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Christmas Gift Guide

LG Optimus 2 is latest cheap Android phone

LG has quietly unveiled a new budget Android phone, the LG Optimus 2.

LG has quietly unveiled a new budget Android phone, the LG Optimus 2. It's the latest affordable and simple to use phone for those looking to dip a toe into the world of smart phones and apps.

The LG Optimus 2 runs Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread software, so you have five customizable home screens to personalise with apps and widgets. You can download apps from the Android Market and organise them into app categories. It seems at first glance that the Optimus 2 is relatively free of surplus bits and bobs added on to the basic Android skin by LG, which in theory means it'll be easier to get Android updates in future.

One handy app that comes with the phone is Swype, which lets you type by tracing your finger from letter to letter instead of tapping on every letter individually. It sounds odd but give it a try, it's life-changing.

The Optimus 2, also known as the LG Optimus 2 AS680, sports a 3.2-inch screen with a 480x320 resolution. Inside is an 800MHz chip with 179MB of memory, which you can boost to 32GB by sticking in a microSD card. A 2GB microSD card is included in the box.

It packs a 3.2-megapixel camera, which can focus automatically but doesn't come with a flash. The camera shoots video but LG hasn't provided details for the quality of the results, suggesting it's probably somewhat less than high definition.

The whole show is powered by a 1,500 mAh battery for 5 hours of chatting or 7 days of sitting around not doing very much of anything.

Bluetooth 3.0 is built-in for connecting to headsets, headphones, speakers or other kit.

Other LG Optimus phones include the budget LG Optimus Me P350, qwerty keyboard-packing LG Optimus Chat, and three-dimensional LG Optimus 3D. Incidentally, Optimus is the Latin word for 'best', but that might not stop toy manufacturer Hasbro from taking a swipe in LG's direction -- the company is suing Asus over the naming of the Asus Transformer Prime so we wouldn't blame them for objecting to LG's use of Optimus too.

No word on whether the Optimus 2 is popping over the pond to British shops, but we'll keep you posted.