what we’ve seen lately on Verizon’s increasingly crowded network.
The 3000mAh battery was good for 11 hours, 38 minutes of talk time in our tests. That’s a solid result, but is much shorter than the AT&T model’s 16 hours.
Bloatware and Conclusions
Of the 32GB of internal storage, only 23.86GB are available out of the box. Like the AT&T model, Verizon’s G2 is laden with carrier bloatware. That includes six Verizon branded apps and various third-party apps like Amazon Kindle, Slacker Radio, and Polaris Office. Unfortunately, none of these can be uninstalled and there’s no microSD card slot for memory expansion. Aside from that, you get the same heavily skinned Android and LG features that you’ll find on the AT&T G2.
The LG G2 can lay claim to fastest processor or biggest screen (not including phablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Note II), but those advantages don’t amount to much in real world use. The speed shows through in benchmarks, but not in everyday system performance or intensive apps. The display is beautiful, but even with almost no bezels, this phone is still a bit too wide for comfortable one handed use. Then there’s the unorthodox button design, which is worse on the Verizon model. Our Editors’ Choice Android phone remains the Samsung Galaxy S4, which offers very similar performance and more polish in a better design. Another Editors’ Choice, the Apple iPhone 5s, is in an almost entirely different category at this point, with its own ecosystem and small, 4-inch screen that appeals to a different set of customers. But it’s worth checking out if you’re not a fan of giant phones.
|Phone Capability / Network||GSM, CDMA, UMTS, LTE|
|Screen Resolution||1920-by-1080 pixels|
|Dimensions||5.45" by 2.79" .35" (HWD) inches|
|Video Camera Resolution||1080P|
|Battery Life (As Tested)||11 hours 38 minutes minutes|
|Available Integrated Storage||23.13 GB|
|Processor Speed||2.27 GHz|
|Service Provider||Verizon Wireless|
|Total Integrated Storage||32 GB|
|High-Speed Data||1xRTT, EDGE, HSDPA, EVDO Rev A, LTE|
|Screen Type||IPS LCD|
|Operating System as Tested||Android 4.2.2|
|Camera Resolution||13MP / 2.1MP|
|Screen Pixels Per Inch||423 ppi|
|Bands||850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100, 700|
|Form Factor||Candy Bar|
|Screen Size||5.2 inches|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc