LG Optimus L9 review: Living large

GSMArena team, 04 January 2013.
Pages: 123456789101112

Tags: LG, Android, Touch UI

Powerful phonebook

The phonebook on Ice Cream Sandwich has, for the most part, very similar functionality to that found on previous Gingerbread iterations. It has a tabbed interface, in which the central tab lists all contacts alphabetically. Contact images, where available, are displayed and there's a quick alphabet scroll on the right. There's also a regular search bar on top of the contacts list. The other tabs are Groups and Favs.

Filters keep the phonebook from getting messy - you can choose which groups are displayed and which are hidden (e.g. Family, email contacts, Twitter contacts and so on). The list can be sorted by first or last name and you can choose how contacts are displayed - First Name, Last Name or the opposite.

A tap on a contact photo brings up the quick contacts keys. You can use them to call the contact, send them a message or email or view their profile.

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Contact display and sort setting Viewing a single contact

You can join various contacts from Google, Facebook and Twitter. The Contacts app has GTalk integration and you can see statuses and IM or video chat directly from a contact's page.

Tapping on the name of a single contact brings up their details. From here, you can edit the contact's info by hitting the pencil icon in the upper right, while the star icon on the upper right will add them to your favorite contacts. Editing a contact is pretty straightforward; you can add or remove fields as needed, as well as specify the types of phone numbers, email addresses, ringtones and even add notes.

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Editing a contact

Smart telephony

The LG Optimus L9 had no trouble holding on to signal even in areas of poor coverage and the in-call audio is consistently good too.

The Dialer integrates the Call log, Contacts and Favorites, each within its own tab.

The Call log is clever and groups some of the calls, e.g. 3 missed calls from the same contact on the same day. A number next to the contact name shows the number of events. It's a great space saving feature.

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The Call log

Smart Dial is available and works for both numbers and names. Only one matching contact is displayed, but if you tap the down arrow button, the rest show up as well.

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Smart dialing

During a call you can pop-up the dialer should you need to dial another number. Also you can use the phone while on a call, just hit the menu key and a small green line replaces the notification area and acts like a shortcut back to the call.

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Call notification In-call screen

We also ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the LG Optimus L9. It scored an Average result, meaning you might miss a few calls in noisier environments if you don't keep an eye on it.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score
Apple iPhone 566.866.167.7Below Average
Samsung Galaxy Nexus66.2 60.569.0Below Average
Samsung Galaxy S III mini66.5 63.076.0Average
Sony Xperia S72.7 61.869.6Average
LG Optimus L965.5 65.776.3Average
LG Optimus L766.7 66.675.6Good
Motorola RAZR XT91074.766.682.1Very Good
HTC Desire76.675.784.6Excellent

Messaging

The LG Optimus L9 can handle all common message types: SMS, MMS and email. Email capability is excellent with support for Exchange available out of box, and social media buffs will be pleased with the level of SNS integration as well.

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The messaging app

A press-and-hold on the text box gives you access to functions such as cut, copy and paste. You are free to paste the copied text across applications like email, notes, chats, etc.

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Editing a message The attach dialog and contextual menu

The extended Gmail features include batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted, spam report and of course conversation-style email view mode.

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The Gmail app

The generic email client supports multiple accounts, and operates in much the same fashion as the Gmail one. If you add multiple accounts, then the Combined Inbox feature will come in handy, although there's no conversation-style view like in Gmail.

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The generic Email client

QWERTY, Swype, voice and handwriting

The LG Optimus L9 offers a standard QWERTY keyboard, which features both portrait and landscape typing.

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The QWERTY keyboards

The level of speed and accuracy are commendable in both portrait and landscape. There's a dedicated setting that enables keypress vibrations.

There is Swype-like input as well (called Shape writer), though it's somewhat uncomfortably out of sight in the Input Language submenu. You need to enable Shape Writer instead of the standard QWERTY layout in the settings. Voice input is enabled too, as well as handwriting.

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Other input options

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