LG Optimus 3D Android phone

LG Optimus 3D review: Is the world's first 3D smartphone worth the fuss?

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LG Optimus 3D
  • LG Optimus 3D
  • LG Optimus 3D
  • LG Optimus 3D
  • Expert Rating

    3.25 / 5


  • 3D technology impressive
  • Fast and slick performance
  • Large screen


  • Mediocre battery life
  • Large and chunky design
  • Limited 3D content

Bottom Line

The world's first 3D smartphone, the appropriately-named LG Optimus 3D, is limited in its use, with the 3D camera and 3D gaming the main highlights. The 3D concept itself is well integrated, but the Optimus 3D has mediocre battery life, and its chunky design is a turn off, making it difficult to recommend.

Would you buy this?

LG Optimus 3D: 3D camera

The LG Optimus 3D has a dual-lens camera for 3D image capture and video recording. This means you can film 3D videos using the dual-lens camera, and watch them either on the device, or through a 3D-capable, high-definition television. The quality of the Optimus 3D's camera is limited to 3-megapixels when capturing 3D images, and 720p HD when recording video — compared with 5-megapixel stills and 1080p full HD video in 2D.

Naturally, neither 3D video nor still images taken with the Optimus 3D's camera are as detailed as regular 2D shots. They often look like cardboard cut-outs, though you can slide the depth of the 3D effect up and down to enhance the view depending on your eyesight. Like the 3D effect on gaming, the result remains fairly impressive, even if we quickly got over the 3D effects once the novelty wore off. A nice touch is the fact that 3D photos in the gallery are marked with a 3D icon when you are browsing through them.

Even with 3D switched off, the LG Optimus 3D's camera remains impressive for both photos and HD video recording. The flash also works well in dim lighting conditions, though it does have a tendency to over saturate images.

LG Optimus 3D: Software

The LG Optimus 3D's standard phone features, such as messaging, contacts and e-mail, are all displayed in 2D and differ little from most other Android phones. The Optimus 3D runs Google's Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system, but LG has promised that it will be upgradeable to the latest version of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) in the near future.

LG has skinned the standard Android interface with its own UI overlay and many of the changes are positive. We particularly liked the music controls that are integrated in the notifications slide-down bar, the revamped contact pages, and the cartoonish-looking weather, clock and calendar widgets. LG's on-screen keyboard is also excellent and is very similar in both look and feel to the iPhone layout. We like the fact that the lock screen displays missed calls and new text messages, and will unlock straight into each of these apps. You can also tap and hold on the home screen to edit it immediately.

On the downside, LG's pre-loaded Facebook and Twitter apps are much inferior to the standard Android versions, and being an Optus-exclusive handset, the phone comes pre loaded with no less than 15 Optus apps — most of which are merely links to a mobile site. Thankfully, LG sorts the main menu into four categories (Optus, 3D applications, regular applications, downloads) so it's easy to hide these if you don't use them often.

Web browsing on the LG Optimus 3D is impressive, mainly thanks to a handy toolbar at the bottom of the browser screen. Instead of having to press the menu key to get common options, the toolbar has back and forward buttons, a tab buttons that displays a 3D carousel of currently open windows, a new tab button, and a settings button.

LG Optimus 3D: Performance and other features

The LG Optimus 3D is powered by a 1GHz OMAP4 dual-core processor, has 512MB of RAM and comes with 8GB of internal memory along with a microSD card slot for extra storage. Critically, the phone felt slick and fast during day to day use. The camera was sometimes a little slow to open, and LG's overlay makes the Optimus 3D feel less speedy than the blazing Samsung Galaxy S II, but on the whole the Optimus 3D is a breeze to use. The LG Optimus 3D has HDMI connectivity and DLNA for sharing 3D content, and the included Smartshare app makes it easy to set up the latter.

Unfortunately, the LG Optimus 3D's battery life is truly diabolical, and without doubt the worst feature of the phone. The battery did not last a full day even when we didn't use any of the 3D features, and we even managed to drain the battery from full charge in just under two hours. This involved 3D gaming, 3D video recording, and playing a few 3D YouTube videos — along with some regular Web browsing and Facebook. Although we expected 3D to suck more battery power than usual, the end result is far worse than we imagined.

Optus sells the LG Optimus 3D for $0 on its $59 cap plan over 24 months, or $799 outright. The plan includes $750 worth of calls, unlimited SMS, 2GB of data and unlimited access to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, eBay and Foursquare within Australia.

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