LG Optimus 4X HD Review
The local quad-core smartphone market is still small and LG’s Optimus 4X HD is just the third one we have officially available as of this writing. It’s important for LG to keep up with the big Android brands and being third is not a bad thing in a market that’s still warming up to big and powerful phones.
I’ve been using this LG superphone for quite a while and if I’m to say something short about it, it’s not as flashy as the HTC One X nor the Samsung Galaxy S3 but is trusty and can handle things really well on its own with a few tricks to boot.
Let’s take a look closely at the LG Optimus 4X HD to see if it’s time for you to go with quad-core phones.
The Optimus 4X HD takes it design cue from their fashionable LG Prada 3.0 with the thin, angular-look with rounded edges and dual chrome lining surrounding the edges – a welcome change from the curvy looks of other quad-core handsets.
The front is fully-covered with Gorilla Glass protecting its 4.7-inch display and its thin bezel making this phone one-hand friendly despite its size. The three standard Android touch panel buttons are below the screen for Back, Home, and Menu.
On the left side you’ll get the not-so prominent volume control while on top is the 3.5mm port and the tiny Power/Sleep button. Nothing can be seen on the right side while the bottom only features the microUSB port which supports MHL if you have a microUSB to HDMI cable.
Like their Prada phone, the back has that textured skin called “Saffiano” leather that gives this phone a distinct style from other brands. Despite the stylish look, the back panel is made of plastic to keep things light and houses the 8-megapixel camera and its LED flash and the speaker holes at the bottom.
Prying the panel is an easy affair and you’ll see the removable battery inside, as well as the regular SIM slot and microSD slot. Nice of LG to offer the regular things as a lot of handsets now go with microSIM, fixed batteries and no microSD.
LG did a good job in striking a balance with the size and weight of its Optimus 4X HD. It’s pocketable, still manageable doing one-hand texting, and the 133g weight feels just right in my pocket or my hand. It doesn’t have an eye-catching design but it doesn’t look plain and boring either.
Display and UI
The 4.7-inch display has an HD resolution of 1280 x 720 on its IPS LCD panel, which is the same as that of the HTC One X. It doesn’t have the deep contrast of the Galaxy S3’s AMOLED display but it outputs truer colors all throughout. Images and icons are detailed and look really crisp thanks to its high 312 ppi.
You’ll get Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich on this phone with a subtle Optimus UI layer. The lockscreen has four customizable app shortcuts to unlock. Inside there are 7 homescreens with four static customizable icon slots at the bottom. The app drawer scrolls from left to right with tabbed section for Downloads and Widgets.
A customization feature I like here is its themes which reminds me of how I used to change themes on Windows 95 before. Not only will you get different backgrounds but there are also accompanying icons for each theme. A feature that should attract those who love to customize their phones.
It also has a feature called Quick Memo which lets you immediately write on screen and take a screenshot of it. Useful if you’re viewing Google maps and want to put notations then capture and send it to someone. I personally use it as a quick notepad.
The LG Optimus 4X HD has the same quad-core 1.5GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU as that of the Galaxy S III and HTC One X. Synthetic benchmark via Quadrant puts this device (3476) slightly below HTC One X. Samsung still tops the chart on Quadrant.
Don’t let this be a downer to you though. I experienced no lag at all during my time using this phone. Transitions are smooth, launching of apps is quick, even games load pretty fast with no performance issues. I tried casual games such as Wind-Up Knight to GPU intensive games like Dead Trigger and everything was smooth sailing.
No issues with making and receiving calls. Speaker is adequately clear and the mic quality didn’t pose any issue on the other end. Unfortunately for this phone, speaker quality when playing music or watching movies is kind of subpar with volume level just below average.
Video playback is fast and smooth even with large 1080p mkv files. The player is also fully loaded with features we haven’t seen from other phones. It supports pinch-to-zoom, Dolby Audio when you’re using earphones, video speed toggle, and a scrubber with thumbnail preview while the video is currently playing so you don’t have to guess where you want to skip to.
This phone is equipped with an 8-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash. You can use the onscreen shutter button or the volume rocker but don’t look for that half-press anywhere. Allow the camera to focus by itself before clicking that button.
It supports HDR, Panorama, and Continuous Shot. There are not a lot of built-in artistic effects you can do with your shot (only the usual color treatment) so you’re better off using Camera apps from Google Play if you want to play with your photos.
Here are some sample shots taken with this camera.
It’s quite average at most when under good lighting condition although colors appear washout when it’s too bright. Exposure compensation is not accurate with noise and artifacts plaguing some shots. Quality under low light condition is a bit grainy.
The Optimus 4X HD can record up to Full HD 1080p videos. Here’s a sample video 720p video (forgot to set it to 1080p) recording.
One thing I noticed is that the camera focus a lot and there’s no way to turn continuous autofocus off so you have to avoid sudden movement jerks. Quality is decent though if you can manage to keep the picture focused.
Battery on the LG Optimus 4X HD is rated at 2150mAh which is just a teeny bit higher than the Galaxy S3’s 2100mAh. Using it the first strictly for calls and text got me to three days before having to plug it in. For my normal usage which includes camera, WiFi, a bit of games, reading books, I can always get 1.5 days from a single charge. Not bad!
What I love with this phone is that it’s simple yet elegant angular look unlike the curvy shapes of its peers, a look which should appeal to the minimalists out there. It feels good to hold with just the right slimness and lightness. Although synthetic benchmark is slightly below what other quad-core phones are getting, you won’t notice any performance issues with this phone. If there’s one thing we’re unhappy about, it’s the quality of photos you can take with this phone which I’m afraid HTC and Samsung have a big advantage on currently.
Having an SRP of Php27,990, the LG Optimus 4x HD it is the most affordable option (slightly less expensive than the HTC One X) right now if you’re looking for a quad-core smartphone.
|LG Optimus 4X HD P880 Specs:|
|4.7” True HD IPS Display (720 x 1280) @ 313 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass|
|1.5GHz NVidia Tegra 3 Quad Core|
|ULP GeForce GPU|
|Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich with Optimus UI v3.0|
|16 GB storage (12 GB user available), 1 GB RAM, microSD up to 32GB|
|HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps|
|8 Megapixels auto-focus camera with LED flash|
|1080p Full HD video recording @ 30fps|
|1.3 Megapixel front-facing|
|Bluetooth 4.0 HS+|
|USB 2.0 HS, HDMI (MHL – Mobile High Definition Link)|
|2,150 mAh SiO+ Battery|
|132.4 x 68.1 x 8.9 mm|