LG’s newest flagship will be released in the Philippines in a couple of weeks. It succeeds the Optimus 2X that took the multi-core record and LG has come back for a repeat. Check out our full review of the LG Optimus 4X HD after the jump.
NVidia played a huge role in bumping up the smartphone wars with its latest Tegra 3 chip. It’s the first one to come out with a quad-core processor that a lot of handset manufacturers were excited to use. Among them is LG and that’s what the Optimus 4X HD is using.
Design and Construction
Aside from the size, the Optimus 4X HD has not really departed from the same design signature that they used in the L-series as well as the earlier LG Prada 3.0.
The handset looks squarish, a bit rigid but with a little accents of texture and simplicity.
There are two variants that’s coming out — a black one and a white one with a thin silver lining around the side. The front panel is all covered with a thick sheet of glass with the 3 soft buttons found at the bottom end that shows up with the backlit on.
The top side houses the 3.5mm audio jac, the noise-canceling mic and the power button. The left side is where the volume rocker is positioned while the right side is completely bare. At the bottom end is the microUSB port and the microphone.
At the back is the large 8MP rear camera with the single LED flash, both of which are flushed all the way to the top left side. At the bottom end is the speakers. The back cover has that hard leather-like finish to it, much like the one we saw on the LG Prada 3.0.
The Optimus 4X actually looks really bare on the exterior but all that twin strip of silver and the texture polycarbonate body makes it feel somewhat sophisticated.
The handset is pretty thin though, measuring 132.4 x 68.1 x 8.9mm — it’s among the thinnest we’ve reviewed so far.
The HD display of the Optimus 4X is certainly something to consider. With a horizontal size of 4.7 inches and a resolution of 1280×800 pixels, the pixel density of 312ppi has given it that retina-display level of clarity.
The display is sharp and clear even if you crank it up to maximum brightness (which is good when watching videos and movies).
There’s the issue of glare, especially in outdoor scenarios but that’s a problem all other handsets have faced. You can increase the display brightness to maximum level to counter this but that’s at the expense of battery life.
OS and UI
As an Android smartphone, we expected the Optimus 4X to offer all of the basic features and functionalities of the OS. Of course, LG was free to add its own touches here and there, and they actually did although the customization are very subtle and kept it within hair’s length of the stock ICS.
The Optimus UI 3.0 has greatly improved and we’ve seen it work in the L-series that we reviewed before (Optimus L3 and Optimus L7). The one of the Optimus 4X HD is more fluid and smooth. We notice though that form time to time, hitting the App launcher causes that hour-glass status to appear for a split second (giving us the impression that there’s lag however insignificant it is).
In some areas, the Optimus UI 3.0 looks simple yet elegant. However, we find the execution of the icons and widgets needed little bit of creativity.
The virtual keyboard is simple, easy to use and well-spaced apart (the landscape mode is much wider too).
LG also added a number of really useful apps they’ve made just for the Optimus 4X. One is the Remote Call Service which allows an LG technical support to remotely access your phone, diagnose and repair it (like Remote Desktop for the PC). Another is a native Backup service and a Cell Broadcast service.
The Optimus UI has gone a long way and we’re kind of liking it already.
Multimedia and Camera
Audio quality is good but we weren’t really that impressed. The speakers are the back sounds good but is not loud enough at times. We’d suggest just using a headphone with when playing songs or watching movies.
The camera app also looks basic but actually has a lot of features and settings. There’s a nifty Time Machine Shot that captures 5 frames and allows you to pick a frame to use. Image quality of the photos doesn’t seem to be that good.
Video recording is up to 1080p and the quality looks good, basing on the clip we showed above.
Performance and Benchmarks
We’ve reviewed several devices running on NVidia’s Tegra 3 chip so we have a good idea on the performance of this handset.
First, it’s pretty kick-ass on gaming, thanks to that 12-core GPU engine that can do almost any hi-def and graphics-intensive games available on Google Play. NVidia also has the Tegra Zone which feature all of the games that are optimized for Tegra 3. The result is an almost console-level type of visual experience, albeit on a smaller screen.
As for our synthetic benchmarks, the Optimus 4X got a pretty good score of 3,849 on Quadrant and 11,210 on Antutu Benchmark.
Nenamark 2 gave it a 51.6fps score. The numbers a very close to the one we got from the HTC One X (the Optimsu 4X was better on Nenamark 2, the One X was better on Quadrant and both are tied on Antutu).
Call Quality and Battery Life
Call quality and signal reception on the handset is good. We did not experience any single call drops in the last 2 or 3 week sof daily use nor we encountered that muted voice when taking a call (where the other party can’t hear you but you hear them back really well).
Battery life of the Optimus 4X is impressive and we managed to get around 2 days of use on a single charge with moderate use (mostly calls and text with a little bit of internet and apps).
The Li-Ion battery is rated at 2150mAh, higher than the internal battery of the One X and even the Galaxy S3.
The Optimus 4X HD has shown a lot of promise and is certainly miles away from last year’s Optimus 2X. It’s got a fairly good mix of design, performance and battery life.
Its got some kinks here and there but the over-all build quality and the looks of the handset makes it handset to be considered.
The Optimus 4X HD has a suggested retail price of Php27,990 (street price could be lower). It’s the only quad-core handset that will be released and priced under the Php30k mark.
LG Optimus 4X HD LG-P880 specs:
4.7-inch IPS LCD display @ 1280×800 pixels, 312ppi
Tegra 3 1.5GHz quad-core processor
NVidia GeForce 12-core GPU
16GB internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band
Bluetooth 4.0 A2DP, LE
FM radio tuner
GPS w/ aGPS support
8MP autofocus rear camera
1080p video recording
1.3MP front-facing camera
2150mAh Li-Ion battery
Android 4.0 ICS, Optimus UI 3.0
132.4 x 68.1 x 8.9mm (dimensions)
133 grams (weight)
What we liked about it:
* Pretty good performance
* NFC support
* Long battery life
* Most affordable among the quad-core handsets
What we did not like:
* UI needs a bit of work
* Not so impressive camera