LG’s Optimus G and gadget lust

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By Daniel O. Escasa

Few things rouse a techie’s gadget lust more than a product launch.

LG has done just that, with the launch of the Optimus G. It’s not just a matter of the hardware, but LG’s enhancements to Android.

LG had a few units for the guests to play with. I spent maybe half an hour with one unit, all the while trying to keep my slobber in check.

That should serve as a caveat that this is not a full review, just impressions after 30-some minutes trying it out.

The Optimus G is unbelievably thin, at 8.5mm. LG did this by etching the touch sensors right onto the glass, eliminating the need for ?the touch sensors circuit board between the glass and the motherboard.

LG calls this Zerogap Touch, because there’s no gap between the Gorilla Glass and the motherboard.

The Optimus G comes in a unibody form. That means, however, that the battery is embedded ? that is, non-removeable.

The Internet is rife with debates on the pros and cons of embedded batteries, and some people are willing to accept slimmer designs at the cost of replaceable batteries.

For whatever it may be worth, Apple popularized embedded batteries, and Motorola and Nokia followed suit with the Droid Razr Maxx and the Lumia 900, respectively.

Incidentally, the design of the phone also precludes the expansion of the built-in 32GB ? in other words, no SD slot.

Also, the Optimus G has removed the Back, Menu, and Home hardware keys and transformed them into soft keys that take up the bottom row of the screen.

This bothered me a bit because that means that when the phone locks, I’ll have to use the power button to unlock it.

Contrast this with my LG P500, where I can use the Menu, Home, Back, and Search hardware keys to unlock the phone. I like that because that means I don’t have to press the power button often.

The Optimus G had better have a durable power button, because it’ll get lots of use.

Speaking of the screen: One smartphone trend has been larger screens. Asus, with the 7″ FonePad, is so far the ?phablet? with the largest display.

LG’s display is a more modest, pants pocket-friendly 4.7″.

One feature that does make the Optimus G stand out is QSlide, which allows certain apps to display their windowed output to the screen simultaneously. The official YouTube video should make this clearer.

Personally, however, I wouldn’t type out a text message while a video was playing. Instead, I’d pause the video, then type out the text message. On the other hand, having the Calculator on-screen at the same time as, e.g., an SMS or an email?would be handy.

One limitation of QSlide is that only LG’s versions of certain apps are QSlide-able.

The thing that bothers me about QSlide is that it could distract me from the task in the foreground ? which is in the foreground precisely because it’s important.

I can imagine though some scenarios where it might be useful. One of them might be when I’m not doing serious work on my phone.

One thing that QSlide illustrates is that size doesn’t matter as much as how you use it.

So, ?is the Optimus G something I would buy for myself?

Frankly, at P25,99x suggested retail, it’s about twice my normal budget for a phone. If I were to break that rule, however, it would be under serious consideration, my personal quibbles notwithstanding.

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