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printed September 1, 2014
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Review: LG Optimus G Pro for AT&T

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Menus

The Optimus G Pro runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with many of the same software customizations we've seen on LG's smartphones for the better part of a year.

The lock screen is fully customizable. It offers five shortcuts, all of which can be changed or deleted. You can also customize which clock appears on the lock screen, and whether or not weather data and other alerts are sent to the lock screen.

There are three home screen panels for customization out of the box, but you can delete or add screens if you wish. There are a multitude of widgets on board.

The drop-down notification shade provides shortcuts to control the wireless radios as well as brightness, rotation, sound, and the QSlide apps (videos, notepad, calendar, calculator). The QSlide apps (more on these later), as well as the radio toggles, can be customized by the user.

The main menu is a regular old grid of apps. Thankfully, you have some flexibility as far as customizing it is concerned. You can view it with large icons or small icons (default) to fit more apps on each individual page. You can sort apps alphabetically or via install date. You can't, however, view them in list form, nor by most-frequently used. Apps can be hidden, and, even better, there's a tool that lets you delete all the AT&T-branded apps right from the main menu page in one fell swoop. Nice!

I dislike how LG treats the settings menu on the G Pro. Most Android devices have an easy-to-use Settings menu that's laid out on a single page. Rather than take that approach, the Settings menu has been broken down into four separate tabs (much like what Samsung did with the GS4). The four tabs in the settings menu are Networks, Sound, Display, and General. I never quite got the hang of which Settings tools were under which of the tabs. However, after using the G Pro for several days, I discovered that this set-up can be disabled, and the Settings menu can be viewed on a single page.

As far as performance goes, the Optimus G Pro uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor. Despite the power needed to keep the full HD screen going, the Snapdragon 600 was up to the task and more. It chewed through everything I threw at it. Nothing fazed the processor at all. Screen transitions were smooth, apps opened quickly, and the G Pro never slowed down.

 

Menus

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Calls and Contacts

The phone and contact apps work exactly as they do on other LG smartphones, such as the Optimus G and Lucid 2.

The dialpad is absolutely huge and provides tabbed access to call history, contacts, favorites and groups. In-call options run the standard gamut, such as add a line, send to Bluetooth, hold, or mute. You can also open the note pad and messaging apps, or toggle on/off noise reduction (which makes calls clearer for those with whom you speak.)

 

Calls

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

There are the usual home screen shortcuts for quick access to select contacts, as well as the a nice widget for a collection of your favorites. The bigger widget lets you access your top nine contacts and gives you a cool UI for interacting with them on the home screen.

 

Contacts

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Messaging

As far as messaging goes, the G Pro doesn't deviate from the Android norm. It houses all the typical Google apps: Gmail, email, SMS/MMS, Google Talk, Google+, and Google+ Messenger. All of these apps functioned as designed and are well built tools for communicating with others.

Both the native Facebook and Twitter apps are pre-installed, as well as embedded in the operating system. Sharing things with your social networks is never more than a Menu button out of reach.

Last, AT&T's catch-all IM app is available. This app can work with GTalk, as well as with AOL and Yahoo. (It used to work with Windows Live, but that’s now Skype, and this app doesn't handle Skype IM). AT&T's messaging app is a bit clunky as far as I am concerned, but it can be helpful if you like to see everything in one spot rather than spread across various apps.

 

Messaging

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

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