The LG Thrill 4G has been a long time coming. First released to the European market as the LG Optimus 3D and then announced for AT&T at CTIA 2011, the Android smartphone has yet to hit the streets, but its launch seems to be imminent. With official pricing set at an attractive $99.99 with a two-year contract, the Thrill 4G offers a glasses-free 3D display, dual cameras for 3D photo and video capture, and preloaded games and video, and in a number of ways, the 3D experience is better than on the HTC Evo 3D. However, it also fails to impress in other areas, which limits its appeal.
At 5.07 inches tall by 2.67 inches wide by 0.47 inch deep and 5.93 ounces, the LG Thrill 4G is a good chunk of hardware. Not only is it tall and wide, but it's also quite hefty, so if you're not used to this size device, it will be an adjustment and, most likely, a turn-off altogether for some. That said, the phone has a very solid construction, and the tapered edges and soft-touch finish on back make for a nice overall feel.
There are various controls throughout the phone to help you navigate and perform tasks. Below the display are touch-sensitive buttons for the menu, home, back, and search functions. The right side features a volume rocker and a 3D button that launches the phone's 3D Space app; on the left spine, you'll find a Micro-USB port and an HDMI port, both of which are protected by an attached cover. A power/lock button and a 3.5mm headphone jack reside on top of the device.
On back, you'll find dual 5-megapixel cameras for capturing 2D and 3D photos and video. In addition, the Thrill has a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls and self portraits. Also, though it's not immediately apparent, the phone offers limited motion gesture support, so you can simply turn the phone over to mute an incoming call or to turn off or snooze your alarm.
The LG Thrill 4G comes packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a preinstalled 8GB microSD card, an HDMI cable, and reference material.
The Thrill 4G features a 4.3-inch, 800x480-pixel touch screen. It's not quite as sharp as the Evo 3D's qHD (540x960) Super LCD and is a bit of a fingerprint/smudge magnet. The display also tends to wash out a bit in bright sunlight. However, we generally found the display to be clear, bright, and responsive, and its larger size makes it great for viewing Web pages and videos. The Thrill offers two virtual keyboard options: Android or LG's own. Both are pretty easy to use, but we had a slight preference for the Android keyboard.
There's more than meets the eye when it comes to the Thrill's screen, though. Like the Evo 3D and Nintendo 3DS, the smartphone's display has a parallax barrier that allows it to display two different images on top of the screen to create a 3D effect without the use of glasses.
Overall, we found the 3D experience to be better on the Thrill 4G than on the Evo 3D because it offered more depth of field, meaning there was a bit more dimension in the background. By comparison, on the Evo 3D, it felt like only the objects in the foreground popped off the screen, while the rest of the image stayed flat.
We also liked that the Thrill comes preloaded with more 3D content and a dedicated 3D Space app. The latter acts as a hub where you can find 3D games, videos, apps, gallery, a user's guide, and camera access. Preloaded content includes 3D versions of such games as Let's Golf 2, Asphalt 6, and N.O.V.A., and a Gulliver's Travels pop-up book.
We watched a number of videos, both preloaded clips and from YouTube's 3D channel, and played a couple of games. As we noted before, the overall 3D effect was better than the Evo 3D, though the 3DS probably still offers the best 3D experience. With some content, you have the option of adjusting the 3D levels. Regardless, after a little while, we started getting dizzy and felt a headache coming on, so we had to put the phone down. To LG's credit, the phone displays a disclaimer before launching into 3D advising you to take a break if your eyes become tired or if you experience dizziness.
There are also limited viewing angles. You have to view the content pretty much dead on, otherwise you get a very blurry image and your eyes will go crazy trying to focus. We also discovered this while playing Asphalt 6. As we tilted the phone to navigate the car through the race course, the 3D effect was lost anytime we weren't driving straight, so it was kind of pointless to play the game in 3D.
The 3D photos and videos taken with the phone's stereoscopic camera were pretty decent, if not a bit pixelated. Interestingly, the Thrill allows you to apply 3D effects to a 2D image, but we found the quality is much better if you shoot in 3D from the get-go.