Despite a slower processor, in use the LG Optimus One is fairly zippy. Flicking through menus is flawless and the CPU-optimising capabilities of Froyo means that most applications load relatively speedily.
The touchscreen is responsive and the added pixel density over the HTC Wildfire is obvious when playing games or video. As an adjunct to this, the newly releasedfor Android does run, but after 10 minutes or so it begins to chug. Using a multi-tasking tool like Advanced Task Killer may help to free up some resources.
Call quality was a little under par for what is, let's face it, still a telephone first. The earpiece is quite noisy, with appreciable static even when not on a call. It seems the company has attempted to combat this by employing noise reduction however this does more harm than good. If the voice on the other end is low enough, the noise reduction will cause the sound to strobe as if someone is turning the volume knob up and down quickly.
On the other hand, music sound quality produced by the handset was very good, but only if you upgrade the bundled headset with ... well ... anything else. The player itself is useable, but there are plenty of viable options available on the Android store.
We were impressed with the quality of the camera too which was able to deal well with some tricky lighting conditions, though low-light performance was as poor as can be expected with no flash. The video camera is serviceable — if you want better performance, invest in aor something similar.
Battery life was quite respectable for a smartphone with between one and two days between charges. Charging via a PC is predictably slow with a full charge taking five hours.
The phone comes with a number of applications, including its own App Advisor, and is mildly skinned. Most of the apps worked as advertised though we were disappointed with the voice recorder: it would record for as long as you wanted to but only to an arbitrary amount of time. Moral: don't rely on this for work!
Lastly, the GPS is not bad for free. While it can't compete with even a decent GPS — it can randomly shout "Left" when you're supposed to be travelling in a straight line — it's something that LG's competitors don't offer. (Just watch those cliff roads.)
We enjoyed our experience with the LG Optimus One. It may not offer the beefiest spec sheet or even the highest-resolution screen, but for the price it provides a weighty build and a decent user experience. The only thing it lacks is a bit of "pizazz", and this means it does little to stand out from the crowd of almost-identical Android handsets. If you're looking for something with a bit of personality you don't have to pay more, as the HTC Wildfire — and to a lesser extent the Legend — goes to prove.