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T-Mobile G2x review: T-Mobile G2x

T-Mobile G2x

Nicole Lee Former Editor
Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.
Nicole Lee
8 min read


T-Mobile G2x

The Good

The <b>T-Mobile G2x</b> features a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor that delivers great performance. It also has a sharp design, plenty of multimedia features, and HSPA+ speeds.

The Bad

The T-Mobile G2x's photo quality did not meet our expectations. The call quality could also be slightly better.

The Bottom Line

The T-Mobile G2x's simple Android interface, blazingly fast speeds, and polished look make it the phone to beat in T-Mobile's lineup.

When LG introduced the world to the LG Optimus 2X late last year we were suitably impressed by its dual-core processor and multimedia capabilities, but because LG has a history of not importing its high-end devices into the U.S., we held out little hope that it would hop across the pond.

Fortunately, we were proved wrong. At CTIA 2011 in Orlando, Fla., LG introduced the T-Mobile G2x, which is essentially a T-Mobile USA-branded version of the Optimus 2X. Available now for $199.99 with a two-year contract, it boasts an impressive 1GHz Nvidia dual-core processor, great specs, support for T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, and all-around good looks. Sure, it's running Android 2.2 at launch, but LG promises it will be upgradable to version 2.3 in the future and Android fans will appreciate the stock Android interface.

Also notable is that the T-Mobile G2x is T-Mobile's first "G-series" phone not made by HTC (unlike the T-Mobile G1 and T-Mobile G2). This underscores T-Mobile's confidence in LG; we hope the G2x is the first of many excellent LG smartphones to make their marks on the U.S. market.

When you hold it in your hands, there is no doubt that the T-Mobile G2x is a premium handset. At 4.9 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 0.4 inch thick, the G2x features smooth, rounded corners and is clad in a matte soft-touch finish on the back, with a seamless piano-black face and attractive gunmetal-gray accents around the sides. At 5 ounces, the G2x also has a certain heft that gives it a solid and luxurious feel in the hand.

The T-Mobile G2x has a beautiful 4-inch WVGA display.

The 4-inch IPS touch-screen display is simply stunning. The WVGA resolution provides crystal-clear sharpness, with vibrant colors and impressive detail. This is especially evident when playing games and HD video. It's not quite as vivid as the Super AMOLED screen on the Samsung Galaxy S 4G or the qHD display on the Motorola Atrix 4G, but it still offers rich colors and great graphics.

The touch screen is really responsive, requiring only a simple tap for a touch to register, and thanks to the dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, we were also amazed by how zippy the navigation felt. Simple tasks like scrolling through a Web page or launching an application felt that much quicker. Even the accelerometer kicked in faster when switching from portrait to landscape mode. The G2x comes with a gyroscopic sensor as well.

Beneath the display are the usual Android shortcut keys in the form of touch-sensitive buttons for menu, home, back, and search. On the top right of the phone is the front-facing camera. There are a couple of external speakers on the bottom along with the Micro-USB charging port. The volume rocker is on the right, and the 3.5mm headset jack, HDMI port, and power/screen lock button are on the top. The microSD card slot is located behind the battery cover, but you don't need to remove the battery to access it. On the back of the phone are the camera lens and LED flash.

T-Mobile packages the G2x with an AC adapter, a USB cable, and reference material.

The T-Mobile G2x's feature set is an embarrassment of riches, with plenty of advanced smartphone technology that promises to provide speed and multimedia prowess. As we mentioned, it has the highly praised 1GHz Nvidia dual-core Tegra 2 processor. It does have only 512MB of RAM, but we didn't notice any performance drawbacks in real-world tests. Transitions between menus felt snappy, and we jumped through different points in an HD video clip with zero jittering.

To prove the strength of the Nvidia Tegra 2 processor even further, LG has included the Nvidia Tegra Zone app with the phone. The app lets you easily find, purchase, and download games that take advantage of the Nvidia processor. The G2x comes with Nova and Need for Speed Shift, and we have to say that both games performed very well in our initial tests. Graphics were very smooth and we experienced zero lag time during gameplay.

Because of all this power, it's no surprise that the G2x comes equipped with multimedia features galore. It has a Micro-HDMI port so you can hook up the phone to a big-screen television, and with mirroring mode, you can see on the TV whatever is on your phone. If you want to go wireless, the G2x also supports DLNA, a technology that lets you share media on your phone with other DLNA devices wirelessly. The G2x also comes with T-Mobile TV, a T-Mobile service that gives you access to live and on-demand TV.

If you would rather watch your own movies, the G2x comes with 8GB of internal storage. This might not seem like a lot, but you can load additional media onto a microSD card--the phone supports up to 32GB of extra storage. To get content onto your device, you can treat the phone like a mass storage device by dragging and dropping media, or you can use the DoubleTwist software to sync content wirelessly.

The T-Mobile G2x has an 8-megapixel camera and LED flash on the back.

