We are finally reviewing the Android that started the dual-core wave. I know it's a bit late, but this is what happens when your product manager spends his day stalking girls on FaceBook. Jokes apart, LG took its own sweet time to send us this device. The company is known for its "Who cares?" attitude, and the recent class-action lawsuit over defects in the Optimus 2X is evident of this fact. The lawsuit claims that the manufacturer was aware of the phone's defects, but ignored them to make its own life good. Continuing its legacy, LG still hasn't rolled out the Gingerbread update for the 2X in India. Worse, the company has no FOTA (Firmware Over the Air) system in place. This means that you have to connect the phone to a PC just to update the device. To add to your woes, once you get through the painful driver installation procedure, LG's updater greets you with the following message:
wHy iS u teLl tHiS t0 mE?
There is a workaround to install Gingerbread on this device, but most buyers will use the phone without jailbreaking it. Hence, I'll review the 2X as it is.
Design And Build Quality The retail package contains the phone, earphones, a charger with a detachable micro-USB cable, and an HDMI cable. This makes it a bag full of goodies, since you don't have to buy any more accessories. The device measures 123.9 mm (l) x 63.2 mm (w) x 10.9 mm (d). Not being as slim as the Galaxy S II (GS2) works in the 2X's favour, as it offers a better grip and feels more comfortable to hold. The device's design is impressive, and the curved Gorilla Glass over the 4" screen makes a style statement without being loud.
The metallic rim and matte plastic back panel with its rubbery texture add to the looks as well sturdiness. Weighing in at 139 grammes, it's slightly heavy, but gets away with the additional weight due to its rugged build.
Here are a few shots of the device from different angles:
Under the hood, the device contains a dual-core 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, coupled with a ULP GeForce GPU based on the Tegra 2 chipset. The other specs include an 8 megapixel primary and 1.3 megapixel front camera, 8 GB inbuilt memory, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, accelerometer, proximity sensor, and HDMI port. The 4" screen has pixel dimensions of 480x800. Courtesy of IPS technology, the viewing angles are impressive. Moreover, the colour reproduction and contrast is spectacular. However, don't expect it to be as vibrant as the GS2's Super AMOLED Plus.
UI And Applications The Optimus 2X runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo). LG has done enough to make the interface look good. To start with, the unlock slider looks better than the one seen on the GS2. The widgets and icons are a pretty standard Android affair though. The device supports up to seven home screens, with an option to cut them down to five or even three.
You can swipe through the home screens, or use the pinch-zoom gesture to activate a thumbnail view and navigate to the desired home screen. As in every Android device, this one lets you rearrange icons and widgets as you like.
The notification bar sports toggle buttons for Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, sound, and the auto-rotate feature. This is similar to what we've seen in the phones of LG's twin brother Samsung.
Coming to multitasking, the device handles it with ease. A long press of the Home key brings up the task switcher that lists recent apps. Thanks to the dual-core CPU, app switching is instantaneous.
Out of the pre-installed stuff, Polaris office deserves special mention. It can edit Word, Excel, and Power Point documents with ease. Moreover, this app doubles up as a file browser, which the phone otherwise lacks. Maps and navigation are taken care by Google Maps5.8. It's similar to what we have seen on other Froyo devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Ace. As mentioned in previous reviews, it's good for planning your travels or finding your house on the map, but not really useful for navigation. Much like the GS2, the GPS receiver is weak and takes more than 15 minutes to lock onto satellites, even if A-GPS (Assisted GPS) is on.
Despite running on Froyo, the browser is nothing short of spectacular. It renders almost every website properly with great speed. Moreover, it is capable of playing 1080p YouTube videos without any problems.
The LG App Advisor is useless though. Fortunately, the Android Market is full of amazing and free stuff. Throw any app at this device and it will run it without a problem. To test its capabilities, I tried some resource-hungry games by Gameloft. The Brothers in Arms 2, previously tested on the GS2, ran equally well on this device. Moreover, the phone also rendered the open world of Gangstar: Miami Vindication without any hiccups.
Apart from standard multi-touch gestures, the gadget responds to side-tapping. This means that you can go to the next photograph in the gallery by tapping the device's side. Although innovative, this feature is not reliable as sometimes it just doesn't work.
The overall UI and performance of the phone is good. However, it sometimes lags while swiping through the home screens. Moreover, the transition effects feel jerky if you have activated a Live wallpaper. The hardware is capable for sure, so the software seems to be the weakest link here. I'm looking at you Froyo - but then again, it's LG's fault for not having rolled out the Gingerbread update.