The LG AKA runs on LG's own, deeply-customized launcher on top of Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The company has enabled allowed for deep UI customization, including themes, icon sets, and various effects. There are also some exclusive AKA apps you can't find anywhere else. Here's a quick hands-on video to showcase what the LG AKA can do.
The LG AKA may only be a mid-range phone, but it comes with a bag of features its bigger siblings are so proud of. But before we continue with the Android trivialities, let's check out AKA's exclusive content.
We bet you are curious to know more about those eyes. Depending on the model you choose - the front mask and the eyes will be different. The pink YoYo model comes with rather cute eyes, while for example Wooky (the white one) is very short tempered and will throw you judging stares most of the time.
Tapping on the screen (when the mask is on) wakes up the eyes. If you have missed notifications they'll start looking below hinting you should get the mask off and see what's going on.
Sliding the mask about half the way down or less, you'll see YoYo's hands holding a board with a summary of your notifications. In case there are no missed events the YoYo model is dressed with hearts, diamonds or ice-cream under the mask.
The eyes get dizzy when you shake the phone, for instance. Or you can also play hide and seek by covering AKA's eyes shortly causing it to blink its eyes in funny ways.
The Eye color changes from red to green to indicate different emotions, while the background changes while charging as indication for the battery state.
Reading the current temperature from the LG weather app, the AKA will also change according to your locations temperature reading. AKA's face would stay normal in-between 1 to 29℃, but sweat will flow down over 30C and the screen gets frosty when the temperature falls below 0C.
The area above the front mask can also show other controls beside the eyes. It can be used for answering calls, controlling the music player, or snoozing your alarm.
Sliding off the mask beyond half way down brings you to a familiar LG interface, merely skinned with a cartoonish theme. If it isn't your cup of tea, you can easily switch to the original and more mature LG skin. There is one exclusive widget called Come in displaying animations of your mascot (YoYo in our case), which also doubles as a shortcut to the AKA app.
By the way, if you are to use the AKA without the mask, or want an additional layer of security - you can always opt for the Knock Code, Pattern Unlock of PIN/Password protection for the lockscreen.
The homescreen is the usual Android affair - you change wallpapers, change swipe effects, use widgets, create shortcuts. All the apps are stored into a comfy app drawer, which supports custom arrangement and has option to uninstall apps thus sparing you tinkering with the Settings menu.
As with the most of the LG phones, the AKA offers customizable Android keys (the front touch controls). You can rearrange the Menu, Home and Task Switcher keys, but you can also drag two additional buttons for Quick Memo, Q-Slide or Notifications up to the original three. You can also set a black or white background for the keys and control the opacity. There is even an option to hide the navigation bar in specific apps.
The Notification area hasn't changed much since we saw it in LG G2 mini and LG G2 - it's the standard Android KitKat one with additional features added by LG. It's not as pretty as on Lollipop, but it does serves its purpose well. The Task switcher is also the same with flat interface having all of your recently used apps at a glance.
The Q-Slide shortcuts in the notification area launch pop-up widget-like versions of the video player, web browser, phone, messages, calendar, email, memo, voice recorder, file manager and calculator. In case you don't need some of those shortcuts, you can remove them via the edit key at the end of the shortcut row.
There are a few gestures courtesy of LG's launcher worth mentioning. Smart Screen uses the front cam to detect whether you're looking at the screen. This means you can browse the phone for hours on end without it auto-locking itself. We can confirm that the feature works very well.
Smart Video on the other hand will pause a currently playing video when you look away. That's another thing copied over from TouchWiz.
LG Quiet Mode is also enabled. It works in a similar way to the Do Not Disturb feature on iOS and the Blocking Mode at Samsung's Galaxies. It gives you extra control over incoming call alerts.
If turned on, Quiet mode will mute incoming calls and you can set the time of day when it gets activated every day. Just like DnD on iOS, Quiet mode has an exception list where you can add some contacts that won't be affected by its restrictions.
Guest mode will come in handy if you are handing your phone to a child or you just want to keep your stuff personal from friends, who might like to use your phone for a quick call or anything.
Quick Memo is integrated in the phone's OS, allowing you to capture screenshots of anything (including the lockscreen!) and scribble notes over them like you would on the G3 and G Flex2, to name a few. You can save the result as an image or add it to the Notebook app.
Another useful feature is the Clip Tray. Upon a tap and hold on links, images, music and video files, phone numbers or just chinks of text, you can copy them to the Clip Tray to paste later in messages, emails, the browser, etc. The Clip Tray items are displayed at the bottom of the screen (you must have at least 2 items in the tray).