LG Optimus G for AT&T and Sprint review: Double impact
The LG Optimus G comes with a wide range of connectivity options. The AT&T version has quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE for global roaming and three-band HSDPA with 21 Mbps of download and 5.76 Mbps of upload. The Sprint handset swaps the HSDPA connectivity for CDMA2000 1xEV-DO. Most importantly however, both devices have LTE capacity on board. Wi-Fi is dual-band with a/b/g/n support, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct and Hotspot capabilities. There is NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 too.
SmartShare is an app that lets you control a DLNA network - you can play media from other devices (e.g. NAS) on your phone or play something from the phone onto another device (e.g. a DLNA-enabled TV).
The Wi-Fi Direct is a technology, which enables devices to connect to each other without the need for a Wi-Fi hotspot. The beauty of it is that only one device has to be Wi-Fi Direct-ready for the magic to happen.
Using this technology two (or up to eight) devices can share files in a more advanced, fast and secure way, paving the road to an eventual Bluetooth demise.
NFC is also on board in the form of a dedicated app called LG Tag+. From there you can create, read and send NFC tags. With NFC you can share contacts, URLs, memos, messages, calendar events or even a call request to another NFC-enabled device or a tag.
You can also store information, a profile preset or some action in a blank tag and then use it to make the phone perform an action every time you touch that tag - for instance launch a SatNav app when you touch the in-car tag or change your ringing profile when you touch your designated tag at the office.
The MHL-enabled USB port is one of the most valuable connectivity options that the LG Optimus G offers. By all appearances it is a normal microUSB port and works as one (a charger port as well). But the MHL port enables video output by using a MHL-to-HDMI dongle. Sadly, there isn't an adapter included in the retail box, so you'll have to purchase one separately.
Once you plug the dongle into the phone you also need to plug a charger into the additional microUSB port on the dongle and the Optimus G screen will be mirrored on the TV. What's even more impressive is the LG Optimus G Dual screen/dual play feature, which allows you to have different content on your smartphone screen and on the larger connected display. This way you can easily check on Facebook, while streaming a movie to your TV (if you are this sort of person), or turn the Optimus G into a powerful presentation tool (you have the remote with possibly some side notes on your phone and the slides on an HDTV) .
The USB port has yet another feature - it enables USB On-The-Go. You'll need an adapter for that too (again, there isn't one in the box) but this one is fairly straight forward - you plug it into the Optimus G and plug a standard USB cable on the other end.
The last connectivity option worth noting is the 3.5mm audio jack on top of the Optimus G.
Excellent web browser
The LG Optimus G features the standard Android browser (with some LG modifications on top), but also comes with Chrome preinstalled so you are given a choice right from the start.
The standard browser offers the typical minimalist interface, with the address bar (used both for typing web addresses and initiating web searches) on top and a control bar at the bottom (with options hidden by default).
Scrolling down moves the address bar out of view. The bottom control bar houses the back and forward keys, homepage shortcut as well as new window and bookmarks keys. You can hide that bar by dragging it down.
The web browser comes with Incognito mode, which enables you to surf the web without the browser keeping track of your history or storing cookies. A more minimalist UI is available from the Labs entry of your settings page. It hides most of the browser's user interface and gives you a quick five-button panel when you slide your finger from one of the screen edges inwards.
The browser offers the ability to save a cached copy of any page you're currently browsing onto your phone. If you choose a website and go to 'save for offline reading', you can then open it from the Saved section of your bookmarks, even when you're no longer connected to the internet. This is great for long articles, as you can save them for those times when you don't have web access.
The Optimus G supports double tap zoom and pinch zoom. There's text reflow too - it adjusts the columns of text to fit the screen width. If you've pinched to zoom in, you need to double tap the screen to make the browser reflow the text.
Find on page, always request desktop site and share page options are available from the advanced menu. If you tap and hold on some text you get the usual markers and select/copy/find/web search/share options.
The bookmark list shows a thumbnail of the bookmarked page and you also get a history section in addition to the Saved pages list.
The powerful quad-core hardware enables the Optimus G browser to play 1080p Flash video without a hitch. But if Flash content is what you are after you will have to side-load the app as it's no longer available through the Play Store. We did so on our unit and everything worked trouble-free. You can play touch-optimized Flash without breaking a sweat too.