One of the other benefits of the dual-core processor is that the phone supports full HD 1080p video playback. In addition, the G2x can record video in 1080p with its 8-megapixel camera. The short video clips we recorded looked pretty impressive, considering they are from a phone. We don't think video quality quite compares to that of a professional quality camera, but for family videos or simple YouTube clips, it works great.

The T-Mobile G2x takes good photos, but they're not as colorful as we hoped.

As for the still camera, photo quality was good but not as great we had expected. The autofocus works to sharpen image quality, but the colors still looked a little dull. Low-light photos improved with the use of the LED flash, but images were more washed out than we would like. The camera does have plenty of settings to assist you in getting the best possible photo, however. You can adjust the resolution, the focus mode, the scene mode, the ISO, the white balance, the color effect, the image quality, the stabilization, the timer, and more. You can also geotag photos to remind yourself where you took them.

The front-facing camera doesn't take very good photos, but that's because it's meant mostly for video calls. The G2x comes with Qik Video Chat so you can try this feature out as soon as you get it. You can make video calls over Wi-Fi and regular cellular airwaves as well.

Beyond the multimedia goodies, the G2x has plenty of regular smartphone features, too. It's a quad-band world phone with a speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, text and multimedia messaging, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. We're happy to see that it can make calls over Wi-Fi. The G2x can also be used as a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot for up to five devices. If you wish, you can tether the phone to your laptop over Bluetooth. Do note that T-Mobile charges around $15 a month for this privilege.

Perhaps one of the best features of the phone is that it ships with a native version of Android 2.2 Froyo. It's not the latest 2.3 Gingerbread firmware, but as it is stock Android, the G2x is absolutely upgradable. The interface is clean and purely Android, without any complicated skins or overlays. We definitely prefer this over the more customized interfaces as it contributes to the snappy feel during navigation. The T-Mobile G2x comes with both the basic Android keyboard and Swype.

Like all Android phones, the G2x supports all the standard Google apps and services. It can also handle Microsoft Exchange and POP3 and IMAP accounts. Froyo lets you integrate your contacts with various social networks, save apps to SD cards, and voice dial over Bluetooth, and it supports Flash Player 10.1 in the browser.

Last but certainly not least, the T-Mobile G2x supports T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. Though not technically 4G, it does provide 4G-like speeds with theoretical peak speeds of up to 14.4Mbps. As you might expect, we didn't quite achieve that upper limit, but we were still mightily impressed with what we got. You can read more about that in the Performance section below.

We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) T-Mobile G2x in San Francisco. Call quality was good on the whole, but we experienced the occasional dip in voice quality. On our end, we thought our callers sounded very natural without too much static and very little background noise. On the other end, however, callers said that while they could hear us clearly, they thought our voice had a slight fuzzy quality to it. They said that the volume level was good. As for speakerphone quality, callers said our volume dropped quite a bit now and then, so we had to speak up at times.

T-Mobile G2x call quality sample Listen now:

As we mentioned, the overall performance of the G2x was very impressive due to the 1GHz Nvidia dual-core Tegra 2 processor. Some might expect that the only 512MB of RAM would slow it down, but we experienced very little lag.

We also tested the phone's HSPA+ or "4G" speeds in San Francisco. We managed to load the full CNET page in around 8 seconds, the mobile BBC site in 9 seconds, and the mobile ESPN page in 3 seconds. Though we didn't reach the theoretical 14.4Mbps speeds, we did get roughly 4.2Mbps down and 1.2Mbps up, which is still pretty impressive. As for Flash video, we managed to play a couple of HD-quality videos on CNET TV, but not without a tiny bit of lag at the start of the videos. Aside from that, we experienced no buffering issues.

The G2x ships with a 1,500mAh lithium ion battery with a rated battery life of 7 hours of talk time and 12 days of standby time. Our tests revealed a talk time of 6 hours and 31 minutes.

Anecdotally, we were able to get a full day's worth of use from the smartphone before having to charge the battery. We performed the standard tasks of checking e-mail, looking up directions on the map, and browsing the Web for a little bit to check baseball scores. There were stretches of time when the phone dropped down to 2G speeds in certain areas of the city, so that might have affected the battery life. We'll have to perform our own battery tests to be sure.

According to FCC radiation tests, the G2x has a digital SAR of 0.82 watts per kilogram.

With its dual-core processor, HSPA+ speeds, stock Android interface, and solid polished design, it's easy to see why the T-Mobile G2x won our Best of CTIA award in the phones category this year. While it does have a few failings, the pros far outweigh the cons, making the G2x one of the best Android phones on the market today. The T-Mobile G2x is also quite affordable, at around $199.99 with a two-year contract. If you prefer not to get a contract, it costs quite a bit: $499.99 retail.

Correction, Tuesday at 10:35 a.m. PT: We've since learned that the G2x does come with Swype built in and have updated the review to reflect that.


T-Mobile G2x

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 9Performance 9