Make Canoe my Homepage

LG’s first quad-core phone a step in the right direction

- October 19th, 2012
LG Optimus 4X HD

LG Optimus 4X HD. (Supplied)

With the release of the Optimus 4X HD later this month, LG will no longer playing catch-up in the mobile phone market, it’s setting the bar. Not only is it the company’s first quad-core phone to launch here (the Optimus G, which I wrote a preview on last month isn’t out until November), it is, to my knowledge, the only quad-core phone currently available in Canada.

Whereas big-league hitters Samsung and HTC opted to go dual-core for the Canadian versions of their flagship Galaxy SIII and One X devices, respectively, the 4X utilizes NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 1.5 Ghz 4-plus-1 quad-core mobile processor.

LG Optimus 4X HD's four-plus-one quad-core processor

The layout for the 4-plus-1 quad-core mobile processor is shown here. (Supplied)

When apps require it, the phone, which runs on Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.03) with the Optimus 3.0 UI skin, is designed to run on all four cores and will run roughly twice as fast as a standard dual-core smartphone. But when less power is needed, the device will default to a fifth core designed to save on battery life

In practice, this appears to be true. The phone ran at a consistently fast speed, even when multiple apps were running at once.

And battery life is above average as well. The phone comes with a 2,150 mAh lithium ion battery, which offers around 9.3 hours of talk time and 730 hours on standby. Some might expect an even longer life from such a large battery but personally I never had a problem with it dying even when I left it out overnight. And unlike the Optimus G, this battery is removable so you can replace it if you need to.

The phone comes with 1GB RAM, 16 GB of internal memory and can take a MicroSD card of up to 64 GB.

Calls are decent on the the LG Optimus 4X HD but not spectacular. The sound isn’t as clean as a high-end HTC and Samsung phone. Voices are a bit distorted if the in-call volume is at the maximum level, and the volume can get a touch quiet for the person you call. But it’s usually clear enough to understand the conversation.

The phone is 132.4 mm by 68.1 mm by 8.9 mm. Like other recent LG phones, the boxy design and 133 g weight make it feel substantial in the hand. The phone has a 4.7-inch True HD IPS display with a resolution of 1,280 pixels by 720 pixels.

AMOLED vs. True HD IPS

AMOLED vs. True HD IPS. (Supplied)

The IPS display supposedly offers greater colour accuracy than the more standard AMOLED screen as each pixel has three sub pixels (one for each of the primary colours of light). Whereas an AMOLED display only has two sub pixels (either red-green or blue-green), meaning some colour information is lost.

Now, personally I can’t say if the image is 33.3% more realistic, the colours actually don’t pop as much as on some other phones, but they are more defined. It’s easier to distinguish between oranges and reds for example. Video playback was good when I was connected to my Wi-Fi network. The sound is clear and the motion is smooth with great picture quality.

But the problem is that the loaner phone I had was on Wind Mobile’s network, which even as 3G networks go, is slow. I got downloads of between 1.03 Mbps and 2.69 Mbps and uploads of 0.11 Mbps and 1.08 Mbps, which is generally not sufficient for streaming HD video. To compensate, video player apps downgrade the quality to avoid lag and the picture often becomes pixellated and distorted.

But if you’re not planning on using your data connection for video, this isn’t really a concern.

When it comes to taking pictures and video, the phone does a decent job. It comes with a 8 MP main camera which shoots 1,080p HD video at 30 fps. (There’s a 1 MP front-facing camera as well.) Sound quality is great. But photos and video can look a little pixelly when the light level is low.

But I was quite impressed with the panorama setting where you can take a landscape photo by sweeping the camera across a large area. I have seen this function on cameras before but rarely have I been able to use it without getting an error message that I moved the camera too fast. Perhaps it has to do with the size of the device or that the software is better calibrated. Or maybe I just managed shake off the DTs long enough to snap a pic, but I could easily create a decent quality panoramic shot.

The LG Optimus 4X HD is available through Wind Mobile for $199 on its $40/month  WINDtab plan and $549 to buy the phone outright.  For info on additional plans, check out Wind’s website.

Videotron will also make this phone available in the future.

Subscribe to the post

Leave a comment

 characters available