It started in cinemas, but now 3D is everywhere.TV, gaming, handheld consoles – it was the big selling point of the Nintendo 3DS – but now LG reckons that glasses-free 3D might be the thing to help it fend off the threat of a forthcoming Apple iPhone 5. But does it actually work on a smartphone handset?
Big, bold and beautiful
We can’t help really liking the LG Optimus 3D, even before we start to consider its visual speciality. This is a big handset, though. A very big handset indeed. With a screen measuring 4.3 inches diagonally, it’s right at the limit of appropriate sizing for a smartphone. Many people will be unable to reach across the screen one-handed. We couldn’t.
But the screen is superb. 480×800 pixels of bright, sharp rendering make for great web browsing, video viewing and picture looking. Even in 2D.
The 3D element of the LG Optimus 3D only kicks in when you choose that option from the home screen. Do so, and a new interface pops up in the shape of a 3D carousel, offering a 3D Gallery, 3D Camera, 3D Games and Apps, YouTube 3D and a user guide.
There are twin camera lenses on the back of the chassis. You can use these to shoot 3D images at 3 megapixels, or 2D images at 5 megapixels. There are a couple of 3D games, and a reasonable amount of 3D video available via the YouTube link.
The LG Optimus 3D can even take a stab at turning 2D stills and video into 3D, too – though we felt the effect wasn’t as good as you get with native 3D content. An HDMI cable can be used to send 3D output to a 3D TV, if you have one.
One minor niggle is that you have to hold the LG Optimus 3D at just the right angle for the 3D capability to work, and it really only works for one person at a time. Nonetheles, we were impressed nonetheless.
And the rest?
LG has put a fair amount of thought into the rest of the Optimus 3D’s specifications, and they’re high-end – though not quite flagship. There is a 1GHz dual-core Texas Instruments processor and 512MB of RAM, which has been divided into two sections so that the processor can access each – and, says LG, go faster as a result. We still found the Optimus 3D a little sluggish at times, though. LG’s Android skin includes seven home screens and a widget-resizing feature that helps you make the most of the big screen.
There’s 8GB of internal storage, and a microSD card. The handset supports DLNA too. GPS and HSDPA are present and correct. It’s a shame, though, that camera couldn’t have been an 8 megapixel one, rather than 5 megapixel – and an even bigger disappointment is the fact that the Optimus 3D runs Android 2.2 (code-named Froyo) rather than the more up-to-date 2.3 Gingerbread.
We were also very disappointed with battery life, which is among the poorest we’ve seen for some while. If you use 3D mode a lot you might struggle to get beyond half a day between charges.
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- Big screen; good features; some 3D elements work well.
- Only runs Android 2.2; Poor battery life.
The LG Optimus 3D is a large handset with a great screen. It has good all round features, and the 3D element some will see as an added bonus. Using it does drain the battery quickly though.