It’s strange to give a range-topping handset a Budget Buy award, but the powerful Optimus 4X HD is a real bargain on contract
Android 4.0, 4.7in 1,280×720 display
The 4X HD’s camera has an eight megapixel back-illuminated sensor. Back-illuminated models are designed to perform better in low light, and the combination of this and the 4X HD’s bright LED flash meant that indoor shots were impressive, as long as we composed them carefully and our subjects were fairly still. Indoor videos were also remarkably free of noise, although the noise reduction algorithms caused some interference when panning across large areas of solid colour, such as carpets.
Outdoor shots were reasonable, with accurate colours, but focus wasn’t particularly sharp, especially to the edges of the frame. It’s not a bad camera, but we much prefer the shots taken with the Galaxy S3.
However, LG does have one cracking camera feature: Time Catch. This lets you scroll back through four previous shots that were taken before you pressed the shutter – as the phone is essentially recording images all the time to make the viewfinder live view, these images are already in the buffer. We found it eliminated many ‘just missed it’ moments, as well as making it impossible for subjects to cover their face at the last minute to avoid being shot.
LG’s Optimus 4X HD is an impressive phone – the design, screen and operating system tweaks all make it feel like a premium handset. It’s not quite up there with the Samsung Galaxy S3, though – its screen isn’t quite as good, it’s not quite as fast and its camera doesn’t take such impressive outdoor shots. If you’re buying SIM-free, there’s no contest, as both phones are around the same price. However, the 4X HD is seriously good value on contract. While the cheapest we could find the Galaxy S3 was free on a £26-per-month deal, the Optimus 4X HD can be had for free for £15.50 a month (if you’re buying from www.mobiles.co.uk just make sure you cancel the insurance and tech support add-ons). This makes it a bit of a bargain, and a Budget Buy.
|Main display size
|CCD effective megapixels
|Memory card support
|Memory card included
|GSM 850/900/1900/2100, 3G 900/1900/2100
|GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA
|Microsoft Office compatibility
|Word, Excel, PowerPoint editors
|headphones, data cable, charger
|Price on contract