As expected, LG has overlaid the G2 mini’s version of Android with its own “Optimus UI” skin, and it’s just about identical to the software found on of the larger LG G2. As on the G2, it not only brings cosmetic modifications but also some significant upgrades in functionality.
The G2 mini’s lock screen, for instance, can be double tapped twice to either lock or unlock the phone from standby. Other devices offer similar ideas, but typically not on the compact versions of their flagships. One thing that is unique to LG is Knock Code, which still allows you to set a customized knocking pattern on the lock screen for added security. Again, it’s an innovation that genuinely works as advertised, and it helps the G2 mini stand out in a good way.
Once the phone is unlocked, Optimus UI offers numerous ways to change its look, with various types of themes, control key arrangements, resizable widgets, customizable home screens, animated effects, and the like. LG’s Q-Slide shortcuts are also worth mentioning — those run floating mini-apps over your display, are handy for quickly checking things like your calendar, email, web browser, calculator, and a few other first-party programs simultaneously.
The 8-megapixel rear-facing camera takes solid shots, the kind you’d expect from a midrange LG phone. They offer excellent results in daylight and above-average pics in low-light settings, where only a minor amount of noise and lost detail pops up. Given the G2 mini’s price and standing, it’s tough to complain too heavily about the photo quality here. The same goes for video, though you shouldn’t expect the Snapdragon 400 chip here to handle anything more than 1080p at 30 frames per second.
The LG G2 Mini is among the biggest compact versions of a flagship on the market today. On paper, its specs have been reduced in every aspect compared to the bigger LG G2, and its display is neither as sharp nor as rich thanks to its lowered resolution. On the other hand, it provides satisfying performance, and the exact same useful software found on its bigger brother. Beyond that, its excellent battery life, decent camera, and comfortable design make it an slightly better-than-usual entry in the recent “mini” phone trend. But since it’s not really mini, it all adds up to a typical upper midrange device.
- Supreme performance for a midrange device
- Great battery life
- Solid rear camera
- Ergonomic design
- Low display resolution
- Small storage space
- Huge dimensions for a “mini” flagship