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LG G2 Mini hands-on review (MWC 2014)

LG’s G2 Mini cuts down the size, and also the specs, for a mobile that’s easier on the hand – but is it really more comfortable to clutch, and what features do you still get? Here’s our MWC 2014 hands-on review

When we saw the specs for the LG G2 Mini, we were a sad panda – after all, the G2 was an awesome phone, and the G2 Mini could have been LG’s Xperia Z1 Compact. Unfortunately the screen and performance have taken a knock, on paper at least – but when we played with the G2 Mini at MWC 2014, we have to admit we liked it.

LG shows off the LG G2 Mini at MWC 2014 and we went hands-on

First of all, if you find the LG G2 too bulky at 5.2-inches, the 4.7-inch model is definitely easier on the hand. It isn’t exactly an enormous step down, but we had no trouble tapping any corner of the screen when playing one-handed.

LG shos off the LG G2 Mini at MWC 2014 and we went hands-on

As for the look of it, it’s as if you left your LG G2 in your pants when you chucked them in the wash. It’s very similar, just a little smaller – and now it comes in the above glitzy gold and red models.

LG shos off the LG G2 Mini at MWC 2014 and we went hands-on

LG has kept the same styling for the interface, which sits on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. Thankfully you also get most of the same features found on the full-sized LG G2, minus a couple of nifty tools like the ability to switch through open apps using a multi-fingered swipe.

LG shos off the LG G2 Mini at MWC 2014 and we went hands-on

As you can see above, Quick Memo and QSlide make a welcome return, the former allowing you to scribble on your desktop (handy when taking notes on a phone call) and the latter allowing you to run up to three apps side-by-side or on top of one another, complete with visibility sliders to fade them in and out of view.

LG shows off the LG G2 Mini at MWC 2014 and we went hands-on

LG has actually added a cool new feature too, known as Knock-Code, which is also found on all the new LG phones and will be rolled out to old models such as the G2. With the LG G2, you can already unlock the phone by double-taping the screen, a feature we found only worked some of the time, depending on how fast or slow you knocked. With Knock-Code, you can set a unique pattern of up to 8 knocks, using the four quadrants of the screen, to get straight into the LG G2 Mini from hibernation.

LG shows off the LG G2 Mini at MWC 2014 and we went hands-on

It’s a feature that works surprisingly perfectly. You can set a pattern between two and eight taps, with a PIN unlock as backup in case you forget the code, and then when you want to turn your phone on just tap the code out and you’ll find the phone wakes straight to desktop. We were impressed to find it worked every single time, without fail.

So, back to those specs. The G2 Mini’s 4.7-inch screen may lose the Full HD resolution of the G2, which is a massive shame as we loved those crystal-clear visuals, but unless you’re a big high-def movie fan, the qHD screen should appease. It’s easily bright enough for outdoor use (the powerful MWC spotlights had little effect on visibility), and it’s just as pleasingly vibrant as the G2, with great colour contrast.

LG shows off the LG G2 Mini at MWC 2014 and we went hands-on

You still get 4G LTE support, but the camera has dropped to an 8-megapixel shooter, albeit one with plenty of on-board features, as we’d expect from LG. The 2,440mAh battery is commendable, beating the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact’s 2,300mAh effort, but we’ll see if we still get the excellent two full days of use that the G2 conjured up.

LG shows off the LG G2 Mini at MWC 2014 and we went hands-on

If you’re tempted by the cool LG features, but the LG G2 was just too much phone to handle, the LG G2 Mini could be an option. However, bear in mind that LG has shown off a unique new feature on the LG G2 Pro, which allows you to shrink the on-screen display to suit your stubby fingers, as seen below. Perhaps, if this feature comes to the original LG G2, it could be an alternative solution – albeit a waste of perfectly good screen-space.

LG G2 Mini shown off at MWC 2014

Note that the window can be moved around and resized to suit your hand, whether you’re a lefty or a righty…

 

Our full LG G2 Mini review will land as soon as we spend some serious time with the handset. In the meantime, let us know if you’re tempted in the comments below.

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