The default selection of apps on the LG Optimus 2X is good with all the basic personal data organising utilities like calendar and notes on hand. Google’s selection of navigation apps, including GoogleMaps and Navigation are also ready and waiting along with a music player, video player and gallery. You also get a few interesting extras like F-Secure anti-virus, while a folder labelled ‘Preloaded Apps’ has a selection of games, the Kindle app, a calorie counter and a few others. These give the impression of being downloaded onto the device but in the case of the games, while they initially install instantly, once you start them up you need to download all the game data. At least they’re free, though.
Multimedia support is reasonable with divx and xvid supported for video, though mkv isn’t recognised. Up to 720p video mostly plays back without a hitch and looks glorious. However, really high bit rate 720p video and 1080p content is too much for it. As ever we also find the standard Android gallery interface to be far too much about form than function.
Audio is restricted to mp3, wma and aac, with ogg and flac unavailable. The music player is easy enough to use, though, and the mini player available in the notifications drop down is a real boon. We do miss the iPhone’s ability to double tap the central button to open the music controls, though.
Android MarketPlace gives you access to hundreds of thousands of apps so you can get the LG Optimus 2X chock full of useful and time wasting doohickeys. However, it’s not an entirely easy process. Dive into the MarketPlace and you can be rummaging around for an age to find the best apps. Not that the iPhone platform is perfect in this regard but unless you know the app you’re looking for Android’s MarketPlace is worse. Once you know which apps you want, it’s a breeze to install them and arrange them all over your homescreens as you see fit.
One of the most obvious tests for this phone’s dual-core processor was trying some games and while they looked good and ran smoothly, the advantage over single-core alternatives wasn’t blindingly obvious. Most of the test games run just as well on the likes of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. The Optimus 2X is just that bit nippier when it comes to loading the games and technically it does have more power under its hood but right now it’s not being taken advantage of.
One of the most disappointing aspects of this phone for gaming was the speaker, which doesn’t get particularly loud and distorts when at full volume. This doesn’t make it great for conference calling either, though normal conversation using the ear piece is fine – there’s no active noise cancelling, though, so it’s not the best for noisy environments.
The camera, which like so many of these devices, fools you into thinking it’s good thanks to the bright and sharp screen. However, open up your shots on a computer or get them printed out and you’ll find them somewhat lacking. That said, there’s definitely more detail on offer from this 8 megapixel snapper than you get on most 5 megapixel models and the app itself is easy to use with plenty of shooting modes like continuous and smile shot as well as scenes.
1080p video is also available and similarly it’s a step up in quality from more typical smartphones, with just a bit more detail and punch to its colours while motion is smooth.
Battery life is one area where you might expect these dual-core phones to trail their single-core counterparts, though manufacturers of these chips have said they could actually have the opposite effect. In our tests, we found the device to be fairly typical for an Android phone, with intensive use and having everything turned on resulting in it struggling to last more than a day and a half but if you manage your data usage in particular it will last for several days comfortably.
As to the reported issues with freezing and crashing, we experienced no such thing, at least giving some credence to LG’s claims that it’s not a universal problem.
The LG Optimus 2X is an excellent phone. Its styling is lovely, it packs in oodles of high-end hardware and thanks to its Android OS, it’s hugely versatile. However, LG has made a few too many slip ups for it to really hit the top spot. Nontheless, particularly thanks to it being a bit cheaper than the competition, if you’re looking for a true smartphone powerhouse, it’s well worth considering.