The LG Optimus 3D Max comes in a nicely-textured cardboard box, which is solid enough to give the illusion that it is made of a tougher material.
Inside, there is a pretty decent headset with a call button, an A/C adapter and USB cable, alongside some reading material. The highlight here is the set of three NFC tags, which are essentially stickers you can stick to surfaces for the phone to read with its integrated NFC radio. The stickers themselves are made of a moderately thick paper, although we're unsure how well they'll take to being reattached to different surfaces multiple times.
The LG Optimus 3D Max measures 126.8 x 67.4 x 9.6 mm, which is about what you would expect from a device with a 4.3" screen. If you're keeping track, that's exactly 2 mm shorter vertically than the Optimus 3D, and 2.3 mm thinner - while the height difference is barely perceptible, the thickness definitely makes a difference.
The weight of the handset is 148g, and is another noticeable improvement over the rather hefty 168g original. Ultimately, if the 3D logo is not enough to endear any user still having issues with the size of the device, the improvements LG have made to the design should.
Since the 4.3" stereoscopic LCD screen of WVGA resolution seems to be the feature that matters the most here, it is the place where we'll start our hardware checkup. The screen is virtually identical to the one found on the Optimus 3D.
While LG have put some thought and development into the design of the new Optimus 3D Max, it seems that the screen has remained the same. It still shares the above average viewing angles, brightness and contrast of its predecessor. Here's how it fared in our display contrast test. Find more about the testing procedures here.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|LG Optimus 3D Max||0.23||223||991||0.52||518||1002|
|LG Optimus 3D||0.22||226||1019||0.49||520||1068|
|Samsung Galaxy Nexus||0||112||∞||0||247||∞|
|Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III||0||174||∞||0||330||∞|
|HTC One X||0.15||200||1375||0.39||550||1410|
|Sony Xperia S||-||-||-||0.48||495||1038|
|Motorola RAZR XT910||0||215||∞||0||361||∞|
|Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II||0||231||∞||0||362||∞|
|HTC One S||0||177||∞||0||386||∞|
|Samsung Galaxy Note||0||287||∞||0||429||∞|
|HTC Sensation XE||0.23||172||761||0.64||484||752|
The sunlight legibility of the 3D Max is pretty mediocre though - see how it stacks up against the competition.
At 800 x 480 pixels and the fact that it's not AMOLED, the screen is not going to be able to compete with many of the upcoming big-name flagships hitting the market, but it is one of the few displays that supports glasses-free 3D viewing. The question is, how much is stereoscopic vision worth to you?
Just like on the Optimus 3D, the 3D mode on the 3D Max 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 effectively sees only half of the screen's resolution.
Also, to be able to enjoy it fully you will need to find the sweet spot in terms of distance between your eyes and the handset's screen, which is different for everyone. We've had mixed results across the office; some people got it right away, while others were put off. Similarly, some people thought the 3D effect was a cool feature, while others were left unimpressed. Ultimately, it seems that a handheld 3D screen is a hit or miss.
That being said, the 3D effect itself is 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.
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 rather low-quality 2D image, at best.
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 Max (we'll get back to them later). Otherwise, the regular Android interface looks just like on any other smartphone you've seen.