The start of July saw the launch of the LG Optimus exclusively on Telstra, and now we’ve finally had the chance to have some hands on time with it. Despite previous “ill mannered” comments about the device, I can say that I am quite impressed with it overall.

I hope this review is nice & short and to the point, unlike previous reviews. Hit the break to get into it.


  • Sturdy
  • Quite fast & fluid
  • FM Radio
  • Hot-swappable MicroSD
  • Dedicated Camera button
  • Sleek design
  • Video editor


  • Resistive display
  • No Camera flash
  • 20 Telstra/Bigpond apps
  • Unfinished looking home screen UI
  • Lacklustre keyboard. Also hard to type on thanks to the display


The Box

The Optimus comes in a pretty standard box, but nothing fancy like the Xperia X10 or Galaxy S. As it’s an exclusive Telstra it also dawns both the Telstra & NextG Network logos, as well as our good friend the green Android.

Within the box are all the standard bits and pieces:

  • LG Optimus
  • 1500mAh Battery
  • MicroUSB to USB Cable
  • USB Wall Charger
  • Earphones with Call Start/End button & Mic
  • Health & Safety and Instruction Manuals

[nggallery id=31]


When you first pick up the Optimus you will find that it feels relatively heavy for it’s size. This is due to the large 1500mAh Battery that powers the device for a relatively long period of time. The exterior is covered in a fake silver titanium-like finish, which makes the device look quite sleek.

The volume rocker places on the left hand side of the device can sometimes be a tad hard to push down on, but I’m sure after constant use it’ll wear in. The screen is also a bit of a fingerprint magnet, but hey, nearly touch screen devices are.

The 3 hardware buttons at the bottom look kind of odd, and would have looked much better with separated silver buttons. Instead LG have used a single plastic button to cover all three touch points, those being (left to right): Answer, Home, Call End/Power/Lock. Above those are 2 haptic, touch-sensitive, buttons which at times, are not all that responsive.

All the hardware buttons are as follows:

  • Front
    • Speaker (inc Loudspeaker)
    • Menu (touch sensitive)
    • Back (touch sensitive)
    • Answer
    • Home
    • Call End/Power/Lock
  • Right Side
    • MicroUSB Input
    • Search Button (holding down activates Voice Search)
    • Camera (hold down to open Camera app)
  • Left Side
    • Volume rocker
  • Top
    • 3.5mm Headphone Jack
  • Bottom
    • Microphone
  • Back
    • 3MP Camera
    • Telstra/NextG & LG branding

[nggallery id=32]


Spanning 3 inches, the display on the Optimus is what lets the phone down the most. It just makes it annoying to use if you’re used to a capacitive display. Being a resistive display means that you have to apply pressure to the screen in order for it to register any movements. So when you slide your finger across the screen gently, like you normally do with a capacitive display, no touches are registered. This gets quite irritating after a while and makes typing difficult.

There is no Multitouch available on the Optimus so all zooming is done via the normal plus and minus buttons, so this hinders any use of any apps that need it.

Clarity for the display size is no real issue and looks quite nice overall.

User Interface

LG have done very little to the UI in terms of manufacturer customisations. At most they’ve added some minor enhancements to the home screen launcher, such as the HTC Sense UI-like add drawer icon. Except it doesn’t slide open, you have to tap on it to open & close it.

Extra widgets have also been added to compliment apps that are pre-installed onto the device, like the Radio, Memos, Messaging, RSS Reader, Weather & SNS (Social Networking). Also in the notifications bar you’ll find quick access to options like Wifi, GPS, Bluetooth & Ringing Profiles.

There are 3 settings for the number of home screens: 3, 5 & 7. 7 being more than enough to stuff full of icons and widgets. Other than that it’s very much the vanilla Android experience.


Note: Remember the Optimus has a smaller screen & pixel count so FPS will differ greatly compared to other devices.

