Didn't think the first G Pro was big enough? The new 5.9-inch G Pro 2 sports a larger screen than its 5.5-inch predecessor, and its 157.9 x 81.9 x 8.3 mm (6.22 x 3.22 x 0.33 in.) chassis is taller, wider and thinner too. Comparing it to similarly sized devices, it's a little bigger than the Galaxy Note 3, although it isn't any thicker. The HTC One Max, on the other hand, is only a hair wider, but it's significantly thicker than the Pro 2. Weight-wise, the G Pro 2 comes in at 172g (6.07 ounces), a mere four grams heavier than the Note 3 and 45 grams lighter than the One Max. It's more comfortable to grasp the Pro 2 one-handed than the One Max, but admittedly the Note 3 is the easiest of the three to hold.
Our initial impression of the new G Pro was that it looked like a flattened version of LG's curved G Flex phone. Upon closer inspection, though, it has a fancier look to it. Much like its predecessor, the Optimus G Pro, the new G Pro 2 is the result of some clever engineering. The first thing you'll notice is that the bezel sparkles, thanks to a glitter-like paint that LG refers to as "pearl." The paint is featured on the black and silver models, but not on the white version.
The polycarbonate back cover features a textured metal finish whose mesh pattern is so fine that it feels like a thick canvas. It looks fantastic and fortunately doesn't attract as much lint or dust as we feared. Despite all that, the phone isn't always the most comfortable to hold: the texture is a little slicker than it would have been if it were made of rubber or some sort of soft-touch material, and the actual edges of the phone are only 4.1mm thick at its thinnest point, which made it too easy for my fingers to slip off.
Speaking of finger placement, the back of the phone is completely flat, with the exception of a steep slope around the edges and back-mounted buttons, which were designed to be easy to reach even when you're using the phone one-handed. These buttons, which were first introduced on the LG G2, are now standard for LG's premium (or not-so-premium) smartphones; they're located just underneath the camera, which works out nicely because my fingers rest naturally there. While it took me a while to get used to the button placement on the G2, this setup -- with the power button nestled between two volume keys -- makes sense on a large phone like this. Now, you don't have to wrap your hand around the entire frame just to adjust volume or power on the screen. (Not to mention, it makes the phone look sleeker when there aren't any buttons along the sides.)
Underneath the rear cover sits a 3,200mAh battery and a double-decker slot that fits a micro-SIM on the bottom and a microSD on the top. Since the phone comes with either 16GB or 32GB of storage, it's worth tossing in some external memory (up to 64GB) for music, games, photos and videos (especially if you want to take advantage of the phone's 4K video recording).
On the G Pro 2, LG boasts a 77.2 percent screen-to-frame ratio. Essentially, this means that because of the phone's slim bezel, the chassis is much smaller and offers a more comfortable experience than other devices with the same-sized display. Speaking of which, the G Pro 2 also rocks a 1080p Full HD IPS panel, which means it has the same resolution as the original G Pro. Unfortunately for pixel density connoisseurs, this means fewer pixels per inch -- 373 vs. 401, to be exact. Arguably, this small difference in density doesn't make the viewing experience visibly worse unless you're looking at the two side by side, but we expect that most people would rather sacrifice a few pixels per inch for more screen real estate. We'd add, too, that the display itself is easy to see in the direct sunlight when it's cranked up above 80 percent brightness. Likewise, the viewing angles are great too.
The Korean unit we tested comes with LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation and has penta-band support (700/850/1800/2100/2600). The 700MHz band is AT&T-compatible (band 17), which means that we were able to enjoy LTE speeds in the US. This is important to note because the phone isn't officially available in the US, but you can still technically import one from Korea and it'll work properly. Our office location pulled down speeds of 10 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up, but we're certain it would fare better in areas with a stronger signal. As for other connectivity, the Pro 2 comes with tri-band (850/1900/2100) HSPA+ at 21 Mbps and quad-band GSM/EDGE. You'll also get all the other usual connectivity options, including Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Smart-ready), NFC, 802.11ac WiFi and SlimPort.
LG historically hasn't done a good job of updating its Android phones in a timely manner, but the company is off to a good start with the G Pro 2: It ships with Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the latest version of the OS. It also comes with the same LG user interface we've grown used to over the years, although one small difference is that the status and virtual navigation bars are now transparent.
The Knock Code sounds like something kids need to do to get into a secret treehouse club, and it's not actually too far off from what LG is trying to do here. In short, it's a pattern-protected version of the company's "KnockOn" feature on the G2: Instead of double-tapping any part of the display to get you into the lock screen, you tap a specific pattern, which will let you bypass the lock screen entirely. We were successful about eight times out of 10, but be careful about tapping too fast; you might confuse the phone that way.
As ironic as it may seem, manufacturers have pushed the upper limits of smartphone screen size while simultaneously trying to prove that they're easy to use one-handed. This is usually done by shrinking UI elements (the keyboard, for example) and pushing them over to one side of the screen so they're within reach of your thumb. For a 5.9-inch device like the G Pro 2, these kinds of tricks are essential if you don't want to have both hands constantly glued to your device.
With the new G Pro 2, LG's introduced a new feature called Mini View designed to make one-handed use a little more feasible. In truth, Samsung already does something similar with the Note 3, but the implementation here is different. Swipe left or right on the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, and the interface will shrink into a 3.4-inch window that you can move around and even resize (it goes up to 4.7 inches).
Meanwhile, there are plenty of options for those of you who enjoy the extra screen space. Dual Browser is LG's version of the Galaxy Note's Multi Window, which lets you view more than one app at the same time. Hold down the back button to bring up a small menu of apps, and you just drag apps to either side of the screen. There's also QSlide, a suite of apps that appear as floating windows. While hovering over the rest of the screen, you can choose to make them as transparent as you'd like in order to make sure they're not distracting you when you need to focus.
The G Pro 2 also marks the debut of LG's new Content Locker feature, which lets you hide photos and other files from view, and the only way to access them is by entering a password. This comes in handy when you're trying to keep all of those confidential business documents away from your friends, family members and unsuspecting children who would otherwise find or alter them by accident.
Finally, LG threw in a few audio enhancements. The G Pro 2 comes with 1W Hi-Fi sound, which, according to LG, offers "studio quality sound" without any loss to the original audio. The idea is to add clarity and improve the high notes, while the speaker setup handles the mid to low end of the spectrum. In comparing it with another recent LG device, the G Flex, we noticed that although the sound isn't as loud on the G Pro 2, it also sounds richer.