Swedroid has published a two minutes video of the LG Nexus 4, which will be Google’s flagship handset for Android 4.2. The video shows LG’s first Nexus handset up close, and to be quite honest, it looks gorgeous. It is undoubtedly the best-looking smartphone that has come out of LG’s stables in the recent past. The video also gives us a brief glance of Android 4.2. We get our first look at Quick Settings. This feature will be accessible through a button in the notification bar, and as the name suggests, it will provide quick access to various frequently used settings. Check out the video yourself, and don’t forget to let us know what you think of the new Nexus handset.
LG announced its earnings for Q3 2012, with its third quarter of “positive net income”, which it apparently considers a big enough achievement to brag about it in its press release. Maybe it is, considering how everyone except Apple and Samsung is getting crushed in the smartphone space. But I digress. Anyway, LG made a net profit of $138.57 million on revenue of $10.93 billion, which was down 4% year-over-year. Its operating profit was $195.06 million.
The revenue split between divisions was as expected.
LG Home Entertainment Company generated third-quarter 2012 sales of $4.84 billion, while LG Mobile Communications Company generated sales of $2.16 billion. LG Home Appliance Company saw its revenue increase to $2.53 billion, while LG Air Conditioning and Energy Solution Company saw sales decline to $859.66 million.
Here’s what most relevant to us from their press release:
“LG Mobile Communications Company improved significantly in the 2012 third quarter, recording operating profit of KRW 22 billion (USD 19.42 million) due in large part to healthy sales of LTE smartphones in Korea, Japan and the United States. In addition, Optimus L-Series continued to expand into 3G markets, contributing to the sales increase. Revenues increased by 5 percent quarter-to-quarter to KRW 2.45 trillion (USD 2.16 billion) as shipments exceeded 14 million units, an increase of 9 percent from the previous quarter. The company expects to further increase its shipments and revenue in the fourth quarter with the global launch of the Optimus G superphone and sales of Optimus Vu: 2 in Korea.”
via LG Newsroom
Samsung invented the ‘phablet’ segment, which consists of high-end smartphones with displays that are bigger than what you would expect in phones, but aren’t quite big enough to qualify as a tablet. I am not a big fan of phablets, which are invariable too huge to be used comfortably as a phone. However, as the popularity of the Galaxy Note has shown, millions across the world don’t have the same reservation. The strong performance of Note has prompted others to try their luck with phablets. LG was among the first movers with its Optimus Vu, which was announced towards the beginning of this year at the MWC. Now, after a prolonged wait, the Vu is finally here in India.
In an event held in New Delhi, LG launched the Optimus Vu. The Vu runs on a quad core 1.5 GHz Tegra 3 processor, and sports a 5-inch display with a resolution of 768 x 1024 pixels. Memory card slot is not present, but the 32 GB internal storage should be good enough for most users. The 8 megapixel rear cam is capable
of snapping 1080p videos at 30fps, while the 1.3 MP front cam is good enough for video calling. On the software front it is Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) running LG’s Optimus UI.
Vu is an interesting device, and a commendable effort from LG. On the hardware front, the P895 is extremely competitive. However, I wish that LG had introduced it earlier in the Indian market. LG International has already announced the Optimus Vu II for Korea. The Vu is launching with a price tag of Rs. 34,500, and will probably cost a thousand bucks less in the market. The Galaxy Note 2 is available for Rs. 37,000, while the original Note is available for Rs. 31,000. Vu’s biggest strength is its price. It will make everyone looking to buy the original Note think twice, and might also eat into Note 2’s sales. It’s about ten percent cheaper than the Note 2, and its Tegra 3 is in the same league as Samsung’s Exynos 4412. The Note 2 is easier to grip, runs Jelly Bean, supports microSD cards, and has a bigger battery. The Optimus Vu is prettier and cheaper, with Jelly Bean scheduled to come next year.
Today, a couple of pictures of what is apparently the Nexus handset from Sony have made its way on Picasa. As of now, there is no way of confirming whether these pictures are real or are fake.
While there is no Nexus or Xperia branding on the handset, the picture of the handset showing off the stock Android 4.x home screen is enough to fuel the rumors that this might be the Nexus handset from Sony.
