LG’s Quad-Core Flagship Optimus G To Make U.S. Debut In Q4, We Go Hands-On

LG’s new top-tier Optimus G certainly looks like a contender on paper — its 4.7-inch HD IPS display, 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, 13-megapixel camera, and LTE support make sure of that — but one thing the company hasn’t been willing to talk about so far is U.S. availability.

But it seems the company has just become just a bit more chatty. At a small press event in New York, LG representatives confirmed that the device will make its U.S. debut in Q4 2012, though exactly which carriers will sell the device is still up in the air for now.

I managed to score a little hands-on time with the device, and came away a bit more impressed than I normally am with LG’s work. The Optimus G is slim and plasticky (in keeping with the company’s M.O.), but despite its light weight it never crossed the line into chintzy territory. It’s a surprisingly solid-feeling device to boot — no questionable creaks when applying pressure to it, though that’s thanks in part to the fact that the plastic back plate extends up over the sides. Also of note is the particular three-button configuration that LG opted for use here — they’re discrete buttons as opposed to on-screen icons, and the G sports a menu key rather than the ICS-standard recent apps key.

As always though, hardware is only part of the equation. The pre-release version of the Optimus G I fiddled around with ran Android 4.0.4., and while a Jelly Bean update is probably in the works somewhere, there was no official word one way or another on the matter. That said, the Optimus G was a speedy little bugger — there were no hiccups to be seen as I swiped through myriad menus, fired up applications, and loaded up a handful of websites. I couldn’t sneak my preferred benchmarking app onto the device so the hard numbers will have to come later, but it’s clear that the Optimus G is no slouch.

Things got just a bit dicier during the Optimus G’s video streaming demo — there was a fair amount of visual stuttering as an LG rep was showing off the multi-touch video zoom on a television, as well as when running through a pre-loaded presentation of the device. In fairness, LG reps were quick to note that the device should see some tweaks before its official launch next week, and I’d expect the company to do even more overhauling before the G makes its way Stateside.

LG is fond of referring to the Optimus G as the first quad-core handset with LTE support to officially hit the international market, but that doesn’t mean there’s no one out there giving the company a run for its money. Samsung’s recently-announced Galaxy Note II sports a quad-core Exynos/LTE radio combo (it’s slated to hit the U.S. fairly soon, too), and a Korea-only variant of the Galaxy S III pulled a similar move not too long ago. Samsung has a habit of trouncing LG when it comes to smartphone sales performance, but the Optimus G is a worthy addition to LG’s mobile lineup. That’s not to say that it’s going to be a guanranteed game-changer for LG — I still have my doubts — but at least they’ve got a solid device to throw into the fray.