LG Optimus GJ review: Wild child
Standard retail package
The LG Optimus GJ came in a box holding no surprises. Inside, you'll find a 1.2A charger, USB cable, and a QuadBeat headset with some extra earbuds.
The headset has an in-ear design with flat cabling and a remote with a call button.
The LG Optimus GJ measures 136.9 x 68.9 x 9.4mm - some 5mm taller and almost a millimeter thicker than the Optimus G, though oddly the device weighs nearly 4 grams less than its counterpart. This is likely down to the missing NFC and LTE radios.
Still, at 141g and a 4.7-inch screen diagonal, the device feels comfortable in hand, and the added height does not adversely affect single-handed operation.
Design and build quality
The LG Optimus GJ certainly takes after the G in terms of specifications, but the design language is noticeably different. It's more angular and drops the faux-glass textured back in favor of a removable rear panel. The camera no longer sits on a beveled bump, but instead rests flush along the back.
The front of the device is black, regardless of the paintjob on the rest of the body, which is characteristic of the Optimus G.
While the removable back panel fits snugly and removes easily (a rare combination), it detracts from the higher build quality which is more inherent to non-removable panels like the one found on the Optimus G.
Also gone are the exposed screw heads from the bottom edge, which used to lend to this aesthetic.
Although both devices are of identical width, the 4.7" 720p screen on the Optimus GJ is slightly taller yet not as wide, which means slightly larger bezels, although not overly so by any stretch.
Anyway, above the display we find the usual setup - a centrally located earpiece, a proximity sensor and the secondary 1.3 MP video-call-enabled camera. There's also a status LED that lights up in different colors depending on the notification - incoming or missed calls, alarms, calendar reminders, apps, etc.
Below the display, you'll find three capacitive buttons: a Home button surrounded by Back and Menu keys. There's also a small microphone pinhole towards the right.
The left side of the Optimus GJ features a single-piece volume rocker, while the right is bare, save for a lonely lanyard eyelet towards the bottom.
The top of the GJ holds the 3.5mm audio jack and the power/lock button. The bottom is bare save for the MHL-enabled microUSB port. Both the audio jack and the USB port are exposed - while this is nothing out of the ordinary for the former, a non-sealed USB port is a bit at odds with the water-proofing.
The battery cover is made entirely of glossy plastic, and although it is doesn't feature the interesting dot pattern like on the Optimus G, it has a luxurious red finish that appears almost pearlescent in the way it reflects light. The logo towards the bottom reads Optimus G, which indicates that LG aim to identify this device as a variant of the G flagship rather than a separate device.
Towards the top you'll find the 13MP camera lens alongside an LED flash, with a loudspeaker grille towards the bottom.
A peek under the battery cover reveals the microSIM card slot (it's obstructed by the battery so you can't hot swap it), the hot-swappable microSD card slot and the 2,280mAh battery itself.
The back panel has a layered border along its inner edge that offers extra protection to the microSD, SIM, and battery areas from moisture. The microUSB and 3.5mm ports on the top and bottom are not protected by flaps like on some other waterproof devices, but are rated to withstand water regardless.
The Optimus GJ has a solid feel in-hand, but it doesn't compare to its flagship predecessor. It's got a user-replaceable battery which is a plus in any device - particularly a waterproof one. It also comes in a more compact and lighter package compared to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active and Xperia Z, although it can't match the build and finish of the latter.