LG G2 mini Hands-on: A Bite-sized Smartphone with a Big Screen

Bigger isn’t always better. At least that seems to be the motto when it comes to the growing trend of smartphone makers creating downsized versions of their flagship devices. The latest company to join the movement is LG, which just launched its new 4.7-inch G2 mini. As its name implies, the phone is a pint-sized version of LG’s 5.2-inch G2 flagship, and like its size, the G2 mini sees its specs, and presumably price, shrink, as well. We went hands-on with LG’s first Lilliputian smartphone and were surprised by how well it apes its big brother. 

When it comes to small-screen handsets, the LG G2 mini is one of the largest around. In fact, it’s 4.7-inch screen is the same size as HTC’s One display and far larger than the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, HTC One mini and Motorola Droid Mini’s 4.3-inch panels. Despite that, the G2 mini’s 5.1 x 2.6 x 0.39-inch, 4.3-ounce frame undercuts the 5.2-inch, 4.6-ounce One mini, and is taller but a drop lighter than the 4.8-inch, 4.4-ounce Droid Mini. The S4 4.9-inch, 3.9-ounce S4 Mini, however, is both smaller and more lightweight than the G2 mini.

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Although its display is larger than its competitors’, The G2 mini’s screen offers a paltry 960 x 540 resolution. The Galaxy S4 Mini’s display comes in at 940 x 540, while the Droid Mini and One mini both offer impressive 1280 x 720 resolution panels. Fortunately, the G2 mini’s screen looked wonderful during our hands-on. Text appeared sharp and colors were warm and appeared accurate.

Performance wise, the G2 mini includes a zippy 1.2-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of Ram and 8 GB of onboard storage, which can be augmented via a microSD card slot. Samsung's S4 Mini also includes a Snapdragon 400 chip, while the HTC One mini includes a Snapdragon 600 CPU. The Droid Mini gets the same S4 Pro-powered M8 processor found in the full-size Droid Ultra. Latin American versions of the G2 mini get one of Nvidia’s 1.7-GHz quad-core Tegra 4i chips. Unfortunately, LG didn’t have any Nvidia-powered phones available for testing.

LG G2 minis with Nvidia’s chipset also get 13-megapixel rear cameras, while the Snapdragon 400 versions only get 8-megapixel cameras. All G2 mini’s get 1.3-megapixel front shooters.

Like the G2, the G2 mini gets LG’s now standard Rear Key combination volume rocker and power button, as well as the company’s new Knock Code feature. Introduced with the LG G Pro 2, Knock Code lets you unlock your phone using more than 80,000 combinations of screen taps. Due to the G2 mini’s size, the handset doesn’t include LG’s Dual View mode, which lets you use two apps on screen at once. It does, however, feature LG’s new Guest Mode, Plug & Pop and Clip Tray functions.

LG says the G2 mini will begin its worldwide rollout in March, though the company hasn’t mentioned if the handset will reach U.S. shores. That said, a similar device passed through the FCC just last week, which means the bite-sized smartphone could be headed to The States in the near future. We’ll keep an eye out and update your when we learn more.

Daniel P. Howley
LAPTOP Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.