LG G2 Mini review: A watered-down flagship phone that's too expensive for its specs

Like the display, the processor at the heart of the phone has been seriously watered down as well. Instead of the 2.2GHz quad-core chip in the regular G2, the Mini offers a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, along with 1GB of RAM. That's the same as you'll find inside the Motorola Moto G, which is pretty laughable given how much more money LG demands for its phone.

Unsurprisingly then, it didn't exactly impress with its speed. It achieved 1,286 on the Geekbench 2 benchmark test, which is a little under what the Moto G achieved. In my own use of the phone, I found it tackled the basics perfectly well.

Navigating around the interface was fairly swift, with no noticeable delay when pulling down the notifications panel, opening menus or switching between open apps using the multitasking wheel. Tweeting pictures of your food or bombarding Facebook with anecdotes about your pets is well within its means, but more demanding tasks aren't handled as well.

While Riptide GP2 was playable, the frame rate dropped a lot in more intense moments, making it look very stuttery and I found the same in Asphalt 8. More basic games like Cut The Rope will play fine, but it's not a phone for the 3D gaming lovers among you.

Camera

The back of the phone is home to an 8-megapixel camera, which again is less than the 13-megapixels of the regular G2. On the upside though, it's a decent step up from the 5-megapixel camera you'll get from the Moto G.

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LG G2 Mini camera test Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I found its results to be pretty decent. My first shot, looking out over London's Grand Union Canal is bright, with natural colours and plenty of detail.

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LG G2 Mini camera test with HDR Andrew Hoyle/CNET

With HDR mode enabled, a lot more detail in the shadowy areas is revealed and the bright sky is under control, making the scene look great overall.

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LG G2 Mini camera test Andrew Hoyle/CNET

This shot of a delicious muffin came out quite well too. The paper wrapping has a crisp edge to it when you zoom in and it's generally well lit.

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LG G2 Mini camera test Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Heading over to St Paul's Cathedral, the G2 Mini captured plenty of detail in the brickwork, with a rich blue sky overhead.

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LG G2 Mini camera test with HDR Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The HDR mode has been a little heavy-handed here however, by darkening the clouds and reducing the contrast on the building's brickwork. Between the two images, I think the one without HDR mode has the most impact.

The Mini's camera puts in a good performance though and it has extra features on board like panorama mode, a burst mode and various image effects too. It doesn't seem to be challenging the standard G2's camera, but I'd say it has the edge of the Moto G's.

Battery

The G2 Mini packs a 2,440mAh battery, which put up a good fight in our battery drain test. From a full charge and at half brightness, it kept going for 12 hours and 56 minutes. By comparison, the Google Play edition of the Moto G achieved 9 hours 14 minutes, while the brand new HTC One M8 achieved just under 10 hours. In my own use, I found the phone would easily make it through a day with moderate use.

Unlike both of those phones however, the Mini's battery is removable, meaning you can always carry a spare or two in your bag if you're heading off into the wilderness away from plugs and electricity of any kind. If you want to get the best battery life, keep the screen brightness down, turn off GPS and Wi-Fi and avoid demanding tasks like gaming or video streaming.

Conclusion

Although it bears the G2 name and keeps certain design features like the rear-mounted volume and power buttons and narrow bezel, the LG G2 Mini is in every respect a heavily watered down version of its pricier sibling. The display has a disappointingly low resolution, its processor doesn't put up much of a fight and it has an 8- rather than 13-megapixel camera.

It has acceptable mid-range specs, but the Motorola Moto G has the same power and a better screen and can be snapped up for only £110, making it a much better choice if you don't care about pricey 4G contracts. If you're after a "mini" phone with the same potent specs as the top-end phones, go for the superb Sony Xperia Z1 Compact.

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