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LG G Pro 2 sports a 5.9-inch screen, Snapdragon 800, and front-facing flash (hands-on)

Dive into the powerful G Pro 2, LG's latest high-end handset equipped with a Snapdragon 800 processor and a 5.9-inch display.

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BARCELONA, Spain -- Unveiled earlier this month at a special press event in Seoul, Korea, LG's newest high-end handset, the LG G Pro 2, was also showcased this week during Mobile World Congress.

Strutting Android 4.4 and compelling software features from LG, this successor to the Optimus G Pro includes notable improvements, such as a faster processor and more advanced camera capabilities. The device will begin selling in Korea at the end of February, though LG hasn't yet decided if it'll sell it elsewhere.

Design Measuring 6.2 inches tall, 3.2 inches wide, and just 0.3 inches thick, the G Pro 2 is available in three colors: white, silver and titan. Just like the previous G Pro, the device is massive. True, I do have small hands, but I had to use two hands to navigate the handset properly, and when held side-by-side next to the massive G Flex, I noticed it was just as large.

Similar to LG's current marquee handset, the G2, the Pro 2 houses its physical control keys (including the power and volume buttons) on its backside. LG has also added a sheen but subtle overlay on the battery door, which I personally like, since it gives an extra premium feel to the phone.

Along with its super-slim 3.33mm bezel, the phone's equipped with a 5.9-inch full-HD IPS display with a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. Though that's a slight size-bump from its 5.5-inch Optimus G Pro predecessor, pixel density has slightly decreased from 400ppi to 373ppi. I, however, did not notice any downgrade in quality. When I viewed a sample HD video, images looked crisp, bright, and clear.

Key components and features Similar to LG's highly popular Google Nexus 5, the G Pro 2 is powered by a powerful 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and an Adreno 330 GPU. During my brief time with it, I didn't notice any sort of lag or stuttering, and the camera (more on that later), felt extremely smooth to operate. We'll know more when we get a review unit in, of course, but for now its processing innards seem completely capable.

The removable battery's capacity also increased from the Optimus G Pro, jumping from 3,140mAh to 3,200mAh.

As for its camera prowess, its rear-facing 13-megapixel camera will be able to shoot video in 4K Ultra HD resolution as well as slow-motion with 120fps. As previously speculated, optical image stabilization will be integrated in the lens. Other camera goodies consist of "Magic Focus," which enables users to adjust the depth of focus of an image, and the oft-included burst shot mode.

LG G Pro 2 (camera)
The handset's 13-megapixel camera features optical image stabilization and 4K video recording. Sarah Tew/CNET

Interestingly, the phone's front-facing 2.1-megapixel camera comes with its own "LCD flash", which is a flashing white background in the preview screen. Casual photographers can now rest a little easier -- not even low-light environments can stop you from taking that perfect selfie.

Additional features include 3GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of internal memory, and a microSD card slot. NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 are also baked in.

New software features Running Android 4.4 KitKat, the G Pro 2 also introduces new software and user interface features from LG. Although we previously saw the KnockOn function (wherein users can wake up the phone by tapping twice on its screen) included in devices like the G2 and the G Flex, the Pro 2 will have what LG calls "KnockCode".

KnockCode combines turning on your phone and unlocking the lock screen into one act. By dividing the display into four quadrants, users can tap a certain combination within these zones to wake up and unlock their device. With passwords ranging from two to eight taps, LG says there are more than 80,000 different combinations possible.

LG G Pro 2 (apps)
In addition to Android 4.4, the G Pro 2 includes several new UI features from LG, including KnockCode. Sarah Tew/CNET

There's also "Content Lock," which lets users password-protect certain files, photos, and videos, and "Mini View." The latter gives users the option to scale down the display from 3.4 inches to 4.7 inches to facilitate one-handed navigation.

Outlook Although it's not touted as LG's flagship (that honor will have to go to the G2 and all of its subsequent successors), the G Pro 2 looks like a formidable, premium handset so far. Again, LG didn't announce pricing and availability outside Korea, but if we were to go by last year's Optimus G Pro, expect the phone to cost about $200 on-contract in the US. AT&T was the only US carrier to offer that device, so I wouldn't be surprised if it did the same for the Pro 2. However, given that both the G Flex and the G2 are available on multiple networks, don't count out T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon entirely.

CNET's full coverage of Mobile World Congress

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