LG Optimus 2X review: Double the potential

GSMArena team, 7 February 2011.

Tags: LG, Android, Touch UI

The 8 megapixel camera does a solid job

LG Optimus 2X comes with an 8 megapixel shooter, which sounds pretty decent on paper. After a continuous run of bad cameras from LG though, we had to try it ourselves, before we recommend it to anyone.

As it turns out we had nothing to worry about and the Optimus 2X snapper did a pretty good job.

We found the user interface to be quite convenient, though many of the important settings are inside the extended settings menu, so they take a while to toggle.

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LG Optimus 2X camera UI

Also the whole camera experience would have been much more convenient if there was a camera button onboard, but that has obviously been sacrificed in favor of a slimmer profile. Shot-to-shot time measures about two-three seconds and can be a little annoying at times.

The camera features are pretty good with face and smile detection, touch focus and geo-tagging on board along with ISO setting and preset scenes and effects. There’s panorama shot and “out-focusing shot”, which blurs anything away from the point of focus.

There’s beauty and art shot too, which do automatic post-processing to the photo. Digital image stabilization is also available.

The biggest improvement we noticed is in terms of image quality. Now don’t get us wrong – the Optimus 2X is no Nokia N8, but it delivers solid 8 MP photos with plenty of detail and pleasing color rendition (though it tends to miss-adjust the white balance). The contrast could be a bit better and the noise levels are higher than average, but the overall result is pretty good.

Here are the camera samples taken with the retail Optimus 2X so you can judge for yourself.

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LG Optimus 2X camera samples

Photo quality comparison

The LG Optimus 2X enter the competition over at our in our Photo Compare Tool. The tool’s page will give you enough info on how to use it and what to look for.

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LG Optimus 2X in our Photo Compare Tool

1080p video is where the fun starts

1080p video recording is probably the second most important thing about the Optimus 2X specs sheet – just after Tegra 2. The increased processing power of the NVIDIA platform has allowed the Android smartphone to become the first one capable of creating Full HD footage.

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Camcorder UI

Much like with the first handsets to break the 720p barrier, the Optimus 2X results at 1080p aren’t spectacular.

Update 25 March: The framerate of FullHD videos is supposed to be 24 frames per second but the LG Optimus 2X usually comes up short by a couple of frames. Since 24fps is the bottom barrier at which the human brain perceives motion as smooth, you’ll notice slight choppiness in the 1080p videos shot by the Optimus 2X.

The choppiness is subtle, so 1080p videos will do for any leisure purpose or for videos of slow-moving objects.

Another thing that’s bothering about the Optimus 2X 1080p videos is the pretty high compression. It manages to bring the bitrate down to about 10 Mbps, but it loses lots of fine detail in the process, which we find unacceptable. This approach greatly reduces the 1080p resolution advantage over the 720p class leaders such as the iPhone 4 or the Nokia N8.

The Optimus 2X 720p video recording mode are another matter – the LG Optimus 2X delivers almost the full 30fps so those videos are buttery smooth.

The higher framerate and the not much worse resolution might lead some people to prefer shooting in 720p over 1080p (we do). Plus camera shake is more noticeable at 1080p when you shoot the regular way, hand-holding the Optimus 2X.

Here are the samples, both 1080p and 720p, to help you decide which mode you prefer. Those were shot with the retail Optimus 2X and we used a tripod to stabilize it. Believe us, it makes a huge difference.

First, the untouched samples – a 1080p@(almost)24fps sample and a 720p@30fps sample.

Here is a couple of other samples that you can watch from YouTube. Just don’t forget to select 1080p mode in the player menu and open it fullscreen.

If those aren't enough for you, you can catch this link to our blog for more of the same. Those were shot with the pre-production unit though.

Video quality comparison

The LG Optimus 2X is the first phone in our Video Compare Tool database that can record 1080p and it will serve as yardstick for upcoming FullHD shooters. Check it out – the Tool’s page includes a quick walkthrough on how to use it and what to look for.

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LG Optimus 2X in the Video Compare Tool

We've updated the compare tool with samples from the retail Optimus 2X unit.

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