After the initial disappointment from yesterday’s unveiling of Apple iPhone 5 dissipates, it dawns on us that Apple never intended to pull out all the stops for its next generation iPhone. It was more about incremental improvements and less about the “Wow” factors. Cupertino did take the plunge and gave a big one for its supporters – a 4-inch big display that is – that in itself might be enough to convince folks to make the upgrade.
Apple is clearly in a very, very comfortable position where it doesn’t feel the need to drastically alter every little thing about its phone every year, but it’s a different story with LG. The South Korean has no choice but to offer the latest and greatest of everything for its upcoming flagship model if it were to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive Android landscape.
Cue the introduction of the Optimus G, the latest quad-core Android smartphone that LG hopes would turn its fate around and help steal some of Samsung’s thunder or even those from other platforms. Though it has been rumored to come to Verizon, there’s no official word yet from LG when it plans to release the Optimus G in North America. But a global roll out is reportedly in the cards before the end of the year.
Nevertheless, we sure hope you won’t mind if pit the two against each other. But there’s a twist now, as we’ll only provide the gory details.
So the secret is out – Apple’s iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter compared to the 4S. This is great news for those who wondered whether the extra screen real estate would impact the phone’s dimensions. It actually did, but only vertically.
Made from glass and aluminum, Apple retains the same front look of its predecessor, save for some minor details, while the back of the phone has two inlays – top and bottom – for that two-tone finishing. Not only is there a new Dock Connector (hello, $10 adapter!), but you’ll also find the earphone’s port on the bottom of the phone now.
As for the Optimus G, the phone has a clean, simple and understated look to it that may lack a certain pizzazz, but not everyone is looking for a phone that demands the constant attention of others.
The front slightly reminds us of the Galaxy Nexus. It is apparently LG’s goal to create a front face that is “completely black with lines that are nearly invisible” when the screen is off. Meanwhile, the back cover utilizes a polarized 3D pattern that changes depending on the lighting and angle.
As for the dimensions for the two phones, the Apple iPhone 5 sits at 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm and 112 grams, while the LG Optimus G is 131.9 x 68.9 x 8.45mm and 145 grams.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s no rule that states only the thinnest or lightest phone should get the glory, but you’ll be the judge.
The iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen (1,136 x 640 resolution) comes with the brand-spanking new integrated touch technology, which removes an extra layer from the screen. This explains why they were able to keep the phone very svelte. The pixel density (326 ppi) is slightly reduced from the 4S, but it’s still the Retina display that you know and love with improved color replication thrown in as well.
Sporting almost the same pixel density (320 ppi) is the Optimus G’s 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS+ display with 1,280 x 768 resolution. The touchscreen panel on the G is also flushed, so you’ll find no gap between it and the glass. Unlike Super AMOLED screen, LG’s doesn’t suffer from screen burn-ins, but that’s for another day.
It’s quite the norm for Apple not to give away the complete details of the processor it uses. What we’re told is the new A6 CPU (possibly a dual-core Cortex-A15) doubles the CPU and GPU performance from its A5 predecessor.
LG, meanwhile, is using a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU and the accompanying Adreno 320 GPU for the Optimus G. It’s one that is destined to rule benchmarks and eat up the competition alive, such as NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 and Samsung’s Exynos 4412. Interestingly, the Snapdragon S4 Pro is also based on the Cortex-A15 architecture.
Comparing how the A6 and Snapdragon S4 Pro perform in real life is pretty impossible now given that the iPhone 5 and Optimus G aren’t out yet. It’ll be quite some time before we get to see how the two fare when running a particular graphics-intensive app. For what it’s worth, you might be interested to know what the rest of the two phones pack (or don’t pack) inside:
Speaking of battery, Apple listed the iPhone 5 as having a talk time (3G) of up to 8 hours, while for Internet browsing (on 3G) it’s also up to 8 hours of usage. LG said that the Optimus G utilizes a new battery technology that runs 60% more efficiently.
