The last time I reviewed an LG device, it really didn’t blow me away, in fact I couldn’t wait to get back to my everyday device. The LG Optimus 3D is a little bit of a different story. It was a breath of fresh air, still the same air mind you, but fresher. To find out let’s get stuck into it.
Glasses-less 3D Screen
1080p Video Recording
Does tend to hang sometimes
LG stock keyboard is rubbish
Android 2.2 at launch
One of the first things you notice about the Optimus 3D is it’s size, it’s big, measuring in at 12.8cm tall, bigger then the monolith that is the Galaxy S II. Along with it’s size comes it’s weight, tipping the scales at 168 grams, and to continuing the comparisons, the Galaxy S II is a mere 116 grams. I put this down to the 3D tech in the screen and also the dual 5 megapixel cameras. Let’s break this beast down piece by piece, shall we?
Like I briefly explained before, the Optimus 3D is big and heavy. However it’s more of a solid feeling then a heavy clumsy styled handset. The phone feels really nice in the hand and you feel like you have really good your moneys worth when you hold you. It easily fits into a pocket and isn’t bulky in a way that you notice the handset in your pocket almost ever. The handset measures up at 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm and weights in at 168 grams. So by all accounts it’s not light or small and it’s the first thing I noticed.
Starting with the back of the handset, LG have opted again to go with the slightly brushed aluminium band, as seen on the Optimus 2X, this time however, it’s situated more to the left hand side of the handset, and houses the dual cameras in it. It also lines up with the external speaker of the handset which LG have placed and the bottom of the phone. The back cover is made of plastic, it’s quite ridged and certainly doesn’t feel like your going to break it when taking it off. The front of the Optimus 3D is mainly all screen and has a black brushed look at the top, housing the earpiece and a brushed look down the bottom, under the capacitive buttons. Moving to the sides, LG have placed the HDMI out and the Micro-USB port on the top left hand side of the handsets and the volume rockers are top right of the phone. 3.5mm audio jack and power/lock button are on the top, with the audio jack on the top left, power on top right.
There is one more hardware button placed on the phone, and that is the 3D button. Now i understand that the phone is a 3D phone so adding a 3D dedicated button would cash in on that, but it doesn’t really serve a useful purpose. First off, it’s in the exact spot you would expect to find a hardware shutter button for the camera on a handset, but in the camera software, all it does is switch between 2D and 3D camera modes, you still must use the screen shutter button to take the photo. The other purpose it serves is a shortcut to the “3D Space” which is a 3D enabled app that gives you access to all the 3D enabled services the phone offers, hardly a reason to make a dedicated button. The worst part, from what I see, you can’t temp it either. Silly, just silly.
Last but not least are the soft touch captive buttons on the handset, situated in the normal sport below the screen, they are in the order of MENU, HOME, BACK and SEARCH, I like HOME to be first but that’s just me and it took some getting used to, other then the slight placement issue I always have, they didn’t seem to stay light very long, even if the scree is on, the buttons will only stay on for 5 seconds and you have to touch the buttons to light them up again, even if you are using the screen. Strange to me, if the screens on and I’m using it, leave the buttons light up, but maybe I’m being critical.
Build wise, it’s nice and solid and the majority of things in the normal place, are easy to get to and work really well together. Overall great build with a few slight design niggles, but certainly nothing major.
The display of corse, other then the dual cameras, is the main feature of this handset. It uses a Autostereoscopy display, which is a glasses-less technology to display the 3D images on the screen, much in the same way the Nintendo 3DS does. It gives the photos a more holographic feel, adding depth to the images rather then them jumping out of the screen. The LCD measures in at 4.3 inches and runs a resolution of 800×400 at 217ppi, not awesome but certainly does the job. In direct sunlight the screen does hold up, not like SAMOLED or the way the Xperia Play did for me, but it holds it’s own, text is relatively easy to read, however depending on the background of your home screens, you may find it difficult navigating. Let’s dive into the 3D aspect of this display a bit more. Like I said before, the Optimus 3D uses a Autostereoscopy display, which in this incarnation uses from my knowledge a Parallax barrier. What this does, is split the image up into equal sections, splitting them and using the barrier so that when the eyes are in the right place, the Left eye sees the Left image and the Right eye sees the Right images, resulting in a overlapped 3D image. The handset employes the same Parallax barrier technology that Nintendo uses in their 3DS handheld gaming system. One of the main issues with Glasses-less 3D technology is that because it can cause the eyes to strain and refocus a lot, many people complain of headaches or nausea as a result. This is a down side of the technology and at this stage nothing can be done, you either suffer from it or you don’t. I was lucky I don’t suffer from this kind of thing and found the 3D experience to be perfectly find, even though gimmicky at times. The only issue I had with the display, was more touch screen related and involved scrolling up and down. If I was in an app which allowed you to scroll up and down a list and also Left to Right to switch between lists, when scrolling down it would seem to pick it up as a side swipe and want to change lists. A strange issue, something I experienced quite a bit, at least once a day, but again it was nothing major and just a little niggle.
