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LG Optimus Black review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £320
inc VAT

A gorgeous, bright screen, innovative gesture control and light weight make the Optimus Black very tempting, especially if you can get it on a £20-per-month contract


Android 2.2, 4.0in 480×800 display

LG’s Optimus Black was launched with much less fanfare than the company’s flagship LG Optimus 2X or fancy LG Optimus 3D, but it’s an Android 2.2 handset with a single-core 1GHz processor that’s lighter than the Samsung Galaxy S2. It’s not quite as thin, but we preferred its design to the aforementioned LG phones.

LG Optimus Black side

The phone looks similar to the iPhone 4, with edge-to-edge glass on the front and rounded edges. There’s a large space above the screen for LG’s logo and a front-facing camera, while below the screen are four touch-sensitive buttons for the standard Android shortcuts – Menu, Home, Back and Search. The power button and screen unlock is at the top of the phone, and there’s a small sliding cover for the micro-USB port. It’s worth noting that removing the back cover gives you direct access to the microSD card slot, unlike some phones which require the removal of the battery.

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A major selling point is the bright 4in screen, which has a high 480×800 resolution. It’s actually an IPS panel, which means it has better contrast and wider viewing angles than standard LCD TN panels. Its maximum brightness of 700cd/m2 is enough to make it readable in direct sunlight, although in everyday use we found the automatic brightness setting was sufficient – giving vibrant colours and good contrast under most types of lighting. It may not have as high a resolution as some of the latest Quarter HD (540 x 960) screens, but there’s plenty of room for nearly all apps and it’s ideal for web browsing in landscape mode.

Powering the Optimus Black is a single-core ARM Cortex-A8 processor running at 1GHz. This may not be as fast as the latest dual-core mobile processors, but in everyday operation we didn’t notice any lag in the phone’s operation. A Quadrant score of 1310 means it’s about as fast as an HTC Desire S, while a score of 6302 in the SunSpider JavaScript test is about the same as the HTC Sensation, so web pages should load quickly and work smoothly.

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Price £320
Rating ****
Award Budget Buy


Main display size 4.0in
Native resolution 480×800
Second Display No
CCD effective megapixels 5-megapixel
Flash LED
Video recording format 3GP
Connectivity Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB
GPS yes
Internal memory 2048MB
Memory card support microSD
Memory card included 0MB
Operating frequencies GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/1700/2100
Wireless data EDGE, HSPA
Size 122x64x9mm
Weight 109g


Operating system Android 2.2
Microsoft Office compatibility Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support AAC+, MP3, WMA
Video playback formats MPEG4, H263, H.264, DivX, XVid, WMV
FM Radio yes
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories headset, data cable, charger
Talk time 6 hours
Standby time 15.6 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 25h 5m

Buying Information

SIM-free price £319
Price on contract £20-per-month, 18-month contract
SIM-free supplier
Contract/prepay supplier

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