  Linpack BenchmarkPi Neocore
SE Xperia X10 3.881 7061ms 29.5fps
HTC Desire 6.258 3092ms 28.1fps
Nexus One 7.095 3086ms  
Samsung Galaxy S 8.406 2793ms 54.6fps
LG Optimus 2.743 10665ms 41.3fps

Now someone asked me if the Optimus can game, and well.. I guess it can, yes. Don’t expect it to play high-end, graphic intensive games like Asphalt 5, but it will play most games on the Android Market. Only downside you may find is the responsiveness of the resistive display. So I suggest you play with the device before you buy.


Phone calls on the Optimus are quite clear and I had no hearing the person on the other end, and they had no problems ringing me. Speaker worked well, with little/no distortion and my voice was picked up from over a metre away. Having no proximity sensor is not a problem, as there is no hangup button to accidentally press, you have to instead slide across the hangup “slider”. An action much harder to do with your cheek! 🙂

All in all, this phone can indeed make good phone calls.


In terms of messaging the LG Optimus has nothing special to share with us. It’s your basic SMS client with a threaded view of all your text messages. The email client offers multiple accounts with a unified inbox, which I particularly like the idea of and did the job quite well.

Also included is Telstra’s “MyEmail” for people subscribed to that service. Gtalk is also included for those of you who use that terrific chat service, I know I do!

Music / Video / Images / Radio

Music Player

The Optimus uses the default Android Music Player, with no customisations what so ever. So it’s just all your music sorted into Artists, Albums, Songs & Playlists. All your favourite codes are supported; MP3, AAC, AAC+, AAC-LC, AMR-NB, WMA.

Sound quality is okay, but volume is pretty weak using the speaker. So you may be better off getting yourself a pair of earphones if you want to use this baby as your MP3 player as well as phone.

Video Player

Offering very little in terms of functionality and options, the Video Player does what it’s supposed to in a clean little interface. Offering DivX, MPEG4, H.263 codecs, the Video Player will do it’s best to play back anything you throw at it.

On screen controls consist of the basic Play/Pause, Stop, Previous & Next as well as the ability to scrub throughout the video.

As it includes Telstra’s lovely bloatware add-ons, you can hit menu whilst in the Video Player and head to “Download Videos” to be linked to the Telstra website to presumably buy videos and then download them straight to the device.


The Gallery is a slightly customised version of the default Android 1.6 Gallery, allowing you to sort through your images and view them all my simply sliding through each image. Double tapping on an image will of course zoom you in 50% or you can use the Zoom function which zooms in 25% at a time.

All your other basic features are there such as Geotag Mapping & Image Sharing.

FM Radio

The FM Radio also has the same funtionality as the Desire & Galaxy S. Plug in your headset, scan for channels, set your favourites as presets and you’re good to go. You can also play radio via the speaker. Audio quality is quite good, but not as good as the Galaxy S, but this may be due to the speakers.

Camera / Video

Coming packed with a small 3MP Camera without a Flash seems a bit surprising considering it seems to be aimed as a lower-end social networking kind of device. So not being able to take photos in low/no light seems like a bit of a downside. But below I’ve added some of the photos and videos I took with the device and you can come to your own conclusions to what you think.

There a handful of options and features included with the camera such as face & blink detection, as well as Geotagging and MP count.
[nggallery id=33]

Browser / Data

LG has once again continued with the Vanilla Android theme, by sticking with the default browser and moving the menu to the right of the screen, which appear and disappears when you press on it.

Browsing is a pretty fluid experience once the page has loaded, and via Telstra’s NextG network this happened pretty fast (No, I was no made to say that, I was genuinely impressed). Ausdroid loaded with ease and everything was aligned and good to go within a matter of seconds. When zoomed out all the way, obviously text isn’t going to be readable, so zooming in a tad will make everything easy on the eyes.

There is no Flash or Flash Mobile support as of yet, and I’m not entirely sure if LG are going to update this device beyond 1.6, but I’d be impressed if they do.

Battery Life

Having used the LG Optimus for nearly 4 days now, I’ve been very impressed with it’s ability to hold battery life. I have only had to charge it once, because it arrived to me nearly flat. And since then it has only gone down 20% with pretty average use; songs, browsing, WiFi & GPS.

