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LG Optimus 4X HD – Review

In continuing with my look at the LG line up, I was also given the Optimus 4X HD model.  The one I received was from Wind. Like the Optimus G, on paper this is a ‘beast of a phone’, not many phones have a Tegra 3 processor.  And comparing it to the G, there’s nary a difference.

The only thing I can really say to start off this review is that I should have done this one first, before the G, it’s hard to stack anything against that.  That being said, it still has some great great features.

This is the p880G model that I’ve played with.

Specs

  • 4.7″ @ 1280×720 TrueHD IPS+ protected by Gorilla Glass
  • 1.5GHz x4 nVidia Tegra 3
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB storage (microSD up to 64GB)
  • NFC
  • ICS 4.0.3
  • 8MP / 1.3MP camera

Hardware

The phone feels about as thin as the Galaxy Nexus, and has a textured back similar to the Nexus (instead of a check pattern it has a rubbery ‘grainy’ feel); which is handy as it isn’t that slippery.  I found with glass back phones that they slide a little too easy, and if you put it somewhere that wasn’t perfectly even it would eventually start slowly making its way to the lowest point.  No worries here.  Plus the back is curved a little bit, so it feels smaller than it is.

The rim of the device has that ‘sandwiched’ look of the metal attaching to both front and back. and the plastic in between has a ’3d diamond pattern

When folks complain about the Nexus 4 / Optimus G about not having expandable memory or a removeable battery, that’s alleviated here, as the back comes off to reveal the battery SD slot.

Software

It’s Android 4.0.4 under the hood and it does have it’s own ‘flavour’ of a skin, just called “Optimus UI v3.0″ similar to the Optimus G.  However it does feel like an older version of the skin, compared to the G.  Whether it’s customization for 1GB vs. 2GB, it’s noticeable difference.  Like very ‘gingerbread’ feel in a stoic cornered feeling.  Like the lock screen – on the G it’s a very animated bubble, on the 4X it’s just a circle.  The drop down for the power widgets in’t as ‘candied up’ as the G was.  Minor differences between the 2, but what’s nice is that the UI is light.  It’s cosmetic only, and doesn’t slow the system down having to deal with it’s heavier features like, say for example, TouchWiz, which I feel really slows down the device.

      

The menu layout is a little different than ‘stock’, so it takes some getting used to, like finding the battery stats was in a different spot so I had to hunt for it.  No biggie… just different.  I also notice that the app tray seems to be ‘out of order’, as it has the pre-installed apps THEN it places the downloaded ones.  I just couldn’t find out how to sort them alphabetically.  Maybe it’s just me, I found it tricky to find the app I wanted.

 

Like the G, you also have a neat “quick memo” feature in the notification tray (which I found out that you can access by either the notification tray, or by holding both volume buttons down).  Like the Note 1 and 2, it’s like taking a screenshot that you can write on, then save/share.  Again, great for doodling.

 

Another feature is customizing.  It’s a small thing, but without a 3rd party app you can organize your files into folders (nothing new), but resize these folders and colourize them.  Cool.

 

Camera

A decent enough camera, that has a pretty easy to use UI, again not as ‘prettied up’ as the G was, more utilitarian. I LOVE the fact it’s got HDR out of the box.

The camera is a noticeably slower to react, which can be a little frustrating if you’re used to something like the Galaxy Nexus and it’s fast shutter.  Also, a frustrating point is the focus.  I’ve found that If I get a little closer to something, and tap on the screen to focus it’ll focus, and by the time I’ve moved my finger to the shutter it tries to refocus.  If you’re not paying attention you may end up taking a picture while it’s re-focusing and it’ll turn out blurry.  So, just gotta be patient.

Overall

This is a great phone.  I do think it has a little ‘long in the tooth’ feel to it, as we’re starting to see some really sexy devices, this one falls a little short of those expectations.

But what if you’re not ‘expecting’, or you’re just looking?  Well, it handles its own very well.  There’s not many true quad-core, let alone something at the level of an nVidia Tegra 3 out there IN A PHONE!

The benchmarking still pegs it high enough that it’s just below the top of the line guys, but definitely it’s no ‘middle of the pack’.

 

It retails for about the $550 mark, but you can snag it for around $200 subsidized.  Not a bad price point, but where you can see several others for around that price you will get more out of the phone.

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