So, it turns out there's quite a lot to like about the LG Optimus L9. Its key selling point is the big screen, which is rather hard to come by in this price range. Retina levels of pixel density were out of the question - should we say, budget - but qHD doesn't look too bad.
The reasonably powerful hardware, nice looks, and excellent custom user interface are some more good reasons to choose the L9 if you are into big-screened smartphones.
The one thing that might turn a few users away is the disappointing camera performance, though imaging isn't necessarily everyone's top priority. What could be more problematic is LG's poor reputation when it comes to updates. The Optimus L9 delivers soundly out of the box, but it is yet to make (if ever) the Jelly Bean waiting list. After all, there are at least two devices ahead of it in the pecking order and we've barely heard anything constructive about them just yet.
However, the Optimus L9's rather competitive price may make users more forgiving. The Optimus L9 costs about €260 which, as we are about to see, compares quite favorably to most of the direct competitors. In terms of hierarchy, the L9 would've been expected to stand against the likes of the Galaxy Premier, but it's actually way cheaper than even a Galaxy S III mini.
What this means is the Optimus L9 will have a seemingly easier challenge in the face of the Samsung Galaxy S Advance. The two handsets feature similar hardware, the Galaxy making up for its smaller screen with AMOLED technology and more storage. The S Advance might be able to get to Jelly Bean before its LG rival, but unless compact size and portability are a top priority, we'd suggest you side with the L9 here.
Sony has a smartphone to put against the L9, too - the Xperia P. It has a much smaller screen but of the same resolution and costs a few bucks less than the Optimus L9. Its advantages are the premium finish, the dedicated HDMI port, the soon-to-be-released Jelly Bean update and the clearly superior 8MP camera. On the other hand, the LG offers better battery backup and a slightly more powerful chipset.
If you are looking to try something other than Android at this price point - the HTC Windows Phone 8S is pretty much your only option. The phone is quite the looker and is built to a flagship standard. It runs Microsoft's latest Windows Phone 8 but, again, fails to match the L9 screen estate.
So, the LG Optimus L9 seems to make itself pretty comfortable in its little niche. Flagship-sized screen and solid performance at an attractive price point is certainly a combo many will be happy with. And considering there's virtually no competition (at least until the Galaxy Grand arrives), the L9 has every chance of making it big. We'd say it will be well deserved.