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Saturday, June 18, 2011

LG Optimus 2X Review

I got my LG Optimus 2X with a 50% discount from LG2XPERT contest.   They delivered the unit last 13th of June 2011.  I want to share my experience after five days of using the O2X, this will serve as my simple review of O2X.

The box is presentable and small.  I like the design emphasizing the power of two because Optimus 2X (O2X) is the first dual core smartphone in the world recorded by Guinness Book of World Records.

O2X back portion has a rubbery feeling making a good hand grip of the phone.  The screen is protected by Gorilla glass that makes your screen scratch and shatter protected.  The height of the phone is quite long and sometimes I can’t even reach the top of the screen but you can always use your other finger.  I like overall design, the black color, metallic finish on the side, “with Google” metal finish at the back portion.

Booting time takes less than half a minute but the first boot up took me a more or less one minute.  You may experience prompting a PIN code twice in an interval of 2-5 minutes as I’ve experienced on my SUN Cellular postpaid SIM.  Compose an SMS after the phone booted and load its necessary services and scan all media files, it will take you some time to send it and it will prompt for a “Message not Sent”.  After a few seconds, the phone will ask you to enter your PIN again.  This is quite annoying especially for urgent SMS that you need to send after you boot up your O2X.  Haven’t tried to use other SIMs so maybe my SUN SIM card has a problem or the OS/unit itself.

O2X is running Android 2.2.2 Froyo and it is upgradeable to the latest Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread anytime this year.  This is my very first Android smartphone, I used to have Symbian (Nokia) and Bada OS (Samsung) but you will not be having a hard time learning the in and out of Android OS.  Basically it has four capacitive buttons at the lower portion, the menu, home, back and search.

Once you open an application for example Yahoo Messenger, you cannot close the application directly, you can sign out and press “Back” but the Yahoo Messenger service is still running in the background consuming your RAM and battery as well.  You can force to close it by accessing the Applications menu and “Force Close” the application and service.  But Android is hard coded to automatically kill a task when more memory is needed, automatically kill a task when it’s done doing what it needs to do and automatically kill a task when you haven’t returned to it in a long time.

Multiple downloads in Android Marketplace, downloading, installing and F-Secure Mobile Anti-virus (pre-installed with free one year virus definition updates) make O2X become unresponsive for seconds, the good thing is the O2X that I have didn’t show a “Black Screen of Death” reported on some forums (one of these is XDA).  You just have to wait for a few seconds and it will now back to a very responsive and snappy O2X.

O2X comes with an HDMI cable (micro to standard HDMI). Connecting your O2X on your HDTV with HDMI port is really a breeze.  You can do mirroring and watch HD videos.  I tried to play the NVIDIA sample HD video and the quality on my HDTV is amazing.  The quality is indeed high definition.  Thanks to NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor.

HD Gaming is console-like quality.  I tried to play Guerilla Bob optimized for NVIDIA Tegra and it’s like playing the game in a portable console due to very good graphic effects.  Connecting it to your HDTV will enhance your gaming experience as it brings total quality as you’ve seen in your O2X, this time in a bigger screen.

O2X has an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with flash, no physical button available but taking a shot using the camera interface is easy.  I tested some shots, once you clicked the camera shutter button in the screen, it will auto-focus (if Auto Focus is activated) and it will take a snapshot quickly.  The image quality is decent.  Full HD recording (1080p) is also one of the main features of O2X.  It is capable but not as good as the HD video cameras available maybe due to the frame rate.  Overall, the full HD recording is good.

Wi-Fi supporting b/g/n, this unit is a very good Wi-Fi receiver versus the other phones I have. 

What I like about this device:
  1. The design is elegant and unique
  2. Wide display
  3. IPS LCD amazes me with its vibrant colors
  4. Very snappy during moderate use
  5. Screen lock pattern option – wherein you can set a pattern save it and unlocking your device requires you to repeat the pattern you saved.  This is a good alternate to passcodes.
  6. Graphical effects on LG Weather widget powered by Accuweather.com
  7. Live wallpaper – really adds beauty to O2X but loading a live wallpaper will increase battery consumption
  8. Fast browsing
  9. Lot of Android applications and games – bar code and QR code reader apps rock!  First time I’ve seen in a smartphone to read a bar code and QR code using its camera
  10. Applications grouping and modification
  11. Console quality gaming experience – Tegra optimized games.  But non Tegra optimized games are also great in O2X.  Angry Birds including special editions Seasons and Rio are really addictive and Fruit Slice as well (it’s like Fruit Ninja but free)
  12. Camera Easy Shot – beauty shot makes me handsome
  13. Social Networking Site integration – easy sharing of photos, fast commenting and ability to like a post in Facebook.  Twitter application is also great unlike the other Twitter app on other OS.
  14. Go SMS Pro will take Android Messaging into a higher level – must have application
  15. Product Authentication Program – LG will text you and confirm that you purchased a genuine LG Mobile and you will get one additional month of warranty in addition to one year.  The IMEI will be sent to LG upon purchased and you can get the warranty even you lost the proof of purchase or the warranty card.  I got a text from them the day after I received the unit.
Sample shots from O2X:

The Optimus 2X can be improved:
  1.  Battery consumption issue – 1500mah is not enough for this phone.  After 20 hours of moderate usage (3 widgets running on home screen, simple wall paper, very few services running, 300-500 SMS exchanges, 1-2 hours of Wi-Fi on with Market app downloading 2-5 apps, less than 30 minutes of talk time) my battery got drained.  Some said that this can be fixed on Gingerbread update.  But if this issue can’t be fixed on the Gingerbread update you can buy additional LG battery for O2X.  Mugen power is selling is for around PHP 2000.00 ($ 46.95) pesos for 1700mah while around PHP 4700.00 ($ 108.95) for a whipping 4500mah battery.  Just a reminder that using a non LG accessory may void your warranty and may damage the unit.
  2. Quite Laggy Home screen – replacing LG Home Launcher with Launcher PRO or GO Launcher EX will resolve the issue.  Hopefully this will be improved on Gingerbread update.
  3. Lack of RAM – 512 MB is allocated but only 372 MB is usable, 140 MB is allocated exclusively for the system and Tegra GPU. Necessary tweaking and memory optimization are promised on the Gingerbread update.
  4. Tegra 2 Dual Core Processor not optimized for Froyo.
  5. Application sudden stop / unresponsive - I experienced Messaging errors twice maybe because I am a moderate to heavy texter.  Got an error only once (since I got the phone last 13th of June) on LG Home Launcher during multiple download, install, F-Secure scanning.  But the phone didn't reboot.  No worries, Android will automatically re-launch the application/service again for you.

Optimistically, all the issues mentioned above will be fixed on Android 2.3 Gingerbread which has an improved memory management, optimized for Dual core to tri-core processors and battery saving features.

Overall experience is really great using this phone.  You can get Optimus 2X for as low as PHP 26,000.00 on some stores.  This is the most affordable dual core smartphone in the market today.

Nexus Live Wallpaper

IPS LCD - viewing in any angle

 My apps:

Video shot of my Optimus 2X:

Additional screenshots:

Speed test using Wi-Fi, internet powered by Globe Broadband DSL Plan 2 Mbps

18 hours of moderate to quite heavy usage


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