LG reveals 5.5-inch Optimus Pro G, taking on Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2

LG has outed its new high-end Android device, the 5-5-inch Optimus G Pro, a week ahead of Mobile World Congress’s predicted slew of handset announcements.

The Optimus Pro G goes on sale this week in South Korea, carrying Android “Jelly Bean” 4.1.2. According to a release in Korean, it will then make its way to North America and Japan in the second quarter of this year. An LG spokeswoman in London was unable to confirm European availability plans.

So, what are we looking at? Size-wise, the Optimus Pro G is an ever-so-slightly smaller rival to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 — same thickness and screen size, but 0.9mm narrower and a good 4.4mm shorter. However, LG has made the jump to full HD: with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, the Pro G has a pixel density of 400ppi, versus the Note 2’s 267ppi. It lack’s the Note 2’s stylus, though.

Inside, the Pro G uses a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm(s qcom) Snapdragon 600 chipset; a slight step up from the 1.6GHz processor in the Note 2. Incidentally, this is the first outing for the Snapdragon 600, which is a successor to last year’s Snapdragon S4 series (its twin, the sequel to the S4 Pro, will be called the Snapdragon 800).

More pixels and processing power usually mean more power-drain. On this front, LG is touting the “largest battery capacity in its class” at 3,140mAh, but that’s not really much more than the Note 2’s 3,100mAh. LG also hasn’t quoted the device’s weight yet, so it’s hard to see how that compares with the Note 2’s 183g. The Note 2 has an 8MP camera and the Pro G a 13MP affair, but, given the size of a smartphone camera’s sensor, image quality will be more down to the lens and software than the megapixel count here.

Custom tweaks include “an upgraded QSlide” (LG’s answer to Samsung’s multitasking Pop-up Play feature), QuickMemo and a feature called Virtual Reality Panorama, which looks on paper to be precisely the same as Android’s stock 360-degree Photo Sphere function. The Pro G can also record video through both front- and rear-facing camera simultaneously, and it also features wireless charging.

How does this all compare with Samsung’s largest smartphone / smallest tablet? On paper, certainly, this looks to be an improvement on the Note 2, but then again there will probably be a Note 3 this year, also capitalizing on the latest chipsets and quite probably also upping the pixel count. It certainly doesn’t look like LG has done anything particularly groundbreaking here, so the real test of the Pro G’s success or otherwise will be its as-yet-unannounced pricing.