LG wanted to build a superphone. Good idea. So LG crammed it with the nastiest specs we've seen on a mobile device. We were excited. We got to play with it today... and they covered that beauty in one of the ugliest skins we've seen. C'mon, guys!
The tale of the tape: It's an Android phone that runs Ice Cream Sandwich. It's one of the first phones with the 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor (it's been all dual-core until now). It has a 4.7-inch "True HD IPS Plus display", 2GB of RAM, 32GB built-in storage, NFC, 4G LTE and a 2100mAh battery. Those are some swoon-worthy specs. At first glance, the performance actually seemed to back it up.
The screen looked gorgeous. I wasn't able to hold it next to an HTC One X, but it seemed to be on par. Felt like a solid build, though a bit blockier than some other high-end phones. It was also extremely fast. The model we used had an 8MP camera (other versions will have a 13MP shooter), and it fired off shots without hesitation. It seemed to have horsepower to spare. I could pinch to zoom in and out on an HD video while it was playing, and it didn't miss a beat. Perfect phone, right?
But no. LG had to go and put its own skin on top of Android. It is really, really, really ugly. When I first saw it I thought, "What the hell, is this thing running Gingerbread (Android 2.3)!?" It wasn't. It's Ice Cream Sandwich, which is a very attractive OS in its natural state. This looks blocky and low-end. It's actually the only thing that looks low-end on the whole phone. Maybe a custom launcher can hide the shame, but I dunno. It's really too bad, as this may be one of the best phones at time of release, but people will take one look at its face and walk right by it.
The Optimus G is coming to AT&T in the US soon, while Australia will have to wait until 2013. We'll have a full review in the weeks to come. Maybe it will show us that it's "pretty on the inside and that's what counts", and we'll feel like shallow bastards. Maybe. Or maybe LG hosed the UX on a superphone.