LG Optimus G Pro: Phablet fantastic?

Jul 14, 2013, 08:16 IST | Nimish Dubey

The LG Optimus G Pro is perhaps one of the best phones to hit the Indian market in terms of pure hardware. But does it do enough to justify a hefty price tag?

It seems to be a summer of large display devices. Be it Samsung and Lenovo at the higher end or Micromax and Spice at the more affordable one, the Indian consumer looking for a device that combines the best of both smartphones and tablets is right now spoilt for choice. And now, arguably the most powerful device of them all -- at least on paper -- has come to Indian shores as well. We are talking of the LG Optimus G Pro, a device that has been making waves around the world for a few months now.

LG Optimus G Pro

With its imposing size, it certainly looks the part of hardware behemoth. At 9.4 mm, it is not the thinnest phablet we have seen, especially after Lenovo K900, but thanks to its rounded edges and curved back is relatively comfortable to hold. The front is dominated by one of the best displays we have seen on a device that can be held in one hand -- a 5.5-inch full HD affair that renders colours beautifully, thanks to its 400 ppi pixel density, and extends almost to the sides of the device. Below it is a large glowing home hardware button flanked by feather touch back and settings buttons. There is no multi-tasking button here -- to access open apps, just long press the home button. The back is plastic but comes with a glitter pattern and houses a 13.0-megapixel camera with LED flash. The display and power on/off key is on the right side, while the volume rocker is on the left. And right above the rocker is a QuickButton that can be used to launch any app of your choice. The Optimus G Pro won’t fit most hands easily and it is not featherweight at 172 gms, but it will turn heads simply because it hints at a fair deal of power.

And it’s no false hint either. For within that frame lies a 1.7 GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2 GB RAM and 32 GB storage (expandable using a Micro SD card). Round that off with just about every connectivity option you can ask for -- GPS, Bluetooth, 3G, Wi-Fi, and even Infra Red (yes, you can use this device as a universal remote) -- and you can see why the Optimus G Pro is called a hardware beast in many quarters. Running on top of all this tech muscle is Android 4.1. Just like Samsung Galaxy S4, LG too has added its tweaks to Android. You can press down on the lock screen to see what’s behind it, or simply press and swipe in any direction to unlock it. Then there are Q-Slide apps that can be accessed from anywhere in the phone -- they just drop down over whatever you are working on, letting you add memos, quickly browse the Web, watch a video and so on, and can even be made semi-translucent. And you can shoot 360 degree panoramas (pretty much everything, provided you are ready to move the camera around that much) and the ability to use both cameras -- front and back - at the same time.

What’s more, the Optimus G Pro is one of the few devices we have seen that seems to do justice to its impressive specs. Games, Web pages and videos look glorious on that full HD display and the phone pretty much handled whatever we threw at it, from Angry Birds: Space to Temple Run 2 to editing video on the move. There were zero lags, and the massive 3,140 battery inside it made sure we got past a day of hefty use very comfortably indeed.

But would we recommend splurging Rs 42,500 on it? Well, in our opinion, that hefty price tag is what really trips up this terrific performer. Those looking for a large screen high-end device might be tempted by the slimmer and more classily designed Lenovo K900, which costs almost a quarter lesser, runs a newer version of Android, and is no slouch when it comes to performance itself. Similarly, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is simply out-specced by the Optimus G Pro, it has S-Pen stylus support to call upon. And of course, there will be those who will argue that at this price, one might as well consider the more compact and stylish iPhone 5.

It is without doubt one of the most powerful handsets we have ever used, but the hole that the LG Optimus G Pro blows in their pockets (and not just because of its not-inconsiderable size) might just deter people from investing in it.

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