My latest handset purchase is the LG Optimus 2X, dubbed as the world’s first dual-core Android smartphone which made it to the Guinness Book of World Records. Check out our full review of the Optimus 2X after the jump and see if it lives up to expectations and hype.
The Optimus 2X is the 2nd handset we’ve reviewed that sports a dual-core processor so we’ve had a good idea on what to expect.
The handset sports a pretty solid design and construction, has a bit of heft due to the metallic parts and thick glass display panel. With a respectable 4 inches display, the Optimus 2X is large enough although not as huge as the other 4.3-inch smartphones we’ve been seeing since late last year. The 10.9mm thickness is just about right — not too thick nor too thin.
The display screen has that dark, rich quality that offers vivid and clear images. It’s not the brightest we’ve seen but the amount of luminance is just right.
The glass for the display stretches out to the edges of the front panel and was shaved nears the side to give it a concave glass shape. As such, there is no room left for physical buttons except for some space at the bottom reserved for a touch-panel menu.
The back panel is mostly covered in plastic with a rubbery feel to it. There’s a stainless steel meta strip (with an engraving that says “with Google”) in the middle that protrudes a bit towards the top center housing the 8-megapixel camera and LED flash.
The volume controls are found on the upper right side while the power button and 3.5mm audio jack are found on top along with the mini-HDMI port hidden between the two. The two speakers are found at the bottom end along with the micro-USB port.
The device runs Android 2.2 Froyo out of the box but LG says it will be upgradeable via OTA once they release 2.3 soon. LG also added the Optimus UI as a skin on top of Android. The Optimus UI isn’t the best UI we’ve seen skinned on top of Android (and it’s very similar to the TouchWiz UI of Samsung) but that should not stop users to be able to load their own custom Home theme or Launcher.
You should be able to see the difference in the UI on the video below where the Optimus UI is shown from 0:17 to 0:57 while the LauncherPro is shown from 1:51 to 2:15. Notice that the apparent lag in the Optimus UI is not present in the LauncherPro skin which is snappy and very fluid.
Performance of the Optimus 2X is at par with most of the 1GHz Android smartphones already in the market. I am not seeing any noticeable advantage of the dual-core proc on the OS level alone. Apps run quite fast and switches smoothly and the device can also play 1080p full HD videos without much effort.
On the contrary, the amount of RAM the unit is allocated might be its biggest issue if anything else. On paper, it says it’s got 512MB but the actual available RAM is just 372MB only. In comparison, the HTC Desire has 220MB, the SE Xperia X10 has 280MB, the Galaxy S has 304MB while the Galaxy S2 has 833MB.
The amount of RAM now becomes a huge factor once the device loads up a lot of applications and services in the background. That should not be a huge bother though as long as you got Advanced Task Manager running as well so you can kill apps if you feel the device is already slowing down.
LG Optimus 2X (LG P990) specs:
4.0â€³ IPS LCD display @ 480Ã—800 pixels
ARM Cortex A9 1.0GHz dual-core processor (Tegra 2)
ULP GeForce GPU
8GB storage, 512 RAM
up to 32GB via microSD
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n; DLNA
8MP autofocus camera w/ LED Flash
1080p @ 24fps video recording
1.3MP secondary front-facing camera
GPS w/ aGPS support
1500mAh Li-Ion battery
Android 2.2 Froyo
Where the dual-core Tegra 2 chip really excels is in the multimedia and gaming department. Only very few smartphones can do 1080p video playback (and also record one as well). The Optimus 2X easily does both.
I loaded up TegraZone Games and downloaded a THD (Tegra HD) game called RipTide GP. The graphics on this game is almost console-quality and the handset renders them quite nicely (the rendering of the water is pretty impressive).
Sample 1080p videos recorded using the 8MP camera of the Optimus 2X below.
The recorded videos look good but is sometimes a bit choppy at 24fps. Recording at close range is a little harder since the camera could not focus well. Stills can be shot at 15cm away (the closest focusing distance).
Photo quality is good but not that great. There’s no on-screen focusing or a dedicated camera button n the side. I love the fact that they included a manual focus though (as a touch slider on the screen).
Another great add-on is the HDMI port built into the device that allows you to hook up the phone to an external display. That means you can watch the HD movies directly on a bigger screen or play Angry Birds on your TV. LG was nice enough to include a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable in the box.
The pre-installed browser does a nice job at rendering websites, music quality is great with a pretty loud volume coming from the two speakers at the bottom.
Battery life is decent with a good two days on a single full charge with light internet use. Of course, that could easily change depending on individual usage pattern.
Over-all, the LG Optimus 2X is in for a good start. The Tegra 2 chip has great promise especially in the gaming department as well as HD videos coupled with HDMI out. The low RAM allocation is a bit of a drawback but it’s not really a bother if you’re used to other previous smartphones in the same caliber. Yes, it feels a bit rushed just to get that Guiness title so LG needs to do some more work with the UI and tweak it to be more responsive. I hope that the Android 2.3 update would come soon and fix some of the little nitty-gritty details that needs polishing.
At a retail price of Php27,990, the LG Optimus 2X is a good buy and is so far the only dual-core smartphone currently available locally so there’s nothing else to compare it with. My guess is that it will still probably be the cheapest in its class even when the Samsung Galaxy S2 and HTC Sensation are launched next month.
Disclosure: LG Philippines is an advertiser on this blog. The unit used in this review was personally purchased by me with the Php5,000 promo discount.