LG Optimus Black review: Black and bright

GSMArena team, 12 May 2011.
Pages: 123456789»

Tags: LG, Android, Touch UI

Introduction

It’s not a Black Label phone but could’ve honored the designer series. It’s called Black but bathes in light. What is the LG Optimus Black? To begin with, it’s solid build and pure elegance. With Android on board, smartphone meets fashion phone in a super slim package.

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LG Optimus Black official photos

The Optimus Black is the first phone we’ve tested that uses the NOVA display technology. Special enough to warrant a dedicated article. You’re welcome to read the whole piece but, to sum things up, it’s the brightest display on a phone with picture quality that stands up next to the industry’s best.

Despite the 4” NOVA display however, the Optimus Black is a compact device – there’s not much bezel around the screen and it's mere 9.2 mm slim. The smooth back with sloping edges makes the Black feel thinner still. And that’s 9.2 mm at the thickest – no camera bump or any other bulging bits.

The screen and the slim silhouette are certainly the highlights of the LG Optimus black but not all there is to it.

Key features:

  • 9.2 mm slim touchscreen bar
  • 4” NOVA display at 700 nits of brightness, 16M-color WVGA capacitive IPS LCD unit
  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • Android OS v2.2 Froyo (upgradable to v2.3) with LG Home launcher 2.0 and Gesture UI 2.0
  • TI OMAP 3630 1GHz processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash, face detection and geotagging
  • 720p video recording at 30fps
  • 2 MP front-facing camera with video calls
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS, digital compass
  • 2GB storage (1GB user available); microSD slot, 32GB supported (2GB card included)
  • Accelerometer, ambient light and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
  • Smart dialing, voice dialing
  • DivX/XviD video support
  • Gesture controls with dedicated button
  • Adobe Flash 10.1 support
  • Document viewer/editor

Main disadvantages

  • HD video clips come out with distorted aspect ratio
  • Single core processor when most of the high-end has gone dual-core
  • The blacks of the NOVA display are not deep enough to impress
  • No dedicated camera key
  • No Android 2.3 Gingerbread at launch
  • Disappointing audio quality

The LG Optimus Black focuses on the all-round experience rather than the raw processing power but a 1GHz (single-core) CPU and 512MB RAM should be by any means enough for most apps .

The Optimus Black features the Wi-Fi Direct technology, which claims faster local file transfers than Bluetooth 2.x, and is as easy to set up as Bluetooth.

The imaging department also earns a nod – 5MP stills and 720p videos should be enough for the average user. The 2MP front-facing camera is right on time to join the revival of video calling.

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LG Optimus Black live shots

Now, go and put your shades on – we start inspecting the hardware of the LG Optimus Black, including the super-bright NOVA display.

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