Some smartphone comparisons require a lot of thought and analysis. Others are absurdly simple.
Today's comparison is one of the easy ones: the case of the new LG Optimus G Pro and its primary rival, the Samsung Galaxy Note II. The Optimus G Pro launches in the U.S. today, giving Samsung its first real competitor in the supersized smartphone market.
I spent a week using the Optimus G Pro in place of my own personal device. You can read through my full review for a detailed look at what the phone's like to use in the real world; if you're at all interested in a plus-sized smartphone, I'd strongly suggest you do.
As for the Optimus G Pro vs. Note II comparison, here's the short answer: The Optimus G Pro is basically a better version of the Note II, just without the stylus. Unless you really need a native stylus or are unconditionally in love with the Samsung brand, the Optimus G Pro is hands-down the superior device.
Check out the chart at right for a side-by-side view of the phones' key specs. Oddly enough, it's the fact that the Optimus G Pro is so similar to the Note II that makes the comparison such a no-brainer: The two phones share the same basic size, shape, and approach to hardware design.
The Optimus G Pro, however, is a fifth of an inch narrower than the Note II -- a seemingly small amount that makes a big difference when it comes to the comfort of holding a device this large. It's slightly lighter, too, by about a fifth of an ounce.
The Optimus G Pro has a dramatically better screen, with a 1080p LCD display compared to the Note II's 720p AMOLED. In addition to packing significantly more pixels -- 400 pixels per inch vs. the Note II's 267 -- the LCD technology boasts a major advantage over AMOLED when it comes to visibility in glary outdoor conditions.
Beyond that, the Optimus G Pro has a more advanced processor and double the amount of onboard storage (within the U.S. models).
And then there's the software: The Optimus G Pro shows what a Samsung product could be if it had less focus on gimmicky, marketing-friendly glitz and more focus on a cohesive overall user experience. The Optimus G Pro has fewer flashy features than a Samsung device, but the ones that are there actually matter (and, for the most part, are actually reliable). The phone's user interface is relatively simple, subdued, and visually consistent, too -- qualities Samsung devices certainly can't claim.
The one caveat -- and it's an annoying one -- is that the device is currently an AT&T exclusive. LG really stabbed itself in the foot with that decision; single-carrier availability is no way to sell a phone these days.
But if AT&T's an option for you, unless you need a native stylus or have Apple-like devotion to Samsung, it's hard to find much reason to recommend a Note II over an Optimus G Pro.
Like I said -- this one's easy.