LG G2 brings all the specs to the yard, forgets interface designers again

LG G2 brings all the specs to the yard, no interface design allowed

The LG G2 has just been officially announced, and given how many high end components LG is capable of producing, it's no wonder this thing, spec wise, seems not only top notch, but a real beauty. Here's what Phil Nickinson of Android Central had to say from the event floor:

Right off the bat, let’s talk about that crazy-nice display. It measures up to a full 5.2 inches while maintaining the traditional 5-inch footprint, thanks to the super-slim bezel. It’s nearly one millimeter thinner on the sides and three millimeters thinner up top than its main competitor, the Samsung Galaxy S4. That translates to a 75.9% effective display area, the largest on the market today. And thanks to its true full HD resolution and 400-nit brightness, we’re seeing a display that can give just about every one of its competitors a run for their money.

And then he turns it on and we see the interface. Which, like Samsung, is where everything goes off the rails. Here, watch:

Now compare that to the first beta of iOS 7 shown off back in June:

Risky NDA breaker: it looks even better now. Apple users, go send Jony Ive some nice warm cookies.

Android users, go demand the LGs and Samsungs of this world start spending some of their millions and billions of dollars on a design team. Specs matter only so far as they need to deliver an experience. Done. Great job. Now make that experience as gorgeous in pixels as it is in atoms.

Seriously. That's the job. And it's where Apple is going to absolutely annihilate everyone else on the market come fall.

Source: Android Central

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 50 comments. Add yours.

vinny jr says:

You have just seen one minute of an unfinished interface and you are telling the readers how IOS 7 is going to "annihilate" the competition. Rene you are loosing your mind and credibility. I don't find that interface as repulsive as you do. I own the iPhone 5 and find that interface as plain as plain could ever be. I am hoping that IOS 7 puts a little zip into the iPhone but to bash the LG G2 before it's finished and not even to see it is really reaching. I think the lack of Apple products compared to the bounty of very high end Android devices have turned your editorials into kindergarten classes. I really have enjoyed your editorials but as of late they have turned rather mean and makes you sound like a fanboy on the forum talking trash without merit. I have heard this same from other long time fans of yours. Because of your writings I bought the iPhone 5 and thoroughly enjoy it. Just because I also use Android I would never wish anything but positive results from Apple, I don't think you feel the same way. LG has added allot of innovative features to that phone and hope it does well. It's probably not for me but maybe the new iPhone will but I won't go down that one way street and make ridiculous statements. Just My Opinion.

gravage says:

Well said. I have seen some very fair comparisons from Rene in the recent past between android and iOS devices and they were pretty unbiased, so this seems out of place to me.

Rene Ritchie says:

This is a fair comparison. This is an AMAZING phone that only weakness is fugly, soviet-era user interface. Why is that happening? It makes no sense to me.

Both LG and Samsung could easily hire the best designers in the world and make an interface that's drop dead gorgeous. Yet they don't.

We get devices like the GS4 and now the G2 that are technological marvels, yet the software finish is nowhere near the hardware.

I should be the last person saying this. Samsung and LG lovers should be up in arms.

Anyone see the reaction to iOS 7 icons? of course you did. People were furious.

Where's that fury over Android skins?

Or are LG and Samsung right? Does nobody care about them?

LozBlanko says:

So true. Apple gets abuse for individual pixels being out of place yet no one seems to care about Android's trillion menus looking like a sliding puzzle game.

Sent from the iMore App

SockRolid says:

re: "Just My Opinion."

Well, Rene isn't afraid of expressing his opinions either.
This is a blog. This is not Scientific American.

snookasnoo says:

It's basically done which is really obvious. It's also not much different from existing LG phones. I'm sure you will run right over to Android central now and say the same to them for their childish and ignorant anti-Apple remarks.

Rene Ritchie says:

Read my comment below.

I'm right about this, you'll agree with me in 2 months :)

nathanzzx says:

Well said, this express my feelings over Rene.

HubyD says:

This is the reason I always buy Nexus phones... What an ugly, cluttered interface.

grifin1978 says:

Rene, I frequent both AC and iMore (Nexus 4 and iPad owner) and I enjoy reading your articles, but the skewed boasts in this article have reached an all-time high. I totally understand that these reviews are written from your own perspective and opinion, but you fail to put any objectivity in to this post. I personally hate skins on Android but I wouldn't write an article about how IOS 7 is so much better without at least looking at the situation from other angles. The article below disagree with your assertion of IOS 7s beauty but at least they are objective. This post like your article is my opinion, but I don't fail to point that out. A positive is that this article sparks debate. Cheers.

http://www.theverge.com/apple/2013/6/10/4416726/the-design-of-ios-7-simp...

