LG Optimus Black review: Black and bright

GSMArena team, 12 May 2011.
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Tags: LG, Android, Touch UI

One-off packaging for reviewers, not mortals

We gasped when we saw the box that the LG Optimus Black came in – it was huge. Most phones come in boxes barely wider and taller than the device itself, but not the Black – it came in a massive box that made it feel special.

An email from LG was quick to solve the mystery of the box – it’s for reviewers only and not the actual thing phones will be shipped in.

Still, the contents should be fairly representative of what the (probably smaller) retail box will hold. That’s a compact charger, a microUSB cable (to use with the charger too), a 2GB microSD card (with an SD adapter) and a single-piece headset. Be warned though that LG’s website hasn’t confirmed that.

LG Optimus Black Review LG Optimus Black Review LG Optimus Black Review LG Optimus Black Review
The box we got – it’s a one-off and the retail packaging will be different

We know what you’re thinking. They’ve just been treated to an excess of promo items so we’d better take the review with a pinch of salt. Worry not people – the pencil looks pretty cheap.

LG Optimus Black 360-degree spin

The front of the LG Optimus Black spans 122 x 64mm, which is compact for a 4” screen. At just 9.2 mm of thickness and 109 grams of weight, the Black will slip into almost any pocket problem free.

LG NOVA display gets due attention

We’ve already covered the LG Optimus Black display at length in the dedicated display article but we’ll recap the key findings here.

The NOVA display is the brightest we’ve tested and the brightest on a mobile phone in general. Our measurements confirmed the 700 nits of brightness that LG claim, in fact we measured it at almost 750 nits.

Nova Display Test Nova Display Test Nova Display Test
Optimus Black and Optimus 2X • Optimus Black and iPhone 4 • Galaxy S, Optimus Black and Galaxy S II

Contrast is excellent too, though that’s mostly due to the bright whites – the blacks are not particularly deep. The table follows with our brightness/contrast readings.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
LG Optimus Black P970 0.27 332 1228 0.65 749 1161
LG Optimus 2X 0.23 228 982 0.35 347 1001
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc 0.03 34 1078 0.33 394 1207
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S 0 263 0 395
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II 0 231 0 362
HTC Incredible S 0.18 162 908 0.31 275 880
iPhone 4 0.14 189 1341 0.39 483 1242
Motorola Atrix 4G 0.48 314 652 0.60 598 991
Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo 0.05 68 1324 0.10 134 1295
Samsung Galaxy Ace 0.23 160 701 0.34 234 683
Note that cd/m^2 and nit refer to the same unit

Color rendering and sunlight legibility are very good as is the screen sharpness. The whites are spot on – there’s no tint to them that can be seen on other displays.

Viewing angles are not perfect though – good enough in real use though we’ve seen better. There’s a noticeable lack of contrast at an angle though not much color loss.

Here’s a macro shot of the displays of the Optimus Black, 2X, Samsung Galaxy S and S II and the iPhone 4. You can judge the perceivable sharpness of these displays by looking at their matrices from really close.

Nova Display Test
Close-up shots of displays side by side

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