Video on the Optimus G Pro

Video on the Optimus G Pro

The degree of transparency can be changed to reveal apps in the background.

Photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

LG Optimus G Pro menu

LG Optimus G Pro menu

Menu screen for the Optimus G Pro.

Photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Optimus G Pro display

Optimus G Pro display

The G Pro features a 5.5-inch, 1920x1080 resolution screen.

Photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Optimus G Pro paired with TV

Optimus G Pro paired with TV

The Optimus G Pro can share content live with TVs over Wi-Fi.

Photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

G Pro and the Note II

G Pro and the Note II

Optimus G Pro compared with the Samsung Galaxy Note II.

Photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Zooming in and resizing media

Zooming in and resizing media

Media can be resized and moved around the home screen.

Photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Optimus G Pro specs

Optimus G Pro specs

Details on the LG Optimus G Pro.

Photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Keith Jeffery

Keith Jeffery

Atlas Genius front man Keith Jeffery performs at the Optimus G Pro debut.

Photo by João-Pierre S. Ruth

Trumpeting the upcoming debut of the Optimus G Pro phablet, last night LG Electronics brought the press, analysts, and other guests to the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York to check out the device. With dusky lighting and indie rock band Atlas Genius taking the stage part way through the night, the company tried put some dazzle on its latest device and strip some of the gloss off of competitor Samsung.

The AT&T-exclusive G Pro, to be released in about a week, is the big brother to the Optimus G smartphone, which was released last November, with a larger display, an amped up processer, and some software upgrades. LG Electronics, which has its U.S. headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, is not-so-subtly pitting the G Pro against Samsung’s Galaxy Note II, which went on the market last fall.

When holding these rival Android devices at the same time, their physical differences are rather nuanced: the G Pro feels slimmer than the slightly meatier (by 0.2 ounces) Note II. The G Pro is smaller by a few fractions of an inch yet packs in a 5.5-inch screen, about the same size as the Note II’s display. The G Pro, however, has a 1920×1080 resolution display compared with the Note II’s 1280×720 resolution screen. Unfortunately the Note II at LG’s event was not powered up last night to compare their visual aesthetics side-by-side. (Hmmm.)

Inside the G Pro is a 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad-Core 600 Processor, 2Gb of RAM, 32 GB of internal memory, and a memory slot for up to 64GB of extra storage. It runs the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, called Jelly Bean (4.1.2). More of the device’s specs can be found here. For those interested in comparing stats, the Note II’s details are here. The short take is that the G Pro’s processor has more cylinders under the hood. But it will require a real shakedown of both devices to tell which performs various tasks more smoothly.

In terms of apps for productivity, the G Pro comes equipped with Polaris Office 4 for writing and editing spreadsheets, documents, and presentations. That gives it some out-of-the-box potential use for the business world. The QSlide 2.0 multitasking function lets users run multiple apps, from a set list, simultaneously on the home screen. You can resize and change the transparency of each app, letting these windows overlay while they are in use. There is also feature called VuTalk that lets users take and share notes during voice calls—so long as they use compatible devices.

The G Pro includes some features that Samsung—which has its North American headquarters in Ridgefield Park, NJ—has already ballyhooed, such as sharing info between devices through near field communication. G Pro users can also shoot video from the front-facing 2.1-megapixel and the 13–megapixel rear cameras simultaneously, letting them record their own reactions to what they are watching. Sharing media over Wi-Fi with televisions is rather standard with the latest generation of mobile gadgets; the G Pro also has a remote tuner that lets the phablet manipulate multiple nearby devices from a plethora of manufacturers (and apparently can be used to hijack control of TVs in sports bars—but this is not advised).

Preorders for the G Pro, priced at $199 with a two-year contract, start this Friday with the scheduled release set for May 10. That said, it is hard to ignore the fact that Samsung’s Galaxy S4 smartphone arrived recently with much fanfare on the market. From phablets to classic smartphones, competition to be the mobile device in consumers’ hands continues to intensify in all shapes and sizes.

The Author

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth.

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