The LG Optimus Black has some great things going for it – namely its sleek, lightweight chassis and lush 4-inch NOVA display in all its colourful glory. Outside of this there are no particularly outstanding features, but it's a slick, capable handset that does well in the core smartphone media categories.
Of course, if you want a more powerful machine you'd opt for the LG Optimus 2X, but if you're looking for a dependable all-rounder, we'd say this matches up to the likes of the Apple iPhone 4 and the display qualities of the Samsung Galaxy S2 with its AMOLED screen.
If you like gimmicks, you'll probably love the Gesture UI, though we thought many of the options – such as tapping to skip music tracks – were a little pointless when you really got down to it.
Overall though, and despite running Android 2.2, we'd say the LG Optimus Black's worth the money if you're looking for an efficient, easy to use device that's easy on the eye and light on the pocket.
The LG Optimus Black's screen – all four inches of it – is bright and clear. And despite the occasional rough edge, the lightness of the phone meant it was comfortable in the hand, even when watching video for decently long periods of time.
The ease with which we could scroll through home screens, menus and apps without juddering or pauses was much appreciated, plus we always seemed to be able to get a decent enough signal to browse the internet, which is excellent.
The fact that the LG Optimus Black runs Android 2.2 seems a shame when there are more recent Android updates available, although it coped with most processes perfectly fine.
The Gesture UI should have seemed a snappy addition, but we were left rather unimpressed by the G Key, with the only truly useful gesture being the ability to snap into camera mode from the lockscreen. The rest seemed merely exercises in vanity.
If you're both a fan of the black bar aesthetic that seems to be the current go-to design of smartphones, and a fan of lightweight machinery that does exactly what it ought to, then the LG Optimus Black will suit you great.
While its only truly outstanding feature is the NOVA display screen, it performs well enough in other areas to stand as a competitor to the Apple iPhone 4 for those who prefer Android phones.