SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — LG's flagship mobile gadgets — the G2 smartphone and the G Pad 8.3 tablet — are great mobile devices that have fantastic screens, top-end cameras and ample processing power.
But making an impressive Android device is not enough to stand apart from the crowd in the ultra-competitive mobile market, which probably pushed LG Electronics Inc. to make some bold design decisions in a bid to differentiate its G series from Samsung's Galaxy line and Apple's iPad Mini.
The G2 was released last month in the U.S., while LG said Thursday it will start selling the G Pad in the U.S. on Nov. 3.
For the G2, LG moved the power and volume controls to the back of the phone. For the G Pad, LG added a full HD screen. The resolution on the G Pad's 8.3 inch screen, measured diagonally, is better than what's on Samsung's Galaxy Note 8.0 and Apple's iPad Mini, though Apple is expected to refresh its lineup next week. Slightly smaller, 7-inch tablets from Google and Amazon have full HD screens comparable to LG's.
LG's design choices set the G2 and the G Pad apart from "me, too" Andevices trying to catch up with Samsung and Apple, but they might also limit their appeal.
Not everyone will be pleased with having to change the basic habits of smartphone operation. They will scratch their heads looking for those buttons just as I did.
It took a couple of days before my index finger ceased pressing a volume key when I intended to press a power key. But after that, I realized having a power button on the back makes it easier to use a big handset with one hand. The G2 has a 5.2-inch screen.
LG came up with a double-tap gesture to activate the phone. I found it easier and quicker than pressing a home button and then sliding to unlock as with my iPhone 4S. This double-tap to start also applies to the G Pad.
LG removed the physical home button on the front for the G2 and the G Pad. Instead, virtual buttons for back, home and menu actions appear when the screen is activated. I preferred these virtual buttons over physical ones because I could touch them with the same gesture and pressure I applied to the touch screen. One downside of Samsung's Galaxy devices is that the touch screen and the three buttons for home, back and menu options all need a different level of pressure to be activated.
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