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LG's G Pro 2 is like an inflexible G Flex

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Gallery Photo: LG G Pro 2 hands-on photos
Gallery Photo: LG G Pro 2 hands-on photos

While some companies may have qualms about the hybrid status of phablet devices, LG is boldly proclaiming the G Pro 2 as its effort to deliver "the ultimate phablet experience." This 5.9-inch LTE smartphone grows larger than its predecessor and makes upgrades across its spec sheet, ultimately ending up looking like a close cousin to LG's 6-inch G Flex. The two phablets are of similar physical size and share the same processor, although the Flex obviously has its curved body and glossy, self-healing back. I actually prefer the rougher, more tactile surface on the G Pro 2, though LG's description of it being a "metal mesh" is misleading: it's thin plastic patterned to emulate metal.

The big advances in the G Pro 2 are a 20 percent improvement (relative to the G2) in the camera's optical image stabilization system and a 30 percent louder sound output, courtesy of a 1W speaker setup. Both will take longer to test and appreciate, but with 3GB of RAM and the universally lauded Snapdragon 800 inside, the G Pro 2 promises to have all the hardware checkboxes ticked for any phablet buyers. On the software side, LG has added a split-screen view that lets two apps share the large display as well as a Mini View that shrinks the entire UI to make one-handed operation possible.

LG's 2014 smartphones will include a new Knock Code unlocking mechanism. It allows you to tap out a pattern on the screen while it is off, building on the successful heritage of the Knock On double-tapping unlock. It works well in practice and may be a slightly more discreet way to secure your phone. The G Pro 2 is on sale in Korea this month before a wider launch from March.