Earlier this year, Wall Street Journal had reported that Google will apparently be launching multiple Nexus handsets at the end of the year. Since then, rumors about the Nexus handsets were too far and few until October started. Since the beginning of October, the pictures and other details of the next Nexus handset from LG have made their way to the Internet, almost daily.
The lack of leaks and rumors as to the Nexus handsets from other OEMs suggested that there will only be one Nexus handset from LG this year, but the above pictures, if true, suggest that Google might just unveil multiple Nexus handsets this year.
As a religious Android follower, I doubt the authenticity of the above pictures. If there were indeed multiple Nexus handsets this year, some information would have leaked about them by now.
Via – Xperia Blog
LG today announced via a press release that it will soon start rolling out the Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean update for some of its devices. LG has hardly updated its handsets to Ice Cream Sandwich, with only the Korean version of the Optimus 2X tasting Android 4.0 until now.
The first handset from LG to receive the Jelly Bean update will be the Optimus LTE II. The handset should taste Jelly Bean next month, but LG is known to delay its Android OS updates, so don’t get your hopes too high. Second in the list is the LG Optimus G, which should taste Jelly Bean sometime in December.
Last, and hopefully not the least, are the Optimus Vu and Vu II devices. LG will update them to Jelly Bean sometime in the Q1 of next year, which shows how slow the company is in rolling out updates for its high-end devices.
Surprisingly, the LG Optimus 4X HD was missing from LG’s press release, which is shocking considering the handset was the Korean maker’s flagship handset for sometime in 2012. If the list is anything to go by, it looks like LG won’t be updating any of its 2011 handsets to Jelly Bean including the Optimus 2X and the Nitro HD.
The Jelly Bean update will bring with it Google Now, minor UI tweaks, Project Butter along with some new apps from LG including Q Slide.
Before October started, the rumor mill was surprisingly pretty silent about the next Nexus handset from Google. Thankfully, October had a explosive start in terms of Nexus rumors with the specs of the LG Optimus G based Nexus from Google leaking out.
Today, a bunch of blurrycam pictures of the LG Nexus handset has hit the Internet showing off the device running Android 4.1.2. The pictures of the LG E960 dubbed mako first made its way on XDA forums, before Android Central and other blogs got some more pictures of the device. In some pictures, the phone is inside a case probably to keep its design away from the prying eyes.
The pictures confirm that the next Nexus from LG will sport a non-removable battery, a 4.7-inch screen with 1280×768 resolution and on-screen navigation buttons. The handset looks like a mash-up of Galaxy Nexus and the Optimus G, and to me, looks pretty sleek and sexy. It is not clear from the pictures whether the back of the phone is made of glass or glossy plastic, though.
The FCC documents suggest that the LG Nexus will support only AT&T’s 3/4G LTE bands in the United States. Hopefully, Google will also release a penta-band version of the LG Nexus handset especially since the MD915 modem inside the handset is perfectly capable penta-band baseband.
Don’t forget to hit the sources below for more pictures.
Before October started, the rumors and information surrounding the next Nexus was surprisingly very low. However, October has had an explosive start in terms of Nexus news and rumors. Taylor of Android and Me, and now, Paul of Modaco have got confirmed news from their 100% trusted sources that LG will be making the next Nexus handset. At the moment it is unsure whether there will be multiple Nexus handsets from multiple OEMs or not.
According to the tip that Paul and Taylor have got, the LG Nexus handset will sport specs similar to the LG Optimus G, which means that we may finally have a Nexus handset that is actually ahead in terms of raw power compared to other Android devices rather than being behind them.
Below are the rumored specs of the next Nexus handset from LG as posted by Paul -:
- The device is based on the Optimus G but doesn’t look the same
- Updated Android release (currently 4.2)
- Quad Core Snapdragon S4 processor
- 2GB RAM
- 1280×768 True-HD IPS screen
- On screen soft keys (of course)
- 8 Megapixel Camera
- No microSD slot
- 8GB and 16GB versions only (at least initially)
- Non-removable battery
- Wireless charging built in
- The retail name of the device is yet to be decided.
