Earlier today, AT&T made the Optimus G Pro official as an exclusive on its network, giving subs an alternative to that other 5.5-inch handset, the Galaxy Note II. To LG and AT&T's credit, the G Pro's remained mostly unchanged in its transition to the US market, retaining the same 1080p HD IPS display, 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB RAM, 2.1-megapixel / 13-megapixel rear camera setup and 3,140mAh battery of the Korean-only model. The only major changes to the handset's internals are in its LTE bands, made to now run on AT&T's network, and inbuilt wireless charging. Oh and it still doesn't feature a stylus, but you'll hardly miss it.
Fans of the glossy white G Pro we reviewed back in March will be disappointed to know that the AT&T variant will only ship in black -- at the carrier's specific request. That restrictive color choice and the carrier's familiar globe on back thankfully appear to be the only two intrusions AT&T's made to the G Pro. It still evokes a sense of solid craftsmanship, despite the overall use of plastics. And, given that it's just slightly more compact width-wise than the GNote II, the G Pro actually feels better in the hand and doesn't confer a sense of instability or slipperiness so often encountered with Samsung's same-sized smartphone.
LG Optimus G Pro for AT&T hands-onSee all photos
You may be wondering why LG's trotting out the G Pro when surely a Note III is on the horizon. It's a good question and that next Galaxy Note will likely trump LG's effort, but for now the G Pro outpaces its competition in resolution (1080p vs 720p), imaging (13-megapixel vs 8-megapixel) and processor (Snapdragon 600 vs Exynos 4 Quad). We'll leave the true test of its final production merits to our forthcoming review, but from the brief time we spent demoing the device, the performance boost to regular navigation and casual browsing is immediately noticeable. Storage on the G Pro is still incredibly robust: LG's paired the 32GB of internal storage with up to 64GB of microSD expansion.
On the software front, AT&T's pre-loaded a bunch of its own apps onto the Android 4.1.2 device, but apart from that you won't find much else mucking up your app drawer. LG certainly hasn't crammed many third-party apps onto the G Pro, but it has ported over some unique features that debuted on the G and a few new ones, as well. Prospective G Pro users looking for a true multi-tasking tool can use the updated QSlide 2.0 for multiwindow application functionality, which currently supports over a handful of apps. Or take advantage of VuTalk, a screen sharing feature that's exclusive to the G Pro for now, but will soon be included on future LG handsets.
In all, it looks to be the same solid handset we spent some quality time with two months back. As a potential competitor to Samsung's Note II, it easily rises above in specs, in build quality and in subsidized pricing ($200 on a two-year contract). Whether you're willing to take the phablet plunge now or wait for the inevitable (and presumably larger-sized) Note III all depends on your love of the S-Pen and the limits of your wallet.