Performance Benchmarks, Battery Life, and Conclusion
The G2 is equipped with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2GHz quad-core processor with 2GB RAM, which puts it on par with other flagship Android devices like the recently released Sony Xperia Z1 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
The Snapdragon 800 processor consists of the upgraded Krait 400 CPU architecture (vs. Krait 300 CPU on the Snapdragon 600 processor) and the latest Adreno 330 GPU. Each core is able to support higher clock speeds of up to 2.3GHz and the Adreno 330 delivers up to 50% increase in graphics performance compared to Adreno 320 (found in Snapdragon 600 and S4 processors).
We will be pitting the G2 up against other 5-inch rivals such as the Sony Xperia Z1, ASUS PadFone Infinity, HTC Butterfly S and Samsung Galaxy S4.
Quadrant evaluates a device's CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performance. As expected, the G2 performed well, far outperforming our older Snapdragon 600-equipped devices. It did, however, fare a bit lower than the Xperia Z1.
Originally developed as a PC benchmarking tool, 3DMark is now expanded to support multiple platforms including Android OS. The Ice Storm benchmark is designed for smartphones, mobile devices and ARM architecture computers.
For an in-depth understanding of 3DMark for Android, do head over to our article, "3DMark for Android - GPU Performance Review." In a nutshell, 3DMark consists of two test sections:
- 3DMark Ice Storm is an OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark test that uses fixed off-screen rendering at 720p then scales the output to fit the native display resolution of your device. Ice Storm includes two graphics tests designed to stress the GPU performance of your device and a physics test to stress its CPU performance.
- 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme raises the off-screen rendering resolution to 1080p and uses higher quality textures and post-processing effects to create a more demanding load for the latest smartphones and tablets.
Note: After a recent update to 3DMark, both of our Snapdragon 800-equipped devices (the Xperia Z1 and G2) maxed out the score limit of 3DMark Ice Storm, and as such we will just be reporting the 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme scores.
Once again, the G2 performed well, however, it again fell just short of the Xperia Z1's scores, suggesting that LG might not have done as good a job at optimizing the Snapdragon 800 processor as Sony.
The G2 was slightly disappointing in the SunSpider benchmark, falling quite far behind the Xperia Z1 and performing only slightly better than our older Snapdragon 600-equipped models.
In actual usage we found browsing performance to be quite smooth, although we did encounter a few laggy moments while navigating through the phone's UI.
While the G2's camera doesn't boast the specs of the Xperia Z1 or Lumia 1020, its camera module is still quite impressive: 13-megapixel, f/2.4 aperture, 9-point autofocus, and best of all, built-in optical image stabilization. For the pros out there, LG has also added some optional extra control options, including manual ISO customization and a manual focus slider.
The rear volume buttons can be used both as either a shutter button or for zoom. Using the rear buttons to take pictures works really well for selfies as it lets you keep a firm grip on the phone. You can also hold the volume button down to take a burst of continuous shots.
Like LG's Optimus G Pro, the G2 includes some extra camera modes like "Shoot and Clear," which removes moving objects from your photos, as well as VR Panorama, which takes a 360-degree photosphere shot.
Our standard battery test for mobile phones has the following parameters:
- Looping a 800 x 480-pixel video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
- Constant data streaming through email and Twitter
The G2 has a 3000mAh capacity non-removable battery, which is fairly standard for its size and class. In our battery looping test, the G2 lasted seven and a half hours, which is quite decent, especially considering its slightly larger, super bright display. Power consumption was, however, quite high due to the G2's 4.7V voltage. In regular usage, we had no problems with the battery lasting through the entire day.
To give you a more realistic understanding on how the G2 fared under real world usage conditions, we included screenshots of the usage and history graphs which are available on Android 4.0 and later devices.
As seen from the graph above, the G2 could last more than 19 hours. Some notes:
- The device logged onto a 3G network as the SIM card used does not support 4G LTE.
- The device logged onto Wi-Fi connections from time to time.
- Battery Saver mode was not enabled throughout the day.
For this usage scenario, more voice calls were made in the initial few hours after unplugging the phone from its charger. Other standard usage scenarios still applied: texting via WhatsApp, taking some photos and sharing them on social networking sites (Facebook and Instagram), and emailing. We also used Spotify to stream music for about an hour.
We applaud LG for trying something a little different with the G2, gambling with an unconventional button placement on the rear of the device. Fortunately, it works quite well, and we're sure there will be at least a few converts out there who no longer accept anything else. It's probably not for everybody, and we suspect the G2 might not sell as well as it should in the sea of smartphone choices out there, as prospective smartphone shoppers gloss over it for its unassuming phone design and unusual setup, but anyone that puts the time into getting used to it will enjoy the smart layout and ergonomic benefits. Still, LG might be well-served with a regular model that has the conventional layout with the buttons on the side (Nexus 5?).
Even if you're not sold on the back buttons, fortunately, the G2 has plenty of other things going for it. The insanely thin bezel and gorgeous IPS display combine for one of the most pleasing viewing experiences available on a smartphone, and thoughtful software features like Guest Mode, KnockOn, and Answer Me are actually practical and effective in everyday usage. The camera may not be Lumia 1020 or Xperia Z1 quality, but it's certainly above average and includes useful additions like optical image stabilization. While we didn't like the cheap plastic build and generic design, all things considered, the G2 still provides one of the best user experiences available on a smartphone.