LG Optimus One review

Another 3.2" Android phone arrives, but just a little bit too late

The definitive LG Optimus One review
The definitive LG Optimus One review

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The Optimus One is a solid phone, but there's little in the way of outstanding features to get excited about. The main selling point here is your chance to get Android 2.2 on a budget. That's it.

But in the crowded 3.2-inch smartphone scene, it deserves a second look. There really is no cheaper way to get Android 2.2 out there right now. The way LG has left Android relatively untouched means a basic but functional experience, and it's a refreshing change compared to the overly customised manufacturer skins out there that add needless layers of complexity to the user experience.

We liked

LG's text message and bookmarks widgets are nice additions to Android, and the rest of the company's minor user interface tweaks are largely for the best – the simple alarm on/off toggle widget, for example.

The capacitive TFT touchscreen is a welcome upgrade over the one found in the company's resistive-based Optimus GT540. It's not the most sensitive screen around, but it's certainly no disgrace.

The Optimus One's battery life is fantastic, thanks to the Holy Trinity of modern smartphone longevity measures: a large 1,500mAh battery, the power efficient Android 2.2 and a modest 3.2-inch screen. It'll outlast nearly everything.

We disliked

Experienced Android users will find the Optimus One's lack of processor power and slightly jerky web browsing a deal breaker. It's just not quite smooth enough for regular web use.

The 480x320 screen resolution is starting to look a bit last-generation, with on-screen text pretty rough around the edges. Games and apps look fine, mind, so it's acceptable if you can handle jagged text.


Featuring a simple back-to-basics approach by LG, the Optimus One is a sturdy and affordable way to get into Android – especially since it's the first really cheap phone to come with Android 2.2.

However, the 600MHz processor and lower resolution screen place this near the bottom of the current Android pile in performance terms. While it's perfectly usable, it's more of an entry-level choice for newcomers or those on a budget than an Android powerhouse.

But it's nearly there – 10 per cent more processor power would've negated these minor hitches. If you're careful with your widget choices and configure the browser zoom so pages are readable without much manipulation, the Optimus One is a decent enough Android phone.

Sadly for LG, the affordable Android phone scene is fiercely competitive, with the formidable Orange San Franciso offering a faster processor and bigger, higher resolution screen for less money.

But with prices for the Optimus One starting at £15 on a monthly contract, it's still a decent way for newcomers to get into Android on a budget.