LG Optimus GJ review: Wild child
Gallery is robust and responsive
The LG Optimus GJ uses the same gallery app as the Optimus G - in effect, a near stock Adroid gallery with a few custom touches here and there. It automatically locates images and videos no matter where they are stored on the phone. By default, images are sorted by albums, but you can sort by location or time as well. Albums, which are on an inserted microSD card, are indicated as such by a small icon.
The different sets are tiled neatly across the screen. You can expand or shrink individual albums using a pinch gesture, making the elements of the grid of photos either really huge or very tiny.
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.
The Share feature offers quick sharing via Email, Google+, Picasa, Memo, MMS, SmartShare, Social+ or Bluetooth.
The Gallery app displays images in full resolution. Zooming and panning involves no lag whatsoever thanks to the quad-core Krait CPU.
The music player on the LG Optimus GJ also looks much like the one inside the Optimus G. The interface is simple, easy to use, but still offers a lot of functionality.
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. The interface now has a metallic look to it instead of the dark grey theme of old.
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. Flipping the device to landscape mode while on the Now playing screen squeezes in a list of other songs by the same artist.
There are equalizer presets, which become available when you plug in a pair of headphones.
When you're playing a song it also gets displayed in the notification area, where you can pause and change tracks.
Powerful video player
The video player on the Optimus GJ has a fairly simple interface, giving you just a grid 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. For each video you've started, the thumbnail gets a tiny clock icon, which shows how far into the video you are.
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 pop-out button at the bottom right corner too, indicating that the app is part of the QSlide functionality on the Optimus UI. LG have implemented MX Player-like controls too - a swipe left or right will move the video forward or backwards, while a swipe up or down will tweak brightness.
Another feature is a Video Speed control (you can set values from 0.5x up to 2x). There's a lock button too, which hides all controls for pure full-screen viewing. Another cool addition in the video player is Live Zooming. You can zoom in (with the familiar pinch gesture) during playback and some serious magnification is allowed, not just a quick resize or fit to screen.
The LG Optimus GJ handled everything we threw at it - DivX, XviD, MKV and MP4/MOV up to 1080p resolution. The AC3 audio codec (among lots of others) is supported, so you don't have to worry about the sound. There are were no issues with higher bitrates and file sizes, either, and subtitle support is chock-full of customizations.
LG took Samsung's pop-up play feature a whole lot further with QSlide. In the latest Optimus UI iteration, LG has added a new batch of apps that take advantage of the functionality. Those include the web browser, Memo, QVoice, Calendar and Calculator. Furthermore, you can launch any of them from the notification drawer.
Audio output decently clean, but too quiet
The LG Optimus GJ showed nicely clean output in both parts of our traditional audio quality test. The smartphone got pretty decent scores, but was led down by its volume levels, which were well below average.
There's very little degradation even when you plug in a pair of headphones. The stereo crosstalk worsens a bit but the rest of the readings are virtually unaffected. Unfortunately, the volume levels plummet even more on that occasion and are among the lowest we have seen, so we can't give the water-loving smartphone full marks here.
And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|LG Optimus GJ||+0.14, -0.19||-81.0||81.0||0.0092||0.023||-92.3|
|LG Optimus GJ (headphones attached)||+0.81, -0.51||-82.1||81.2||0.012||0.032||-47.2|
|LG Optimus G||+0.13, -0.11||-82.5||82.5||0.0092||0.022||-81.6|
|LG Optimus G (headphones attached)||+0.05, -0.30||-80.8||80.9||0.012||0.061||-59.4|
|LG Optimus G Pro||+0.48, -0.11||-81.7||82.0||0.010||0.028||-80.7|
|LG Optimus G Pro (headphones attached)||+0.31, -0.27||-81.1||81.1||0.0097||0.052||-66.2|
|HTC Butterfly||+0.13, -0.29||-82.5||82.3||0.0090||0.022||-80.8|
|HTC Butterfly (headphones attached)||+0.16, -0.24||-82.3||82.1||0.0094||0.042||-59.7|
LG Optimus GJ frequency response
You can learn more about the whole testing process here.