With its beautiful IPS screen, 'crystal-reflection' back and multi-tasking ability, LG's Optimus G was one of our favorite Android devices in 2012 and helped put LG back on the map as a manufacturer of desirable high-end devices. Now the Korean manufacturer follows up with the Optimus G Pro, a 5.5-inch 'phablet.' The device was recently announced for the Korean market and is now for the first time on show in Europe at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Optimus G Pro has a thin profile and follows the standard Android button layout with power button on the right ...
 ... and volume rocker on the left.

The Optimus G Pro looks like most other Android phones with a somewhat nondescript slab design, but the full-HD 1080p 5.5-inch screen with its thin bezel is a beauty and allows for very pleasant operation, browsing and video/stills review. The Pro features the same 'crystal-reflection' effect on the back as the Optimus G and the Google Nexus 4 but on the white version we played with it doesn't look as nice as on a black device. The new model also feels a little less solid in the hand than last year's Optimus G, with more plastic material used in the case. 

The Android OS is powered by a 1.7GHz quad-core processor which should provide processing oomph for even the most demanding apps. A large 3140 mAh high-capacity battery offers plenty of juice to keep things going. 

The back features the same 'crystal-reflection' effect we've seen on the Google Nexus 4 and the original Optimus G. Here you'll also find the 13MP camera.
Like the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note II the Optimus G Pro has a physical home button instead of the capacitive equivalent of the official Android specification.

In terms of image capturing, the Optimus G Pro features the 13MP backside-illuminated CMOS chip that is being used on many devices this year and was also built into the U.S. Sprint-version of the Optimus G last year. The camera app includes all the usual suspects: HDR, panorama, beauty shot and a 30 frames per second continuous shooting mode. There is also a voice shutter function and most notably a VR Panorama mode which works pretty much in the same way as the Photosphere feature in the vanilla version of Android 4.2, which at this point is only available for Google Nexus devices.

Overall the LG Optimus G Pro looks like a powerful and feature-rich device with a gorgeous screen. Based on specification only, it is in many ways ahead of the currently most popular phablet, the Samsung Galaxy Note II, but crucially lacks the S-Pen stylus which sets the Samsung apart from the rest. There is no word yet on European or U.S. availability and pricing but we hope the Optimus G Pro will make it to those regions some time later this year.

LG Optimus G Pro headline specs:

  • 5.5-inch full-HD 1080p display
  • 1.7 GHz quad-core processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • Android 4.1.2
  • 3140 mAh battery
  • 13MP rear camera
  • 2.1 MP front camera
  • VR Panorama mode