Under the hood, the Optimus 3D runs the 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 SoC; Texas Instruments OMAP4430, 512MB RAM and the PowerVR SGX540 clocked at 504MHz. LG called their hardware spec on the Optimus 3D the Tri-Dual Technology, which basically means, Dual Core, Dual Channel and Dual Memory. This gives the user a better expeience, especially in regards to multi tasking. I do have to say, over the two week review period, I din’t see the kind of performance drop i expected coming from a Samsung Galaxy S II. So it does seem that all this “Dual-ness” may be doing the trick, rather then just pumping up clock speeds. I did experience some hangs and freezes, but they were very few and far between, something I couldn’t say for the last LG handset I reviewed, the Optimus 2X.
What could be better then a 5 megapixel camera? 8 megapixels? Nope, dual 5 megapixel cameras. This besides the screen is really the reason for this phone. Packing in two 5 megapixel cameras allows the phone to take both a Left and Right image for the auto stereoscopic screen to work correct. It records 720p HD video in 3D and 1080p HD video in 2D. 3D video like it’s still images are viewable from a fixed point and you must get your eyes in the right position. The 3D video really sets it’s self apart and quite easily the best way to experience the joys of 3D on the handset. The 3D still images, like I said before, adds depth to the image rather then making it jump out of the screen.
Battery is deifnately one of my main concerns on handsets. The LG however does really well, I’ve only got the 15% warning a handful of times and my usage is relatively power based, attaching videos, listening to audio, Wi-Fi and 3G browsing, games, text and phone calls. So while packing a 1500mAh battery inside the Optimus 3D holds it’s on in my opinion. Good usage and good battery life. Using the 3D part of the handset does, as assumed chew the battery but not excessively. I would have to say that the battery life for the Optimus 3D is very good, it lasts my usual days usage and that you can’t complain about.
Telephony & Sound
Even though it doesn’t seem to get a great deal of looking at, Telephony is a major factor in a phone, I mean it’s the main reason we have them, to talk to people and the Optimus 3D is very good. The audio coming from the handsets ear piece is clean and crisp and of a decent volume. Audio heard on the other end is also very crisp and the handset does a good job of cancelling out the background noise and bringing the caller to the forefront of the call. Great sound in my opinion. While we are on the topic of sound let’s dive into the sound of the handset itself. While the calling audio is great and loud and clear, the phone audio is not. It’s a bit too soft, I tend to keep phones in my pocket, and with the Optimus 3D, I would regularly miss calls and text because I didn’t hear it ring or notify me, the vibration also did not alert me. This was really my only hardware disappointment with the handset. It just wasn’t loud enough for alerts and notifications. Out of a pocket is pretty goopd, but nothing like the loud speaker of the Galaxy S II for example. Music and Video audio was decent and did seem louder, and before you say “were all the volumes turn up?” yes they were, which made me wonder as to why the difference. Overall however, good sound quality but volume of the loudspeaker needed to be louder.
What can I say about the software? It’s made by LG and you know I’m not a fan, but the one thing I didn’t have were issues with this handsets software, which coming from LG is a blessing.
Quadrant score was 2381 and Neocore was 57.8, very similar results to the some of the dual-core handsets coming out at the moment.
|Neocore (Frames/sec)||Quadrant (Higher = better)|
|Galaxy S II||59.8||3428|