While a quad-core Krait and 2GB of RAM sound really good, only 16GB of internal memory and no microSD card slot sounds really bad. With the size of Android games reaching up to 3.5GB, and averaging around 1-2GB, 16GB is just not enough. I really hope Google unveils a 32GB variant of the handset as well, and skips the 8GB version since I doubt it will find many takers.
The handset is expected to be launched sometime in mid-November so there is still quite a lot of time left for leaks, rumors, blurry cam pics and the official announcement from Google itself.
The LG Optimus 4X HD has a lot riding on its shoulders. Until the Optimus G arrives, the 4X will have to bear the responsibility of keeping LG’s head high in front of giants like the Galaxy SIII, the One X, and the iPhone 5. Thankfully, at least on paper, the Optimus 4X HD looks well equipped to go head to head against the latest and greatest smartphones from its competitors. Let us find out if the actual product lives up to its specifications.
The LG Optimus 4X uses a lot of plastic, but doesn’t feel cheap and flimsy in the way the Galaxy SIII does. LG has eschewed the conventional smooth curves in favor of a design with sharp corners that exude boldness. Its prism-edged design with intricately patterned back cover and a double rimmed frame lends it a more premium feel, besides making the phone easier to grip. The One X is still the winner in terms of comfort factor, and also would have won hands down in the looks department, if not for the frog-eyed lens. However, as things stand now, I find the Optimus 4X HD to be more appealing than both the One X and the Galaxy SIII.
Unfortunately, the Optimus 4X has one major design issue. There is absolutely no buffer space between the display and the capacitive buttons – in other words, the buttons begin as soon as the screen ends. This can lead to some extremely frustrating experiences. If even the tiniest portion of your finger touches the Home button while you are trying to tap the space bar, you will be instantly taken out of whichever application you were using and to your launcher’s home screen. After using the 4X HD for a couple of weeks, I sort of trained myself to steer clear of the capacitive buttons while typing, but I am sure that LG has accelerated my balding process.
The LG Optimus 4X has a 4.7-inch True HD-IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels (312 ppi). Any display with a pixel density greater than 300 should be stunning, and the Optimus 4X doesn’t disappoint. It uses RGB display matrix, which should (at least in theory) lend it an advantage over the Galaxy SIII, which has a pentile matrix. However, I couldn’t distinguish individual pixels in either of the displays. The Optimus 4X HD display is bright – I mean really bright. It has excellent outdoor visibility, and the viewing angles are quite good. However, the extra bright IPS display has its own disadvantage. LG’s display lacks contrast as a result of which images appear slightly washed out. The blacks of AMOLED displays are worth dying for, and LCDs still can’t get anywhere near.
The Optimus 4X features an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip, which boasts of a Quad-core (plus an additional power saving fifth core) 1.5 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU and a ULP GeForce GPU. This is precisely what the international version of HTC One X also uses; hence, theoretically both of them should be able to deliver similar performance. I benchmarked the Optimus 4X against Galaxy SIII and One X. Samsung’s flagship was the clear winner, while LG managed to beat HTC in AnTuTu, but trailed in Quadrant.
To be fair to LG, the difference between the Optimus 4X and other Android flagships isn’t particularly huge. The 4X HD feels zippy and smooth whether I am flinging through my pictures in the Gallery or playing an HD video. However, I did notice occasional frame rate drops while playing games like Temple Run, which was somewhat surprising.
The Optimus 4X HD ships with Android 4.0, which is better known as Ice Cream Sandwich. This was perfectly fine when the 4X HD was announced. However, it has already been three months since Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) was unveiled by Google. Samsung has already started updating Galaxy SIII handsets to Jelly Bean, while HTC has committed to delivering Jelly Bean to One X owners in October. LG on the other hand is yet to even commit to rolling out Jelly Bean to its existing line of products. LG has a pretty poor track record when it comes to delivering updates, and it is clear that they haven’t learned anything from their past mistakes. It’s unforgivable that LG has failed to clarify their position on Jelly Bean update for their premium smartphone a full quarter after its release.