Rene Ritchie says:

What's factually incorrect about my statements above?

LG and Samsung are making crappy interfaces. They deserve to be told so, the same way Apple was told so about iOS 7 icons. (Apple has been altering iOS 7 interface elements as well, smart.)

Stock Android looks really good now. LG and Samsung have more money to invest in UI than Google is likely willing too (especially Samsung), so why are they lagging behind?

The Verge article was early in June, when people were highly change adverse. It's also distracted by icons and other superficial things.

I'm the first one to bitch about bad design, and the latest iOS beta is breathtaking. Nothing outside of Windows Phone will look anywhere nearly as good come fall.

I think I've earned enough credibility that people should take what I say about this stuff if not seriously, than at least as a data point worth consideration.

Apple has changed the mainstream interface game 3 times in their history. Who else has done that? Manufacturers should discount them at their peril.

grifin1978 says:

I am in no way begrudging your opinion, like I stated earlier you are entitled. I even agree with you that the skin LG and Samsung layer upon stock Android is "fugly". I even like your assertion that consumers should want more.

The point of my post was to point out that if you added any kind of objectivity it would lead to more credibility. e.g. "maybe android consumers don't complain about certain UI elements because of their ability to customize launchers, icons, lock screens and other UI elements to their liking."

Carioca32 says:

Sorry, are we to compare a carefully crafted, modeled, illuminated, photographed and edited animated preview to a self-shot hands-on by a user/reporter? I bet the opposite scenario would leave Android looking awesome compared to iOS 7, right?

Did not understand why everything went off the rails with the interface. The person shooting seemed to like it very much. It looked like a regular Android interface with a few improvements.

Nathan Bael says:

Actually, I don't like a lot of the look of iOS 7. The features are great but not the look. The icons came across as childish. The font is a bit too pencil thin. The removal of buttons in places to be replaced with just text was also not good, imo. I'm interested in seeing the final product and hope that the initial betas are very beta when it comes to look.

Derrick4Real says:

totally agree on the looks front. I'm not a fan of the all white. hard on my eyes and the pencil thin text.

Rene Ritchie says:

No, I'm comparing pixels on a screen, regardless of writing.

And no, it wouldn't.

What value does a "regular Android interface" have in 2013, and what value are LG and Samsung bringing to interface by not doing better?

gravage says:

It's more than a little hilarious to see an iPhone blog making fun of an Android interface, especially with the seizure-inducing neon iOS 7 right around the corner. And I know not a lot actually happens in the iOS world between annual product releases, so you need to fill the news feed with something, but come on. First off, I actually have an Optimus G Pro with pretty much the same interface and it's really not that bad. Second, you can make it look like literally anything you want, right down to changing the app icons, without jailbreaking. So, yeah.

SockRolid says:

Re: "... and it's really not that bad."

Kind of sums up the entire Android experience right there.

gravage says:

Yes. Along with "powerful, open, flexible, customizable", none of which describe iOS.

"Not that bad" was in reference to other skins, not Android OS as a whole.

Rene Ritchie says:

You're completely wrong about iOS 7. Come back after it launches in September and you've spent a couple days with it. There's nothing neon about it.

gravage says:

You're assuming that I don't have access to the beta builds, which would be an incorrect assumption.

It's ugly. Plain and simple. The utility of Control Center is almost overshadowed by a theme that seems to have been born of a desperation to change iOS simply for the sake of changing it and giving it a refresh. I actually like the way iOS looks currently, I think it's just a little too simplistic. And since you don't have the flexibility and customization options that you have with Android, if you don't like it, you're pretty much stuck with it.

Rene Ritchie says:

I assumed you hadn't spent any time with it, given your statements. Your reply is just bewildering.

I understand personal taste, but seriously. How long have you spent with it?

gravage says:

I guess it all boils down to personal taste. I have access to all of the developer betas and I have spent plenty of time with it. It just doesn't jive with me.

khobia2 says:

It has a beautiful looking screen. I did here Phil say the software isn't done. And that's great cause it looks rather drab to me. Not as eye catching as some of the recent Android phones that have been released. Needs some more polish IMO.

Sent from the iMore App

SockRolid says:

Hardware is easy.
Software is hard.
The LG G2 is yet more proof.

richard451 says:

I'm not sure where the butt hurt is coming from. Rene is right, LG is not in the same league as Apple when it to UI (how on earth can they be?) and Android users should be more vocal over it. UI is one of those areas where Apple usually has an edge, no matter the product.

