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LG Optimus 4X HD Review

on July 30, 2012 – 12:45 pmNo Comment

You saw the unboxing of the LG Optimus 4X HD last month. Here is the review of the LG’s first Quad-core smartphone powered by 1.5 GHz Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and running on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). It was announced at MWC 2012 and started rolling out in Europe in June. Let’s dive into the complete review.

Hardware

The 4.7-inch (1280 x 720 pixels) True HD IPS display with 313 ppi is bright. Even though it is slim, the device is huge and it is tough to hold it for those who have small hands. Since the power button is at the top, it is not that easy to hold and unlock it with a single hand quickly.


There are proximity and ambient light sensors at the top. The ear piece is at the center right below is the LG logo and the 1.2MP front-facing camera next to it.


The capacitive touch buttons are below the display that lights up when you unlock the screen.


The volume rocker is at the right.


It is very sleek at just 8.9mm. The left side is blank without any keys, wish there was a dedicated camera button.


The power/ lock button and the 3.5mm audio jack are at the top. There is a secondary microphone that is used while recording videos and while using a speaker phone.


The micro USB slot is at the bottom which also doubles up as a MHL port that lets you connect the phone to external display. There is a microphone next to it.


There is an 8MP camera at the back along with the LED flash. It can record videos 1080p Full HD videos.


The speaker is at the bottom.


The back side has some nice pattern and is easy to grip the device.


When you open the back cover, there is a 2150 mAh battery. It uses a normal SIM card, instead of a micro SIM on the other quad-core phones, HTC One X and Galaxy S III. There is a microSD card slot next to it that could be expanded up to 64GB.

Software


The LG Optimus 4X HD runs on the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS with the Optimus UI 3.0. It is the LG’s first Android phone to come with ICS out of the box and the new UI is the best one LG has ever had on Android. The Home screen has different look with the Google Voice search at the top and the usual shortcuts for Phone, Contacts, Messaging and Apps at the bottom.


You can Touch the + icon at the top or press and hold anywhere on the empty screen to add app shortcuts, widgets or change the wallpaper. You can pinch the screen to add different home screens that supports up to 7 home screens. Press and hold an icon for some time and click it again to open a New Icon Customizer that lets you add custom icons or photos instead of icons.


The drop down notification bar has transparent part where there are no notifications and has options to edit the quick settings shortcuts such as data, WiFi, Bluetooth etc. You can now swipe away each notifications separately. You can press and hold the shortcuts to open the settings.


The menu has separate tabs for Apps, Downloads (downloaded apps) and Widgets. You can click the icon on the top right to change the position of the icons. You can change the grid to show 4×5 to 6×6 grid from the menu.


Instead of swiping to one side, you can now swipe in any direction to unlock the screen. There are different lock options such as Face Unlock, Pattern, PIN and Password Unlock, which you can change from the settings. You can also change lock screen wallpaper and home screen digital clock and apps in the bottom bar from the lock screen settings.


There is quiet mode time option in the settings that lets the phone go to the vibrate mode during the period of time with sound enabled only for media and alarm. There is auto brightness option and you can also change turn the front capacitive key lights on or off and set duration. There is a power saver that automatically disconnects WiFi, GPS or other as you choose when the battery is below a certain limit.

Here is the complete UI demo video

Camera


The 8MP auto focus camera captures shots quickly but it is hard to focus small objects quickly. There is no dedicated camera key but you can use the volume rocker to capture images when you open the camera UI or just drag the camera icon in the lock screen from the bottom bar to the center to access it quickly. There are different scene modes such as Normal, HDR, Panorama and Continuous shot (takes 6 continuous shots). It has focus modes (Auto or Face Tracking) and you can even touch an area to focus. You can adjust Brightness, White balance and set a Timer. The LED Flash lets you shoot in dark. You can switch to front-facing 1.2 MPcamera to capture shots, there is beauty shot option that makes your skin smoother and brighter when you capture a photo of yourself.

Here are some camera samples

It can record videos at 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second. The video camera options are similar, in addition there is a a live effect mode that lets you play around with different silly faces and different backgrounds while recording videos. The video clarity is impressive that also has auto focus, the audio is also crisp and clear.

Here is the 1080p video sample

Apps


There are the usual utility apps such as Alarm, App Manager, Backup, Calculator, Calendar, Finance, Memo, News, Voice recorder, and Weather. Polaris office lets you view office documents and there are Google apps such as Google+ Gmail, Talk, YouTube and Google Maps.


The ICS browser is pretty good and it managed to score 295 in html5 test.

Music, Media Player and FM Radio


The Music Player plays MP3, 3GP, MP4, AAC, AAC+, AMR, MIDI and WMA formats. You can use the equalizer when you plugin the headset and there are different equalizers modes such as Dolby Mobile, Acoustic, Bass Boost, Classical, Clear and more. There are shortcuts to toggle shuffle, repeat, lyrics and dolby mobile on the playing screen. The loud-speaker is good. There is a FM Radio with auto tune feature. The stations are listed at the bottom. You can view the station list at the bottom and select it quickly, view entire station list and arrange or edit them. The speak is good but not loud enough.


There is a separate place called Media Home that lists Videos, Music and Photos. It can play MPEG4, DivX, XviD videos. It even played MKV videos. There is a new feature called preview frame that lets you select a particular frame that plays the current video in a small window while the original video is playing in the background. This lets you choose an exact part of the video so that you can move there just by tapping the small window.

Phone Calls and Messaging


There were no drop calls and the speaker is loud enough to hear the phone ringing even when the phone is inside the pocket. It has speed dial, call logs. There are also Groups, Contacts and Favorites in contacts. The Messaging features are similar to the previous LG phones that supports MMS and Email. There is an inbuilt email client with Microsoft exchange support other than the Gmail app. The keyboard is similar to the previous LG keyboard. It has Google voice typing feature that lets you speak to type.

Connectivity


The connectivity features include 3G HSPA+ (21 Mbps) that is pretty good. There is WiFi 802.11 a/ b/g/n with WiFi direct and DNLA, Bluetooth v4.0. There is a Smartshare app to share content to DLNA enabled devices. There is NFC support which lets you activate features using programmable Tag+ NFC tags.


There is an on screen phone feature which you can enable from connectivity settings that lets you operate the phone from the PC (only for windows at present) with the OSP software which you can download from the product support page.

Benchmarks

Here are some benchmarks to test the performance of the Tegra-3 quad-core processor.

Quadrant and AnTuTu benchmark

SmartBench2012 and Vellamo

Conclusion

The specs and the design of the phone looks good. It excels in Quad-core Tegra-3 performance, UI, Camera and build. The battery life with the 2150 mAh battery is good, but not up to the mark. It lasted for a day with browsing over 3G, few phone calls, couple of hours of music and some gaming. The standby is good, so you don’t lose battery when you don’t use that phone. At a competitive price of Rs. 34,990, LG is definitely a good contender in the quad-core smartphone segment in India.

Pros

  • 4.7-inch HD IPS display at 331 ppi is good
  • Good Build quality
  • Quad-core Tegra 3 processor is pretty fast
  • 1080p HD video recording with good audio

Cons

  • Might be too big to hold for some
  • No dedicated camera button
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Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He is currently using the Motorola Moto G. You can follow him on Twitter @ssrivatsan and on Google+