As far as ICS is concerned, LG has put in substantial amount of effort to distinguish its baby from the other smartphones in the market. As expected, the 4X runs the Optimus UI 3.0 on top of ICS. Skinning ICS is not the easiest task, simply because Google did an excellent job at creating a refined and aesthetically pleasing interface. Most smartphone manufacturers – Samsung and HTC included, simply fall into the trap of ignoring all ICS design conventions and slapping on a bright, colorful interface in the name of differentiation. LG is no different, but because it retains a sizable chunk of default ICS design elements, it comes off looking better than Samsung. Sony is among the few manufacturers who have managed to get the balancing act largely right by making tasteful design modification to the ICS user interface.
The strong point of the Optimus UI is its customizability. You can change everything from home screen transition effects to application icons. Even the lock screen is pretty customizable. You get to choose everything from how the clock looks to which apps appear in the lock screen dock. And, oh yeah, LG’s lock screen unlock animation is definitely the coolest that I have seen on Android. In spite of heavy customizability, LG’s Optimus UI feels slightly less intuitive than TouchWiz and Sense. Sense is packed to the brim with eye-candy, while TouchWiz uses a lot of clever gestures to enhance productivity.
As I mentioned earlier, LG has gone the extra mile to make the 4X HD stand out from the crowd. Many of the enhancements concern multimedia aspects of the 4X and will be touched upon later in this article. There are a couple of non-multimedia enhancements that I will briefly discuss right now. For a more in-depth look at the features unique to LG’s flagship, check out my earlier write-up on the USPs (unique selling points) of the 4X.
The first major enhancement is QuickMemo. It is essentially an enhanced note taking app that permeates through the Optimus UI. Just tap the QuickMemo button present in the notification bar, and whatever was happening on-screen will be frozen. You can annotate the screen capture and save it for later reference or share it with your friends. You can annotate presentations, documents, webpages, and just about anything.
The other major software enhancement concerns the mail client. The Optimus 4x ships with its own mail client called Smart Mail that offers a desktop-client like two pane view in landscape mode, and enhances discoverability of previous conversations through its smart email-sorting feature.
The Optimus 4X features an 8-megapixel rear cam and an 1.3 megapixel front cam. LG’s camera UI is simplistic, but still offers lots of configurability through the settings menu. Still photography provides four basic modes – normal, panorama, HDR, and continuous shot – all of which are standard features in current generation smartphones. However, the 4X does have one unique trick up its sleeve that gives it an edge over its competition. It is called “Time Catch Shot”. When you enable this feature, the 4X captures five shots in a quick succession, including shots from moments before you clicked on the shoot button, from which you can select and keep the best shot. With Time Catch, even if you are too late or too early with the shoot button, you can still capture the moment you wanted.
In terms of picture quality, the Optimus 4X really shines outdoors. It takes detailed, vibrant yet natural images with minimal noise. The HDR mode also works particularly well and is a great way to capture images of stationary objects under low light. However, one area where the 4X fumbles is normal low light photography. Both the One X and the S3 shoots better pictures under poor artificial lighting.
The 4X shoots 1080p videos at 30 fps. Once again, the poor low-light performance holds it back, but under proper conditions, LG’s flagship is a competent performer. The videos recorded have good color reproduction and low noise, but goes overboard with the sharpness that adds some artifacts. The continuous auto-focus works quite well, and unless you are trying to capture really close objects, the focus readjustment happens quite quickly and smartly. You also get the option to capture images while shooting videos.
As I mentioned earlier, LG has done a lot to enhance the multimedia experience. Most of its efforts show up in the video player. Optimus 4X HD’s video player has four nifty tricks up its sleeve that gives it a clear advantage over its competition. They are –
- Fingertip seek, which shows a YouTube like preview of the frame you are about to jump to while seeking.
- Speed controller, which allows you to slow down or speed up the video on the fly.
- Split-Screen view, which allows you to quickly browse through your library.
- Pinch-to-zoom, which allows you to zoom into any video you are watching. While this is not something that you will use regularly, it is a nice to have enhancement.
