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LG Optimus 2X review:

LG Optimus 2X

(Credit: CBSi)

Media and the web

With its Tegra processor, the Optimus 2X is extremely capable at both online activities and multimedia. Running on Android 2.2 means that this headset is Flash compatible and that it makes use of a very good mobile web browser. Accessing mobile sites like YouTube and Vimeo is both easy and fast, though we would recommend you switch Flash playback to on-demand for best performance in everyday browsers (browser settings > Enable Plug-ins > On demand).

The Optimus 2X is also a well-rounded media player, with 8GB of storage and file support for DivX, XviD, H.264, MP4 and WMV video, plus MP3, ACC, WAV and WMA audio. Video playback in particular is fantastic, with fast execution of files and seamless timeline skipping even on high-resolution files. This becomes important when you put the handset's HDMI-out port to the test. Once connected to a TV the 2X mirrors on the second screen what you see on your handset. Playing movies looks and works extremely well, the only thing to keep in mind is once you output a high-resolution image to the TV screen you will see a dip in the performance across the system. This is nothing to be too concerned about, we still found that processor-intensive tasks, like games, didn't suffer too much, if at all.

When you first connect the 2X to a PC you'll be prompted to install the latest version of LG PC Suite off of the phone's internal memory. With PC Suite you can sync and back-up contacts, messages and media created on the phone, but we were disappointed that the software doesn't transcode and optimise video on your computer before pushing it to the handset. The backup features are great, but if you only use PC Suite for media transfers it is simpler to just drag-and-drop files from your PC.

Performance

As we've mentioned several times already, the Optimus 2X is a fast smartphone. We did notice some minor animation stutter while the phone caches elements of the home screen and menus when you first power-up the phone, but after this, if your experience is like ours, it should be smooth sailing all the way. That said, we'll be very interested to see how the phone performs after LG pushes out the upcoming Android 2.3 Gingerbread update, with all the code tweaking and stability enhancements Gingerbread brings.

Speaking of firmware, we have read numerous reports of software instability with the 2X, with early adopters in Europe and South Korea complaining about their handsets randomly rebooting as often as once a day. Even our friends at Ausdroid had this experience with an imported handset. The good news is that these issues appear to have been ironed out in a recent firmware patch and that all new Australian stock should work as intended. We haven't experience a single reboot or crash during the weeks we have been testing the 2X and, fingers crossed, neither should you.

The battery life that we experienced using the 2X averaged out at about 16 hours between charges, which is not terribly exciting, but it is better than the battery life we've seen from other dual-core smartphones so far this year. We didn't have any difficulty getting through a busy day with the 2X, but we always put it on the wall charger before going to bed in the evening.

Overall

There is a lot to like about LG's first dual-core smartphone. The combination of its superb display and excellent performance should be enough to satisfy most people looking for a top-tier smartphone, but once you add its excellent media playback and HDMI output, we think you'll find a phone that represents excellent value, especially at LG's RRP of AU$649.

It's not quite perfect, of course. We wish the camera was better and we'd like to see more internal storage included, plus its physical design lacks the flair we had come to expect from LG's design team, but these are minor quibbles in regards to everything this phone does right. Plus, a quick scan of the XDA forums suggests this is an easy phone to root and tinker with, an important consideration if you're looking for a phone to modify with custom software.

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