Let’s talk about the camera sensors on the two phones. In the age of Instagram, some will find the megapixel race to be an overkill, but we’re sure there are plenty who disagree. Apple has a reputation to maintain as its phones traditionally sport a better camera than most, but the Optimus G aims to challenge that.
The iPhone 5 comes with an 8MP rear camera and a 1.2MP front-facing camera that can capture HD video. The Optimus G’s rear camera is of a 13MP sensor, while you’ll have to make do with a 1.3MP front camera.
Debuting on the iPhone 5 is the new panorama mode, which lets you take, as the name implies, panorama shots of up to 240 degrees. You can also now take still photos as you record videos. Of course, the two features are already available on Android since the days of Ice Cream Sandwich, so future Optimus G owners need not worry. One built-in function that you won’t find on the iPhone 5’s camera app is the “burst shot” mode that allows the Optimus G to pick the best shot – out of multiple images – for you. You can also make use of the Voice Shutter function on the G to capture pictures using voice commands.
While we haven’t seen photo samples taken using the G’s camera, here’s a video teaser for what LG claims to be the world’s best camera module technology:
And below, you can feast your eyes on some sample shots taken with the iPhone 5’s camera.
Prior to the introduction of the iPhone 5, Apple has already teased the world with the OS that will run on the phone, the brand new iOS 6. Siri, for one, has been improved. The voice assistant expands her knowledge to the football field and more as she’ll keep you updated on sports scores and stats from your favorite teams. You can also use Siri to launch apps now, as well as asking for restaurant recommendations (thanks to Yelp), and which movies to watch (Rotten Tomatoes).
Gone from iOS 6 are several Google-owned apps, such as Google Maps and even YouTube. Replacing the former is Apple’s Maps app, which offers turn-by-turn navigations, real-time traffic information, and interactive 3D views. If you miss any of Google offering, you can easily download it on your own from the App Store.
Other features of the new OS include Photo Streams, which let you share photos easily at a tap of a button to people you choose, and Passbook, where you can keep all your movie tickets, plane tickets, boarding passes, coupons, vouchers and more in one place.
There’s nothing glaringly new on the UI-front, however, as you’ll still see grid of icons and folders on the home screen. The simplicity works fine for many people, but we’re sure there are those who can’t wait for widgets – or any other UI improvement – to make their arrival.
Moving to the Optimus G, it’s a shame that LG won’t equip its flagship phone with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean outright. We just think that the hardcore processor is somewhat wasted on Ice Cream Sandwich, but it is what it is.
Of course, LG will not let its phones come out in public without any overlay. Although it hasn’t been confirmed, we’re pretty sure that the Optimus 3.0 UI is what you’ll find when you turn on the screen, or maybe an upgraded version of it.
Make no mistake, that ICS still offers a great smartphone experience, one that is open, non-limiting and doesn’t force conformity, though it is one that is less buttery smooth compared to Jelly Bean. Out of the box, the OS has most things covered, such as the ever useful data usage monitor, swipe-able Recent Apps, the quirky Face Unlock and loads more.
If you consider OS as the most important factor when purchasing a smartphone, you really only have two screen options when going with iOS: 4-inch (iPhone 5) and 3.5-inch screen (everything else before). Android, on the other hand, comes in so many different sizes: small, big, huge, and monstrous.
Choosing the Apple iPhone 5 (yes, we are aware that possibly millions are already at the edge of their seats) means finally enjoying widescreen movies, getting better browsing experience, improved reading experience, as well as other perks that a bigger screen comes with. It also means being content with the limitation of the OS and the walled ecosystem.
Those who are looking to get what is bound to be one of the fastest Android smartphones to come out this year (or what’s left of it) and happen to find that a 4-inch screen just doesn’t cut it no more, the LG Optimus G is the obvious one to get.
Feel free to agree to disagree in the comments below.