A particularly thorny issue with modern smartphones is battery life. While we have briskly moved onto massive screens and quad-cores with frequencies in gigahertzs, the battery technology has been struggling to keep up. The 4X ships with the most firepower. It has a 2150 mAh battery, while the S3 and the One X have 2100 mAH and 1800 mAh batteries respectively. Unfortunately, in real world, 4X doesn’t perform so well. I didn’t benchmark LG’s battery performance; however, Samsung’s Galaxy S3 undoubtedly lasts quite a few hours more than the Optimus 4X HD. The 4X has a good standby time; however, surfing or watching videos kills the battery really quickly.
While purchasing a new smartphone the thing that often has the least impact on the buyer’s decision is the device’s capabilities as a phone. However, a smartphone that can seamlessly stream HD videos, but can’t be used for making calls in crowded places due to poor noise isolation is hardly a smart buy. Thankfully, the Optimus 4X suffers from no such flaws. Call quality is crisp and the speaker is loud enough to allow conversations even in noisy environments.
Connectivity options in the Optimus 4X HD include DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC. LG is also taking a page out of Sony’s book and introducing NFC smart tags. They are calling this LG Tag+. The NFC tags can be used for changing profiles, launching apps, altering phone settings and more with a tap. The Optimus 4X will ship with two tags.
The Optimus 4X is a great phone, there is no doubt about it. It looks and feels like a flagship device, and for the most part, performs like a premium device. The mixed benchmark scores and shorter battery life indicates that the software is not perhaps as optimized as it could have been. However, in real life, you are unlikely to notice the performance difference. The Optimus 4X is fast and fluid, and is capable of running games like Nova 3 smoothly. The user interface is highly customizable and there are numerous unique features to boot. LG’s latest flagship might not manage to beat the Galaxy or the One X on the whole, but it is extremely competent and can stand proudly next to the best of the best devices. The best part is that the Optimus 4X is a fair bit cheaper than most of its competition. Both the One X and the Galaxy S3 are currently available for around Rs. 35,000, while the Optimus 4X HD is retailing for around Rs. 32,000. Regardless, of which of the three you pick, you will end up with a great smartphone. The Galaxy S3 remains the best device that money can buy. However, if those three thousand bucks really matter to you, go for the 4X HD. It has its own share of strengths to justify its billing as a flagship. If LG can manage to get the cost down a bit more, then the 4X might even eat into the sales of previous generation super powers like the Galaxy SII.
LG recently announced a new mid-range smartphone, the LG Venice. This handset will be exclusively available for the Boost Mobile subscribers in the US. LG Venice comes with a 4.3 inch screen, 1 GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera and so on. This handset runs on the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating System.
James Fishler, senior vice president, marketing and go-to-market operations, LG Electronics USA, said,
“With high-quality features, a stylish design and the wallet-friendly no-contract plan, LG Venice definitely stands out. LG and Boost Mobile continue to release innovative devices that exceed the expectations of those who use them. Whether it’s capturing still or video memories, connecting and sharing content with friends and loved ones, or viewing media on the crystal-clear touchscreen, Life’s Good with the LG Venice.”
LG Venice features a 4.3 inch display, sporting a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, Corning’s Gorilla Glass, 1 GHz processor, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS, LG Optimus 3.0 user interface, 5 megapixel rear-facing camera with HD (720p) video recording capabilities, VGA front-facing camera for video chat, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, QuickMemo and much more.
This handset allows you to access more than 675,000 apps from the Play Store. LG Venice will go on sale from October 10. This handset comes with a price tag of just $219.99 without any contract. However, you will need to subscribe to the $55 Android Monthly Unlimited plan. To get this handset, head over to this page.
We already knew that LG was working on the successor of its original phablet, the LG Optimus Vu. Today, the Korean mobile phone maker finally announced its second phone/tablet hybrid device, the LG Optimus Vu II. It comes with the same 5 inch display with 4:3 aspect ratio, however the processor, RAM and battery have been upgraded in this device.
LG Optimus Vu II is the company’s second device to feature the unique QSlide Function which shows two different screens simultaneously on one display. Basically it means that you can view once apps on the first half and a second app on the another half of the screen. It also packs a stylus dubbed as “Rubberdium Pen 2.0″ that offers a finer point for more precise input.
