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May 30, 2011

LG Optimus 2X P990 Review

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.

optimus 2x

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.

optimus 2x

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.

optimus 2x

LG Optimus 2X
(LG P990) specs:
4.0″ IPS LCD display @ 480×800 pixels
ARM Cortex A9 1.0GHz dual-core processor (Tegra 2)
ULP GeForce GPU
8GB storage, 512 RAM
up to 32GB via microSD
3G/HSDPA
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
HDMI port
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.

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101 Responses to “LG Optimus 2X P990 Review”

  1. Jam.
    Twitter: jamancheta
    says:

    Tried that one on a Nvidia event. Even in Fruit Ninja THD. You can see the difference, Tegra games are better. Now, I can’t wait for Kal-el :D

  2. deuts
    Twitter: deuts
    says:

    Mukhang maganda nga itong LX Optimus 2X ah. Magkano ba ang regular retail price nito?

  3. Marvin says:

    Sir Yuga,
    the amount of ram on the optimus 2x is more than enough. it runs on a linux based OS it is not like windows. Linux or more specifically, FROYO does a very good work of managing your RAM.

    And sir Yuga, you don’t need task killers on FRoyo(or gb, HC). it will only ruin and damage your system and your battery. as i said earlier, froyo is capable of managing your ram.
    task killers are only designed for android 2.1 eclair and LOWER.

    a useful and informative link:
    http://geekfor.me/faq/you-shouldnt-be-using-a-task-killer-with-android/

    BTW.
    i own an optimus 2x and im loving it. :)

    • intersectRaven
      Twitter: intersectRaven
      says:

      I agree with Marvin. Android manages memory quite well without task managers and any app which is shutdown by a task manager could possibly be reactivated by the OS. :)

    • Jon
      Twitter: rand0m_insanity
      says:

      Well said. Likewise, since it is Linux-based, unlike Windows, having multiple processes running in the background does not use much of resources compared to Windows. Actually, if you observe it closely, it barely does use any resources. Killing it, and having it restarted just takes its toll on the battery eventually.

    • vince says:

      I agree… I have that application but it does nothing but to annoy me because of the icon on the notification bar. ended up uninstalling it.

    • Marvin says:

      Lol, did you know that the earphones included in the package is miles better than the earphones included on samsung, motorola, and HTC phones? you should go try the samsung one, they are horrible and is probably worth 20 pesos sa bangketa.
      the earphones included in the optimus 2x is very decent compared to those…
      main strength talaga ng ipod/iphone ang pagiging music player. given na yun.

    • alchemist says:

      ipod/iphone stock earphones are like bangketa items also. it’s a good news that optimus earphone is great.

  4. technobaboy says:

    i’ll probably get the HTC Sensation then

  5. avid0n3
    Twitter: avid0n3
    says:

    Don’t know if it’s the implementation of Firefox or the handling of Android… Have you experienced downloading files (say 80MB video), where the download stops because firefox shutdowns when you put them on the background?

    Nexus One user here, running Gingerbread (2.3.4)

  6. J
    Twitter: Jandale
    says:

    Sir Yuga, Magkano po ba to sa stores?

  7. OTW
    Twitter: OurTechieWorld
    says:

    Looks nice.. How much SRP?

  8. coollearner says:

    Got it also with 5k discount … specs and pricewise – sulit to -personally enjoying the phone – cant wait for the update to load on mine to see the dual core optimized

  9. michael says:

    This phone is so cooL.
    ang advantage talaga ng phone na to is gaming.
    wala akong masabe, i had a samsung galaxy tab and galaxy S before, may games na malag sa dalawang yan pero sa optimus 2x sobrang smooth.
    video and camera is good also. browsing is really fast and straightforward. smooth lahat except yung LG launcher pero pwede mo namang tanggalin yun then download na lang ng launcher pro. overall 8/10 score ko. siguro pag dumating gingerbread update baka maging 9.5/10 na sya. hehe :p

  10. Name: says:

    medyo malag ung UI

    • Marvin says:

      actually, yung HOmescreen lang Jerky. not necessarily the whole UI. that’s why it can easily be solved by using Launcher Pro(alternative homescreen launcher).