I’m thinking you won’t have too worry all that much about giving it a nightly charge. It should last 2 days at least with average use. However it will differ depending on what you use it for.


The on screen keyboard on the Optimus is pretty basic but gets the job done. If you’re using the “Phone Keypad” which places 3 letters on each button on screen you should be alright, but don’t even bother with the QWERTY keyboard in portrait mode as you will have no hope in hell of typing anything out correctly.

The best idea would be to attempt to master the resistive screen then work on using other on screen keyboards like Swype or Swiftkey.


Summing it all up, the device is quite fast & fluid for it’s size, but the resistive screen really let’s it down. Had it have been capacitive I would certainly recommending it to friends and family who are looking to move to their first smart phone. Media playback isn’t it’s strength, same with picture & video recording.

I recommend the device to younger people (not to say it won’t suit everyone) as it does everything a smart phone should do, and suits the casual social networker and texter.

As for all the Telstra Apps, once again I think they’re completely useless and just aim to snag more money from the user, and I wish they could be easily deleted. But props go to LG for not placing the Apps amongst normal Applications, like the HTC Desire, so you don’t accidentally hit them.

Interested in the LG Optimus from Telstra? I suggest you head into a [T]Life store and check one out for yourself before jumping in!

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

good review. i like my new optimus. touch screen is responsive, processor is faster than my old phone. the apps are great for me and the kids and the keys on the bottom are easy to push. the email and gps are great for my business and they are way better than my old unlocked cell phones i hate qwerty phones now that i used this. it has a good feel and fits in my pocket well. web browser is good for my fantasy football team and games keep me occupied on long rides. also got my lg unlocking and… Read more »


Anyone know when the update 2.1 is coming?
Or is rooting the phone inevitable?

Ashlea Serio

I love your posts on here but the Feed has a couple of XML errors that you ought to correct. Great blog site nevertheless!

Sie haben ins Schwarze getroffen. Ich denke, dass es der ausgezeichnete Gedanke ist.

Between us speaking.


20 telstra apps SERIOUSLY what is wrong with that company???

They seem adamant not to listen to consumers.

Once again excellent review.


The one i played with in store only had links to URL’s, there were no ‘apps’ as such. Still a bummer though, but just buy a phone from another operator unless you need nextG, in that case root it 🙂


It seemed that being used to a hard qwerty keypad, sliding fingers to the next letter, the resistive display was actually easier to use straight up than a capacitive display.


For me, this is running 1.6 with a 2.1 upgrade, 600Mhz processor vs the 528Mhz and i think it looks better than the Quench by far! Resistive is a bit of a let down but i played with one in a Tlife store and it’s far better than past resistive screens, i wouldn’t knock it until you tried it. What were telstra thinking putting this on a $49 plan? $19 and certainly prepaid is a bargain, i think good on LG for taking the market in this direction for first smartphone users, anything that get’s android into the masses should… Read more »

Marné Prinsloo

Even at $19 in Optus, I’d still prefer Quench with pinch-zoom.


Why would anyone made a phone with a resistive screen now?


great review Buzz and thanks for adding the gaming part in it actually looks like it plays games well. Looking at this vid which shows it playing Raging thunder 2 well.


Hi there and thanks for the great review. Since purchaseing a new HTC desire last week I have all of a sudden become a Android addict, an Apple fan boy for sure at heart I got disconcerted with Apple and the way in which everything is on there terms. The desire suits me down to the ground and the install of froyo I have works a treat. I am now constantly searching for info on all things Android and I see your in Aus so that makes this all the better. Now on to your review. Very through. I really… Read more »

Miiss Muzza

Heya Awsum phone, but can i ask how do i get all the icons off the home page .. like main screen so that i can veiw my pics like how u can kinda when its on lock screen ?? also its network is vodafone, and how do I turn the keypad tones off, normally im on to it with phones, but I LOVE this phone as its challangen me more lol