While the L9 is not nearly as powerful as any of the quad-core Optimus phones like the Optimus G orOptimus G Pro, but it also isn't priced like them. However, the real disappointment is that it shares the same processor speed as the LG Optimus L7, which can make it feel dated at times. Most of the time you won't notice the incremental screen lag, but sometimes when launching a larger app you can feel the system chug. Still, you're paying a budget phone price, and it still feels adequate for a smartphone in that market.
With the newly-designed form factor and the (slightly) larger screen with a better resolution, there are plenty of reasons that this will make the low to mid-range phone shopper happy.
While our biggest like was the T-Mobile network's 4G speed, the larger, sharper screen was also a pleasant upgrade from the L7, allowing us to watch movies and browse images at a higher resolution. The light LG interface layered over the Android OS is not intrusive, and offers many system tweaks that allow you to tailor your experience. Google users will be able to plug in their account information immediately to get started, and the Quick Settings and QuickMemo functions came in very handy when we needed to capture something on the screen, or quickly dim the phone. The ability to customize the lock screen and launch apps from there was also a welcome addition, and is a feature we wish our own phone had.
Given that this is meant to be a step up from the L7, a faster processor would have been a welcome addition, and why did they step the phone down from 8MP to 5? It might not sound like much, but those additional 3MP can make a noted difference. We also weren't fond of the added bloatware, which made the phone feel like a sales tool rather than a consumer device that was ready to go right out of the box.
While internal hardware certainly underscores the "you get what you pay for" adage, there is a enough packed into this little gadget to impress you with what you pay for it. T-Mobile currently offers the L9 for $48.99 plus a fee for a two-year contract. Or, you can pick it up for $199.99 without an annual contract. For someone on a budget who needs a smartphone, the contract is an attractive offer, but just be sure to check the T-Mobile coverage in your area.
While we wish the camera was higher quality, and that the processor had a bit of updated speed over the L7, the bottom line is that that the price on this phone with the features it offers are what makes it an attractive purchase. If you need the latest, greatest tech, this phone isn't for you. But, if you need a device that can handle everything a normal user would need for work or pleasure, this is a low-cost buddy that you will love to have at your side.