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LG Optimus L5 II review

Katharine Byrne
6 Jun 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
154
inc VAT

This budget phone has a great battery life and good performance, but its screen and camera slightly let it down

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Specifications

Android 4.1.2 (JellyBean), 4.0in 800x480 display

At just £130 on pay-as-you-go from O2, the LG Optimus L5 2 is a budget smartphone in direct competition with the Budget Buy-winning Huawei Ascend G510. It’s also part of LG’s Legacy range, which aims to emphasise design above all else, but our first impressions weren’t very promising.

LG Optimus L5 II

The silver brushed aluminium effect on the rear gives it a bit more personality than other cheap smartphones, but the rest of the phone has a rather plain glossy front whose sole highlight is a silver rim round the edge of the frame. Its flimsy plastic pop-off back doesn’t feel half as well made as Huawei’s G510, and at 103g, it also feels quite delicate and less likely to survive a fall or sharp knock.

Look past its minimalist design, though, and there’s a decent smartphone to be found underneath. Its 4in screen has a decent 480x800 resolution, which means a pixel density of 233 pixels-per-inch. It’s still not hugely detailed by modern standards, but you can't complain too much for the price.

LG Optimus L5 II

We were impressed with its bright and responsive touchscreen. Solid blacks could stand to be a lot deeper, but primary colours were surprisingly vivid even when we lowered the brightness. Its main weakness, though, is its poor contrast levels, which meant images ended up looking much less rich than other cheap smartphones when we compared them side by side.

There’s enough space to type comfortably on its keyboard as well. The keys are a reasonable size without taking up too much of the screen and we were able to type quickly and accurately. We were also pleased to see that we could access all the keys, including numbers and punctuation, from one screen.

As we’d normally expect on a budget handset, LG hasn’t made many changes to its Android operating system. It runs Android 4.1.2 (Jellybean), which is an up-to-date version of the operating system, and gives you three menu home screens for your apps and widgets. Should you need a bit more room, you can add two more. To switch between screens, just pinch-to-zoom out to view all your home screens and jump into any one of them with a single tap.

It also has drop-down quick setting buttons that can be rearranged and customised to your liking, but we were a little surprised that the main settings weren’t included here. Instead, they’re accessed by a tiny button below the brightness settings, but it’s easy to put a larger, more obvious shortcut on one of your home screens.

LG Optimus L5 II

Where the L5 II really shines is in its hardware. Its single core 1GHz processor completed our SunSpider JavaScript benchmark in 1,729ms, which is pretty snappy for a budget phone. This means it should be well-suited to browsing the internet and it felt much snappy during everyday use. It took seven seconds to render the desktop version of the BBC News home page, and it loaded up image-heavy web pages with hardly any stuttering over loading times.

We didn’t have much trouble playing games, either. We were able to run games like Temple Run 2 and Radiant Defense without any visible slowdown, but it isn’t well-suited for more demanding 3D games as it couldn’t load our usual 3DMark benchmarks.

Its 1,700mAh battery has the same capacity as the G510, but it lasted a much more impressive nine hours and 50 minutes in our video playback test. This is a great score regardless of the phone's price, and it well surpasses the average eight hours we’d normally expect to see from a normal mid-range smartphone. It also has a micro SD card slot so you can expand its 4GB of internal storage (1.4GB of which is available to the user) up to 32GB. There's even NFC built-in.

LG Optimus L5 II

The 5-megapixel camera was more disappointing. It coped much better with outdoor shots than indoor shots, but all our test photos looked quite washed out and lacked detail. As a result, images didn’t look as sharp as other 5-megapixel cameras we’ve seen, and it really struggled in low light conditions, producing noisy pictures. The Optimus L5 II's video capabilities were even worse. It constantly re-focused when there was more than one light source to contend with and static objects looked so grainy it almost looked like they were moving onscreen. One feature that did work well, though, was its voice-activated shutter feature, which worked every time.

The LG Optimus L5 II is certainly quite quick for such a cheap phone, but we still marginally prefer the Huawei Ascend G510, which has a slightly larger screen and more resolution. Still, if you value speed and aren’t too fussed about screen size, then the L5 II is still a great choice.

Details

Price£154
Rating****

Hardware

Main display size4.0in
Native resolution800x480
CCD effective megapixels5-megapixel
GPSyes
Internal memory4092MB
Memory card supportmicroSD
Memory card included0MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 850/900/1900/2100
Wireless dataGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
Size117x62x10mm
Weight103g

Features

Operating systemAndroid 4.1.2 (JellyBean)
Microsoft Office compatibilitynone
FM Radioyes
Accessoriesheadphones, data cable, charger
Talk time10 hours
Standby time23 days

Buying Information

SIM-free price£154
Price on contract£17 a month, 24-month contract
Prepay price£130
SIM-free supplierN/A
Contract/prepay supplierwww.o2.co.uk
Detailswww.lg.com

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