While it might seem like LG is losing a little traction on the mobile front, it hasn’t stopped the company from launching new devices. The latest to hit India is the Optimus L9 smartphone and this is the P765 variant. It’s a neat looking device, but that’s never a good reason to make a purchase. So we put the L9 to the test and here are our findings. 

Form Factor

As stated, the P765 looks good, but unfortunately, is not built the same. It’s light weight (125 g) and 9.1 mm in depth, making it easy on the hand and in the pocket, but the build quality could have been so much better. The rear panel feels a little on the cheap-ish side and, unfortunately, transcends throughout the handset. The entire chassis of the device feels a little low-end and will make you seriously wonder about the price tag. The Home button placed just below the display is very Samsung-esque but nowhere near as well designed. It’s embedded a little too much into the body, and being so narrow makes it a little difficult to access. On either side of the button are Android soft touch keys. 

9mm in depth

9 mm in depth

On the right hand side of the handset is a small power/sleep mode button that’s placed in a spot that’s easy to access. The volume rocker is on the left, parallel to the power button. The microUSB port is placed at the centre at the bottom of the handset and the handsfree socket at the top on the left. A 5MP camera with an LED flash is on the rear, with a VGA camera up front near the company logo. It was disappointing to see that LG opted to have the SIM (standard size) available via Hot Swap, but the memory card without the same advantage. The L765 comes with 4GB of onboard memory with the capability of expansion up to 32GB via microSD cards. 

Home button could have been better designed

Home button could have been better designed

The 4.7-inch IPS touchscreen features a QHD (540 x 960) resolution, which is quite vibrant and quite legible in bright sunlit locations. We were impressed with the design, but not the build. 

Features and Performance
Interface 

LG’s shipping the P765 with ICS (Android 4.0.4) running off of a dual-core 1GHz processor and 1GB RAM. There was a slight delay in some aspects of functionality, but overall, it handled functions very well. The UI was reasonably fluid, but with Jelly Bean, we’re sure there would have been a visible difference. The way things are currently, an ICS device launched in this price bracket sticks out like a sore thumb. 

The Optimus UI has some very handy features

The Optimus UI has some very handy features

The Optimus UI has a few borrowed tweaks from the edition on the Optimus G handset. These include the QuickMemo function that lets you write details, phone numbers etc. on any screen with your fingers. It can be quite handy if you’re on a call and need to take down a telephone number or such. The memo can be left on screen while you go about your regular features, or it can be saved or shared via any medium available. In the Running Apps menu, you have an option to “Kill All” or access the Task Manager feature. 

The App drawer allows for folder creation by simply dragging and dropping apps on top of each other. You can then name folders as you see fit. The Lock Screen also has a few widgets of its own, including a variety of clock interfaces with a calendar and a set of four frequently-used or quick access apps. You can choose which apps you would like to have on the lock screen.

In terms of Benchmarks, the handset performed adequately but didn’t quite stand out. Linkpak scores put it at 36 MFLOPS on Single Thread and 50 on Multi Thread, which is really nothing to write home about. Here are the NenaMark 2, Quadrant and AnTuTu scores:

NenaMark2 Scores for the L9 P765

NenaMark2 Scores for the L9 P765

Quadrant Scores for the L9 P765

Quadrant Scores for the L9 P765

AnTuTu Scores for the L9 P765

AnTuTu Scores for the L9 P765

Media

The P765 comes sans the Dolby Mobile sound engine, so audio quality isn’t as good as we hoped. While decibel levels are not something that we can complain about, we noticed that the higher frequencies, even with presets like Bass Boost activated, were a little on the sharper side. The bass could have been a little heavier. 

Media functionality overall was quite decent

Media functionality overall was quite decent

The handset's video player proved to be quite impressive. It managed to read quite a few file formats, including MKV minus audio, a few AVI files and MP4 amongst a few others. Full HD test files played without a hitch and with no visible lag or framing. The built-in sound recorder worked quite well too. Within a radius of two feet, audio quality proved to be quite sharp. The FM radio took no more than 10 seconds to scan and locate all available stations, and reception was quite decent even while commuting. 

