I gave myself a few weeks to use the $199 w/plan LG Optimus Pro on AT&T to see if a phablet could replace my normal Android device, the LG Nexus 4. The Optimus Pro is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 which I reviewed and liked. LG doesn’t include the stylus, which I considered a downside on the Note 2. It also has a less intrusive overlay and a bunch of other handy features which I found helpful…

The Optimus Pro shares the same 5.5-inch 1080P display specs as the Note 2 but in a slightly smaller 5.91 by 3 by 0.37 inches, 6.1 ounce package. It looks a lot like a Note 2 a swell with slick plastic backing and similarly-placed bottom USB port, power and volume rockers meant for the right hand. It has a cool button with multi-colored LED lights for programmable alerts.

On the inside it has a huge 3300mAh battery that lasts the whole day long, even powering a 1080P 5.5-inch display. It also has a micro-SD card slot for doubling the already beefy 32GB (22GB usable) internal storage space on the phone.

The phone is fast, handling all tasks very quickly. Games are smooth. Startup times are quick.

I don’t use the phone much but phone calls worked fine. AT&T’s LTE doesn’t reach my little village a few miles outside of New York City but on a few trips into the city, AT&T’s fast LTE started screaming. Tethering feels like Wifi.

The software is Android 4.2.2 with a much more benign overlay than the Note 2’s Touchwiz.  LG’s added software is nice. The changes from stock Android are overall positive but if given the opportunity, I’d still jump on a stock Android version.

LG’s Qslide isn’t quite as robust as Samsung’s windowing manager, but just like the Stylus, I rarely find myself using these features. I’d rather have a quicker way to scroll through the apps than holding down the home button (another area where the omission of S-voice was appreciated).

I enjoy the dedicated, programmable button on the top left which I left in the default note-taking overlay but could easily see using the camera or phone or email app in its place. You can also program the lock screen apps but I was OK with LG’s choices here too.

Most of the other AT&T or LG apps are missable except I did find enjoyment connecting the Quickremote App to a hospital room LG television.

Camera quality is good but probably not as good as the high end Samsung/Apple/HTC shooters of 2013. Images I took were a bit washed out (and the shutter a little slow). 1080P videos were the same. These are still good images but definitely not the best out there.

Wrap up:

Sure, if I was into Phablets, I would recommend LG’s Optimus Pro pretty handily. The screen size is gargantuan for a phone but with small bezels, it is manageable in the pocket. It is definitely heavier than you’d probably prefer but the battery easily lasts a day long –a tradeoff I’d make any day. LG hasn’t strayed as far from Pure Android as Samsung has and added features are generally positive steps. Contrast this with the $100 more expensive Note 2 with half the storage and LG might have some success here.

That being said, I still prefer my Nexus 4 with its paltry 720P display and pure Android.

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