Product Review – The LG G2 Mini Smartphone

LG G2 review image

“The new LG G2 mini Smartphone device is a spin-off of the larger LG G2 that offers a smaller footprint and fantastic battery life”.

Introduction.

LG Electronics recently joined the mini smartphone market with the introduction of the LG G2 Mini.  The word “mini” reveals of course, the fact that the smartphone is a reduced version of the previous LG G2 equipped with a 5.2 inch screen.  The new LG G2 Mini instead offers a 4.7 inch screen and precedes the recently released LG G3.

Product overview.

The LG G2 Mini is equipped with lower specifications but is more portable than its bigger cousin.  The smaller size also means that the LG G2 Mini is a bit thicker in depth, but in all honesty this is barely noticeable due to the comfortable feel of the device when you hold it in your hand. LG Electronics maintained a lot of the design features from the LG G2, including the Rear Key which is located under the camera and controls the power on/off and volume.

Design and Aesthetics.

From both a design and quality perspective, I was a big admirer of the original G2 and I am pleased to say that the LG G2 Mini still retains the high quality construction of its predecessor, which consists of sturdy plastic with a thick textured surface on the back of the device.  This provides a stable feel when you hold the device in your hand and makes a statement to the end user that this is a well-built smartphone. Additionally, the LG G2 Mini sports a modern look with an extremely thin bezel that lends way to more screen real estate, even with the smaller screen size.

LG G2 Mini front.fwWhat is the display like?

In terms of the display quality, the smaller screen has a reduced screen resolution from the LG G2 and is not quite as sharp.  The resolution is high definition 960 x 540 which still provides vivid imaging, just not as bright as the larger LG G2.  However, it is worth noting that even with the smaller size screen, you still get the superior viewing angles of the LG G2 as well.

On the plus side, the LG G2 Mini screen is also highly responsive and responds well to touch gestures. The display is made of tough Gorilla Glass with two display protection. The touch screen also provides a security feature known as KnockOn which allows you to tap on the screen to bring the device out of sleep mode.

You can also configure a Knock Code which allows you to set a specific number of taps in designated areas of the screen to unlock the phone.  There are more than 85,000 possible combinations for unlocking the phone to allow you to choose your own pattern. Plus, the screen is designed not to leave fingerprints to allow someone else to easily figure out your unlock code if the device happens to end up in the wrong hands.

LG G2 specifications.

Under the bonnet, the LG G2 Mini does not have the processing performance that the LG G2 has with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Central Processing Unit. Instead, the LG G2 Mini is equipped with a smaller Snapdragon 400 or Nvidia Tegra 4i.  (NOTE – The type of processor depends upon where on the globe you purchase the LG G2 Mini).

In Lehman’s terms, these specifications  mean that you are not getting as much processing performance from the LG G2 Mini as its predecessor.  However, the performance is quite decent when backed by 1GB of Random Access Memory and you may only notice a slight lag in performance if you have too many applications running simultaneously. You also have to consider the impact high specification processors and displays have on a smartphones battery life. Other specifications include:

Camera.

The type of processor that is included in the LG G2 mini will alsp effect on the type of camera that is included. If the device is equipped with the Smaller Snapdragon 400 processor, then the rear camera will be 8 MP (megapixels).  On the other hand, if you purchase a device that is equipped with the Nvidia Tegra 4i processor, this boosts the rear camera performance to 13 MP.  This is a significant difference in performance if camera quality is high on your performance list. Also, both cameras are equipped with autofocus with VR panorama and geotagging capability.

Additionally, the camera is equipped with LED flash and the capability to record videos up to full high definition 1080p quality.  1080p is a standard that indicates quality high definition images.  The front facing camera is only 1.3 MP which is adequate for making video calls and taking selfies.  The video resolution when making video calls is fairly decent at 720p.

Storage.

 The LG G2 Mini is equipped with 8GB of internal storage which is not bad for a device of this size, and plenty enough for both of us.  However, if you discover it is not enough, there is an SD card slot located on the side of the device which will provide you with an additional 64GB of storage space.  This will come in handy if you take a lot of photos and download a lot of multimedia files.

Operating System.

The LG G2 Mini runs on the Android KitKat 4.4.2 operating system and is integrated with LG’s own Optimus user interface (UI).  The LG interface allows you to use the security Knock Code we explained earlier in this review.  The purpose of the Knock Code is to eliminate passcode entry and unlock patterns that are based on swiping gestures.  Additionally, KitKat 4.4.2 functions relatively well using the smaller processor with very little lag time when opening apps and navigating the operating system.

Software.

The secure Knock Code software on the LG user interface is the main advantage included in the LG G2 Mini software.  There is also a guest mode feature in the software that allows another person to use your phone without having access to all of your applications and content.  When you configure the guest mode, you can choose what the person is permitted to access which prevents additional costs associated with unexpected long distance calls or data usage.

LG G2 Mini on back

The G2 Mini also offers a set of apps to help keep you organized and includes Polaris Viewer 5 that allows you to view documents.  If you want the Polaris Office package that allows you to edit documents, this is available at an additional cost.  Additionally there is access to SmartShare which allows you to stream content over Wi-Fi or HDMI and audio using Bluetooth.  This allows you to run a business presentation directly from the LG2 Mini.

To ensure you stay on schedule, the Calendar app provides an interface that you can convert to a split screen.  This enables you to view a monthly calendar and a calendar with a daily/weekly view simultaneously.  The Calendar app also supports QSlide to allow you to view your schedule while composing an email.

