The latest mobile handset announcement from LG seems like a strategic dance move - one step back and two steps forward. LG has announced the LG Gx for Korea, which basically marries the hardware - with some boosts of course - of the LG Optimus G Pro and the software features of the latest LG flagship, the LG G2.
What is born out of this combination is the LG Gx which offers a 5.5 inch 1080p full-HD IPS LCD display, a quad core Snapdragon 600 processor, with an ample 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage and a 3,140 mAh battery which is allegedly user-removable. The device also sports a 13 megapixel primary camera as well as a 2.1 MP front-facing camera for video calls. In terms of connectivity, the device is fully loaded - the standard 2G and HSPA (3G+) is supported, though the differentiator is the availability of LTE (4G) and the Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) capability which enables users to use the LTE band for voice calls. Though VoLTE has not seen a major push in most parts of the world, it is a big deal in Korea. The handset will be launched with an undisclosed version of Android Jelly Bean and there is no confirmation when - if ever - it will be upgraded to Android 4.4 Kit Kat. Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0 and NFC make up the other features of the device. The surprising move though is the fact that LG has moved back to hardware navigation buttons with this device. What needs to be seen is whether the LG Gx is the exception or will it be the norm for future LG devices to come with hardware navigation buttons.
Though the hardware features of the LG Gx are definitely from the early part of 2013, LG has ensured differentiation by moving over some software features from their current flagship - the LG G2 - over to the Gx especially the "Knock On" feature where you can wake up and sleep the device by tapping twice on the screen. Also ported over from the LG G2 are the Guest Mode privacy feature and the LG Smart Memo app.
On its own, the LG Gx offers some new software features, "Smart Day" being the first, which provides more glanceable information on the lock screen such as Time, Weather and upcoming appointments. "Media Time" is another nifty feature which enables videos and music to be accessed from the lock screen itself and can be enabled by simply plugging in the headphone. "Q Remote" enables the phone to be used as an IR based remote control for various devices such as TVs and ACs. A unique navigation mode is also offered which gets enabled once the phone is plugged into a car holder.
The device has been launched on the LG U+ network in Korea and is expected to be priced at 850,000 to 890,000 Korean Won ($808.35 USD to $846.39 USD). The device will be offered in black and white variants, though as of now it is unclear whether the LG Gx would be launched outside of Korea but, as the Optimus G Pro made it to AT&T earlier this year, we wouldn't be surprised if it did.