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LG Optimus 2X / G2x / P990 Android Phone with NVIDIA Tegra 2 Review


by Stuart Davidson - 13th May 2011
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LG Optimus 2X / G2x / P990 Android Phone Review

Conclusion


We started this review with a look at Tegra 2 so let's do the same with the conclusion. Overall Tegra 2 features a very forward looking design. Having used previous midrange Android handsets and tablets as well as past high end models the new NVIDIA chip offers faster performance and some excellent features on which developers can build. The fact that this handset which is considered ultra-high end doesn't yet expose the full potential of the SOC is testament to how advanced a product NVIDIA have developed.

So, looking at the Optimus 2X itself and specifically the build quality we have a product which impresses as soon as it is unboxed. The choice of a Gorilla Glass display is always appreciated and beneath it the IPS panel offers excellent detail, colour, brightness and viewing angles. The quality of fit on each part is great also with the metal surround meeting the glass front and rubberised back perfectly. Speaking of the back we liked the soft touch coating which stops the 2X from slipping out of our hands and it was nice to see a large glass cover over the camera lens which stops dust from gathering; a problem with many other handsets. We were also pleased to see that the handset has more than enough memory to function at an optimal level and 8GB of storage, upgradable to 40GB should meet the needs of the vast majority of consumers.

There are two minor issues with the build though. The first is that there is a small amount of backlight bleed at the top and bottom of the screen when no image is displayed. With the standard Android OS in place or a video/game playing it isn't evident but really it shouldn't be there. In addition to this the fit of the mini-HDMI socket could be a little tighter to minimise movement of the small connector which is attached to a reasonably weighty cable.

NOTE: We have heard of some users suffering from random reboots on the 2X, our handset has performed flawlessly and is not affected so this may be due to a single, early shipment of handsets which have a specific fault.

So what about the user experience and performance when using the handset? Well overall it is great and the performance difference between this and a midrange handset (such as the Galaxy Ace) is immediately noticeable. The handset moves between screens smoothly and applications open quickly. Flash 10.3 was released a few days ago and works well with content accelerated by the GPU and running smoothly. There are still some optimisations which are required though, for example when installing some applications from the Android Market the handset can lag a little but we expect this to be fixed in the next OS update from LG. Speaking of updates, it is a little disappointing to see that the 2X is currently limited (officially) to Android 2.2.2, LG have confirmed that 2.3 will be released soon however as there is no real skinning or tweaking of the OS going on here it seems a little odd that LG are taking so long to implement the update.

The real strength of the handset becomes evident when we fire up a Tegra compatible game and see how well these high detail titles play. Dungeon Defenders as an example looks fantastic for a mobile application and the ability to scale it up via HDMI to an HDTV is excellent.

If there is any area of the overall package which is a little lacking it is the lack of a decent PC software suite which integrates with Outlook. Samsung with their recently released Kies software have the process of syncing with Outlook and our PC pretty much perfected, finding the right balance between the minimalist approach offered by LG and the take over our lives aspect which iTunes provides. LG probably should rethink their approach in this regard to offer a decent, compact software solution which would appeal to business users.

What LG lack on the software side they more than make up for on the camera front. The 8MP model used on the 2X takes some lovely still pictures as our examples show. It far from great at extreme zoom levels but as a device to take everywhere it offers a level of quality which is higher than models from manufacturers such as HTC. The ability to record at 1080 for video is also a nice feature to have although the images can be a little soft with action packed shots can be a little jerky... still, for a phone it is pretty great.

Finally on the hardware front we have the battery life. The Optimus 2X's 1500mAh battery packs more than enough power to get a user through the work day, in fact it will go well into the second and beyond for those less demanding users. Fire up a game and we get up to 4hrs life with media playback offering far longer.

So that brings us to value. LG bundles the 2X with all of the cables and connectors that a consumer will need to get them up and running. The inclusion of a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable is a nice touch and we get some great peace of mind knowing that the warranty can be upgraded to 5-years after registering through LG. At £420-$499 the 2X/G2x is roughly £80/$120 cheaper than the Galaxy S 2 (handset only price) and that feels about right given the specification of the two handsets.

Summary
A hugely impressive Android device which performs very well now and will improve even further as the OS and applications/games optimise themselves for the dual core architecture offered by Tegra 2. A quality display, good camera and impressive gaming performance are particular highlights of the Optimus 2X.

Product Award

Pricing: Varies by contract, sim free: £426.98 / $499


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