LG Optimus Black review

Super thin, feather-light - but can it rival the new dual-core brigade?

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LG optimus black

With only 5MP, the LG Optimus Black's camera is about on a par with the Apple iPhone 4 but doesn't reach the 8MP spec of the Samsung Galaxy S2. Yet somehow, that doesn't seem to matter for daytime shots, as the images produced look gorgeous on the NOVA screen.

LG optimus black

BRIGHT: The blue of the sky is retained in the picture, though some brighter contrast sections are a little bleached

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LG optimus black

OVERCAST: The sky is washed out, but the detail of the building is retained nicely

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You can't zoom in particularly far before the picture becomes pixelated, but looking at them as-taken they're good enough for a 5MP phone camera. The colours are mainly true to life, except for a little washing out of the sky on an overcast day, and there are several shooting modes to play around with.

There are five different focus modes on the LG Optimus Black, including Auto, Macro and Face Tracking. You can steadily decrease the MP size, plus choose from several scene modes such as Landscape, Sports, Sunset and Night.

If you prefer fiddling with the manual settings, the camera allows you to change the White Balance (within reason) and the ISO (to 800). Then there are the shot modes (Shallow Focus, Beauty, Panorama and so on), geolocation and the volume rocker doubles as a zoom key. It's more than enough for the amateur photographer to play around with.

LG optimus black

ART SHOT: The camera has an art shot mode which can employ one of four colour washes. This is the 'warm' wash, mimicking a cross-processed image

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LG optimus black

AUTO SUNSET: This picture, taken during a sunset in auto mode, retains none of the colour of the scene, with the sun washed out entirely

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LG optimus black

SUNSET MODE: The same picture, taken with the 'sunset' mode, captures an almost identical shot, with the sun still washed out

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LG optimus black

MACRO: This mode aims to mimic a shallow focus shot, but doesn't manage to focus on any particular spot, thus blurring the entire photo

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Inside, however, the 5MP camera really shows – the resulting pictures are grainy, dampened with a yellow tint or completely over-exposed from the LED flash.

The camera also has a similar problem with night time shots, both outdoors and indoors, with far too much noise.

LG optimus black

NIGHT FLASH: Taken with a flash, indoors at night, this picture is completely over-exposed and the colours are too bright

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LG optimus black

NIGHT NO FLASH: There's no over-exposure when taken without a flash, but plenty of noise

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Where the G key would have really come in handy, instead of just being the camera launcher, is if it doubled as a capture button. Instead you're left tapping the screen in the usual way of touchscreen smartphones, which causes hand-shaking when attempting to capture photos.

The secondary camera, however, is the star – a front-facing 2MP camera currently bettered only by the BlackBerry PlayBook's 3MP, for video calling.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory2 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value1.27 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameLG
Battery Talk Time6 Hour
Product ModelOptimus black
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)109 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerTexas Instruments
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging, EMS
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height122 mm
Width64 mm
Depth9.2 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time375 Hour
ManufacturerLG Electronics
Product NameOptimus black Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberLG-OPTIMUSBKP970
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.lge.co.uk
Marketing Information

One of the world's thinnest and lightest Android smartphones, the LG Optimus Black has a dramatically brighter 4-inch LCD screen, creating a one-of-a-kind user experience unlike anything before. By using LG's very own NOVA display technology, the screen is designed to be the brightest, clearest and most readable among mobile screens. The crystal-clear display not only lets users see the screen in direct sunlight but also provides a more natural web browsing experience by displaying truer colours. In addition, the LG Optimus Black comes with the latest technology, such as Wi-Fi Direct, a 2MP front-facing camera, lower battery consumption and launches on Android 2.2 to access over 150,000 apps.