LG Optimus 2X Review: Tegra 2 Let Down By OS

Here at OSM we’ve already taken many looks at the LG Optimus 2X, which will be the first smartphone to be released with a dual-core processor. Among our recent posts were a look at a hands-on video, some pricing details of the Optimus 2X and the Optimus Black, and a comparison of the Optimus 2X vs. the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, on looks alone.

However, now we have news of what many of you have really been waiting for, a review of the Optimus 2X Android smartphone. This phone has looked set to make a huge impact on the market, although there are other dual-core processor phones on the way, such as the Motorola Atrix 4G and Droid Bionic. The in-depth review comes by way of Vlad Savov over on Engadget who asks if the wait was worth it and starts by taking a look at the hardware, which is called “uncomplicated and restrained” and seems to have a good solid feel.

The review goes on to look at the Tegra 2 chip and notes a flawless performance when playing back video although asks the question of just how often users would need the power of the dual-core chip. The big plus is with multitasking but unless you spend much of the day doing this you’re unlikely to find it makes much difference and so it’s a feature that, for most, is not necessary. We then go on to learn about the 4-inch display, which is better than average but the capacitive touchscreen was maybe not as sensitive as, it could be.

The 8-megapixel camera was found to be impressive, showing plenty of fine detail, with minor drawbacks being that the color sometimes seemed a bit “washed out,” and also the time the camera app took to be ready between pictures, without some kind of indicator to tell the user that it was in fact ready again. The review then goes on to look at the loudspeaker, earpiece and battery life but we really get to the nub of the review when looking at the software of the Optimus 2X.

We wondered at first if the reviewer wasn’t being a bit harsh when likening this much-hyped phone to that of an 18-month-old HTC Hero but on reading further, Savov seems to make a fair point. The Android OS was seen to feel rather plodding with UI responsiveness not as good as hoped for, surprising for such powerful hardware. Although loading applications was seen to be faster than most other Android handsets the navigation did not impress and applications often crashed. One positive of the software was LauncherPro which made the Optimus 2X feel both speedier and smoother but Savov felt “it doesn’t fully heal LG’s gaping software wound.” It’s a shame that a phone as promising as the Optimus 2X in many other aspects seems to be let down by a disappointing OS.

The last thing looked at in the review is the Tegra Zone which will come loaded on Tegra 2 devices and will be especially for games, videos and apps that have been designed around the Tegra 2 chip. Overall the LG Optimus 2X is seen as a “solid foundation” but the disappointment factor surrounded the software and its performance. The phone was described “neither as responsive nor as stable as it should be,” and the lack of a dependable platform was a major letdown, leaving Savov to urge that the software failings be sorted out.

For a phone that seemed to offer so much on the surface, we have to say we feel a little disillusioned although of course this is the first review we have seen and others may feel different. However we have to say that the usually reliable Savov, doesn’t often get it wrong! Meanwhile Brian Klug and Anand Lal Shimpi over on AnandTech offer a hugely comprehensive look at the Optimus 2X and Tegra 2 chip with a handy table that compares specs with other popular phones so if you want a second opinion, check it out.

What are your thoughts on the LG Optimus 2X after this review? We wonder if you were planning to purchase but this has deterred you, or maybe you feel the positives outweigh the negatives? Let us know by sending us your comments please.

  • wrmsr

    World of difference between a uniproc and multiproc OS, and android is still adapting to that change. Honeycomb supports it, but the phone OS won't fully till the changes are fully merged. As an example they had to switch from yaffs2 to ext4 because yaffs simply didn't scale out for concurrent access. It won't be perfect till the next 2.x is released, till then it's like reviewing a gasoline car with diesel fuel in it. "Well it looks pretty, and the lights work" :)