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News

LG Optimus 2X review

The LG Optimus 2X couldn't have come sooner - we’ve been waiting for dual core smartphones to arrive for what seems like an age. LG has beaten the rest to the starting line, and the Optimus 2X crams in the features…

The NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor makes the LG Optimus 2X run like a dream. Sweeping through the seven home screens is fast and efficient. There are no long waits for web pages to render, and pinching one to zoom in leads to almost instantaneous results. 1080p video runs smoothly with no jerking (and the device supports a wider range of video formats than is normal for Android as well); opening apps is speedy. Working through and within apps in general is a fast, comfortable and slick process, and there’s clearly a lot more to come once developers really start to exploit its power and potential.

LG hasn’t stopped at the fast processor though and the Optimus 2X has a lot more on offer. Despite running Android 2.2 rather than the more up to date 2.3, there is a front facing camera, so that when the operating system upgrade does come along, you might be able to find software to support two way video calling.

There is an 8 megapixel main camera which captures full 1080p HD video – another first for a smartphone. And you can send that video to an external device thanks to the HDMI port that sits in the top edge of the handset chassis. Yes, LG does provide an HDMI cable.

The screen is large at 4 inches, its 480 x 800 pixels being sharp, clear and bright – ideal for all that high def video and media streaming. It does mean the LG Optimus 2X is large for the hands, and we weighed ours at close to 150g so it is going to be noticeable in your pocket too.

But the screen size has other benefits apart from being good for multimedia. Most notably the keyboard is large and easy to use even in portrait mode. Sadly the keys themselves have single functions so you have to use the shift key and second function keys to get to punctuation, which is a bind. It is one of several annoyance on the device.

Back to the plusses for a moment, though, and there are twin speakers on the bottom edge of the chassis which deliver pretty good quality sound if you tap the ‘virtual surround’ option in the music player. The notifications area offers music playback controls from within any app – as well as letting you toggle Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, speaker and even lock out screen rotation.

Where LG has lost the plot slightly is its attitude to apps. There is 8GB of on board storage – and a microSD card slot under the backplate. But only a shade over 5GB of that onboard storage is free. That’s because LG has put a lot of apps onto the device including a whole set that you have to install before you can actually use them. These include the Kindle ebook reader, Layar augmented reality browser and a number of games. There’s nothing you can’t already get from the Market if you want them, and they just take up space as they are, whether you use them or not.

Then there is LG’s App Advisor. This presents you with a small subset of apps in the Market that LG thinks might appeal to you, and regularly updates. It might suit those who can’t be bothered to browse the full Market, we suppose, but it is a far cry from the Market itself, which you can access easily enough from the handset.

Finally there is the battery. Even with a capacity of 1500mAh it may struggle to provide a full day of life if you want to make the most of all the richness on offer here. There is a large screen and hungry processor to feed, after all.

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