Derrick4Real says:

There are more android phones than just LG thought. There's a new android phone every month. From what i detect there are several android phones that people actually are happy with like the S4 and the MotoX. Here they love Android on the Moto X. Here they describe Android on the Moto X saying "The software is almost all great. ." http://gizmodo.com/moto-x-review-the-android-phone-for-everybody-1034784286 So clearly Android on some devices is satisfactory meaning with all the android options a potential consumer has a high chance of finding one that satisfies their desires.

Rene Ritchie says:

Yes, that's true. I like a lot of Android UI. I'm just saying people should start complaining, loudly, about it when it's not fantastic.

Derrick4Real says:

I have no problem with that opinion that generally people should voice their dislike. I was responding just to the point above that "Android users should be more vocal" because this seems to be an issue with LG more than Android as other android implementations appear satisfactory. But i agree and feel people should complain but i also feel the same about ios. They should complain loudly about ios 7, it's lost some functionality, the music player is worse, they added album art to lists doubling the amount of scrolling. I think visually i find the white hard to look at and the pencil thin text difficult to read and sometimes eye straining on the light background. But i digress. all platforms have problems and ios 7 has plenty. But there's only one phone (so far). But this seems an LG not Android issue and there are plenty of android phones alternatives unlike apple alternatives. If you don't like the way it looks too bad. No options. We'll see how it turns out.

sting7k says:

I really hope the Moto X takes off and we can put the spec sheet wars behind us.

vinny jr says:

My point with this article is simply the LG G2 interface is not complete, as one follower above me stated the software on the LG can be completely changed up to look completely different (sky is the limit) Rene had not even looked or held the device and to blast it like he did is just ridiculous. Being a long time follower I will assume the lack of stories on Apple's part is giving him a burr up his ass. I really enjoy my iPhone 5 but let's be honest the interface isn't it's strong point. I enjoy my Android devices because I enjoy flashing new roms when ever I choose, I also enjoy my iPhone 5 because I love the hardware. I can honestly say I wish the best to all OS, great competition makes great devices. Rene has turned into a flaming fanboy who is the first to say mine is better than yours when it's the furthest from the truth. I am all done with this subject. Good Luck to all.

Rene Ritchie says:

Dude, you realize reading your responses over the course of weeks is like whiplash?

Did people complain about iOS 7 icons? Was that okay? Of course it was.

Complaining about LG UI is also okay.

Calling me a flaming fanboy is beyond disgraceful. Why am I complaining? Why aren't you?

rogifan says:

Wow Fandroids are sure touchy these days.

Derrick4Real says:

"Annihilate?" Strong word. They aren't exactly annihilating anyone now. I don't think people are universally in love with the look of ios. I read the comments on posts about the release of ios 7 beta 5 on sites like verge, gizmodo, engadget and they were full of people saying it's ugly. They called it ios vista. I remember when the hp touchpad was announced and all of Precentral thought it would take over the world. The were rudely surprised. And Microsoft was sure windows 8 would be embraced and loved only to be stunned that it was pretty much tanked. I think ios 7 may get a luke warm reception. I don't think it will tank but i think just like Precentral, imore is the choir and they'll love Apple stuff regardless and thus are predisposed to turn a blind eye to criticism. But i think when a lot of people see the update they will freak.

Rene Ritchie says:

People are change adverse. They're also concentrating on the surface. iOS 7 is a profound change. I'm not talking about pixels. I'm talking about core UI concepts.

The entire thing is built on a physics and particle engine. The entire thing is an object in space, and gamified.

Discounting that as "fanboy" is typical comment BS. It's easy. It's lazy. I expect better.

Derrick4Real says:

When you quote me do it accurately. NOWHERE in my post is the term "fanboy" nor did I call anyone a "fanboy." To accurately quote you, "I expect better." But clearly reading what you want to read. But, I don't dismiss anything as "fanboy." No, what i'm talking about is people that are only listening to like minded people thus failing to see contrary views of those. It's like republicans only watching Fox News thinking the entire country hated Obama and he'd lose in a landslide only to be stunned when he got reelected.

Dismissing displeasure as merely people being "change averse" is condescending and overly simplistic. People embrace change when it benefits them and object to it when it harms them. All changes are not inherently positive. Change has occurred plenty of times on ios without objection; adding folders on the desktop, adding apps, Adding a pull down menu were all change and i don't recall people disliking that merely because it was a change. Nobody was against adding multitasking simply because it was change. Blaming displeasure on people merely being against change doesn't even stand up to the history of ios and is inherently lazy because clearly change has occurred in the past and people did not simply object for the sake of disliking change. There are people with core differences of opinions on areas of an ios. Take widgets. Were they added some may like or object. Especially if you have no choice to disable it. That you think it's merely some aversion to change shows you've already tuned out the valid opinions to others.

