Smartphones get better all the time. There are two aspects to this advance: one is adding ever more adventurous software features to handsets; the other is improving the hardware. Arguably the biggest improvement on the latter front for some time is the introduction of dual-core processors. And first to market with a dual-core processor is LG, with its Optimus 2X.
Not just a processor story
LG knows full well that more smartphones featuring dual-core processors are just around the corner, and so the company has given more high-end features to the Optimus 2X than just the 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2. It’s unfortunate that one of these is not Android 2.3. Version 2.2 will have to do until an expected update comes along.
But there is a front facing camera, so that as and when full video calling is supported via Android 2.3, the LG Optimus 2X will be able to handle it. And the main camera is an 8-megapixel shooter that captures Full HD 1080p video – that capability is another smartphone first. To help you make the most of all this, there’s 8GB of built-in storage and a microSD card slot for adding more.
Beyond the handset
To take advantage of the Full HD video capture there’s an HDMI port on the top edge of the chassis. And this can be used not only to send video to an external source such as a TV, but also to fully mirror the handset’s contents.
Twin speakers sit on the bottom edge of the chassis. That’s not a first, but it is rare – and the volume they put out is pretty good. A virtual surround’ option significantly improves audio quality, and is best left on all the time.
A smartphone with specifications like these deserves a big screen, and so the 4inch, 480×800-pixel one on offer here seems just right. It’s very sharp and bright with excellent viewing angles. The big screen makes for a large handset, though. The LG measures 122x64x10mm, and the slight downward curvature of the long edges doesn’t do a lot to make it seem smaller than it really is. At 148g, you’ll notice the weight too.
There is a downside to the LG Optimus 2X though, and it comes in the shape of the software. LG has skinned Android rather nicely, with seven home screens and plenty of decent widgets to fill them. There are lots of nice app tweaks. But some horrors too.
We could do without LG’s App Advisor, which simply takes a regularly changing subset of the Android Market and offers it up for your consideration. And we really don’t need the Preloaded Apps’ – a set of apps that aren’t actually installed, but will install when you tap them. We can choose our own third-party apps, thanks LG.
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- Dual-core processor; large screen and Full HD video capability.
- Too many pre-installed apps; only Android 2.2.
Software niggles aside, the LG Optimus 2X is a super handset. Very speedy in response to the finger, offering a large screen and good skin, it's a leading light and makes us look forward with some excitment to the other dual-core Android smartphones that will be along in short order.