Review: LG Optimus 2x (LG P990)


By Steven Vea

What does it feel like to have dual-core processing in the palm of your hands? It is an amazing experience unparalleled by any other smartphone thus far.

Once it’s in the palm of your hands, the LG Optimus 2X’s design is classically suave and looks very similar to other products in its class. This reviewer had hoped a smartphone with a place in the Guinness Book of World Records would have an equally creative design, but perhaps we shouldn’t judge a phone by its casing. Although it’s cosmetically neat and technologically chic overall, the metal strip embedded into the unit’s rear (etched with the word “Google”) might not find favor with some consumers.

With the pleasantries of physical aesthetics aside, the Optimus 2X’s overall size and weight is just right, despite being slightly larger when compared to other smartphones in its class. It has a brilliant 4-inch IPS (In-Plane Switching) display with a resolution of 800×480. Colors are vivid with rich blacks and accurate whites, making it an absolute pleasure to use. Moreover, the display is well illuminated, so there should be no problem using the Optimus 2X under direct sunlight.

At the bottom of the display, users will see the familiar backlit touch controls (menu, home, back and search) that is usually installed on Android smartphones. The only physical controls are the volume buttons, which are seamlessly integrated on the unit’s side. Rounding up the features on its body are the micro HDMI and 3.5mm jack which can be found on top; and the micro-USB and speakers on the bottom. So overall, the Optimus 2x layout is quite simple and neat.

What is noteworthy about the LG Optimus 2X is that it comes with Nvidia’s dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 AP20H CPU. If you’re wondering what that mouthful of tech speak can offer, it basically improves a smartphone’s performance primarily in terms of multitasking, gaming and multimedia, especially videos with resolutions of 1080p.

The Optimus 2X performed well with graphics, as expected. Visuals in HD were fluid and free of stutters, for both videos and games. Being an Android smartphone, it seemed logical to test Angry Birds, which was elevated to an entirely new level of gameplay with the Optimus 2X’s quick load times and great response.

Speaking of HD resolution, the Optimus 2X cameras (8MP rear and 1.5mp front) record 1080p videos at 24fps. Image quality is satisfactory although not special, but effortless playback of HD videos was where this smartphone prevailed, whether it was native or streaming HD from the web. The ability to manually focus via touch is also a great feature.

Web browsing on the Optimus 2X was highly addicting as well, especially with its support for Adobe Flash. At times, the unit did struggle auto-rotating the screen from portrait to landscape mode, but it didn’t happen enough to warrant blood-curdling frustration. Furthermore, the touchscreen would sometimes require a little bit more pressure than what some users are accustomed to, especially when unlocking the phone from Idle mode.

The Optimus 2X battery life is similar to other touchscreen smartphones in its class, often needing to be recharged by the end of day with normal to heavy use, and especially with WiFi constantly on. This reviewer did experience a quirk with the Optimus 2X, which might be restricted to the test unit itself. When it was plugged in for charging with an app in current use, other apps would suddenly open and close uncontrollably. When all apps were shut down prior to charging, this fray did not occur, so again, this issue might be limited to the actual test unit itself.

Regardless of this tiny mishap, the LG Optimus 2X is a remarkable smartphone. It offers an amazing Nvidia dual-core processor, which creates a multimedia experience that could bring a new breath of life to Android devices. For those who want to own the world’s first dual-core smartphone, a device that has been inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records, the LG Optimus 2X is for you.

Form Factor: Slate/Full Touchscreen
Dimensions: 123.9 x 63.2 x 10.9 mm
Weight: 139 g
Display Size: 4.0 inches
Display Type: IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 480 x 800 pixels
CPU: Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, ULP GeForce GPU, Tegra 2 chipset
Memory/Storage: 8GB internal, 512MB RAM, microSD 32GB max
OS: Android v2.2 (Froyo), upgradable to v2.3
Data: GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, 10.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth2.1 with A2DP, microUSB v2.0
Camera: 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash; 1.3 MP
Video: 1080p@24fps, 720p@30fps
Features: Geo-tagging, face and smile detection, touch focus, image stabilization
Adobe Flash 10.1 support
Battery (max.): Stand-by 40 h, talk time 7 h 50 min

What’s Hot:
• Dual core processor
• Excellent IPS display
• Perfect for multimedia

What’s Not:
• Touchscreen sometimes unresponsive
• Auto-rotate sometimes struggles

Overall, the LG Optimus 2X is an excellent device for users who prefer an Android smartphone. Its dual-core processor is something to marvel at, which elevates the multimedia experience to even greater heights.

Buy Meter: 9.0

[This review originally appeared in the August 2011 issue of Gadgets Magazine]