Finally, after a long wait, LG Optimus G (LG’s flagship Android phone of 2012) is now getting the Android KitKat v4.4.2 as a software update in many parts of the world. I received it yesterday for my Indian variant LG Optimus G (Model E975). Optimus G was the first Android smartphone which helped LG to establish itself in premium Android device segment. It was sleek, stylish and packed with the top-notch hardware of that time.
Ironically Google is preparing to launch next major Android version (Android L) soon and LG Optimus G owners are now getting the “now-aged” Android KitKat. For your information, Optimus G was stuck at JellyBean v4.1 (for over one and a half years) and LG did not even care to update it to JellyBean v4.2 (let alone v4.3), this shows how arrogant LG is towards firmware updates, even for its flagship Android phones. There were reports of Optimus G’s prospects of getting KitKat in August earlier this year which turned out to be true and it jumped from JellyBean v4.1 directly to KitKat v4.4.2 skipping JB v4.2 and v4.3
Android KitKat v4.4.2 is available as a system software update for LG Optimus G – you can get it either OTA (Over-The-Air via phone’s Software Update app) or via LG Mobile Support Tool (a desktop software). OTA update is sized at just over 500MB, (size may be variable according to the phone model and country, available as an upgrade over the current firmware) while LG Support tool will download the whole firmware afresh (about 1GB) and then flash the phone with it. So it is recommended to update OTA. LG’s update servers are pathetic to say the least – if the download is interrupted due to any reason (at any stage), it will not resume from the last position rather it will start over resulting in huge data transfers and frustration (I missed my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 at this stage as it is a breeze to update Samsung devices and this is one of the reason Samsung is market leader in Android).
As for the change-log and new features in KitKat for Optimus G, here is what we have noticed –
All the essential goodies of Android KitKat v4.4.2 (improved security, lock screen enhancements, refreshed UI) plus almost everything now looks exactly like LG G2 (UI animations, app/widget icons, themes etc)
Some apps like Music, Notebook, Safety Care, Q Translator, On-Screen Phone, and File Manager have been updated (you will have to update them separately after the KitKat update)
File Manager interface has been revamped and now it looks similar to the one in LG G2
New Music app can be connected to LG G watch
Dialer design has changed from a “flattish” style to a 3D buttons type, besides, “in-call” phone interface has also been given a new beautiful look
Keyboard has also been given a 3D style with many functional improvements – it is much more usable and easy to use now
Notification area has been given a more modern look – all icons at the top status bar are white now and status bar is transparent
A Car Home app has been added to assist while driving
Weather app has been redesigned with new themes
A Multi-photo section has been added under “Wallpapers” section at home-screen by which you can select two or more pics together to set as wallpaper
Software update and App Updates applications have been merged into a single app called “Update Center”
Wireless printing support has been added
Some icons have been re-designed
System icons and UI has been given a more modern look and feel like that of LG G2
I noticed a greatly improved battery performance after the update (in comparison, JellyBean sucked battery very fast), besides RAM management has also been improved
Missing features – Themes have been removed (earlier there were 4 themes), similarly apps wallpapers (background of the apps menu drawer) have been limited to 4. However you can download new “LG Home” themes from LG SmartWorld app (many new awesome themes have been added recently at the LG app store).
There is no option under “Developer options” to change Android run-time from “Dalvik” to “ART” – a native feature of KitKat which results in faster apps loading time, smooth UI etc. Many phones having KitKat (like Moto G) have this option to toggle these parameters.
Unfortunately LG has not added the much awaited “Knock code” or “Double Tap to unlock” function with this update. May be they will roll out these as a separate update in the near future (hopefully!)
The interface feels a bit laggy to me – wallpaper resizes itself every now and then, transitions among home screens are not smooth, phone freezes sometimes. However these are early impressions and may be related specifically to the unit we have. Now let’s hope LG updates Optimus G to Android L too! a distant dream to say the least.