The average person doesn't care about the physics and particle engines things are built on when buying a mobile phone. They do care about "the surface." It's precisely why Jobs didn't talk about such technical things during presentations; that doesn't impress consumers. Hell Apple computers have always focus on the surface things. But, there are plenty of user interface things people don't like. Relocating shuffle on the music player to right where your thumb rubs is a user interface problem. Adding album art that makes you have to scroll twices as much in the music player is a user interface problem. Still only being able to email 5 pictures from the email app? User interface. Not being able to pick default apps though not unexpected is still a user interface issue. Removing function in some areas is a user interface issue. But back to this notion you have that the surface doesn't matter. The reality is surface matters, how a device looks matters. Most people don't like things they find ugly. There are plenty of people that won't drive an a Prius or wear crocs regardless of function because they view the surface looks as ugly. Hell i didn't buy the first Android phone because the hardware and software looked ugly. Remember the brown T-mobile phone with the chin? Good selling apple products were built on "surface"; brushed steel, aluminum, candy, etc. And if adding frosted glass makes something look dated or ugly people will rightfully object. If pencil thin text on white backgrounds makes a devices hard to use it's a it's not the mere fact that it's change it's that it's harder to see that thus harder to use that they object to. There are ideas that some will like and some won't. But it's simplistic to claim that the people that have issues just don't like change. Especially when in this column your argument is that Android users should be vocal. The same applies to ios users of which I am one. That's all that people that have objections are doing. You shouldn't dismiss them.

Rene Ritchie says:

Wow, a lot of you folks disappoint me. Discounting something as "fanboy" is easy, lazy, and frankly, dumb.

Tons of people complained about iOS 7 icons. That was justified.

So is this. Why am I complaining about bad interface on Android? Why aren't you?

Do you not expect better? Do you not deserve better?

If you haven't spent a good week using iOS 7, you have no idea what's coming. LG and Samsung should be doing that right now. If they cared about interface, they should have already hired Pacific Helm or some other company to redo the whole things for them.

But given the reaction here, clearly they don't have to? People on the internet, instead of demanding better, want to call other people names and attack their character.

Being a jackhole in the comments won't give Samsung or LG better interface. Only being honest and doing a real assessment of the current state, and then demanding they give us better will do that.

Arguing over platforms is dumb. Make them fight over us.

Man you guys disappoint me some days.

Analog Spirit says:

I have mixed feelings about iOS 7 and I feel that "annihilate" is a bit strong a word to be saying just yet, but I have no doubt that iOS 7 will be successful and the next iPhone will sell very well. I guess we'll find out in a month or so.

For the most part I think iOS 7 is OK; I like the control center (very handy) and the simplified, more streamlined design. I am a little puzzled by some of the colors and parts of the design that Apple chose for it, but I'm going to withhold judgement on it til it's out of beta and I can finally see it in person and play around with it.

But it's like you once said, Rene: Never bring specs to a user experience fight. All the impressive specs in the world don't matter if the UX/UI is half-baked and not well-designed. The Android OEMs still don't get it.

And I say this as an Android user; this is the main reason why I got a Nexus 4, so I wouldn't have to put up with custom UIs and carrier bloatware that tend to slow the device down. If this G2 ran stock Android I might consider it.

Rene Ritchie says:

I meant annihilate in terms of the state of the art of interface. I stand by that. Won't even be close.

Whether that matters or not to consumers, I don't know. I don't think it will change market share by any means.

When I say Google Now is so far beyond Siri it's not funny, that's the same kind of thing. Apple looks to be working on improving Siri.

iOS 7 is going to be a generation beyond Android 4.x, and two generations beyond most manufacturer skins. Maybe Android 5.0 will be as advanced or even more advanced? Dunno. Manufacturers like Samsung and LG probably won't use it though.

That's why I'm complaining. And that's why any Android enthusiast worthy of the term should be complaining too.

Who doesn't want better? (Except a lot of the commenters here, apparently...)

Analog Spirit says:

Fair enough, I can agree with most of that.