These are only a few of the apps which are available for the LG G2 Mini.  You also have access to the Google Play Store and the LG SmartWorld app store which provides you with a plethora of additional apps to choose from.

Voice Commands and IR Blaster.

The LG G2 is also capable of responding to voice commands and offers an IR blaster to allow you to use the device as a remote control for your television or household appliances.  Within the software you will also find a proximity sensor and accelerometer.

The proximity sensor is technology that is used to calculate the distance of an object from your device. An accelerometer senses movement and vibrations associated with your smartphone.  For example, if you tilt the device to the side, the accelerometer automatically switches the screen in the appropriate direction.

LG G2 Mini back on side.fw

Web Browsing.

The LG G2 Mini is equipped with the standard Android web browser and comes with Google Chrome preinstalled to provide you with a browsing choice.  The Android browser offers the typical simple interface with the address bar for performing searches located at the top with a control toolbar on the bottom of the screen. The browser also includes Incognito mode which allows you to browse the Internet without being tracked by cookies.

The Android browser supports QSlide which allows you to convert the browser to a floating app which provides a way to switch between tabs.  Although Google Chrome comes preinstalled, it does not support QSlide capability.

Port Connectivity.

In addition to the SD card slot which increases storage space, you will find a microUSB port and standard 3.5mm jack for connecting a set of headphones.

Audio.

The LG G2 Mini is equipped with active noise cancellation with a dedicated microphone.  This allows you to improve the quality of your voice in environments where there is a lot of background noise.  The end result is a professional quality phone call that allows each person to hear what the other one is saying.

Wireless Connectivity.

All models of the LG G2 Mini run on the current Wi-Fi standard of 802.11 b/g/n with access to Wi-Fi Direct which is a technology that enables two devices to connect to one another without the presence of a wireless access point or hotspot. The G2 Mini is also equipped with DLNA which stands for Digital Living Network Alliance and is a standard that allows devices to share content with one another.  This means you can stream a video from your phone to a big screen television.

Additionally, if you have an LTE version of the LG G2 Mini through your wireless carrier, the device will be equipped with NFC.  NFC stands for Near Field Communications and is a short-range wireless link that allows you to transfer data between two devices.  A typical example of NFC is the capability to tap your smartphone on a payment terminal to pay for items you have purchased.

Bluetooth 4.0 capability is also included for connecting Bluetooth-enabled devices. Plus, there is also a GPS feature that allows you to use your location to search for information and to find your way around using Google Maps voice-guided navigation.

Battery Life.

The battery is very impressive indeed and the main feature that makes the LG G2 Mini stand out from other smartphones of this size.  First, the battery is removable which is a real plus when you want to carry a spare or when it comes time for replacement.  The LG G2 Mini is equipped with a 9.2Wh (2440mAh) battery that allows you to comfortably use your phone for a few days on a regular basis without being required to perform a recharge.  If you only use the device on occasion, you can probably go a lot further before a recharge is needed.

In terms of cost, the LG G2 Mini is priced at approximately £220 depending upon where you make your purchase and the type of processor that is included, as we touched on earlier.  You may even find special deals through your wireless carrier as well.

Lg G2 mini Pros and Cons.

The LG G2 Mini is not designed to be a mini powerhouse device, however, we think you will find it to be a well-rounded device that meets most or all of your mobile device needs.

LG G2 Mini back.fwPros

  • Fantastic battery life.
  • Screen resolution and imaging are very comparable to the Galaxy S4 mini smartphones.
  • The processing performance places the LG G2 Mini in the midrange when compared to other smartphones.
  • Quality construction offers durability and protection against accidental drops.
  • KnockOn function with the ability to configure a Knock Code is a security plus.
  • The capability to use the LG G2 Mini as a remote control for household appliances prepares you for future appliances that are part of the Internet of Things trend.

Cons

  • If you try to use a 64GB SD card with the smaller Snapdragon 400 processor, it tends to cause lag time, especially if you have a lot of content stored on the SD card.
  • Lack of ambient light sensor.
  • Screen resolution could easily have been boosted to 720p.

What’s in the Box?

The LG G2 Mini ships with the following items in the box:

  • LG G2 Mini Smartphone
  • Quick Start Manual
  • Battery
  • Wall Battery Charger
  • 3.5mm Headphone Set
  • USB Cable

Conclusion

The LG G2 Mini shares a lot of qualities that some of the premium LG smartphones have. You could argue that  that the processor is slightly under-powered, but to be fair, a slightly faster processor and higher resolution screen are additional resources that would have placed an extra  burden on the device and significantly reduce the exceptional battery life.

 The LG G2 Mini is a comfortably compact smartphone that to date has the largest display in the mini smartphone market. The battery life is fantastic, as is the finish and the quality of materials used for the chasssis. Overall an impressive smartphone that comes highly recommend.

techie-score

About the author.

This article was contributed to the Our IT Department blog by experienced technology writer Claire Thrait. Now blogging for a living (mainly for us) Claire has many previous years experience providing IT consultancy to small businesses throughout Greater London.

All images used in this review are property of their respective owners.  We would take our own, but you know they wouldn’t look as good as the above! 

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3 thoughts on “Product Review – The LG G2 Mini Smartphone

  1. Personally, I really don’t like this phone at all. Its not terrible, but just a bit “samey”, uninspiring design that does the job, but not much else.

    Reply
  2. Personally, I don’t think there is anything to touch the latest iPhone on the market at the moment. I think that a lot of the Android devices have gained ground, including this one, but Apple will remain the market leader indefinitely. The iPhone has completely changed the way we communicate and socialise.

    Reply

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