Connectivity

The LG L9 P765 is a 3G-supported handset with Wi-Fi capabilities as well, ranging from Wi-Fi Direct to DLNA and Hot Spot sharing. Naturally, EDGE and GPRS are fully supported. LG has included a couple of apps for Sharing – File Share (Wi-Fi Direct) and Smart Share (DLNA). Other connectivity features include Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS with A-GPS support for Google Maps and all corresponding apps. The usual barrage of Google-centric apps is onboard and newer ones like Keep, Movies and Books can be downloaded off the App Market. A few extras like BIGFlix and Weather updates, a News Reader, Cell Broadcast service and LG’s RemoteCall Service for customer support help are all preloaded onto the handset. 

Some useful connectivity features are preloaded

Some useful connectivity features are preloaded

Misc. Features

A few extras in the form of apps like Backup, which allows you to store and back up all LG settings and services as well as your own data, a File Manager and Finance app for Yahoo! Finance are thrown in. A memo pad and Polaris Office are also preloaded. The usual mobile phone apps like a calculator, calendar and alarm clock are also onboard. 

Some useful apps have been preloaded onto the device

Some useful apps have been preloaded onto the device

Camera

The 5 megapixel camera loaded up onto the LG L9 P765 is equipped with quite a few settings. To start off with, it features a voice-activated shutter release, wherein words like Cheese, Smile, Whisky, Kimchi and LG would capture images. Oddly, though, these specific words didn’t quite do much; however, during conversations between ourselves with the handset left in this mode, we noticed the flash going off several times. None of the above words were spoken. There’s a Burst Mode feature that captures six images in quick succession and lets you choose the best of the lot. Regular features like Scene modes, ISO settings, White Balance, Color effects, a self timer and GeoTagging are also available. The auto-stitch Panorama mode was well-designed to work seamlessly, but stitching issues were noticed. 

Regular images shot in outdoor conditions were ok. There was enough focus in most places, but sometimes the colours bunched together, like leaves on trees tend to look a little pastel and blended together. 

Standard outdoor image in Auto mode

Standard outdoor image in Auto mode

Thanks to touch focus, the camera delivers a pretty decent depth of field for macro shots even in low light conditions. 

Macro images in low light with depth of field looking quite good

Macro images in low light with depth of field looking quite good (click image for a better view)

In low light conditions too, the camera managed to perform well enough. 

Videos can be recorded in full HD, i.e. 1080p and quality was not bad at all. You also have the option of capturing images while recording a video. The video recorder has similar settings you can use for backgrounds etc., provided there’s enough of light and stable colours. 

Battery

Saddled with a 2100 mAH battery, the LG P765 proved to be just about adequate. With 3G and Wi-Fi, and an hour of video in the mornings, the battery dropped to 50 percent by around 11.00 AM after being unplugged at 100 percent at 6.30 AM. In our Video drain test, the L9 lasted all of 6 hours and 25 minutes (give or take), which is a little below average. Next, we ran our tech2 loop test where the handset pushed through the first loop consisting of 1 hour of talk time, 2 hours video, 2 hours audio and 2 hours of streaming (audio). It lasted into the second loop where it ran for 1 hour of audio and about 20 minutes of video before shutdown. That totalled in at just 8 hours and 25 minutes of usage with Wi-Fi on. 

No hot swap for the memory card but there is one for the SIM card

No hot-swap for the memory card, but there is one for the SIM card

The Bottom Line

The price tag on the LG L9 P765 is Rs 18,000 (MOP), which doesn’t quite seem justified, all things considered. With devices like the Wammy Passion, Canvas HD, Wammy Titan II and even the Samsung Galaxy Grand, the P765 seems overpriced for the features. It may be significantly lighter than the rest, but that’s also because it’s lighter in terms of features. The others mentioned are in the same price bracket and are loaded with far greater specs, including Jelly Bean as the running OS version, 8 megapixel cameras and, in some cases, quad-core processors. With devices like these, which also have slightly better build qualities, the LG L9 doesn’t stand much of a chance except with true loyalists—of course, with a little bit of convincing.

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