Despite its entirely plastic construction, the LG Optimus 3D is a pretty good-looking handset. The front is a well-done mix of faux brushed metal (the two plastic pieces at the top and bottom), touch-sensitive keys and an ample LCD.
The back has the LG’s trademark styling with a metal stripe on soft rubbery plastic. We liked that back in the Optimus 2X and a few months later we're glad to report we haven't tired of it.
If anything takes away some points from the Optimus 3D design, it'd be the thickness. Now, we realize it's probably impossible to squeeze all that functionality (including two cameras and a stereoscopic screen) in a anything slimmer so we are not blaming LG here. However, the fact remains that, when placed next to one of its slimmer competitors, the Optimus 3D loses some of its appeal. It simply looks chubbier.
The increased thickness also has a slightly negative effect on handling. It's harder to wrap your hand around the Optimus 3D and have the entire surface of the screen within comfortable reach. It's not too bad though, and the result is most probably worth it.
This might be the right place to mention that the LG Optimus 3D is also a pretty heavy device. At 168 grams, it weighs a mere gram less than the Motorola Milestone 2 with its metal body and QWERTY keyboard. While the extra weight gives a certain solidity that many will appreciate, it's also certain to turn off those users who don't like carrying this much bulk around.
The 4.3" stereoscopic LCD screen of WVGA resolution is the key feature of the LG Optimus 3D. The LG engineers have come a long way since we first met the handset back in Barcelona and the screen has been improved significantly as far as regular 2D viewing is concerned.
At this point of its development, the Optimus 3D screen has very decent viewing angles, and so are the brightness and contrast. And no, when used as a regular 2D screen, the Optimus 3D display won't rival the Super AMOLED Plus blacks or the Retina display's sunlight legibility, but none of them does goggle-free 3D, do they?
The goal of the Optimus 3D display here was to trail the leaders closely and be ready to catch up and even overtake them by playing the trump card. Now the question remains how much is the stereoscopic ace worth to you.
The 3D mode only works in landscape mode and the glasses-free viewing relies on a parallax-barrier technology. It's an extra screen layer that makes sure each eye sees a different set of pixels, giving a sense of depth. On the downside, each eye gets only half of the screen horizontal resolution.
Also, to be able to enjoy it fully you will need to find the sweet spot between your eyes and the handset's screen, which is different for everyone. It might seem a bit of a nuisance at first, but you quickly get used to it.
The other thing that you have to get used to is there’s no way to share the 3D goodness of the screen. Only one person at a time can watch the 3D effect. Looking at the screen at an angle, gets you a regular 2D image.That aside, the 3D effects itself are pretty impressive, even more so if you are a fan of the technology - you know, the kind of guy who would go and watch any mind-numbing movie they threw at you, just because it's in 3D (did somebody say Green Hornet?)
Now the 3D visualization is only available in applications that are specially designed for 3D viewing, but those are in no short supply on the Optimus 3D (we'll get back to them later). The regular Android interface looks just like on any other smartphone, you’ve seen.
Still, given it's the first attempt we've seen at a mobile glasses-free 3D screen for mass sonsumption, the Optimus 3D display does pretty well. We were pleasantly surprised and we believe the technology has a future in smartphones. Or at least the potential is there.