LG Optimus Black review

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

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LG optimus black

Watching films on the LG Optimus Black seems to be what this phone was made for. The 4-inch NOVA screen comes into its own, showing deep, deep blacks and crisp, bright colours that really pop, if not a little too garishly contrasted at times.

The lightweight, curved chassis now makes sense, sitting comfortably in the hand, not weighing you down like a rock. MPEG4, H263, H.264, DivX, XVid and WMV are all supported by the player and the playback is smooth, the audio nice and loud. As a media player, the LG Optimus Black is excellent.

Memory is a paltry thing for the LG Optimus Black, however. Supplied with the phone was a 2GB microSD card, so on the face of it, it has a tiny amount of memory, but this is easily swappable for a bigger memory card. You'd think with such a beautiful screen and excellent media player that memory space would be a bigger priority.

LG optimus black

The music player is accessible from one of the seven home screens, with a widget now available in the drop down notifications menu, allowing ease of use. Here the Gesture UI ought to come in handy, allowing you to flick through tracks by simply holding the G key and tapping twice on the side of the handset. However, this only seemed to work for us when in the music player itself, at which point the G key becomes almost pointless as you might as well manually slide the tracks along.

The LG Optimus Black supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WAV and MIDI with a well-balanced sound quality, excellent loudness and very little distortion at the highest volumes.

The provided earphones are surprisingly clear and comfortable, but the sound quality was marginally better when we tested with different earphones. Dolby mobile surround is an option, but seemed to dull the sound, making us feel as if we were hearing the music underwater.

LG optimus black

The music library looks vaguely familiar, owing much to Apple's influence, arranging files in standard songs/albums/artists lists. The landscape view offers a curved flow of album covers and alphabetically-listed artists.

As for photos, access to the gallery is smooth and simple – from widgets that can be placed on a home screen to the menu shortcut.

LG optimus black

Switching between the camera and gallery is also nicely integrated, with a corner button that flips between the two.

A funky little addition to the LG Optimus Black's gallery interface is the ability to pinch-out the camera folder and view the images in it as they shuffle through like a pack of cards. Cool, but ultimately pointless given that you can't click through to an image once you spot the one you want – you have to tap into the folder to do that.

There's little to no editing ability on this phone for images or film, but – for the camera anyway – there are so many shooting modes that post-editing is rendered unnecessary.

LG optimus black

Content is easily shared via Bluetooth/email/MMS and Youtube for video files and via any image-supporting networks such as Facebook, Twitter and PicPlz. The LG Optimus Black also carries SmartShare software which allows you to share files wirelessly.

LG optimus black

Also included in the LG Optimus Black's media capacity is an FM radio. This is bog standard, with no outstanding features. The reception quality is low, often with fuzzy distortion.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
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.