The only thing I might differ with you slightly on is that iOS 7 will be a generation ahead of Android 4.x, because there are still some features that Android 4.x has that I would love to see happen in iOS (and I know this is largely subjective), such as the ability to set my own default apps, and the ability to put different keyboards e.g. Swype and SwiftKey on it instead of the stock iOS keyboard, which I always had a hard time with when I had my iPhone 4, and Android's Swype-like gesture keyboard has been very helpful to me when I'm typing. I have a hard time considering anything "more advanced" or "a generation ahead" if it can't do everything my Nexus 4 can do, and do it better, faster, and more efficiently. So in terms of features, I'm not so sure that iOS 7 will be more advanced. But we'll see...

Now, if you mean "more advanced" as in "more refined and polished, with more attention to detail," and doing a fewer things superbly well rather than doing many things in a mediocre way, then I can definitely agree on that. There are still some things about Android that still feel kinda "half-ass" to me and don't feel quite as well-designed as in iOS. But I could say the same about iOS too in some ways, and I could go vice versa on that.

There's no doubt that we all want better. The problem is that that in itself is very subjective and we don't all agree as to what "better" is. Essentially it's down to personal preference and we all have different values and priorities as to what we look for in a device. What I consider poorly-designed and half-baked, someone else might like. That's what I like about Android, the variety and possibilities it lets us have.

So I'm not sure that complaining to the Android OEMs would do us a lot of good, especially if we don't all agree that a certain UI of theirs is "bad." I don't like Samsung's TouchWiz, but there are those who do like it and wouldn't have it any other way. Fair enough.

And even if we did complain to the OEMs, I'm not so sure that they'd listen. So I think the best thing we can do is vote with our wallets so that hopefully the best products will prevail in the marketplace and the whole smartphone industry will benefit.

Hopefully I've made some sense here.

jamie says:

Rene keep up the great work. I enjoy reading your articles and respect your opinions. I have never understood why so many people verbally attack you in the comments. Too bad we cannot post comments at the haters jobs!

Analog Spirit says:

Yeah, some of these comments are really uncalled for. It's possible to keep the thread civilized and disagree without being disagreeable.

redbeard says:

I totally respect your opinion Rene, and I do find much about Android to be clunky and not user friendly, however, I find iOS 7 to be a step back in design and usability. Sure, the added features are nice, but the washed out, bleached, overly white look of everything just looks horrible to me, everytime I see it I can't help think that it's a bad 1980's Cydia theme. And the removal of buttons all over iOS 7 definitely seems to hurt the usability the iPhone is famous for. Many areas of iOS 7 look downright horrible, not just the icons, it definitely looks to be rainbow brite inspired, overly bright neons and pastels everywhere, on a sterile, soul-less white background.

I think that's the problem most people are having with iOS 7, iOS has always had soul with it's realism and beautiful, detailed, rich design, they threw it all away for what looks like a unfinished pencil sketch, a pastel pencil sketch at that.

While I'm not a fan of how most areas of Android looks, I do find it to be better than iOS 7, and I'm not pleased about it, if there isn't a jailbreak soon after the fall release, I'm probably jumping to a HTC One. Just can't imagine using that blinding white OS at night either, my eyes are too sensitive to light for that..

khobia2 says:

Look I agree with Rene. What's the point in having all those great specs and the UI looks cluttered and dull? I definitely don't know enough yet about all this mobile speak to get into the nitty gritty about design and all that. But I know what looks good and this just looks like another Android phone that screwed up the stock UI (which looks great).

stanlm2 says:

I'll agree with Rene's points. But I'd be more excited if apple did something like make the 3d camera cool again since there's a certain gravity when they do something. It doesnt have to be that, but thats just an example of something I'd find more fun than, say, a quest to find the "prettiest" interface. Maybe the watch will do cool things though.

Analog Spirit says:

Rene, here's an article I found in ZDNet that illustrates this whole point pretty well, I thought. It's basically about this same thing, how specs don't matter if the user experience is bad:

http://www.zdnet.com/lg-g2-we-dont-need-a-superphone-we-need-a-superb-ph...

nathanzzx says:

I'm an Android user but I read both AC and imore, I just wanna know about the OSs that take my attention. But I never, ever see articles like this one at AC. They rarely mention iOS and when they do is just a line or two and a link to imore. But here is the opposite, let's burn Android in a cross just for the sake of doing it. I've found lots of articles attacking android with no reason.
Well Rene, you're disappointing.

endlessnoodling says:

The guys at The Verge seems to agree with you René...Josh Topolsky gave the phone a 1/10 (of course in a hyperbolic way to make a point) on their podcast, primarily because of the butchering of Android...and those guys are hardly Apple fanboys