The first phone to enter the third dimension finally arrives
The influx of 3D TVs in our living rooms is only set to continue, bringing a huge wealth of content flinging itself out of the screens and now that trend is ready to move to mobile phones.
LG is the first brand to get behind the new technology, offering up the Optimus 3D (while beating HTC's Evo 3D to the punch); a phone with a whopping 4.3-inch screen, dual-core 1GHz processor and above all: a glasses-less 3D screen.
It uses similar technology to that which we've seen in the Nintendo 3DS – but can LG manage to achieve the same kind of success on a smartphone?
LG Optimus 3D Screen:
The Optimus 3D is rocking one of the largest screens on the market, using Super LCD technology for the display. This means a bright and vivid picture for web browsing, movie watching, and a quick response under the finger.
Obviously there's another level on offer here: the 3D layer, using the parallax technology to help images pop out of the screen at you. We'll level with you: we're not convinced that the quality of the screen will convince your mates to rush out and invest in this latest tech when you show off your latest gadget.
The screen is considerably darker in 3D mode thanks to the extra layer in use, and the sweet spot to view the 3D is easily lost if you move your hands even a small amount (although this can be mitigated by using the 3D depth slider)
The bundled 3D games are standard fare (Let's Golf, Asphalt 6) and none really pop out the screen and wow – more just a constant struggle to keep the 3D in focus.
Video is better – the ability to convert your own 2D movies into 3D is cool, but not always giving the correct image unless you're watching a crowd scene. The bundled stuff works a lot better and. providing you hit the perfect angle, looks stunning.
LG Optimus 3D camera:
The dual 5MP snappers are actually pretty impressive; the shutter speed in both 2D and 3D mode is more than acceptable. In terms of a decent 3D effect, the pictures are much better quality than the gaming or even movie watching.
The video recording isn't too impressive though – when watching back our 3D 720p video, it was impossible to keep the 3D effect in view if the subject moved too close or far away from the camera rapidly, which is a feature you'd hope the camera could mitigate.
LG Optimus 3D interface:
We're a little disappointed that LG only decided to go with Android 2.2 for the launch of the Optimus 3D, when nearly everything else on the market is jumping into bed with Gingerbread these days. This means slightly less efficient battery management and audio quality – although, we have to say LG has managed the latter pretty well with the music player, as it's quick, rich in sound and has an ace UI in landscape mode that lets you see your albums in a scrollable wall.
The general UI has been skinned with LG's now-standard Android effort, with a dock of four icons to play with at the bottom and the applications all separated into 3D, general and downloaded. It's a simple system to use if you're new to the smartphone game, and thanks to the dual-core technology on board, it's one of the fastest under the finger out there.
LG Optimus 3D Battery:
As you can imagine, all this technology comes at a power-price, and that cost shows itself in the battery life, which is only a 1500mAh option (almost 25% less powerful than the Motorola Atrix). General non-3D use will see the Optimus 3D battery level declining at around 7% per hour, although a little more if you're constantly surfing the web or playing games. However if you start hammering the 3D features you'll find that battery life drops considerably more quickly, to the point when we could nearly wipe all the power within two hours' of constant use.
LG Optimus 3D Verdict:
3D is still a gimmick to some people, and the Optimus 3D does little to change that perception. It's a monster of a phone in terms of raw power, so on that basis alone we'd recommend it, but don't expect mobile 3D to be a game-changer just yet.
Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy are to offer the LG Optimus 3D free on £35 per month 24 month contracts or for £499.95 as a SIM free pay-as-you-go device.
LG Optimus 3D Specs:
- OS: Android 2.2
- Processor: 1GHz dualcoreTegra 2
- Storage: 8GB internal/8GB microSD card
- Screen: 4.3inch 800x480
- Battery: TBC
- Connectivity: HSDAP 14.4Mbps, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, Wi-Fi b/g/ny
- Camera: Dual 5-megapixel/1.3-megapixel LED flash
- Video: 720p 30fps
- Talk time: 240mins
- Dimensions: 128.8x68x11.9mm/168g