LG Optimus Black Review
The LG Optimus Black is aimed at the top end of the smartphone market and has a price tag similar to the rival Samsung Galaxy S2 and iPhone 4S but does the Optimus Black match its competitors in the technology stakes?
LG Optimus Black Design
As soon as you pick up the LG Optimus Black you will notice how lightweight it is. Weighing only 109g it is not a handset you will mind carrying around with you. Measuring 122 x 64mm it is rather long which gives the overall impression of being a bigger phone than it really is and it also feels very sleek thanks to its slim-line profile. At its widest point it is 9.2mm but it slims down to 6mm along the side edges. It is a little disappointing that the plastic casing does feel a bit rough along some of the edges but overall the Optimus Black design is appealing.
A true asset to this handset is its 4 inch Nova capacitive touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass which has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and a pixel density of 233ppi. This display is as bright and vibrant as an AMOLED but as a result of its “luminance reduction technology” it requires a lot less battery power. It also performs brilliantly in all light conditions, including direct sunlight.
Processor and Operating System
The LG Optimus Black has less internal power than its counterpart the LG Optimus 2X with a 1GHZ processing chip and Android’s 2.2 Froyo Operating System. LG have added their own skin to this in the form of their Gesture User Interface. The stand out feature of the Gesture UI is the addition of the “G” button on the side of the phone. This is designed to make one-handed use of the phone easier. For example to scroll through the seven Homescreens hold the G button down and tilt the handset. To answer or hang up a call hold the G button down and shake the device.
In terms of connectivity the Optimus Black has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G. It loads web pages efficiently and with the technology of the Nova display content looks good on screen even when you zoom in. The default browser works well and supports Flash.
As a media player the Optimus Black comes into its own. The superb screen and excellent audio quality makes watching a film a pleasant experience but the Optimus Black lacks internal storage and only comes with a 2GB card so you will need to expand on this.
There is a widget in the Notifications Menu for the music player making it easy to use. The Optimus Black supports MP3, WAV, MIDI, AAC, AAC+ and eAAC+. The sound quality was good with little distortion and the supplied headphones produced good quality listening as well.
To access the 1500mAh battery of the Optimus Black you will need to prise open the back panel, which is a difficult task given the tiny slot given to this task. Leaving ease of access to one side the battery duration is no more than average despite the power-saving feature of the Nova screen. With general use including web browsing you could expect to recharge the battery at the end of every day.
The LG Optimus Black features a rear-mounted 5 megapixel camera. This seems a pretty poor offering compared to the Samsung Galaxy S2 and other high-end smartphones, but in reality daytime images are of good quality with true colours and clear details (with perhaps a little colour wash in bright light). If, however, you zoom in you soon find the picture becomes blurred and in low light conditions with or without the flash images are poor quality. The purpose of the G button also comes into question as it launches the camera app but cannot be used to take the picture. Instead you need to tap the display in the usual way which often leads to some shakiness. The video function of the camera is also less than top notch. There is no zoom and the auto focus tends to constantly adjust to give a jerky end result. A greater success story is the front-facing 2 megapixel camera for video calling.
LG Optimus Price
If you wanted to buy an LG Optimus Black it would set you back in the region of £400 SIM free, but you can get the handset free with a 24 month contract. These start at approximately £26 per month depending on the terms and supplier.