Enter the Guinness Record holder, the first of its kind – 1GHz Dual Core Processor toting mobile handset the LG Optimus 2X. It is designed to thrill with super speed and HD content support for playback and capture all of this with a relatively affordable price tag of just Rs. 27,490. Too good to be true? Maybe. But read on to find out more.
The Optimus 2X has no peer in the power department, at the moment. It is designed to be a powerhouse of a handset neatly resting within the confines of an elegant but, weighted form factor. At 139g and with dimensions of 123.9 x 63.2 x 10.9 mm, with a 4.0-inch IPS LCD display (480 x 800 pixel resolution, 16mn colors) the Optimus 2X, is slim but you’ll definitely feel its weight in your trousers. The 3.5mm handsfree port, HDMI Out socket and power/screen lock button are placed at the top of the handset. Volume/Zoom keys are on the right and stereo speakers are located at the bottom with a micro USB port in between. Along with the 6GB of internal storage (supposed to be 8GB but we received a 6GB edition) the 2X supports up to 32GB microSD cards that can be accessed via a hot swap lost under the rear panel.
Elegant but a little heavy
What I’m not really happy with in the way of the Optimus 2X’s design is the fact that it has a little too much of unused space below the display. At least it looks that way. A secondary 1.3mp camera is located above the display to the right with light sensors on the left. Below the display are the four Android centric touch-sensitive keys but in the center of two centimeters which could possibly have been used to have a larger display. Sure it does help reduce the price, but in my opinion, the space just looks like unused prime real-estate. I got no other beef with the Optimus 2X design form other than that.
Features and Performance
First off, it was disappointing to find out that the Optimus 2X, with all it’s power is shipping with Android 2.2 aka FroYo. Obviously, we can expect a Gingerbread update but with the Sony Ericsson Arc/Play and the HTC Desire S already running the update one tends to wonder just why such a “powerful” phone came without. The UI is well-designed and LG has thrown in quite a few of their own widgets to make it more versatile. What I really liked were the options to customize the menu listing by creating sections for different types of apps so they’re neatly categorised according to ones personal preference. All that being said, what I did notice was the lag in transitions and not-so-smooth scrolling in certain instances.
Create sections to stay organised
As a quick fix solution for testing, I simply switched UI’s to the one I downloaded and noticed a significant increase in both speed and ease of use. With the stock LG UI, each time I opened the video gallery, it would take a couple of seconds to do an update, even though nothing new was added. With other third party UI’s, the time was downed by half. On more than one occasion though, the handset simply froze on me, refusing to allow me to access anything for over 30 seconds before getting into gear. I had no experience of this when I was using other interfaces. So there’s nothing really wrong with the speed, it’s the UI that appears buggy. Thank goodness for Open Source!
One rather annoying aspect that I must point out, that may seem insignificant for some, is the virtual keyboard. For some reason it seemed more sensible to have a silly shortcut to Smiley Faces rather than punctuations like commas or full stops. It’s a matter of a couple of extra button taps, but nevertheless…
Similar to what I experienced with the Samsung Galaxy S II, the Optimus 2X also has a set of gesture based functions. For instance, by pressing and holding down on an icon you can use the handset’s gyro to tilt the handset and switch screens till you reach the one you want to place the shortcut on. If you’re in the music player or photo gallery you can switch tracks of images simply by tapping the sides of the handsets. Flipping the handset over to mute the ringer or pause and mute a video are also functions similar to these two handsets. How odd.
Gestures control. Do we need it?
But still, with a Dual Core Processor powering this baby, one does tend to expect an iPhone 4 like experience (if I can use that as an example) with smooth functionality. It’s fast alright but when handled side by side, the iPhone 4 did seem to perform a little smoother when simple transitions etc. were concerned. When pitted against a handset like the HTC Desire S, the Optimus 2X was definitely ahead in terms of speed but only by a little.
Only recently we heard that LG was releasing an update for the 2X that would help enhance the device's functionality including adding better support for media. Sadly that update was not available for India during the time of this review so, although DivX and XviD codec support was provisioned for, some .AVI files were not supported. I was forced to download third party players for those. 1080p full length videos which are usually over 4GB in size will need to be scaled down for transfer to the internal drive or memory card of course. A couple of test videos were provided (1920 x 1080) that were short clips but they played just fine.
