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LG Optimus 3D Review

written by: Robert Faustus•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/22/2011

In an ultra competitive market, smartphones must evolve. At the 2011 Mobile World Congress, LG showed what their next evolutionary step in smartphones would be. The LG Optimus 3D is the first smartphone with a glasses free 3D display! Find out if the 3D makes this release unique enough.

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    LG is the silent competitor in today's highly competitive smartphone market. While its Korean competitor, Samsung, has begun dominating the global market with the Galaxy brand, LG has slowly released their Optimus series. However, unlike the Galaxy line up from Samsung, the Optimus line up from LG has been rather hush hush, and marketed towards the lower end market. Smartphones such as the LG Optimus T, which are decent smartphones with affordable prices, are a great way to enter the market, but not the best way to draw attention.

    Enter the LG Optimus 3D. LG promised something big at the 2011 Mobile World Congress, and though rumors easily spoiled the release of the LG Optimus 3D, it did not hinder the excitement. The LG Optimus 3D is the first ever smartphone with a 3D display. Motorola is trying something new with the Motorola Atrix 4G and the laptop dock. Kyocera recently announced and showed off the dual screen Kyocera Echo. LG looks to try another "industry changing" approach for smartphones with the LG Optimus 3D.

    LG Optimus 3D Specifications:

    • Dimensions: 5.07 x 2.68 x 0.47 inches (128.8 x 68 x 11.9 mm)
    • Weight: 5.93 oz (168 g)
    • Display: 4.3 inch 3D capable capacitive touchscreen, 480 x 800 pixels
    • Memory: 8 GB and expandable microSD slot up to 32 GB
    • OS: Android OS 2.2
    • Processor: Dual core 1 GHz Texas Instruments OMAP4
    • Camera: 5 megapixel dual lens camera with LED flash capable of 3D
    • Connectivity: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900 / UMTS 900, 2100
    • Data: EDGE
    • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.1
    • GPS: GPS with A-GPS
    • Battery: Li-Ion 1500 mAh

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    Design and Display

    Rating Average

    LG Optimus 3D Review The LG Optimus 3D has an unusually bright 4.3 inch LCD screen dominating the front of the phone. To the right edge of the display is the volume rocker and dedicated 3D button. Opposite, resides the HDMI out port and the microUSB port. Up top is where the 3.5 mm headphone jack and the power / lock button reside. Below the display are the familiar Android shortcut keys for menu, home, back and search.

    The 3D button mentioned above does what the name suggests, turns the display into a 3D display. You don't need a pair of glasses for the 3D to work, instead, the LG Optimus 3D uses parallax barrier technology to create the illusion of 3D. Unlike the kind of 3D that pops up at you, the LG Optimus 3D gives depth to the display, making you think the display actually has depth, and therefore 3 dimensions. This 3D effect can only work in landscape mode and it must be held at just the right angle and location. Tilt it or move around a bit and the illusion disappears. It's an interesting gimmick but one has to wonder how useful it will actually be as the LG Optimus 3D has to literally be held in the same position consistently, while your head remains still.

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    Hardware and Software

    Rating Average

    The LG Optimus 3D comes with a dual core 1 GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4 processor and comes preloaded with, at the moment, Android 2.2. It's a bit disappointing to see the LG Optimus 3D running Android 2.2, but it has been announced that it will be upgradeable to Android 2.3. It's hard to seriously take upgrade announcements into consideration, as many manufacturers have made similar promises but consistently fail to deliver. For instance, the Samsung Epic 4G, released on Sprint, was supposed to be upgradeable to Android 2.2, and it's still undergoing supposed "rigorous" testing. Hopefully LG delivers on their promise that the LG Optimus series will be upgraded to Android 2.3.

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    User Interface

    Rating Average

    The LG Optimus 3D looks like most other Android builds and is mainly based on user touch. Like other Android smartphones such as the Samsung Continuum or Motorola Droid X, the LG Optimus 3D is easy to learn, use and master. The LG Optimus 3D also gives the user a unique little 3D menu, that works in both 2D and 3D mode. Regardless of whether it was in 2D or 3D mode, the transitions and movements were still smooth, most likely due to the power of the dual core processor.

    The LG Optimus 3D also included an easy to use 3D interface for five applications, Gallery, Camera, Game & Apps, YouTube 3D and a 3D Guide. YouTube 3D is set to be exclusive for LG for a few months, which is a great move by LG. Overall, however, there's nothing too unique on the user interface side of the house for the LG Optimus 3D.

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    Rating Average

    The features on the LG Optimus 3D really help to make the smartphone stand out. The obvious feature of the LG Optimus 3D is the display, allowing you to view 3D video on the smartphone. Though you must get the angle just right, it's still an interesting and unique feature of the LG Optimus 3D.

    The LG Optimus 3D doesn't just display 3D but it also can capture 3D as well. The 5LG Optimus 3D Review - Dual Lens Camera  megapixel dual lens camera is capable of taking 3D pictures and video, which can be displayed and played on 3D capable TV's. Once again, the camera must take the picture or record in landscape mode, otherwise it will take regular 2D pictures and video. When taking 2D video, it records up to 1080p, and once switched to 3D, it lowers down to 720p. Sadly, the LG Optimus 3D will not be utilizing the new 4G networks that have begun to sprout in the United States, meaning there is no front facing camera.

    The LG Optimus 3D, as it runs Android, also has access to the Android Market, giving it access to over 100,000 applications and games, both free and paid. It has yet to be announced how many more applications and games will be available in 3D.

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    The Final Verdict

    Rating Average

    The LG Optimus 3D is a fantastic smartphone, built on a similar base as the LG Optimus Black and the LG Revolution. Like the Motorola Atrix 4G, the LG Optimus 3D is trying to take smartphones to new heights. As this is the first time attempt at launching a smartphone with a glasses free 3D display, it does have its faults. As mentioned, it must be held at the same angle and you must look at it directly, and any slight change will cause the 3D effect to stop. In real time use, it'll be hard to really utilize the 3D aspects of the LG Optimus 3D. However, the uniqueness, the bright screen, and the powerful specifications still rank the LG Optimus 3D as a 'Good' smartphone.

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    • Source: Author's experience
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