LG Launches The G2 In India

LG's hotly anticipated new flagship handset, the LG G2, launched in India. LG's approach to their new flagship is very different from what the company has been doing in the past. The glass body is gone, and has been replaced with a full plastic body, much like the Galaxy S4. In fact, in many ways, the LG G2 is more of an evolution to the Samsung Galaxy S4 than LG's own Optimus Smartphones from the past.

This time around, LG has focused heavily on innovation, even when it seems forced and is somewhat unnecessary, in almost all aspects of the Smartphone. There's the rear physical buttons placed near the camera module, but we'll get back to that when we go hands-on with the device. For now, we'll give you LG's justification for the rear buttons. According to them, the ideal placement of a person's finger while using his or her phone is at the back of the phone's body. "Learning from us," the G2 thus has the volume rocker and power buttons at the back, and the placement is universal for both right-handed and left-handed people. Oh, and don't think that you'll have to pick up the device each time you want to unlock it. Just knock twice on the display to bring it to life, or knock twice again and put it back to sleep

Now you must be worried that with all the finger action at the rear, won't the camera glass get innumerable scratches? That has been taken care of by picking the ultra durable Sapphire glass as a primary protection measure.

That's not all about the LG G2's design. The company has managed to fit an astonishingly large 3000 mAh battery while keeping the thin frame. This has been achieved by innovating in the design of the body. Also, this 138 mm tall device packs a 5.2-inch display. After countless hours of R&D, the Korean phone maker has found that the extra 0.2-inches over and above the present 5-inch flagships is the perfect size for a Smartphone screen, in terms of usability and viewing.

Coming back to the camera, the LG G2 packs a 13 megapixel snapper with its primary attraction being OIS, or Optical Image Stability. OIS is a physical feature, which ensures that even when the phone itself is in motion, the camera frame doesn't move and thus allows users to click a blur-free image. We'll be exploring just how well that works with our own review sample later.

LG has also focused heavily on audio quality with the G2. Instead of sticking to the standard 16-bit, 44.1 KHz CD quality audio output, the G2 supports Hi-Fi Sound which is the standard followed by premium studios. You thus get 24-bit/192 KHz audio output with the LG G2. Just for kicks, they played the Vienna Boys Choir, played back using a G2 live here at Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon, India.

LG's Managing Director Soon H. Kwon has graced the venue. Currently, he is being subjected to a ton of photographers, who are all trying to click beauty shots of the man. Don't worry, we got a few shots of him, too. LG announced the official price of the G2 to be Rs. 43,500 for the 32 GB variant (roughly $700), while the 16 GB variant will set you back by Rs. 41,500.

Mind you, the G2 doesn't come with a micro SD card slot. What you do get is 50 GB of Box cloud storage free for life, but how many of you (in India) is going to back up 50 GB of your data in the cloud? Also, as a limited period promotional offer, the early adopters of the LG G2 will be treated to a few QuickWindowcover. Hurry up, it's a limited time offer only. At that price, the company is hoping to earn 200 crores from sales of the G2 and its accessories.

When asked whether the design of the LG G2, right from the all-plastic construction to the overloaded software features which closely mimic Samsung's own S-Apps suite, and even to the hardware accessories such as the QuickWindow cover (analogous to S-View on the Galaxy S4) is a direct result of the success that Samsung has enjoyed, the LG panel declined to answer.

A recurring question has been whether the LG G2, powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 powerhouse, will support 4G LTE network in India. To which the Q&A panel replied that the infrastructure in India is just not ready for 4G, but "we will be ready when India is ready." Our inference is that the G2 in India does support 4G LTE, but has been disabled due to lack of infra in the sub-continent.

Another question that grabbed our attention was when the panel was asked about the Android update roadmap for the G2, keeping in mind that previous LG phones have either received Android OS updates much later than other OEMs, or not at all.

Additionally, LG has promised 1.8 days of continuous usage on the G2. We'll see how the phone holds up in our own rounds of testing.

Stay tuned for our hands-on of the LG G2.