Mirroring via HDMI is possible so you can watch videos, surf the web and do pretty much everything on your handset while it’s hooked up to your HDTV.
Even with Dolby Mobile audio enhancement and SRS Virtual Surround sound, that’s capable of reaching quite high decibel levels, the Optimus 2X, was just about average in the quality department. The bass levels were heavy and resounded well with a good set of earphones. Higher and mid range frequencies, depending on the preset selected, proved to be just a little sharp for my taste but not enough to make it uncomfortable. On the whole, although the Optimus 2X can dish out some seriously loud tones, you’re going to need a much better headset to cope with the levels. The bundled set is not designed to handle the handset’s full audio capabilities. I tested the Optimus 2X with the Creative WP-300 Bluetooth headset and have to say, that was an enjoyable experience.
A decent audio player, with better earphones
The FM radio proved to be quite receptive even in areas where other handsets did not provide the very best of service. LG has preloaded PicSay and Real Dart as part of the “entertainment” section. No other games came preloaded. A voice recorder was also on board.
All basic high-end mobile modes of connectivity were provided – 3G, EDGE/GPRS, Wi-Fi with DLNA support via LG’s SmartShare function is available and so is the option to tether the device or use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Facebook, MySpace and Twitter for LG along with a widget that allows you to view updates on all from the same is available, and of course Google Talk for messaging is also available. There’s no dedicated GPS application that’s been preloaded which does make the Optimus 2X feel a little short in this area considering handsets like the Desire S or Nokia’s N8 or E7 Communicator come with some pretty handy GPS software. You’ll have to be content with all that Google has to offer like Places, Latitude, Maps and Navigation. LG has thrown in a Compass app as well, seeing as how Google Maps has one of its own in the new update, it’s a bit redundant.
DLNA support via LG SmartShare
Aside from the App Market, LG’s App Advisor is also available but really didn’t offer too much in terms of apps I could really put to regular use. It simply chooses some of the apps that LG thinks will work best with the handset depending on your location. I wasn’t impressed with the choices though.
Amongst the few extra apps and features that LG has thrown in with the Optimus 2X are – RemoteCall, a Backup option for all of your data etc., F-Secure to monitor threats, a memo pad that allows you to add images, Polaris Office that can access Box.net to open and view documents in word, excel or other extensions. Standard apps like a Calendar that syncs with Google, an alarm clock etc. are also present. What it could have used is a preloaded Ebook reader for one. But as freebies go the Optimus 2X really doesn’t have too much in the way of extras.
A few extras but nothing to write home about
The Optimus 2X is loaded with an 8 megapixel autofocus camera that comes with quite a few handy features like – White Balance, ISO settings up to 800, manual focus and face tracking, a few scene modes, color effects, timer and some special effects including LG’s Beauty Shot. An auto stitch Panorama mode is also on board and so is Geotagging.
Image quality isn’t anything spectacular, but the Optimus 2X can hold its own against the best of the 8MP camera phones out there. I found that in outdoor, well-lit conditions colors were well retained well enough and the level of detail, in native resolution, was quite sharp.
Colors look quite good
The flash tends to overdo it in most indoor locations and without a decent amount of lighting images look a little bit dull. That can’t be helped though, as most mobile phone camera sensors are not capable of doing too much better.
The Optimus 2X can record video in 1080p resolution @24 fps. The video quality is not too bad as mobiles go but the frame rate is a little too low and it’s quite evident in playback.
The 1500mAh battery is actually one of Optimus 2X’s better features. On a single charge the handset ran for over a day and a half with quite a bit of usage that included a little bit of photography, as well. Talk time averaged in at 5 hours.
8 Megapixel with full HD video recording
The Bottom Line
With a price tag of just Rs. 27,490 the LG Optimus 2X seems like a great choice all things considered. It does have quite a bit to offer even if it does lack a little in a few areas. In this price bracket though, for all that the 2X does come equipped with, it’s real value for money. Your only question should be – should you wait and see what’s next.
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