LG Optimus Vu II features a 5 inch IPS display, sporting a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating System, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and so on.
It also comes with a 3.5 mm headset jack, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, MHL, NFC, USB 2.0, DLNA, Wi-Fi direct, GPS with A-GPS, LTE connectivity, Google Play Store, 2 GB RAM, 400 hours of stand-by time, 500 minutes of talk-time and a 2150 mAh battery. This handset measures 132.2 x 85.6 x 9.4 mm and weighs 159 grams.
LG Optimus Vu II will be available in Black, White and Pink colors. This handset comes with a price tag of 966,900 won (approx. $865) in Korea. LG Optimus Vu II is expected to be available in major European and Asian markets in the coming weeks.
LG recently announced the much-awaited Optimus G smartphone in Korea. The LG Optimus G is the company’s latest flagship device featuring a 4.7 inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064) processor with a 1.5 GHz quad-core Krait CPU, 2 GB RAM, 4G LTE Connectivity and much more. This handset runs on the old Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS. It comes with the unique QSlide Function which shows two different screens simultaneously on one display. Basically it means that you can view once apps on the first half and the second app on the another half of the screen.
Dr. Jong-seok Park, CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, said:
“The Optimus G is a groundbreaking premium device not only in the history of LG but also in the smartphone industry. With the Optimus G, users will be able to experience unsurpassed UX features that will allow them to perform tasks that really enhance their daily lives.”
LG Optimus G features a 4.7 inch WXGA True HD IPS PLUS display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS, Optimus UI 3.0, 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, 13 megapixel rear-facing camera with auto-focus and LED flash, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls, NFC (Near Field Communication) and much more.
Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, Stereo FM Radio with RDS, 2 GB DDR RAM, 32 GB internal memory, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 4G LTE Connectivity, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, microUSB 2.0, MHL, GPS with A-GPS, Google Play Store, up to 335 hrs of stand-by time, up to 15 hrs of talk-time and a 2100 mAh battery.
This handset measures 131.9 x 68.9 x 8.45mm and weighs 145 grams. Sadly, the much-needed MicroSD card slot is missing from the device. LG Optimus G comes with the enhanced UX features such as QuickMemo, screen zooming, live zooming, dual screen dual play, icon personalizer and so on. It also packs a new battery from the LG Chem which has a longer life of 800 cycles.
LG Optimus G will go on sale starting next week in Korea, followed by key global markets in October. The price of the device will be revealed in the coming days.
LG and Verizon have teamed up to announce the U.S variant of the LG Optimus Vu, the LG Intuition. The Galaxy Note competitor from LG sports a 5-inch True HD IPS display with 720p resolution with excellent viewing angles and color reproduction.
Other specs of the LG Intuition include a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Adreno 220 GPU, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP camera with an LED flash at the back, a 1.3MP camera in the front, Bluetooth 3.0 + HS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, NFC and GPS with A-GPS. LG will also be bundling two NFC tags, which can be re-programmed using the pre-installed LG Tag+ app.
The handset-cum-tablet hybrid will run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box with LG’s own custom skin on top of it. LG have added some useful features with their skin including the ability to click a picture via voice commands, a Notebook app that will allow users to take virtual notes on the Intuition, and a suite of Amazon apps.
The LG Intuition will be available from September 6th on all Verizon stores and website for $199.99 on a two-year contract. Buyers who order the phablet between Sept. 6 to 10th will also receive a free LG Tone Stereo Bluetooth headset.
I have always found the mid-range smartphone segment to be quite interesting. The budget limitations prohibit manufacturers from offering the absolute best they can cook up. However, they can’t afford to be too shabby either, since consumers rightly expect these handsets to be capable performers that are significantly better than the absolute low-end handsets that are typically available for half the price. The trick to coming up with stellar mid-range devices is to make compromises that the customer won’t mind compromising on. The Optimus L5 is LG’s mid-range Android smartphone. Let us see if LG has managed to perfect the balancing game.
