LG G Pro 2 hands-on review

LG's 6in gigantophone gets a play date with our hands at Mobile World Congress
MWC 2014: LG G Pro 2 hands-on review

The G Pro 2 is LG's answer to the Galaxy Note 3, and we wrapped our hands around its huge screen here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Here's what we made of it after putting it through its paces as best we could while trying to avoid being elbowed by passionate tech journalists:

The G2, embiggened

MWC 2014: LG G Pro 2 hands-on review
MWC 2014: LG G Pro 2 hands-on review

The G Pro 2 is essentially a blown up version of the G2, with the same rear power and volume button placement.

Its rear has a grippier texture, which is an improvement over the slippery back of the G2, and oddly enough, it doesn't feel much heavier in the hands, as the extra weight is spread out across the larger body.

READ MORE: LG G2 review

MWC 2014: LG G Pro 2 hands-on review

With a 5.9in screen, the G Pro 2 is firmly in super-sized phablet territory, but it still slipped into our pockets without a problem. 

You will however struggle to use it with two hands due to its size, though LG does throw in a few software tweaks to help tame its giant screen. We'll get to that later.

Knock Knock

One of our favourite features of the G2 is its Knock On feature which wakes and locks the screen with a double tap.

The G Pro 2 takes this one step further by letting you create a custom combination of taps to lock and unlock the device itself.

It replaces Android's standard PIN and Pattern unlock, and we found it quite fun to use.

The demo units at LG's MWC press event were set up with four taps, set in a square pattern. Combinations with up to 8 taps can be created, if you're feeling particularly paranoid, and there are 80,000 possible combinations according to LG.

It's an innovative feature and a very decent alternative to the Galaxy S5's fingerprint scanner, as it works when the screen is off.

The Galaxy S5 on the other hand, requires you to wake the screen up with the power button before swiping, which takes a little longer.

LG will be bringing Knock Code to all its high-end devices, and we'd bet our entire collection of gadgets that Knock Code will be landing on the G2 when it eventually gets updated to Android 4.4 KitKat.

Snap Happy

MWC 2014: LG G Pro 2 hands-on review

The G Pro 2 has a 13MP camera with nine-point autofocus and it builds on the G2's already excellent Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) with a new OIS+ system which enables the shutter to stay open even longer without causing blur, resulting in more light being guzzled up.

The end result is better performance in low light conditions. While we couldn't test this out in the brightly-lit press room, we look forward to taking it for a spin in a dimly lit pub. 

The G Pro 2 also has 4K UHD video recording and 120fps slow motion video capture.

Like the Galaxy S5, the G Pro 2 will let you fiddle around with the focus after you've taken a picture. LG calls this Magic Focus, and you'll be glad to hear that it delivers.

It works by taking two separate shots at different focal lengths, and you can tap anywhere on the screen to bring a particular area into focus. 

We actually prefer LG's implementation to Samsung's, as it lets you tap anywhere on the screen. The Galaxy S5 on the other hand has separate buttons for background and foreground focus.

A whole lotta screen

MWC 2014: LG G Pro 2 hands-on review

The G Pro 2's bezels are deliciously thin, and LG tells us that it's got the highest screen to bezel ratio around. Score.

The 5.9in full HD IPS screen is sharp, despite having a lower ppi count than its 5.2in G2 sibling, and its colours are punchy without being over saturated. Viewing angles are also good, and colours remain consistent without appearing washed out.

Software tweaks

MWC 2014: LG G Pro 2 hands-on review
MWC 2014: LG G Pro 2 hands-on review

While the G Pro 2 isn't running stock Android, it does offer some useful tweaks. Mini View  is a feature which scales the screen down for easier one-handed use, which will come in handy when bashing out a quick text while walking, minimising the chances of any altercations with pavements - natural enemies of smartphones.

Dual Browser lets you run two apps side-by-side, in a similar fashion to Samsung's Multi View, and it justifies the G Pro 2's super-sized screen.

Initial Verdict

MWC 2014: LG G Pro 2 hands-on review

The G Pro 2 might lack the stylus skills of the Galaxy Note 3, but for non-doodlers it's very tempting alternative, thanks to its solid build, powerful insides and impressive camera.

Stay tuned for our full review where we'll have more time to make the G Pro 2 sweat in a real world workout.

READ MORE: Mobile World Congress 2014 – the biggest MWC smartphone news so far