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LG Optimus 2X will be free with some Vodafone contracts

Committing to a £30.65-per-month contract will secure you a free LG Optimus 2X smart phone, according to Expansys. Not bad for a dual-core smart phone with a 500-quid price tag.

LG's eagerly anticipated Optimus 2X smart phone will set you back £499.99 if you want to buy it SIM-free, according to online store Expansys. The site, however, has just added the option to get a free one if you sign up to a Vodafone contract.

The Optimus 2X now has a predicted release date of 21 March, reports Omio, dispelling previous hopes of a February release. The Android-based smart phone has been drawing oohs and aahs for its dual-core processor, not to mention its HD video capabilities.

Expansys now indicates that you'll be able to pick up a free Optimus 2X on a £30.65-per-month tariff -- although it lasts 24 months. Commit to £35.75 a month, and you can cut that to 18 months.

That doesn't necessarily mean, however, that you'll be able to upgrade to a 2X if you're already on a £30 Vodafone contract -- that's a separate deal.

When we got our hands on the handset during CES, we were impressed by its slick design, its HDMI-out port, and above all by its blazingly fast speed, thanks to that processor.

We were concerned the model on show in Las Vegas only ran the Android 2.2 Froyo operating system, but with a couple of months to go until the Optimus 2X's UK release, there's still time for LG to upgrade it to the lastest version, 2.3 Gingerbread.

It will set the scene for the next generation of Android smart phones, touting faster processors as a way to beef up everything from HD video to gaming. We sense Apple's engineers will be beavering away on a follow-up to the iPhone 4's A4 processor, in order to ensure this summer's iPhone 5 can compete.