In the world of high-end Android handsets, manufacturers have already gone above and beyond in cramming in the absolute best of technology into a package small enough to fit in one’s pocket. Massive 4-inch screens – check, dual-core processors – check, Full HD recording and playback – check, we’ve seen it all. So, how do you one-up the competition when everything’s already been done? Simple, you add the missing third dimension to your device and voilà, you now have a USP to market your product. This strategy has worked well for films (well, some of them at least!) and for consumer electronic product categories like TVs, projectors and monitors. So it was just a matter of time before the trend hit mobiles.
Video Reviewed: LG Optimus 3D
Currently, HTC and LG are the only two companies to offer Stereoscopic 3D Android handsets, which represent the absolute best of what smartphones have to offer. But, simply adding a feature for the sake of adding it does not make it a good product, it has to be implemented the right way for it to be successful. Has LG managed to crack that? Let’s find out.
Design and Build
In terms of design, there’s no other way to put it, the Optimus 3D looks like a giant slab of glass with bits of plastic and metal thrown in. At 168g, it’s not what you call light-weight, you’ll definitely feel the heft in your pocket. There’s quite a bit of extra bezel on the top and the bottom of the phone, which makes it little longer. Even with my large hands, I found myself struggling at times to reach the power button to lock the screen. Hidden beneath the bezel is the front-facing camera and the ambient light sensor.
Don't be fooled by its understated looks
The touch sensitive buttons are found at the bottom and are the same as the Optimus 2x. In between, we have a gorgeous 4.3-inch 3D LCD display. You can straight away tell that the display is a lot better than the one on the Optimus 2x, as the contrast levels are much better and the colours are not over-saturated. Instead, I’d say it’s nearly as good as a Super AMOLED display from Samsung.
Share your 3D videos easily using the HDMI port
In terms of connectivity, LG has provided a micro-USB and mini-HDMI connector on the side, while the 3D menu and volume rocker is placed on the right, making it easier to use with your thumb. The 3.5mm headphone and power/sleep button is placed on the top. Round the back, we have the dual 5MP cameras placed in landscape mode with the LED flash placed in between. The SD card is hot-swappable and supports up to 32GB. The plastic cover easily snaps on and off without any issue.
The Optimus 3D is powered by an ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor running at 1GHz, the same one used in BlackBerry’s PlayBook and Motorola’s upcoming DRIOD HD. The graphics chip used is a PowerVR SGX540 along with 512 MB of RAM for the phone and 8GB internal storage. While this is all fine, the disappointing fact is that LG have decided to launch the phone with Froyo, rather than Gingerbread, which is simply unacceptable. Seeing how they announced the Optimus 3D at the beginning of 2011, LG had ample amount of time to prepare for Gingerbread, but they didn’t, for reasons best known to them.
Quick access to Wi-Fi, GPS, etc
I must say though, even with Android 2.2.2, the interface is very smooth and slick. The touchscreen is very sensitive and responds well to gestures. However, there are times when the phone tends to get bogged down after using different apps and some jerkiness in the animations is noticeable. I encountered this problem when taking screenshots, after capturing a couple of them, the ‘Home’ soft key simply stopped responding and the only fix was to reboot the phone. This could be a problem with the current version of the skin or Froyo. Either ways I hope LG fixes these glitches when they release Gingerbread in October.
LG's skin is easy to use and customize
You get a total of 7 home screens with the ability to delete unwanted ones. The icon dock remains fixed at the bottom just like iOS, but you can’t change the apps from the dock. Another nice feature is the inclusion of toggle switches in the notification bar for mobile data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and even a widget for the music player. The main menu has a very nice grouping system for 3D apps, all apps and downloaded apps, which can be closed or expanded depending on your preference. LG has incorporated one of the best implementations of adding a widget or wallpaper on an Android phone. Instead of a pop-up menu in the middle of the screen, you get a little bar at the bottom with options for widgets, shortcuts, folders and wallpaper and you can browse through the different options without leaving that screen. The settings menu is similar to stock Android, with the exception of an HDMI option that lets you select various output resolutions.