LG managed something of a coup at the start of this year by officially bringing the first dual-core smartphone, the LG Optimus 2X LG-P990, to market. But, with the glitter settled and champagne long since drunk, the real challenge begins as consumers here in the UK and elsewhere round the world actually have the opportunity to buy one of these phones. So without further ado, let's see if the LG Optimus 2X is a record breaker in more ways than one.
First impressions are very good. The whole front of the phone is taken up be a massive slab of glass that tapers off at its left and right edges. The effect is lovely and really sets the Optimus 2X apart from its competitors. The rest of the handset also pleases thanks to the metal strip that runs round its edge, the soft touch plastic back, and the further strip of metal that breaks up the monotony of the back. With a generally sturdy feel to its plastic body to boot, it just exudes class.
One downside of all these premium materials is the phone's weight, at least compared to the featherweight Samsung Galaxy S II that we also have on our desk at the moment. At 139g, the Optimus is 23g heavier than the Galaxy, though it's only 2g heavier than the iPhone 4. Similarly it's not the slimmest handset at 10.9mm but it certainly doesn't feel bulky and in fact we almost prefer the slightly thicker stance as it feels comfortable and well planted in the hand.
It's not all good though. The touch sensitive buttons running under the screen look nice by not breaking up the surface of that swathe of glass, but the lack of physical buttons does mean you always have to stretch to the power button on the top edge to activate and deactivate the phone's screen – and it's a long reach. We really don't know why some smartphone manufacturers (and it does seem to be a particular problem with Androids) still haven't picked up on this really basic ergonomics issue. This is certainly one reason to prefer the Samsung Galaxy S II to this phone.
Similarly, we're miffed not to see a camera shutter button on the phone's edge. We really hoped that once Microsoft stipulated one as a minimum requirement for its Windows Phones the rest of the smartphone world would've taken heed. Sadly not.
Otherwise we have no further complaints about the general styling and features. There are all the standard ports we'd expect with microUSB nestled between the microphone and speaker on the bottom edge (another neat design trick, even if it is stolen from Apple) and miniHDMI (for mirroring the phone's display and playing back video on an HDTV) and a headphone socket on the top edge. A microSD slot is also hidden below the battery cover, which comprises the whole plastic back section that prizes off via a fingernail notch on the bottom edge. There's 8GB of internal storage and up to 32GB more can be added with microSD.
The volume buttons sit on the right edge and, like the power button, have a nice clicky action so you know when you've pressed them, making them easy to pick out by feel along – always useful when trying to adjust volume when the phone's in your pocket.