Hardware reviews

As well as game reviews, I also do hardware reviews for The Press and http://www.stuff.co.nz, ranging from smartphones, to laptops to gaming peripherals. Here’s one of my latest on LG’s Optimus 2X smartphone.


LG’s Optimus 2X smartphone is a joy to use.

It’s said to be the world’s first dual-core smartphone – and it is blazingly fast when switching between applications. I’m guessing the 2X in the name suggests that the Optimus can do things twice as fast as comparable smartphones.

I think my assumption is correct.

The first thing I noticed about the Optimus 2X is that it’s long – considerably longer than my usual smartphone. I’d say it’s bigger by a centimetre or so. That’s considerable in the smartphone market.

It has a nice weight about it, but you’ll certainly know if you slip it into a pants pocket and sit down.

The Optimus 2X takes beautiful photos and high-definition video, and it handled social networking perfectly. It has warmed me to the Android OS and what it has to offer.

The LG is powered by a 1Ghz dual core Tegra CPU, and comes installed with Android 2.2 operating system. That can be upgraded to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) come October. It also has an eight-megapixel auto-focus camera (which captures 1080p high-definition video), a four-inch WVGA TFT LCD screen (800 by 480 resolution), a mini-HDMI out connection, is DLNA certified, and supports wireless standards b, g, and n. It comes with eight gigabits of internal storage (upgradable to 32Gb using a micro SD card) and you can even set it up as a wireless hotspot, if you feel like sharing your mobile data.

The only buttons on the phone are the power button, which is sited on the right-hand top edge and volume controls on the right- hand side. The home, back, options and search buttons are part of the capacitive touch screen. It also has two cameras: one forward-facing, one back-facing. Some reviewers have said they dislike the strip of chrome running down the back of the 2X, from the camera down to almost the bottom of the backplate, but I didn’t mind it.

The screen is bright and responsive, and LG hasn’t made many changes to the stock Android interface. I especially love the Android notification bar that you slide down to see who has messaged you or replied to your tweet. Battery life was as I’d expect from any modern smartphone: You get a couple of days’ use between charges if using the functions a lot – but I often carry the charger with me, in case it runs out while I’m away from home.

Smartphones are more about consuming social and multi media than making calls – and the LG doesn’t disappoint.

These days, I’m using more data on my smartphone than making voice calls and the Optimus 2X makes it incredibly easy to use social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and to check emails on the go.

It’s also incredibly easy to take photos and share them with other people or post them to social media sites. The phone also comes pre-installed with LG’s App Advisor, which collates a list of apps the phone thinks would be useful for you.

It’s a handy feature, but it’s not a huge task to go trawling through apps on the Android Marketplace yourself.

Oh, and call quality is great.

I was genuinely impressed by the LG Optimus 2X – and not many Android-based phones have done that in the past. It’s blisteringly fast and it’s got everything you’d need in a smartphone. I highly recommend it.

From: 2 degrees mobile, $999.

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