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CES: LG Optimus G hands-on review

Tue Jan 08 2013, 10:09
CES LG Optimus 4 video demo

In terms of speed we were very impressed with the Optimus G. It is powered by a hefty quad-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Krait CPU that is ably backed up by a Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM, and we found the device easily dealt with all the preinstalled services and apps loaded on the device.

LG Optimus G processor management

The same was true when loading webpages. Testing the Optimus G on the US AT&T 4G network, we found the device loaded multiple pages and videos instantly, and we're hoping the device will be equally impressive if and when it arrives in the UK using the country's EE network.

Unfortunately though, we didn't get a chance to really put the Optimus G through its paces, with an LG spokesman all but snatching the device from our hands when we tried to install some more demanding apps onto the device.

Camera and video features
Taking a few photos around the showroom floor showed competent results, though we found that the Optimus G's 8MP rear-facing camera could struggle in low light conditions.

In the few test shots we got to take, the photos all looked dull and at times a little bit fuzzy.

However, our initial disappointment with the camera's photographic capabilities was quickly swept away when we stumbled upon the host of video features that LG has loaded on the Optimus G.

Chief among these is the Optimus G's ability to zoom in on captured video. Shooting a short video on the Optimus G, we found that we were able zoom in many times on videos being played.

While this might sound trivial, we can imagine that the ability to zoom in captured video could be very useful, with it letting you spot numerous facts or nuances you might have missed when initially shooting it.

Operating system
We were particularly disappointed to find that the Optimus G is still running on Google's Android 4.04 Ice Cream Sandwich mobile operating system, not the newer Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

This means that you won't get useful features like Google Now, a service that offers you push updates on your surrounding area based on your online search habits, and the option to run multiple user accounts off the device.

CES LG Optimus G operating system

Even worse, LG has chosen to overlay the Optimus G's operating system with its own custom user interface. This means that the Optimus G's user interface is very different than versions seen on other Android handsets, a fact that might put off new users to the ecosystem and will delay its promised upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

While we didn't get a chance to check the Optimus G's battery life, the levels boasted by LG are reasonable. LG claims that the Optimus G's non-removable Li-Po 2100 mAh battery boasts 335 hours life on standby and 15 hours talktime, even when running over 4G.

Additionally, LG's loaded the Optimus G with a power management option that lets you reduce the processor's power consumption. The service allows you to extend the Optimus G's battery life at the expense of processing power.

Summing up, while we are pretty impressed with the LG Optimus G, even during our initial hands-on, we did notice a few nagging issues.

Chief of these are its outdated Android operating system and less than convincing build quality. We're hoping at the very least that when it arrives in the UK, LG will have gotten around to rolling out its Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update. µ


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