phablet

LG Confirms Its G Pro 2 Flagship Phablet, Yet Another Phone That’s Mostly Screen

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Say hello to the G Pro 2, LG’s new flagship smartphone — leaked aplenty up to now but officially confirmed today by the mobile maker. The Android 4.4 KitKat powered 4G quad-core device packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.26 GHz processor, 3GB of memory and a 13MP rear camera with an optical image stabilization feature to support better snapping.

It’s (yet) another high end smartphone that’s practically all screen, with LG inflating the size of the pane vs last year’s model — bumping it up from the 5.5 inches of the Optimus G Pro to a 5.9 inch full HD pane.

That screen is clasped on two sides by an extra slim bezel of just 3.3mm, with LG touting “an industry-leading screen-to-frame ratio of 77.2 percent”, showing how marginal form factor design parameters have become if makers are shouting about squeezing more screen onto the slab.

Definitions of how large a screen a smartphone must have to qualify for ‘phablet’ status vary — and are likely themselves moving goal posts as more and more smartphones get bigger — but according to Juniper Research at least 5.6 inches are required. By that definition LG has upgraded the G Pro from big smartphone to proper phablet with today’s sequel.

(The G Pro 2 is not close to the biggest phablet on the market. Sony, for instance, outted a 6.4 inch whopper last year — with its Xperia Z Ultra – a phone so big the company also makes a Bluetooth companion accessory for, y’know, actually making/receiving calls.)

Aside from its big screen — which does not feature a bend, as LG’s recent curvacious foray, the LG G Flex, does — the G Pro 2 sports the same rear key controls the company stuck on last year’s G2.  A key placement that’s either wildcard genius or the worst idea in smartphone design history, depending on your view. Just don’t press the phone down on a table and hope it stays powered on.

The most notable other addition to LG’s new flagship is an unlocking feature called Knock Code, that lets users devise their own sequence of touchscreen taps (aka a ‘knock pattern’) to unlock the device. Which is presumably another reason for LG to beef up the screen size — so users have enough space to get a-knockin’. (Another feature that makes use of the big pane is a dual-browser mode.)

LG says anything from two to eight taps can be used to form this knock pattern, on any portion of the screen. And it reckons the tech supports 86,367 ‘knock’ combinations.

With Apple adding its biometric TouchID system to its flagship iPhone 5s home key, so users can unlock their phone with their fingerprint, rival smartphone makers are clearly stretching themselves to come up with security differentiators of their own.

Elsewhere, the LG G Pro 2 lavishes care and attention on the camera and photo smarts of the device, with anti-shake functionality and larger and more sensitive sensors front and rear.

Other image capture features include 4K ultra HD video recording; an 120fps HD video recording feature that supports slow-motion editing; a ‘magic focus’ feature to select the depth of focus after a photo is taken — a la Lytro, presumably; improved flash for more natural shots/selfies; an up to 20 continuous shots burst mode; and a gallery collage feature for uploading multiple shots.

It’s not clear which markets outside LG’s stamping ground of South Korea the LG G Pro 2 will land in as yet, with LG saying global availability has not yet been determined. It will be showing off the handset at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona — where TC will be on hand to get hands on.

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