This version has a sharp edge around the front surface. The 90-degree angle where the glass front meets the plastic sides is razor-sharp and felt somewhat unpleasant to me. This edge is accented with a pencil-thin metallic band. This silvery sliver of metal breaks up the black-on-black colors just a little bit. It's also not entirely flush with the side surface. You can feel it with your thumb. This thin metallic band is about the only thing on the G that feels in any way cheap to me.
The glass is what I like about the G the most. The display (naturally) and the back panel are glass (or something glass-like.) The back panel has a pattern under the surface that can be seen when you tilt it in direct light. It has a cool effect that I like. Also, glass is better than plastic in my book. One thing I have historically disliked about so many of LG's smartphones are the cheap materials. The G is different. The glass really ramps up the feeling of quality. Mix that with top-notch manufacturing, and the Optimus G is a big step forward for LG in terms of bringing quality hardware to market.
Quality or not, you can't escape the G's large size, necessitated by the generous display. It's wide and tall, though LG managed to make it fairly thin. Were it not for nicely shaped back edges, it would feel like holding a box of pencils. I can't quite wrap my hand all the way around it, but it’s not too heavy and the smooth front and back mean it slips in and out of pockets quite easily.
The volume toggle, which is on the left edge, was a bit sticky on my review unit. It's certainly a cinch to find, but travel and feedback was anything but informative; it's quite mushy. The lock button, on the right edge, is much better. It’s easy to find and has excellent travel and feedback. The headphone jack is on top and the microUSB port is on the bottom. There are also two exposed screws on the bottom, holding the entire assembly together, which gives the G a bit of an industrial look.
It's worth noting that Sprint’s Optimus G has no access to the SIM card, nor does it have access to a memory card slot (which the AT&T version does). Neither version has a removable battery.
There's no doubt in my mind that this is one of the classiest pieces of hardware to come from LG. The company clearly sees the threat from design-focused competitors such as Samsung and Apple, and has taken that threat seriously. The G is probably LG's best device in terms of the look, feel, and manufacture of the hardware.