Early reports of LG’s dual-core smartphone lamented its unstable operating system, but now it’s had an update can it follow through on its super-power promise?
Yes, generally. The Optimus 2X is blisteringly fast, with 3D graphics hardware onboard from Nvidia to make PSP-style gaming a reality. To prove the point, the handset comes with links to free downloads of a number of visually impressive 3D games.
You’ll feel the difference elsewhere too. Hi-def video plays back smoothly on the handset and can even be pumped out to a TV via the HDMI connection. And we’re not just talking about movies you’ve acquired from the net – the 2X can shoot 1080p video at 24 frames per second, and does a fine job of it too.
That extra grunt also keeps everything slipping and sliding along as it should without any jerkiness or awkward pauses in the menus. There are limits though. Android’s ability to multitask means you can stack it up with too many tasks if you try hard enough.
In line with the rest of LG’s top-end hardware, the 2X has a solid, quality feel. The glass over the screen is raised very slightly from the edges of the phone and curves down to meet it at the seams, resulting in a very smooth, pocket-friendly lump. The screen itself is admirably bright and colourful, although it doesn’t pop quite as much some rivals (such as the Google Nexus S).
Despite the recent firmware update, the 2X is still running Android version 2.2 (Froyo), as opposed to the latest 2.3 (Gingerbread). That means it loses out on a few usability tweaks from the newer OS, but LG has attempted to compensate slightly by adding permanent Phone, Contacts, Messaging and App buttons on all homescreens, not that it makes any real difference.
Many of the concerns raised from early tests have been resolved. The shortcut to ‘pre-loaded’ apps that previously led nowhere now has links to ten quality downloads. Bloatware that littered the phone has been cleared out or at least hidden away. Widgets for Facebook and Twitter now work, although you might still prefer the official apps. There’s also a big improvement in the phone’s ability to scan and connect to Wi-Fi networks.
All good then? Not quite. Battery life is disappointing. We found it struggled to get through a day without a charge. Of course this will depend on how you use the phone, but there’s no point having all this power if you’re not going to exploit it.
With an upgrade to Android 2.3 and a battery that could handle the drain of all that silcon, the Optimus 2X would be very hard to beat.