LG is probably a brand you have throughout your house; in your living room, your kitchen and your laundry, but it's unlikely, given its local market-share, that you carry an LG in your pocket or purse. The Korean jack of all trades has long produced phones with style and a focus on media, but mostly without guts. Well, not any more. In 2011, LG is hoping to turn the tide on its co-patriots Samsung and make a dash for smartphone supremacy with the latest.
Perhaps the most unremarkable part of the Optimus 2X is its physical design. As we continue on through this review we'll highlight tech firsts and class-leading features, but none of these pertain to the look and feel of the phone. At 10.9mm, the 2X is on the chunky side where many of the top dogs have produced phones slimmer than 9mm. It's heavier too, at 139g, adding 20 per cent to the weight of the.
There are two standout features to take note of, however. Firstly is the HDMI-out port on the top of the handset, used to mirror the phone display on a large screen display, like a TV or computer monitor. This feature works well, with the output image capable of presenting up to 1080p resolution.
If you don't feel ready to plug your phone into the telly, or you can't be bothered forking out for a micro HDMI cable (LG doesn't include one in the box), you'll be left staring at the handset's 4-inch WVGA display, and what a beautiful display it is. LG employs its In-Plane Switching (IPS) LCD technology in this panel, similar to the screens the company reportedly sold to Apple for its iPhone Retina display, and the results are equally good here. The colours are rich and bright, the blacks are decent, the screen is sharp and clear. Even when you view the screen off-axis you still get a great image. LG also opts for Corning Gorilla Glass, so this stunning screen should be safe from the keys in your pocket.
LG powers the 2X with a suitably sized 1500mAh battery and includes a microSD card slot under the battery cover so that you can expand on its 8GB of internal storage with up to 32GB using a third-party microSD memory card..
Previous LG smartphones have been almost universally tainted by bad user experiences. Either LG bakes in a clunky, confusing custom UI, as it did in the past with phones like the LG Arena, or, as it's done with earlier Androids, it avoids contributing to the user experience altogether. The 2X is the first time we can remember enjoying our time using an LG smartphone. The Android system has been customised, but not to the detriment of usability or speed. The 2X is astonishingly fast, and the LG UI layer on top of Android is well thought out with some great short cuts hidden across the home screens and app drawer.
For example, when you pull down the notifications windows you'll find quick settings toggles for Wi-Fi, GPS, auto sync, screen brightness and a screen orientation lock. This is a simple addition, but it saves you cluttering up the home screens with similar tools and helps to remind you of the ways you can extend your battery life. LG has also incorporated a pinch preview for its seven home screens, allowing the user to reveal thumbnails of all active windows with a pinching gesture on any home screen. We also like the new options in the app draw, with three ways to lay out your various pages of apps, and the option to delete apps from within the app drawer using the "edit" option, rather than having you dig around in the system settings for the Manage Applications menu.
Given the slick, fast UI and the glorious screen, we were a bit disappointed when we discovered the performance of the 8-megapixel camera wouldn't match this pleasing trend. It's a passable shooter, with a flash, autofocus and the range of software tweaks we're used to seeing in a camera phone, but the pics it takes are nothing to write home about. The camera is reasonably fast, and the focus is good, but the sensor struggles with bright light sources, and colour reproduction tends to be pretty flat and dull.