By Taylor Martin | February 12, 2013 6:45 AM
A short time ago, every high-end Android handset was pitted against Apple’s famed iPhone. Few were fortunate enough to be called an “iPhone killer”, and even fewer lived up to the name.
Those days are long gone, though. It’s more evident now than ever that Android and iOS are two vastly different platforms and comparing the hardware is more like comparing fruits and vegetables thanks apples and oranges. Not to mention, the iPhone met its match nearly two years ago when the first LTE and dual-core handsets hit shelves. Now we’re on to quad- and octa-core processors, 5-inch (and larger) 1080p displays and 3,000mAh batteries. None of these are specifications the iPhone comes remotely close to.
There’s a new kid on the block, so to speak, and he has unexpectedly taken the market by storm.
The original Galaxy Note was believed by many to be a niche handset. After all, who would want such a gargantuan smartphone? Even if the display was a full inch larger than the average smartphone at the time, the chassis of the Galaxy Note was much more than a handful. And it was stretching pockets like nobody’s business.
To the surprise of many, the Galaxy Note turned out to be quite the captivating phone. It was a a success (albeit small in comparison to the Galaxy S II and Galaxy S III) for Samsung.
Even larger, many assumed the Galaxy Note II crossed the line. A 5.3-inch smartphone was big enough. Who would possibly want a 5.5-inch phone? Sure enough, the Galaxy Note II has easily been one of the hottest devices of the last four months. It could be considered the gold standard of smartphones right now – quite fairly at that.
Frankly, the only devices that compare to the Galaxy Note II, in terms of “the complete package”, aren’t official yet. That means the specifications are speculation and rumors, at best. Of course, one of those is the Samsung Galaxy S IV. It’s supposedly a more reasonably 5-inch phone with high-end specifications. And the HTC One (M7) may just have what it takes to contest the Galaxy S IV.
But there is one unofficial device in particular that could very likely hold a candle to the Galaxy Note II, the LG Optimus G Pro. Spec for spec, the Optimus G Pro has an edge. It’s rumored to feature: a 5.5-inch Full HD display, 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, 2GB RAM, 32GB of built-in storage with microSD card support, a 13-megapixel camera and a 3,140mAh battery.
That said, specifications aren’t all the Galaxy Note II has to offer.
In contrast to the 5-inch HTC DROID DNA (which is 100 percent large smartphone and zero percent tablet), the Galaxy Note II comes with unique software that truly makes the device straddle the line between large smartphone and miniature tablet. Multitasking features like Multi-Window, Popup Browser and S Note (which can also be accessed as a popup) take full advantage of the extra real estate. And the S Pen is the icing on the cake. It offers some of the best battery life we’ve seen in recent years, one of the best Android smartphone cameras to date, an extremely powerful and efficient chipset, ample RAM and storage with the ability to expand and, most importantly, a gigantic display in a relatively small frame. It has the complete package.
LG has tried its hand at the phablet market twice before to no avail. The LG Optimus Vu (or Intuition on Verizon) was regarded by many as the worst smartphone of 2012. And the Optimus Vu II turned few heads at CES in January. The 4:3 aspect ratio makes the phone difficult to wield with a single hand and makes the device feel more like a too-small tablet than a nice balance between the two.
For what it’s worth, LG did implement some software features that … sort of paralleled the Galaxy Note II’s tablet-esque features. And the Optimus Vu came with a stylus, albeit not inductive like the S Pen, called Rubberdium. But that doesn’t even begin to make up for the fumble that was the Optimus Vu, Intuition and Vu II.
But LG is making a stand. It’s bringing some classy hardware and high-end devices to the market. The South Korean firm is making waves and it’s gunning for the top spot. And since big is in, LG has its sights set on the Galaxy Note II. Question is: how can LG make a Galaxy Note killer?
Clearly, the hardware is already there. At least according to rumors, the specifications are great. And the design is, well … better than its last phablet. The problem with the design is that it is almost a carbon copy of the Galaxy Note II, but we’ll pretend like that isn’t the case.
The obvious answer is that LG needs to differentiate with software. Create a browser that allows the user to view two Web pages at once, a clip board that can be accessed by a simple gesture or free floating application windows (a la LilyPad HD) instead of split screen apps. With proper marketing, a single, simple feature can pique interests. Pair that with some compelling hardware, and you might have a recipe for success.
At the end of the day, LG lacks one thing: true inspiration. It’s not ahead of the game, and is instead perpetually playing catch-up, living in the shadows of Samsung. Although the LG Optimus G Pro looks and sounds to be a great phone, ultimately, being uninspired is why LG will likely fail at making the phone a Galaxy Note II killer.
Image via: CNET