Hands-on with LG's G2 mini

Just because it's smaller and has the same branding, that doesn't mean LG's G2 mini is anything like its elder namesake. It's just borrowing a bit of the G2's tech halo, is all. With a 4.7-inch, 960 x 540 qHD display, Android 4.4 KitKat, Snapdragon 400 heart (or Tegra 4i, depending on your market) and 1GB RAM, it's clear LG's positioning this as a budget Android KitKat device. But budget doesn't have to mean bad and here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we got a chance to see just how modest the G2 mini really is. Read on for our initial thoughts.

You can't deny the familial resemblance between the G2 mini and its big brother. The mini's button-free face is dominated by that IPS display, and it sports the same array of volume and sleep/wake keys on its rear end. The camera and LED flash are still nestled just above them, which help punctuate the mini's grippy textured back rather nicely. The port situation is definitely on the spartan side though, with a headphone jack and microUSB situated along the top and bottom of the mini, respectively. Build quality seems reassuring too considering just how light the mini is, and the grippy finish along the back adds just the right amount of tactile variety.

Calling a device "mid-tier" the way LG has doesn't always inspire confidence, but the mini handles itself well thanks to the quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm MSM8926 chipset and 1GB of RAM kicking around inside. Are you going to blown away by sheer horsepower? Hardly, but its brains were enough to keep things chugging away with very few hiccups. The screen doesn't fare quite as well though. It's certainly bright enough and viewing angles seem above-average for a mid-ranger like this. Still, the qHD resolution may leave you wanting more... especially after seeing Motorola squeeze a 720p panel into the cheapo Moto G.

It's hard not to look at the G2 mini as the runt of the family because of its decidedly mid-range spec sheet, but LG didn't give it the G-series badge because of its hardware. No no, it's all about software features here, and the mini carries over nearly all of the tricks that its bigger, more powerful cousin is capable of. That includes (among other things) LG's Guest Mode, the clip tray for quick copy-and-pasting and a new take on the G2's nifty knock-to-wake feature. Once it's set up, KnockCode will let you unlock your mini by knocking out a rhythm on certain parts of its screen. In the end though, it's your opinion of those features that will ultimately decide whether G2 mini is worth the (currently undisclosed) price. It's an interesting little package to be sure, and we'll have our own answer to that question as soon as we get some extended play time.