LG Optimus 3D Max Android phone (preview)

LG Optimus 3D Max preview: LG's second attempt at a glasses-free 3D smartphone

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LG Optimus 3D Max
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
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Pros

  • Thinner and lighter than predecessor
  • NFC chip and LG Tag+ capability
  • 3D editing tools

Cons

  • Display can't match rivals
  • Only minor upgrades
  • No Australian ETA

Bottom Line

The Optimus 3D Max is the successor to the original Optimus 3D. It aims to improve on it thanks to a slimmer design and a larger screen, but on paper, most up the upgrades appear to be minor ones.

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LG's Optimus 3D Android phone wasn't a one-off for the company, despite many labelling the glasses-free 3D technology as a gimmick. The Optimus 3D Max is the successor to the original version, aiming to improve things with a slimmer design and a larger screen.

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When we reviewed the Optimus 3D back in July last year, we found the 3D concept itself well integrated but it suffered due to a lack of available 3D content. We're not sure if much has changed from then until now, but LG will want to hope it has: a glasses-free 3D smartphone without good 3D content is, well, just an ordinary smartphone with an added 3D gimmick.

There are at least some new 3D features to mull over. According to LG the Optimus 3D Max is the world's first smartphone that can edit 3D photos and videos using a pre-installed app, while users can also convert Google Earth, Google Maps and other road views into 3D using the phone's 3D Converter.

The original Optimus 3D had mediocre battery life and a chunky design but the Optimus 3D Max aims to solve these two issues: it's 9.6mm thin instead of 11.9mm, is 20g lighter and its battery has a slightly larger capacity (1520mAh compared to 1500mAh). We're not sure exactly how much improvement a mere 20mAh will provide, but we can only hope the Optimus 3D Max is significantly less battery-hungry than its predecessor.

While most high-end smartphones launched in 2012 are expected to feature HD screens and quad-core processors, the Optimus 3D Max surprisingly has neither. It is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and has a 4.3in WVGA display with a modest resolution of 480x800 pixels. Other features include a 5-megapixel dual-lens camera, a front-facing VGA camera for video calls and 8GB of internal memory, though LG does include a microSD card slot for extra storage.

An interesting feature of the Optimus 3D Max is full support for NFC (Near Field Communications) and LG Tag+. The latter uses the phone's NFC chip to communicate with special NFC stickers or tags that can change settings. As an example, you could swipe a tag when entering your office that would put the phone into silent mode.

Disappointingly, the LG Optimus 3D Max runs the outdated 2.3 Gingerbread version of Google's Android operating system, though the company has already stated the phone will receive an upgrade to the latest 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version "shortly after the launch".

LG hasn't announced if or when the Optimus 3D Max will be launched in Australia, but it will be released in in Korea in March and will gradually roll out in other markets starting in Europe.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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