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Here at CNET Australia, we like our phones to be big, powerful, have awesome screens and pack in the latest technologies. The LG Optimus G ticks all of these boxes, and while it won't be in stores until early next year, we had a chance to get up close and personal with LG's powerhouse.

Expect more about the LG Optimus G as we get closer to its Aussie launch day in the middle of Q1, 2013.

Don't say it looks like a Samsung Galaxy S2. OK, so it looks a little like a GS2 from a distance.

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Sweet bean

LG said that it has learned its lesson from previous releases, and that it will launch all-new phones on the most up-to-date versions of Android possible. The Optimus G will launch on version 4.1 (Jelly Bean), but should be upgradable to 4.2 (Jelly Bean+) in short order.

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It's mine!

One interesting element of the LG UI is the ability to customise any icon. Here, the internet icon is replaced by a photo of the Sydney Harbour Bridge that we shot using the phone's camera.

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Slim and trim

For a phone as powerful as the Optimus G is, it should get in good shape, with a depth of 8.5mm. It also has a sleek-looking stainless steel trim that runs all the way around the outside.

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Gorillas in your midst

LG encased the whole handset in glass, but, unlike the iPhone 4 and 4S, it has Corning Gorilla Glass on both the front and back. We look forward to the numerous drop-test videos that are likely to appear shortly on YouTube.

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No, not that camera

As you may have read in our earlier news coverage, this is not the camera that LG will ship to Australia. This is an 8-megapixel module, while the final sales unit will have a whopping 13-megapixel shooter.

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The small things

OK, so it's a tiny element, but we love how the phone unlocks. As you swipe across the screen, it "opens" to reveal the last-viewed app below. This way, you can peek under without actually unlocking the phone.

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Switch me on

Similar to the quick settings bar in Samsung's TouchWiz UI, LG includes a scrollable row of quick settings. Unlike Samsung's UI, though, this bar is fully customisable and can include a lot more switches than any other phone we've ever used.

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QSlide

This is one of several unique features of the Optimus G, but it's one that you will need to see for yourself before you can see how it might be useful. QSlide lets you play video over the top of any other app, with a slider to set the opacity of either app so that you can easily do two things at once. Our LG hosts explained that this is a big feature in South Korea, where broadcast TV on mobiles is widely used, and where those using QSlide can keep up with messaging and social media without missing a moment of their shows.

In this picture, we have K-pop sensation Girls' Generation in the background and Angry Birds in the foreground. It works seamlessly, too, so if you can figure out when you might use this feature, you'll probably love it.

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Miracast

This is pretty cool. In this picture, you can see the screen on the phone mirrored on the flat-panel TV behind it. To achieve this, we used Miracast, a new streaming protocol built on Wi-Fi Direct. Check out our latest Miracast coverage here.

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Multimedia, mirrored

This is probably how you'll use Miracast most — to share pictures and videos from your phone on the TV. This is just the tip of the iceberg for Miracast, though. Because you can see anything on your phone, you can use it to play games on the TV, browse the web, conduct business presentations or dock your phone and do some work with a wireless keyboard.

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So, so easy

The best thing about Miracast is how easy it is to set up. You don't need a separate Wi-Fi network to join; you don't need passwords or permissions. You just hit the Miracast button, select the compatible device from a list and you're away.

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Catch me if you cam

While other phones this year have burst-shooting modes, the Optimus G has "Time Catch Shot". This mode has the software taking five photos: three before you press the button, one when you press it and one a split second after.

This way, you don't miss what happens just because you are a little slow to hit the shutter. In the picture above, we've drawn a circle around the photo taken when the shutter was hit, which was when the pen was taken away. With this feature, you can choose to keep pictures of when the pen was in shot, or just after.

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Quick Memo

We first saw Quick Memo in some of LG's prepaid releases this year, and while it doesn't sound very exciting on paper, it is quite a useful tool. Basically, Quick Memo lets you write anywhere on the screen. You can circle an image you like on a web page, screen capture it as an image and then email it to a friend. LG adds a new element into the mix for the Optimus G: the ability to write on the screen, then change the app behind it, so that your handwriting sits like an overlay. LG thinks that this would be handy for when someone is telling you a phone number during a call. You can scrawl the number on the screen, switch to the dialler and punch in the correct digits.

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