LG Optimus L7 review: L-egant droid
Unboxing the LG Optimus L7
The retail box readily delivers the basics but doesn't go any further. A charger is supplied, along with a microUSB cable and a single-piece headset.
There is no microSD card in the bundle. The only extra bit of equipment is an NFC tag, branded LG Tag+. An app of the same name lets you read and send, as well as create your own tags configuring the phone's behavior in different scenarios. The one that comes in the box is meant for in-car use.
LG Optimus L7 360-degree view
The Optimus L7 has almost the same shape and size as the Prada 3.0. At 125.5 x 67 x 8.7 mm, it combines a solid frame with an impressively slim profile. The angled, muscular body is a bit wider than usual but that's a key part of the L-Style design, which is heavily indebted to the latest Prada phone. We should note however that, at 122g, the L7 weighs less than the Prada, while featuring a bigger battery.
Design and build quality
The new L-Style line is about clinical, angular looks and minimalist design but, while the Prada influence is impossible to deny, the styling is quite prominent in other recent LG smartphones too, including the upcoming flagship, the 4X HD. On the other hand, the concept isn't entirely new to LG's design language. It can be traced back to even phones like the LG Mini and the Pop.
Anyway, the Optimus L7 does well to set itself apart from the previous generation of LG droids. The clean lines and tidy look will be appreciated by those who like their phones simple and to-the-point.
The top of the handset is undeniably LG - and that has nothing to do with company's logo perched up there - but the subtly rounded bottom corners and the Home button have an uncanny Samsung feel. It's not a resemblance to any Samsung phone in particular, just an impression that's hard to shake.
The L7 has a 4.3" IPS LCD display of WVGA resolution. It's a reasonably bright unit with decent contrast, but it's a bit too reflective so its sunlight legibility is nothing to talk about. Overall though, this is not the worst display to have in a midrange phone. A bright theme does pretty well to mask its weaknesses.
Here's how the LG Optimus L7 did in our dedicated display test. You can learn more about the testing process over here.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|LG Optimus L7||0.28||284||1014||0.44||485||1102|
|LG Prada 3.0||0.19||184||993||0.81||835||1031|
|LG Optimus Black||0.27||332||1228||0.65||749||1161|
|HTC One X||0.15||200||1375||0.39||550||1410|
|Sony Xperia S||-||-||-||0.48||495||1038|
|HTC One S||0||177||∞||0||386||∞|
LG Optimus L7
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
Nokia Asha 302
Apple iPhone 4
Apple iPhone 4S
Gigabyte GSmart G1355
HTC One S
HTC One X
HTC One V
LG Optimus 3D
Samsung Galaxy Note
Samsung Galaxy S
Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Omnia W
Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
We zoomed into the display using our digital microscope so you can get a better idea of how the pixels are arranged, and how big they are. Check it out:
The LG Optimus L7 display pixels
The front is surrounded by a dark silver frame that extends over to the top. The minimum screen bezel makes the front look attractive.
On top of the screen there are the front VGA video-call camera, the earpiece and the hidden proximity sensor. There is no ambient light sensor, which explains the lack of automatic brightness option.
Just below the screen we find the usual Android controls - the two capacitive Back and Menu keys surround the hardware Home button. The Home key is absolutely level with the surrounding surface but its transparent finish creates an illusion of depth. The button has reasonably comfortable press. There is a setting that lets you have the capacitive keys' backlighting always on.
The right side of the Optimus L7 is bare, while the left one features the volume rocker.
The top of the L7 is where you get the 3.5mm audio jack and the machined Lock/Power button.
Finally, at the bottom we find the microphone pinhole and the microUSB port.
The back of the Optimus L7 takes after the Prada phone, though the textured surface has fine vertical grooves rather than the Saffiano leather pattern. The 5 megapixel camera lens and single LED flash share a metallic plate, which has moved to a better location compared to the Prada phone. The lens is centrally placed on the L7's back, instead of being stuck in the corner.
The loudspeaker grille also resides at the back, in the bottom left corner.
Removing the battery cover, by prying on a small lip of the USB port opening, reveals the 1700mAh battery. The SIM compartment and the hot-swappable microSD slot are placed below the camera module. You need to eject the battery to access the SIM card slot.
The NFC module is attached to the inside of the battery cover.
Made entirely of plastic, the LG Optimus L7 is very well built and the rear cover fits firmly in place, precluding any wobble and creaks. The minimalist design and simple finish work well in this good-looking midrange smartphone. Based on a fashion item like the Prada phone, the L7 doesn't look like a cheap replica. The handset is wider than usual but the slim profile and receding sides make for a comfortable hand fit.