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Hands-on: LG Optimus G and the Quad-core S4 Pro Chip

In late August, we reported that the LG Optimus G would be the first device to pack Qualcomm's new quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, the fastest ARM processor right now for high-end LTE smartphones and tablets.

LG gave us some hands-on time with its upcoming flagship device, the Optimus G, which will pack the new processor along with equally impressive phone hardware.

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"The Optimus G will be the first commercial and global smartphone to offer the Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064) processor with a Quad-Core Krait CPU, LTE supported capabilities, and the newest generation Adreno 320 GPU," LG said. "The Snapdragon S4 Pro runs at 1.5 GHz and features Asynchronous Symmetric Multiprocessing (aSMP), which enables each core to power up and down independently, for maximum performance with better battery life."

One interesting customization with the new processor is an Eco-mode toggle that disables two of the processor cores, thus conserving power while not sacrificing much performance in light tasks.

The phone features a 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS+ Display with 320ppi high pixel density (1280 x 768) and Stripe RGB IPS Panel with 15:9 aspect ratio. This screen will utilize LG's newly developed G2 Touch Hybrid Display tech for touchscreen panels (TSP) that is thinner than current solutions, eliminating diffused reflections for clearer and sharper visibility even outdoors.

We found the screen to be excellent, and the extra pixels over a 720p screen make it a little nicer to browse on regardless of it being in portrait or landscape mode.

The phone will also sport a high-density 2,100 mAh battery that has a lifespan of 800 cycles to 80-percent charging capabilities. The battery is sealed inside and is not user-swappable.

The back camera has a 13MP sensor, and the software features customizations such as a voice-activated shutter and the ability to pick the best image out of several captured automatically both before and after the shutter is pressed. Users will also be able to write, draw, or jot a memo directly on the captured screen with their finger for sharing instantly with others as an attachment or a URL. Additional new features include zooming in and out while viewing a video, and Dual Screen Dual Play, meaning while in dual screen mode, the phone can push a movie on the TV screen while the phone's screen displays an eBook.

We learned last month that LG is supporting the new Miracast standard. LG demonstrated to us the Optimus G phone sending an image wirelessly to an LG HDTV while the phone's screen was free to do something else.

Another neat trick of the Optimus G was being able to display two things at once on the same screen through a transparency trick. LG showed off the popular YouTube video "Gangnam Style" playing in the background while the Facebook app was open.

The Optimus G packs 32 GB of internal storage, but does not offer a microSD slot. It also has 2 GB of RAM, a 1.3MP front-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.0, a USB 2.0 host port, A-GPS, Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL), DNLA protected media sharing, NFC for mobile payments, and 802.11n connectivity.

The Optimus G is a very slick looking and feeling device. LG's given the phone a very rectangular form, which is a stark contrast to the more organic and rounded shapes of Samsung's latest Galaxy phones. The back of the Optimus G is a fingerprint magnet, but when clean and it catches the light just right, you can see a really nice prismatic black checkered pattern that's a little bit like carbon fiber.

We're looking forward to spending more time with the LG Optimus G later this month. Also stay tuned for our in-depth look at the new Snapdragon S4 line in an article next week

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Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.