Make your own Streetview with LG’s new Optimus G Pro

Michael Kwan

Today we take another look at a flagship-class phone, the LG Optimus G Pro. As with every other flagship-class phones out there, the Optimus G Pro is blazing fast, has a beautiful display, has a good battery life and is simply wonderful to behold. This review will focus more on the unique strengths and weaknesses of the phone, so please do keep this in mind.

Specs at a glance

The Optimus G Pro is powered by a 1.7GHz quadcore CPU, paired with 2GB of DDR2 RAM – this makes it a *very* powerful phone, on par with the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. It sports a Full HD 1920x1080 IPS 5.5-inch display, which translates into a pixel density of 400pixels-per-inch. By contrast, the iPhone 5’s Retina Display stands at 326ppi, therefore making the Optimus G Pro’s display over 20% sharper than that of the iPhone 5 despite it being a humungous 5.5-inch display.

The Optimus G Pro carries a 13MP main camera and a 2.1MP front-facing camera, which, though not spectacular compared to Nokia’s insane 42MP camera, are more than enough to take spectacular pictures. Lastly, the supplied 3,140mAh battery lasted me an average of 32 hours on normal use, which is pretty good for a smartphone of this size and power.

In summary, specs-wise, the Optimus G Pro gets two thumbs up.

The good

As I have written in my previous review of the Samsung Galaxy S4, there really isn’t much room for improvement in the realm of smartphones today. That said, I was pleasantly surprised to find two features highlighted in the Optimus G Pro which have the potential to be game changers in their respective functions.

Let’s first talk about the VR Panorama feature. You already know about the multi-photo stitching feature in today’s phones and cameras, usually referred to as the Panorama feature. The Optimus G Pro brings this to the next level by making it a 3D stitch – hence the name, Virtual Reality Panorama. Photo-stitching software has been available for years now, and Android 4.2 technically already had this functionality via the Photosphere feature in the stock camera, but LG did well as the first manufacturer to highlight this as a major feature.
*Shout-out to Aliff J. for noting the VR Panorama and Photosphere similarities

This is how a normal panorama looks like:

And this is a VR Panorama picture:

This second feature makes my “Good” list because it brings smartphone multitasking to the next level. Dubbed “QSlide”, this feature allows you to load up to 3 separate windows above whatever you’re doing – very similar to how you work on a desktop.

You can now, quite literally, surf the internet while watching a movie and writing notes, all on the same gorgeous 5.5-inch display. LG made full use of the huge screen – great job there.

The “meh”

It pains me to have to say this, but this LG phone looks strikingly like the Samsung Galaxy S4. I don’t mean to say that the S4 has a bad design – but it’s sad to me that LG’s flagship phone looks like a competitor’s phone, save for a few small differences here and there. I miss LG's previous square-ish design. However I suppose that design is a rather subjective matter, so I’ll leave it as that.

The bad

I failed to mention this in my Galaxy S4 review, but this issue is somewhat of a major pain point for me in both phones. I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend why phone designers decided to put the speaker at the back of the phone. I’ll concede that it makes it easier to hear the phone ring, but that’s a lousy reason, really.

Smartphones of today – especially flagship-class smartphones – are used extensively as multimedia devices, and to place the speaker at the back is like watching television with your speakers facing the wall. At least iDevices put it at the bottom which invited tons of natural amplifier designs – but the HTC One really hit the nail on the head by putting not one, but TWO front-facing speakers for you to enjoy your games and movies in full glory.

In summary

On the whole, despite its shortcomings here and there, the LG Optimus G Pro is a very, very good smartphone and is well worth your money. If I were to narrow down the reasons to buy this phone, it would be due to the VR Panorama feature, which is just mind-blowingly cool for me. Granted, preferences vary from person to person so please make sure to do your homework before buying a new smartphone for yourself.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in my next review.

Review unit courtesy of LG Singapore. Available in Malaysia for RM1,888, Singapore for S$868, and the Philippines for P27,990. For other countries, please refer to your respective telco outlets.