With the L-series, LG has been emphasizing a lot on style, and the L5 is undoubtedly among the better looking devices in this price range. The L5 is a fairly slender device with a thickness of just 9.5 mm. The combination of sharp and bold corners, faux metal rims, and intricate matt-finish on the back cover lends it a somewhat premium look that Samsung would do well to learn from.
The LG Optimus L5 E610 sports a 4’’ TFT LCD screen with enhanced brightness that offers good outdoor visibility. Viewing angles are also quite reasonable. Unfortunately, those are pretty much the only positives I could identify in the display. The extra brightness comes at a premium. The L5, much like all other Optimus devices I have tried, lacks contrast, as a result of which, images appear washed out. This problem is compounded by the L5’s abysmal pixel density. LG increased the screen size, but chose not to amp up the screen resolution beyond 320 x 480 pixels. As a result, the L5 has a pixel density of 144 ppi, while Ace Plus has 165 ppi, Desire C has 165 ppi, Ace 2 has 246 ppi, and even Xperia J is rumored to have 245 ppi.
Under the hood, the L5 is powered by a Qualcomm MSM7225A Snapdragon, which is essentially an underclocked version of the chip powering the more expensive L7. The 800 MHz Cortex-A5 processor and Adreno 200 GPU are hardly cutting edge, but they are a notch above what similarly priced Wildfire S, or Desire C offer. However, when compared with the innards of Ace Plus, Xperia P, Ace 2 or even the Xperia Mini, the L5 is found lacking. Thankfully, the L5 comes with Ice-cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) that has been optimized to run on low-end hardware. The half gigabyte of RAM also comes in handy. As a result the L5 is laggy, but not unusable. During my two weeks of usage, I encountered several momentary freezes, but on the whole, the L5 was fairly usable. If you want to play cutting edge games you will have to pony up more dough, but the L5 is good enough for the likes of Angry Birds Space and Fruit Ninja.
The LG Optimus Ux Overlay is mostly unobtrusive and well done. However, I wish OEMs stopped replacing the modern, understated icons of ICS with bright, in-your-face, pastel colored blotches. And LG is not the only one who is to be blamed – this seems to be something all the manufacturers think is a good idea. A few of the extra stuff that we saw in the Optimus 4X trickle down to the L5 (for example, QuickMemo for notes and annotations), but most of the goodies are gone. The default install is mostly junk-free with just a handful of pre-loaded apps like Polaris Office, Smartworld and Smartshare. Smartworld is LG’s own app store, which offers personalized recommendations based on your download history. It’s largely redundant, and in India, it appears to be only suggesting free apps. Smartshare is a much more useful addition that enables streaming of media directly from Windows Media Player (on your PC) or to your HDTV over Wi-Fi. It is essentially LG’s counterpart of Samsung’s Allshare. However, the best bundled app is MobileTV, which is exclusive to the Indian market. LG Mobile TV is actually powered by Myplex Now, which is a free Android app available for all handsets. Mobile TV offers live streams of several dozen TV channels from different categories like news (Aaj Taak, NDTV, TimesNow etc), Entertainment (UTV Movies, Zoom, UTV Bindass etc.), Infotainment (History Channel and NDTV Goodtimes), Music (9XM and Channel UFX), Spiritual (Aastha, Gurbani etc.), and Regional (Asianet, Jaya TV etc.). Mobile TV is also slated to offer movies and other multimedia content on-demand. According to LG India, it will be free for first two months, and then require subscription.
LG’s 5 mega-pixel camera is competent, which is exactly what you should expect from products in this price range. It struggles to produce clear images under low light, but outdoor performance is good enough for most casual photography needs. Although ICS’s instant capture is technically supported, the low-end hardware means that there is a couple of seconds’ delay (more under low light) between shots. Special photography modes available include panorama and continuous shot (keeps on taking snaps as long as the capture button is pressed). Advanced options include ISO and EV settings. However, macro focusing mode is absent.
Video capture is a bit of a disappointment. The L5 only captures VGA videos at 30 fps. This pales in comparison to Xperia Mini, and Ace 2’s ability to record at 720p. Front camera for video calling is also not available.
