LG Optimus 3D Android phone

LG Optimus 3D review: Is the world's first 3D smartphone worth the fuss?

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LG Optimus 3D
  • LG Optimus 3D
  • LG Optimus 3D
  • LG Optimus 3D
  • Expert Rating

    3.25 / 5

Pros

  • 3D technology impressive
  • Fast and slick performance
  • Large screen

Cons

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Large and chunky design
  • Limited 3D content

Bottom Line

The world's first 3D smartphone, the appropriately-named LG Optimus 3D, is limited in its use, with the 3D camera and 3D gaming the main highlights. The 3D concept itself is well integrated, but the Optimus 3D has mediocre battery life, and its chunky design is a turn off, making it difficult to recommend.

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TV manufacturers have been pushing 3D technology for the past 12 months and now it seems the 3D world is being transferred to mobile phones, too. LG, a noted manufacturer of 3D TVs, has released the world's first 3D smartphone, the appropriately-named Optimus 3D. Although the 3D functionality of the phone is limited, the concept itself is well integrated. However, the Optimus 3D has mediocre battery life, and its chunky design will not suit all tastes.

Read our reviews of other top LG phones, and check out our guide to the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.

LG Optimus 3D: Design and display

The LG Optimus 3D is best described as an extra large slab of plastic. This is one of the biggest and chunkiest smartphones we've ever reviewed. The main reason for the bulk is the extra large 4.3in screen, and the presence of a dual-lens camera in order capture 3D images and videos. Despite the positives these two factors bring, the reality is that the Optimus 3D will feel uncomfortably large for many users, and heavy thanks to its 168g weight.

On the upside, the Optimus 3D feels well constructed. Its back cover doesn't creak or rattle, and the combination of plastic with metal highlights gives the phone a premium look and feel. We particularly like the brushed metal strip on the rear of the phone. The external buttons are smartly placed and easy to press, though we can't help but feel the 3D button should have doubled as a camera shutter key.

The LG Optimus 3D's display is impressive, even when the 3D feature is not being used. At 4.3in, this is one of the largest screens on the market — it has impressive viewing angles, and displays crisp text. However, its glossy surface attracts too many fingerprints, and also makes it very poor when viewing in direct sunlight.

LG Optimus 3D: 3D display

The LG Optimus 3D has a 4.3in glasses-free LCD display for 3D viewing. The screen technology uses a series of slits on the front of the LCD screen that block light so that users' left and right eyes see different images. This creates a 3D effect that can be viewed without the need for special 3D glasses, a similar technology that is used on the Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming console.

Although it's somewhat of a gimmick, the 3D effect is genuinely impressive in action. At various times the content on the screen clearly pops out at you. It takes a few seconds for your eyes to adjust to the movement at first, and it can become a blur if you watch it for too long. Image quality also noticeably degrades when viewing in 3D. Despite the negatives, there is no doubt LG's implementation of 3D is pretty impressive.

The company's integration of the technology on the Optimus 3D also deserves plenty of credit. Users simply press and hold the 3D button to bring up the 3D space carousel which enables you to access four key 3D functions: the 3D camera, 3D games, YouTube 3D and the 3D Gallery. There's also a very handy 3D guide which is basically a user manual for the 3D functions on the phone. Information on creating, viewing, sharing and connecting 3D content is readily available, including tips such as the best distance from the camera and the object when taking 3D photos (0.5-2 m), and the optimal sweet spot when viewing 3D content on the screen (30-40cm). The easy to read and straightforward user guide is something we'd like to see from more manufacturers.

The biggest issue with the Optimus 3D is the lack of available 3D content. As an example, YouTube's 3D channel has limited content with many of the favourite videos uploaded more than a year ago, while there is also a lack of 3D games and apps built purposely for the Optimus 3D's display. To be fair, the handset does come with three pre-loaded 3D games — Nova, Asphalt 6 and Let's Golf 2 — and all three are genuinely impressive, but it leaves us longing for more. These will naturally come in time, but right now its slim pickings.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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