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LG is aiming its Optimus phone at newcomers to the Android space. This handset provides a lot of features found on smartphones, helps you stay connected, and even has an attractive price tag when purchased outright.

20100709013106d82b0 200x180 Review: LG Optimus
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The unit sports a brushed-aluminium finish (we got a silver one in for review) that gives it a classy look. It measures 109 x 54.5 x 12.9mm and weighs 115.5g, which feels just right in the hand. Up front, users can find the 3-inch screen, Menu Key, Back key, Send key, Home key, and End/Power/Lock key.

The Volume keys are on the left side of the unit, while the Search key, Camera key, and microUSB port are on the opposite side. A 3.5mm jack is also onboard, allowing users to use their favourite headphones when listening to music. Other features onboard include Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, GPS, HSDPA/HSUPA, and Wi-Fi.

LG has opted to use a resistive touch screen on the Optimus instead of a capacitive one, forcing us to add a bit more force on the screen when browsing through the home screen or composing messages.

 
20100709013137f8e75 200x180 Review: LG Optimus
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The unit runs on an older version of Android (1.6), but LG has added a couple of features to make it unique. The Optimus can have up to seven different home screens and offers social networking widgets for easy access to Twitter, Facebook, and Bebo.

The handset separated the applications into three different categories: Applications (Music, Voice Recorder, YouTube, Google Maps, etc.), Telstra Services (Foxtel, BigpondTV, Games, MyEmail, Maps, Scan Code, Shopping, Social Web, Yellow Pages, etc.), and Downloads (for those applications that you download via the Android market). Users can also add, rename, or delete a category by pressing the menu key.

In addition to this, the Optimus also allows a user to choose between two home screens – the default Android home or the one created by LG – with a touch of a button. Users can also set the number of screens (three, five, or seven), and set the home theme (Blue Cloud, Black Onyx, Pink Coco, Modern Silver, and White Cube).

 

How fast you can compose a text messages or e-mail is dependent on how big/small your fingers are. In portrait mode, LG uses a virtual 12-key numeric keypad. However, a QWERTY keypad is offered once the orientation is changed to landscape.

In terms of multimedia, the Optimus can play audio saved in MP3, AAC, AAC+, AAC-LC, AMR-NB, WMA, and videos in H.263 and MPEG4 format. Shots taken using the 3-megapixel camera are good enough for MMS and small prints, but the lack of flash makes it unusable in dark places.

The browser was able to load various websites quickly, but lacked multi-touch. Instead, we had to press the zoom button every time we wanted to zoom in/out of a webpage. Finally, the LG Optimus lasted close to two days in our test.

While the outright price is definitely a plus, it is hard for us to recommend this handset to those looking to purchase it with a post-paid plan. As of this time of writing, the Optimus is $0 on the Telstra $49 Cap – which is the same as HTC’s Desire. For the same amount a month, you can also get yourself a Galaxy S from Optus. Both handsets have better hardware and will provide you with a similar experience anyway, so unless the price / plan goes down, then we suggest looking elsewhere.

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