Optimus L5 Camera Sample (Video)
The L5 packs a 1500 mAh battery, which easily manages to last more than a day with average usage. Call clarity is good and the speaker is quite loud. I didn’t have trouble talking even in the noisy streets of India. Connectivity options supported include Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, and NFC.
The Optimus L5 makes a lot of compromises. The biggest of them are with the screen and the processor. The low ppi and single core processor means that mobile enthusiasts are unlikely to find the L5 to their liking. Sony’s Xperia Mini and Walkman Live are smaller, but come with better processors, better displays, and 720p recording. Xperia U costs about Rs 3,000 more, but offers a significantly better hardware (Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9), but doesn’t support expandable memory. If you want micro-SD support, along with a dual-core processor, high ppi display, and 720p video recording, you will have to stretch your budget a bit further to accommodate the likes of Ace 2 and Xperia Sola.
However, the L5 hardly seems like a phone targeted at enthusiasts. LG is clearly gunning for the average consumer. The average consumer doesn’t care too much about the specs as long as the phone feels good. And the L5 feels good. It’s sleek, stylish, and well built. It takes decent pics, and the ICS build is optimized enough to not frustrate the casual user. LG TV is essentially a rebranded version of a readily available Android app, but it’s still something that most consumers will be attracted to.
In the end, I can’t help but feel that LG has sacrificed quality with the goal of appealing to the casual mobile users. Currently the Optimus L5 is selling for about Rs. 13,000. It would become a lot easier to recommend LG’s mid-range device had it been a couple of thousand bucks cheaper. However, right now, unless you really need the big screen, it’s hard to justify buying the L5 over similarly priced Xperia Mini or Xperia Live. In fact, if you can afford to spend a bit more, you will end up with a significantly better device by considering the Xperia U (Rs. 14,000 approx.), Xperia Sola (Rs. 15,500 approx.), or Ace 2.
Earlier this year, LG announced three L-Series phones, the LG Optimus L3, L5 and L7 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 in Barcelona. Now, the company went ahead and announced another handset in the L-Series range of smartphones, the LG Optimus L9. This handset will be showcased at the upcoming IFA 2012 event in Berlin. Sadly, the Optimus L9 will be shipped with the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating System, instead of the latest Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS.
Dr. Jongseok Park, President and CEO of LG Mobile Communications Company, said:
“The Optimus L9 is a great smartphone that appeals to every consumer. LG will continue to offer differentiated value through the Optimus L9 and strengthen our position in the smartphone market.”
LG Optimus L9 features a 4.7 inch IPS display, 1 GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS, 5 megapixel rear camera, VGA front-facing camera for video calls, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB expandable memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, Wi-Fi 801.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, DLNA, QMemo, QTranslator, Google Play Store and a 2150 mAh battery. This handset measures 131.9 x 68.2 x 9.1 mm and weighs 125 grams.
LG Optimus L9 comes with the QTranslator function which translates words, sentences and phrases with a simple scan from nearly 44 foreign languages to 64 user languages. This handset will also include the QMemo, which allows the users to capture, save and share their ideas with others using their fingertip or handwriting. LG Optimus L will go on sale from next month in Europe, followed by North America, Asia and Latin America. The price of this handset has not been announced yet.
LG has finally gone ahead and announce its latest addition to the Optimus family, the Optimus G. The Optimus G has made quite a lot of appearances over the last one week, sometimes showing off its quad-core Qualcomm S4 APQ8064 SoC, sometimes its 4.7-inch display with its new True HD IPS+ technology and sometimes its new battery technology.
Other specs of the Optimus G include 2GB of RAM, a 13MP camera at the back and a 1.3MP snapper in the front, a 2100mAh beefy battery, the usual bunch of sensors and connectivity features including support for LTE networks and more.
LG has also managed to integrate the cover glass and the touch sensor into a single piece of glass, thus leaving no gap between the actual display and the sensor itself. This gives users a sense of touching the actual image itself, rather than any sort of glass. The handset runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, with LG’s own software gimmicks and tweaks on top of it. The press release from the company does not mention anything about the Jelly Bean update for the handset.
The Optimus G will be available in Korea from next month, followed by Japan. The handset is also expected to be available globally by the end of this year.