Hands-on: LG Optimus G UK release teased

Although it is not part of the official European release schedule, Pocket-lint understands that the LG Optimus G could well be coming to the UK later this year. Or something like it.

The company's ambitions for the UK seemed to be more low-key than in other regions, with the entry level L Series II and reasonably priced F Series 4G LTE handsets being the focus in the country. However, during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we were told by Shaun Musgrave, product manager, LG Mobile UK that we have to "wait and see" if the Optimus G would make it over here. "Who knows," he said, conspiratorially.

That's a strong hint that there are plans for the device, although it is unlikely to make an appearance until the second-half of the year, as LG already has a packed release schedule for many of the other phones launched at MWC.

The LG optimus G has been around in the US for a few months, since the end of October. It is also starting its roll-out across the European mainland now, so Pocket-lint had a bit of a play during the trade show.

The European version of the phone is improved over its American cousin. For a start, it comes with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean from the box, and there are several new proprietary LG software tools which the company claims enhance the user experience no end.

Of those, we particularly like Safety Care, which is resident on many of this year's LG smartphones. It allows you to pre-determine a number to call if you or another owner of the handset finds themselves in trouble of some kind. For example, if the phone has lain dormant for a few days without use or recharge, it can be set to call. This can be especially handy if the phone belongs to a child or an elderly relative.

Another software feature we had a demonstration of at MWC was Vu: Talk. It allows you to send live pictures, drawing and/or annotations to another user when on a call to them. You could send a Google Map screen, for example, and then draw on it to show instructions. Depending on the connection - it's lightning quick over 4G - these will appear instantly on the other handset.

It's not clear if this feature is on the current Optimus G doing the rounds, but could well be implemented when the UK finally gets the phone.

Quick Translator is really cool too. Like other augmented reality-based applications, it can translate bodies of text for you in several languages (up to 60) just by pointing the camera at the writing. Unlike those other apps, however, it displays the results in a text box to allow you to continue reading the translation without continually holding your phone in place.

If you are connected to the internet, it can translate entire sentences, if not - in offline mode - it will translate individual words. The pre-installed software also comes as standard on several other handsets from the manufacturer this year.

In terms of specs, the Optimus G has a 4.7-inch True-HD IPS + LCD screen, with a resolution of 1280 x 768. It is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Krait processor, has 2GB of RAM and offers 32GB of storage, expandable via microSD.

Its rear camera is 13-megapixels, while the front-facing cam is 1.3-megapixels. It measures 131.9 x 68.9 x 8.5mm and weighs 145g, so is light in the hand. It is also an LTE 4G phone, and we suspect that one of the reasons LG is holding off UK release for now is to wait for the new batch of network 4G services to launch in summer.

It's a lovely handset, and we'd be pleased to see it finally make its way over to these shores.



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