Top positive review
20 people found this helpful
At £160, a genuine contestant to the Moto G 4G in the budget smartphone realm.
on 4 October 2014
This was a terrible deal when it was released, at £300 you can find any number of better of phones for a lower price.
Namely, the Moto G 4G model. Which has almost exactly the same specs for over a hundred pounds less.
However, when I bought it a month ago, it cost around the same price as the Moto G 4G and therefore made it a very good budget smartphone.
These two phones are the only ones really worth considering at under £200 at this point in time (Oct 2014).
They both have:
1GB RAM, 1.2 GHz processor, 4G connectivity, 4.4 Kitkat and a good chance to get Android L at some point, Gorrila Glass screens and expandable memory.
The biggest difference of all is that the G2 mini has a better camera but poorer screen resolution. So, according to how you use your phone and what's important to you, you can choose between the two. The Moto G has a 720p screen, and the G2 mini has a 540p screen. The G2 mini has an 8Mp camera that is pretty good for the phone price, the Moto G has a 5Mp camera with poor and limited software.
The G2 mini has a micro SD card slot, and you WILL need one, seeing as you only start with a little over 4GB of storage when new.
The screen's low resolution is one of it's greatest downsides. The 540p x 960p resolution on a 4.7 inch display means you get a 234 ppi pixel density. This is definitely not impressive, and with good eyesight you can just about see the pixelation at arms length. At a comfortable viewing distance, you can definitely see the pixels, but this probably won't be an issue for anyone coming from a smartphone older than 3 years old, as none of them had a much higher pixel density. People new to smartphones, coming from another budget smartphone or who aren't going to use them for videos much shouldn't mind either. If you don't fit into these two categories though, you're going to be disappointed.
The G2 mini is fast and smooth. you won't get much lag in the menus and home screen etc. With 1GB of RAM, it can play games but nothing too strenuous. I haven't used it much for games, but it can play Smash Hit at full graphics without stuttering. You probably won't want to play high graphics games on it much anyway because of the low screen resolution.
The biggest annoyance I had with the G2 mini is it's lack of an ambient light sensor, which should really come as standard. However, the app Lux allows you to use your front camera as a light sensor and, whilst not a perfect solution, does serve as a decent solution for people who like auto brightness.
The design is nice, with a grippy plastic back which feels relatively premium for plastic. The volume and power buttons are on the back, which has become a signature feature for LG phones. It takes some getting used to, but the only real disadvantage is that you can't access them with the phone down. However this issue is mostly avoided by the double-tap-to-wake feature which is getting more common on android devices and the volume slider in the notification bar. The phone is very light, and is easily usable one handed.
The rear camera is 8MP with flash and offers very good pictures, especially at this price. Still, it won't offer a replacement for an SLR camera, but the picture quality is roughly equivalent to an iPhone 4. The front camera is 1.3MP, and gives you enough detail for 720p video calls in good lighting. The camera software includes panorama (works quite well), HDR (although not auto HDR), timer, voice trigger (cheese!), geotagging, white balance, auto / manual focus and 1080p video.
Also, although there is a relatively low level of bloatware, the LG's interface is not as nice as the Motorola's, which is almost pure android. It looks dated, with a very not flat interface using textures in the menus and apps. It does however offer a few nice features such as font change, a good keyboard and nice notifications. However, I've heard there are plans to upgrade to the G3's interface and Android L, which is much, much nicer.
If they DO upgrade to the LG G3's interface and Android L, I will give 5 stars.
UPDATE AUGUST 2015
The G2 mini is now on 5.0 lollipop! This doesn't give you all the functionalities of the G3, particularly in camera software, but the now design of the interface is definitely refreshing and some new features were added like disabling the volume button shortcuts, scheduled silent and priority modes etc. The phone still runs jusrt as smooth as before.
There are however better alternatives now for this price point:
- the Motorola Moto G 3rd gen. It has a 5 inch 720p display and has a better camera and faster processor. It also has more RAM for multitasking. Current Amazon pricing is ~£150.
- the LG G3S (aka LG G3 Beat). This is the mini version of the LG G3. Comes with a 5.0 inch 720p display. Current Amazon pricing is ~£160.
- the Motorola Moto E 2015 edition. Faster than the G2 mini, but smaller screen with same resolution (higher ppi as a result). Lower quality cameras and no flash. Current Amazon pricing is only ~£100!
The Vodafone Ultra 6 is £125 on pay as you go and offers a 5.5inch Full HD screen, a fast processor, a good set of cameras and good battery life. You will be locked to Vodafone though.