LG Optimus 2X review: Double the potential
Controls and build quality
Moving on, we see the four keys below the LG Optimus 2X display – all using the capacitive touch technology. There’s the usual Menu, Back and Home keys, plus a search button that is optional as far as Android handsets go.
As usual you also get extra functionality with long-press on some of the keys. Holding the menu forces the virtual keyboard out, a long press on the home key makes the task switcher pop-up appear, while press-and-hold on the search key triggers the voice search.
On top of the display sit the 1.3 MP front-facing camera for video-calling and video-chat, the earpiece and the proximity sensor. There’s also an ambient light sensor here, allowing automatic brightness control.
Moving to the right side of the LG Optimus 2X brings us upon the two volume keys. Decently sized, those cause little usability issues.
What bothers us more though is the lack of camera key here. With a shooter this good it’s a real pity that LG didn’t find space for the button that really takes usability to a different level.
The left side of the Optimus 2X bears no control elements whatsoever.
On the bottom we find the microUSB data cable/charger plug and a couple of grills. There’s no cover over the opening, which is a plus to usability, but suggest dust accumulation over time.
Those of you who noticed the striking resemblance to the iPhone 4 bottom, earn an extra point here.
Interestingly, the ports at the bottom provide the same functionality– one of the grills hides the microphone, while the other hosts the loudspeaker.
The top of the Optimus 2X is where it gets interesting. You get the 3.5mm audio jack here, which is again unprotected, along with the power key and the microHDMI port. The Optimus 2X can easily stream 1080p footage to your FullHD TV or monitor and since it supports HDMI mirroring you can see the stream on both the external and the internal monitors.
The 8 MP camera lens is located at the back, right next to the (not quite capable) LED flash. On the plus side LED flash is a go for video lighting so you might be able to capture some good low-light 1080p footage if you don’t get too far away from your subject.
A potential problem with the camera is that not only does it lack any protection, but it is also protruding. Unless some really tough glass has been used on top, scratches are certain to appear quickly and worsen the image quality.
Also the glass on top is pretty easy to smudge, while it’s particularly hard to clean.It’s probably a good idea to check it out every time you are about to shoot something.
The microSD card slot is under the battery cover, but fortunately it is hot-swappable. It handles all kinds of memory cards currently available so you can easily expand the Optimus 2X storage by up to 32 GB.
The other thing of notice under the back panel is the 1500 mAh Li-Ion battery. It’s said to last for up to 400 hours of stand-by or up to 7 hours and 50 minutes of talk time, but our unit hardly made it through more than 36 hours of heavy usage. That’s not bad considering that we fiddled with the different features of the phones for at least a couple of hours a day, but it isn’t great either.
We also did a dedicated battery test in video playback mode, by looping an SD sample over and over with the screen brightness set to 50%. The LG Optimus 2X lost 90% of its battery juice (at which point the video player is automatically switched off) in 5 hours and 20 minutes. Again that's not too bad, but we've seen far better.
The general ergonomics of the Optimus 2X are quite good. If you are ok with handling a 4” smartphone, this one will suit you fine. And even if you find it to be a little over the top we advise you to as least try it out before rejecting it. Plus, handling a larger phone gets easier with time.