At the same time we received the LG L70 we gave way also to the G2 Mini. The LG G2 Mini follows the footsteps of the G2 but basically half the specs available. The G2 Mini was announced earlier in 2014 and released in April.
Design and Ergonomics
The first thing you will notice about the G2 Mini is that it’s right and left sides have no buttons whatsoever, the same can be said for the top and bottom sides. The well-known lock and volume buttons are on the back of the G2 Mini right beside the camera.
Nonetheless the top side of the G2 Mini is the home of the 3.5mm phone jack, the infrared port and the microphone. The bottom side is the home for another microphone and the microUSB cable slot.
The front of the device holds the 4.7 inch LCD IPS screen with a resolution of 540×960 pixels with a pixel density of 243ppi. This screen also has Corning Gorilla Glass 2 and above the screen there is a 1.3MP camera.
On the back of the G2 Mini you will also find the 8MP camera with its LED flash alongside the power and volume buttons.
As far as the design itself goes, the G2 seems more alike the devices of the L series than its eldest brethren the G2. Having said that you can just see that there hasn’t been as much care and work put into the G2 Mini as the G2.
Just like most LG displays there are no issues regarding viewing angles, meaning that you can lay your G2 Mini flat on a table and still be able to see what is displayed on the screen with no problems whatsoever.
Then again as most non flagship devices from LG the G2 Mini does not have a luminosity sensor, meaning that you will have to worry about adjusting the screen brightness yourself in accordance to the environment you are currently in. Nonetheless the G2 Mini has the same feature we mentioned in the L70 and G Pad 8.0 review that seeks to help the users from burning their eyes during nighttime.
The setting that allows you to turn the brightness down to 0% between midnight and 6am.
Performance and Software
The G2 Mini has Android KitKat with the known LG UI overlay. As usual you can customise the home screen at your will, up to 5 different home screens each of them containing widgets or app shortcuts at your desire.
Remember that you can also change the background of both the home screen and the lock screen and also change the shortcuts present on the lock screen as well as the unlock mode. As has been usual in recent LG devices the G2 mini also has the Knock Code feature.
When it comes to differences from the stock Android interface the one you will think is most obvious is the notification bar. The notification bar of the LG UI is full of different parts, leaving only half of the screen to show notifications. On the top you have a bar with the quick options, turn Wi-Fi on/off, data, etc. Next you have the QSlide applications bar.
This bar shows you a list of applications that you can open through QSlide, QSlide allows you to open several applications on the screen an drag them around and resize their window to your liking.
Next you have the brightness adjustment bar and then the sound adjustment bar, and finally you have the space to show the notifications.
After this major difference you also have the capability of turning the screen off by double tapping the screen, and turn it on exactly the same way.
As far as customisation goes the G2 Mini takes it a little further by allowing you to choose the colour and positioning of the screen buttons. You can have all white or all black buttons or have them white or black with a gradient. As far as positioning goes, you can choose whether to have the back button on the left or on the right.
We always take a look at the pre-installed applications of each device we receive for testing, and the G2 Mini is no different:
- LG Backup
- Quick Remote
- Update Centre
- ThinkFree Viewer
And that’s about it for pre-installed applications, other than those available by the stock Android OS.
We’ve talked about all of these applications but we’ll leave you with a short description for each of them regardless.
LG Backup – allows the user to backup the important data they store on the device, like application preferences and such.
Quick Remote – is a remote control application that can save multiple remote control configurations based on different rooms and thus allow you to control your TV, Home Cinema, Stereo System, etc, through your smartphone.
Update Centre – takes care of updating the pre-installed applications and the operating system as well.
Box – works just the same as Dropbox
SmartWorld – is the application store for LG developed applications as well as applications developed by LG partners. It enables you to get some applications for free in your LG smartphone that are paid for in the Play Store.
ThinkFree Viewer – Microsoft Office stack document viewer, same effect as the Polaris Office viewer but lighter in performance needs.
We took advantage of the fact that the G2 Mini has a infrared port and the Quick Remote application to take it for a test drive, and we encountered no issues whatsoever either in configuring the remote to work with a Samsung TV nor with its use.
Now let’s take a look at the specifications that accompany the G2 Mini and compare them against those of the G2. For starters it comes with a Quad Core 1.2 GHz Cortex A7 processor with a much lower processing rate than the Quad-Core 2.26Ghz Krait 400. When it comes to RAM the G2 Mini comes with 1GB of RAM while the G2 came with 2GB of RAM, lastly regarding the GPU the G2 Mini comes with the Adreno 305 while the G2 came with the Adreno 330.
Finally, on the G2 Mini you have 8GB of storage at your disposal, with the capability of adding a microSD card up to 32GB while on the G2 you only had 16 or 32GB and had no possibility of adding more since it add no microSD card slot. So all in all we know the G2 Mini has half the processor capability and half the RAM of its elder brother and we also know the GPU is lower in its processing capacity.
Now that we’ve talked about all the technical specifications, let’s take a look at the benchmark test results we got.
We also tried a few games on the G2 Mini, both casual games and resource hungry games, you can take a look at the performance of the G2 Mini while playing these games in the Gameplay video below.
Besides game playing and benchmarking we also used the G2 Mini as a main smartphone for the course of a week or two and we have no complaints about its performance when it comes to call receiving/making and network issues.
Connectivity and Battery Life
The G2 Mini brings most of the connectivity options the G2 brought, Wi-Fi 802 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot capabilities, NFC, infrared port, Bluetooth 4.0, A2DP and GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS.
The G2 Mini comes with a 2440mAh battery equipped that promised to last up to 700h(2G)/600h (3G) in stand-by and 12h(2G)/16h(3G) talk time. All in all what we noticed is that the G2 Mini behaved like much of the other Android smartphones we receive for testing, after a fully charged it will go through a full day of use, but you will have to charge it that same night. Nonetheless we have the result of the battery test we took.
The G2 Mini has a frontal 1.3MP camera, capable of recording at 720p and a rear 8MP camera with LED flash.
The frontal camera is good at taking light from the environment and the snapshots we took came out clear as you can see below although you can still see a little grain in the photos.
The rear camera is good at taking in details, as you can see by the photo below. We had no issues regarding focusing the photos, like we experienced on the L70, and all the photos seemed to came out alike in all aspects.
Much better camera quality in the G2 Mini when comparing it to the previously tested L70, and in some cases you will find it hard to distinguish between the pictures you took from the G2 Mini camera and those from the 13MP G2 camera.
After hanging around with the G2 Mini for a few days I have to say it is a good device when you get to quality/performance/price relation.
As we publish this review the G2 Mini is still in stores with a price tag of 199,90€. If you liked the design of the G2, more specifically the button placement, you might be inclined to buy the G2 Mini.
But there is a somewhat similar smartphone on the market, with approximately the same specifications with a price tag of 149€: the L90 Dual SIM.
They both have the exact same screen, the exact same processor and GPU, the exact same amount of RAM and Storage. The only differences between these two devices are the design, cameras and battery capacity, and the L90 doesn’t have NFC nor LTE.
The L90 has a 5MP or 8MP rear camera, and a VGA frontal camera, it has a 2540mAh battery instead of the 2440 of the G2 Mini and it has the power and volume rocker on the right and left sides as usual.
So we will leave that here for you to think about if you are thinking about buying an LG device, same brand, same performance wise, small changes regarding connectivity and camera specifications, it is up to you to decide.
Review by: Cátia Sofia Ferreira @ AndroidEmotions