Far from the most beautiful handset on the market, the LG Optimus L3 is a squat, stubby, square device that fails to inspire on an aesthetical front.
While the manufacturer might have wanted to give the handset an air of grandeur and the appearance of a high-end metal construct, in reality the device is a widely plastic affair that despite a strong construction does creak in the hand and offers little reassurance against the inevitable, knocks, bumps and scratches picked up during the course of a handset's lifecycle.
With a somewhat questionable design the handset's fit in the hand is also less than ideal with the abruptly angled corners combining with poorly placed volume controls to create a device that feels aggressive against the palm and which causes awkward, far from ideal holding positions.
With the volume controls running along the upper left section of the device, thumb and forefinger placement when holding the handset in left and right handed manners respectively spells an accidental pressing risks, forcing you to feel on edge and constantly conscious of inevitable unwanted alterations.
With the handset being a likely first buy for a teen or younger user, the L3, in all reality, would be best served by touting a selection of life-proof, knock, drop and splash proof features that will keep the budget device chugging along well after it has been put through the mill.
Despite these desires, the pocketable handset falls somewhat below expectation, and the levels of its marginally more expensive Motorola Defy rival, with the plastic coating proving prone to scratches and less than reassuring in a low level drop test.
Lining up at just 11.7mm thick and a comfortable and reassuring 109 grams in weight, the LG Optimus L3 is a compact and manageable device with few connection ports detracting from what is a largely smooth finish.
Although the top mounted 3.5mm audio jack connection and centralised micro USB changing dock on the base are well positioned, the dock connector is a shoddy affair making swift charging or transfer connections an errant option instead replaced by a clunky, slow, fiddly affair that will infuriate from the first use to the last.
Despite having just three physical buttons, power, volume and home, the L3 once again falls short of the mark with the narrow, elongated home button less than pleasant to use on a frequent basis, sitting flush with the handset's fore and failing to offer any purchase during use.