LG Optimus 4X HD P880 review: Firing on all fours

GSMArena team, 29 June 2012.
Pages: 12345678

Tags: LG, Android, Touch UI

Straightforward gallery

The Optimus 4X HD uses the standard Android ICS gallery. It automatically locates images and videos no matter where they are stored. By default, images are sorted by albums, but you can sort by location or time as well.

The different sets are tiled neatly across the screen, and opening the contents of a group of photos causes them to transition into the same grids.

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The Gallery can be sorted by albums, location or time

Once selected, you can view an image close up by pinch zooming or double tapping on the desired area. There is a sliding gallery along the bottom which allows you to quickly browse other images in the album. On the top there are three shortcuts for quickly sharing, editing or deleting the selected photo. There are plenty of editing options available, ranging from photo effects to cropping and rotation to red eye removal. The Share feature offers quick sharing via Email, Google+, Picasa, Memo, MMS, SmartShare, Social+ or Bluetooth.

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Gallery options

The Gallery app displays images in full resolution. Zooming and panning is fast and smooth and there's little to no lag when doing it.

A music player to like

The music looks similar to the typical ICS version we're all familiar with. It can do the usual filtering by album and artist and you have alphabet search and regular search for finding songs quicker.

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The music player

The Now playing interface places a big album art image in the center with controls above and below it. Swiping the album art left or right is the easiest way to skip songs back and forth.

A press and hold on the album art will bring up a search menu, if you need to look up the title, artist or the album. After that you can pick where to search - your music collection, YouTube or a general Internet search.

There are equalizer presets which become available when you plug in a pair of headphones.

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The Now Playing screen The Search feature Equalizers

When you're playing a song it also gets displayed in the notification area, where you can pause and change tracks.

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Music controls in the notification area

No RDS for the FM radio

There's an FM radio on the LG Optimus 4X HD, which can play over a set of headphones or the loudspeaker, but the headphones need to be plugged-in either way (they act as an antenna). You can also scan for radio stations, and save up to 48 channel presets. There is no RDS support though.

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The FM radio app

Disappointingly poor audio quality

Unfortunately, the LG Optimus 4X HD audio output turned out pretty bad and is nowhere near what you would expect from flagship smartphones.

Even when connected to active external amplifier the LG Optimus 4X HD could only achieve mediocre scores on most readings with the good frequency response and stereo crosstalk the only exceptions. The volume levels were way below average, too.

The picture didn't really change when we plugged in a pair of headphones. Even more distortion crept in, the stereo crosstalk worsened (although not by too much) and most of the other readings were affected too.

The LG Optimus 4X HD overall results are so bad that they made us suspect our review unit had some issue. We'll try and get another unit and repeat the test and we'll update this article if necessary.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
LG Optimus 4X HD+0.02, -0.52-74.874.80.345 0.318-81.6
LG Optimus 4X HD (headphones attached)+0.03, -0.51-70.169.90.815 0.811-64.5
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III+0.03, -0.05-90.390.30.012 0.018-92.6
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III (headphones attached)+0.11, -0.04-90.290.20.0092 0.090-53.1
HTC One X+0.02, -0.08-82.182.10.137 0.393-80.7
HTC One X (headphones attached)+0.10, -0.10-80.680.60.174 0.459-60.8

LG Optimus 4X HD frequency response
LG Optimus 4X HD frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

The video player has it all

The video player has a fairly simple interface, giving you just a list (with thumbs) of all the videos on the device. There's an alphabet scroll to help users locate videos faster but that's about it. You can of course play videos from the Gallery if you prefer its folder-centric organization.

The interface during playback is nothing overcomplicated either, yet it's quite powerful - in fact the video player was the focal point of most of the custom features developed for the LG Optimus 4X HD.

To get the basics out of the way, the available controls during playback include a scrubber for jumping to various parts of the video along with the standard play/pause and skip buttons. There's a Dolby Mobile toggle as well.

One of the new additions is a Video Speed control (you can set values from 0.5x up to 2x). A feature called Fingertip Seek lets you jump back and forward to specific parts of the video. Previews of video frames are displayed without interrupting the actual playback. There's a lock button too, which hides all controls for pure full-screen viewing. Another new feature in the video player is Live Zooming. You can zoom in (with a pinch) during actual playback and we mean some serious zoom length, not just a quick resize or fit to screen.

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The video player

This is not where the new video player perks end. An arrow on the left (in landscape) pulls a mini drawer with all the available videos. It takes half of the screen, with the currently playing video still running in the other half. You can click on any of the small thumbs and the video will play in its tiny window, giving you a live preview of sorts with the main video also running. This is LG's reply to the live video thumbnails in the Samsung Galaxy S III's gallery.

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The video player options

The LG Optimus 4X HD handled everything we threw at it - DivX, XviD, MKV and MP4/MOV up to, and including, 1080p resolution. The AC3 audio codec (among lots of others) is supported, so you don't have to worry about the sound either. There are no limitations for the bitrate, file size, etc.

Subtitles (both Latin and non-Latin) are supported with settings for font, color, font and size. You can toggle subtitles on and off, but there's no option to manually point to a subtitle file, so the subtitle filename has to match the video filename.

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