  11. Lrae says:

    base from the video medyo malag ung UI

    • Sortie says:

      i have one. You can easily uninstall the UI then download Launcher pro or adw ex just like what sir Yuga did on his optimus 2x. Looked how fluid and smooth it is after installing Launcher pro

    • coollearner says:

      just downloaded the launcher pro…yeah its smoother and better…excited on what else i can do with this device :)

    • marvin says:

      Hi. New ka lang po ba sa android? Madami ka pong pwedeng gawin sa phone mo. Hehe ang sakin umaabot na ng 5000 ang quadrant sobrang smooth ;)

    • coollearner says:

      yes marvin new lang ako sa android (halata naman) :) and am loving the things i’m learning everyday with the OS and the Optimus 2x

  12. light says:

    thank you very much for the review!

    It seems like a very nice phone. I think I’ll like that plastic with rubbery feel at the back :D

    • kebbot
      Twitter: kristian
      says:

      i love the rubbery feel too, but alam naman nating lahat hindi maganada to in the long run…… napepeel kasi kapag ganito…

    • light says:

      ah ganun? My nokia 6233 also has a plastic rubbery thing for its back and it hasn’t peeled off in 5 years. it did fade a lot but it doesn’t look that bad. Though I’m not sure if it’s made of the same material as the optimus2x’s

  13. Jhay says:

    So if I’m looking to for HD capabilities, the Optimus 2X is a good buy huh?

    Hmmm, now I can make a better decision whether or not to get this phone to replace my LG Optimus One.

  14. Air|danio
    Twitter: ConanLog
    says:

    http://bit.ly/iQS4wE ♕ Wow nice Phone, I wish I will have that..

  15. ferdinand marte says:

    for the money, the Super AMOLED Samsung phone is still the best. Tech-spec lover’s should just wait ’til Samsung releases new AMOLED phones.

    • Marvin says:

      the truth is.. the IPS display on the on the LG optimus 2x is better than that of the super amoled found on SGS(take note:super amoled not super amoled +)

    • ric says:

      I agree. IPS LG is the one used by iPhone with a bit of a tweak. Bale Retina ito and much better than S Amoled. Bright talaga sya

    • Zo says:

      I’m not really knowledgeable when it comes to cellphone screens, but from what i read, and advantage of a super amoled screen is that it has deeper blacks which gives it richer details.

      then there’s the IPS display of LG’s 2x, which you say is the brightest display out there.

      So i’m thinking maybe S-AMOLED isn’t targeting brightness but rather richness and depth in detail and IPS display is really going for brightness level?

      I’m basing my thought on what I’ve been reading, again i’m not an expert on screens :p Hoping you can give more insight on this :)

  16. Oni says:

    sir yuga ano n po nangyari sa samsung galaxy s2 wla p po b nilalabas na price?

    • Ligrev
      Twitter: Ligrev
      says:

      Saw one in Park Square. 42k nga lang. Didn’t bother to ask about the specs. OP!

  17. James
    Twitter: nimzodotph
    says:

    sakit sa ulo ang mga gadgets nato :)

  18. 21 says:

    LOL, EPIC fail background song..

  19. csseyah
    Twitter: goodfilipino
    says:

    nasa P27,990 po ang LG Optimus 2x sa store.. sana mapili ako sa online promo nila na 50% off discount ang ibibigay nila… nice nice

  20. jalvaran says:

    I bought this one the week it was released.

    I would give it a passing mark on visuals, though its a rushed device trapped on a froyo 2.2 its still pretty neat. Vibrant and very responsive capacitive screen. Its snappy on games, browsing, etc..

    My complaints would be the lower RAM, and the “tin can sounding music” it produces. Most reviews/reviewers like this one tend to neglect “what you hear from a device” and focuses much on “what you could see and feel” from it.

    As a music nut Optimus 2x gave me the biggest disappointment. On the same headset LG provided, (same song, bitrate, quality etc…) I compared how it sounds versus Iphone, IpodNano and it turned out a very disappointing blow for LG. Not only its PC suite will trap every song you have to a caveman 192kbps maximum quality, it will sound weak, fluffy even on the highest volume it could offer. It will turn guitar solos into sawmills and drums to clashing tin cans. This phone one is a big no no for a music critic.

    • Zo says:

      thanks for the great heads up man! appreciate it alot!

    • light says:

      Have you tried using a different pair of earphones? (like the one that came with your ipod) Maybe it’s just LG’s earphones that sucks.

      Though it sucks if that weren’t the case :|

  21. Cesar Noel
    Twitter: cesarnoel
    says:

    Nice Review. I’m sure some of the earlier releases will drop their prices. Been longing so an Android Phone for some time now.

  22. Cesar Noel
    Twitter: cesarnoel
    says:

    Nice Review. I’m sure some of the earlier releases will drop their prices. Been longing so an Android Phone for some time now.

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