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MWC: LG G2 Mini hands-on review

It's not exactly mini, but impresses with largely vanilla Android 4.4 Kitkat
Wed Feb 26 2014, 09:20

BARCELONA: LG ANNOUNCED the LG G2 Mini ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC), and took to the show floor in Barcelona to show off the miniature version of its flagship device.

We say 'miniature' version, but the LG G2 Mini is actually one of the larger Mini devices with a 4.7in screen that dwarfs the 4in screen of the iPhone 5S and is larger than the 4.3in screen of Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact.

Still, LG is no doubt hoping that the smaller screen will attract those who aren't fond of the flagship LG G2's 5.2in display, and we took a hands-on look at the device to see how it stacks up.

Design
As we mentioned, the LG G2 Mini isn't in fact very small. The handset measures 130x66x9.8mm, and while that isn't large, we're not sure that it warrants the Mini designation.

Still, the LG G2 Mini is comfortable to hold, with is slight curve sitting well in the palm of the hand. We're not keen on the handset's textured plastic back panel, though, which both looks and feels a little cheap, especially compared to the iPhone 5S and Xperia Z1 Compact.

One design feature we do like, however, are the hardware keys on the rear of the phone, just like those on the flagship LG G2.

LG G2 Mini has physical buttons on its rear

These volume control and standby keys are placed much more comfortably than those on the 5.2in model, with the keys placed in a natural position, which meant they felt much more useable than the physical keys that usually are situated around the edges of smartphones.

Another nice design touch is the slim bezel surrounding the screen, which makes the display seem even larger than it is and avoids adding unncessary bulk to the handset.

Display
The LG G2 Mini has a 4.7in 540x950 resolution IPS display that isn't among the sharpest we've seen on the MWC show floor and pales compared to the flagship LG G2's full HD 1080p display.

LG G2 Mini has a 4.7in screen

That said, the display is exceptionally bright and presents good viewing angles, so the slight fuzziness surrounding text and icons shouldn't be too much of an issue for buyers.

Performance and software
Under the bonnet, the LG G2 Mini has a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapragon 400 procesor, a downgrade from the quad-core 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 processor found in its flagship predecessor.

While it sounds like a downgrade, we didn't notice a lack of performance during our hands-on time with the device.

LG G2 Mini runs Android 4.4 Kitkat

This is likely due to the handset's largely vanilla Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system. We never were fans of LG's custom Android skin, but the firm has recently toned this down greatly, with the handset arriving without any obtrusive widgets covering its homescreens. However, LG has redesigned the handset's lockscreen, which boasts its Knock Code unlocking features, and has redesigned the application icons, but given the largely customisable nature of the handset, we didn't find these changes obtrusive.

Camera
An 8MP rear-facing camera sits on the rear of the LG G2 Mini. During our hands-on time with the phone, we were impressed by the rear-facing sensor, which produced colourful, detailed images, even under the bright lights of the MWC show floor.

LG G2 Mini has an 8MP rear facing camera

The rear camera was quick too, compared to the cameras often found on other mid-range Android smartphones.

First impressions
The LG G2 Mini doesn't sound like much on paper, and it certainly doesn't seem like a 'mini' handset. However, we were impressed with the device during our hands-on time with it at MWC, thanks to its nearly untouched Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system, snappy 8MP camera and all-round smooth performance. We also liked the rear-facing physical keys on the device, which felt more natural to use than the keys on the original LG G2.

Check back soon for our full LG G2 Mini hands-on review. µ

 

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