LG G2 Mini first impressions: G2 by design, not by specs

“We go hands-on with the LG G2 Mini.”

At its annual Tech Show, LG unveiled a slew of new products for the Indian market. Some of them come straight from the mobile extravaganza called MWC held at Barcelona last week. We spent some quality time with the smaller sibling of the LG G2, and here are our first impressions of the device. LG G2 Mini (1) Looking at the LG G2 Mini from any angle, it seems remarkably similar to its flagship brother. Thanks to the slimmer bezels, a major portion of its front is covered by a 4.7-inch display, compared to the 5.2-inch screen of the G2. The display is of a lower  960 x 540 pixel resolution, translating to a pixel density of 234 ppi. The display was sharp and viewing angles were also good. LG G2 Mini (2) LG G2 Mini (3) The left and right side are devoid of any buttons, as they are placed at the back. Because of the larger size of the G2, the volume and power buttons at the rear definitely made sense, but in the pocket-sized G2 Mini we’re not sure of its usefulness. During our usage, it was more of a hindrance than a utility. Along with the usual notification light at the front, the smartphone also offers an LED outline around the power button. LG G2 Mini (4) The G2 Mini does away with the slippery feel of the LG G2, thanks to its textured back panel that provides good grip. The size and weight of the device make it well suited for one-handed use. Unlike the G2, the back cover of the handset can be removed, exposing a removable battery along with the micro-SIM and microSD card slots. The device is available in multiple colour options including black, white, red and gold, although the demo unit we played with was in white. LG G2 Mini (11) LG G2 Mini (13) As noted in our official report regarding the G2 Mini’s launch, the device seems to be a poor cousin of its bigger sibling, with trimmed-down specs. In comparison to the Snapdragon 800 powering the show in the LG G2, the Mini is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 quad-core chipset, clocked at 1.2GHz. The processor is complemented by 1GB RAM. For storage, the smartphone offers 8GB of expandable memory. In our time with the device, we didn’t face any lags while browsing and opening/closing apps. But its performance during graphic-intensive games and multitasking is yet to be tested. The 2,440 mAh battery should help the phone last for a day. In the camera department, the handset features an 8-megapixel camera at the back with an LED flash. There’s also a 1.3MP camera at the front that will prove useful for video calling. We weren’t able to test the camera capabilities of the device, but we will do so extensively in our in-depth review of the G2 Mini when it lands. LG G2 Mini (14) Another area where the G2 Mini shares similarities with the G2 is in its software. Running the latest version of Android 4.4.2, the device gets a customised interface and some nifty functionalities. The KnockON feature will definitely be useful for waking up the device and putting it to sleep using double taps. With KnockCode, it becomes even more intuitive with an additional layer of security. Other features like QSlide – the ability to use two apps simultaneously and QMemo – typing anywhere on the smartphone to save a note (activated by pressing volume keys together) are also available. LG G2 Mini (8) In the end, everything boils down to the pricing of the smartphone. The LG G2 Mini will be going on sale in the second quarter, but pricing details haven’t been announced yet. If priced well, it could become a good option in the mid-range segment, but if not, it could face a fate similar to the mini variants of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One that didn’t really set the cash registers ringing. Yup, as always, pricing would be key.
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