LG Optimus G preview: A closer look
Unboxing the Optimus G
The LG Optimus G E973 comes in a small box, barely bigger than the device itself. This is rather fitting for a phone with "borderless design" as the company calls it.
Anyway, there's a compact charger inside and microUSB cable along with a headset (in-ear design) and a SIM card eject tool. The headset is better than most that come prebundled - the flat cabling and cool silver earbuds look good.
Design and build quality
The LG Optimus G E973 is a reasonably compact device for the 4.7" screen it carries. It's almost the same size as the Optimus 4X HD, including the width, even though the new phone has a wider aspect ratio (16:10 vs. 16:9).
That's thanks to the borderless design, which minimizes the bezel. It's not like the Optimus G has no bezel at all, but just enough to let you hold the phone without touching the screen.
And while we're on it, LG uses a screen technology called Zerogap touch - basically a laminated screen so there's no air between the screen layers (which causes glare) and it uses in-cell touch technology. The top layer is Gorilla glass for protection.
The screen itself is True HD-IPS+ LCD of 768 x 1280 resolution. The end result is a very pleasant screen. It isn't the least reflective we've seen, but it's comparable to that of an iPhone 4, so it does well enough in direct sunlight.
The viewing angles are good thanks to the IPS+ tech, but it does have its weak point - if you look at it at a 45-degree angle, you'll notice some color-shift and contrast loss.
Below the screen are three capacitive buttons - Back, Home and Menu. They practically disappear when their backlighting goes off.
The LG Optimus G has more interesting things to show us on its sides and back. The sides are made of plastic, but laser cut to precision.
The left side of the phone features the microSIM slot (you'll need the SIM eject tool to open it) and the volume rocker (pressing both keys of the rocker activates Quick memo, but it's not the most comfortable gesture).
The right side has just the Power/Lock key. The 3.5mm audio jack is on top along with the secondary mic, while the MHL-enabled microUSB port is at the bottom with the primary mic, along with a couple of screws that secure the back.
The back is made of glass and features a polarized pattern called "Crystal Reflection" finish. The pattern is more prominent on a black handset than a white one and, because the glass is polarized, the pattern shifts depending on viewing angle and lighting.
In case you're wondering why LG went with glass, apparently it's because there are a lot of antennas - over 10 - and all that glass was needed to let RF signals through. We don't have a schematic of all those antennas yet, so even though we're curious what they all do we'll have to wait for the review to find out,.
Anyway, the intricate pattern of the back can't distract from the 13MP camera, which is the real star here. On a somewhat negative note, the camera protrudes from the back slightly, so the phone rests on it. The 8MP variant of the Optimus G should have the camera flush with the back.
Just below the camera is the single-LED flash and diagonally opposite is the loudspeaker.
The back cover is not removable - that is to say, not designed to be user removable, but it can probably give in if you undo the screws. Under the cover is a 2100mAh Lithium Polymer battery.
It's been developed by LG Chem and they promise an increased lifespan of 800 charge cycles. We'll run our battery tests in the full review of the Optimus G to see how power-efficient the Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset is.