The LG Optimus 3D is an Android 2.2 phone with a difference – it’s the first to include a 4.3”, glasses-free 3D display.
Pretty much all my previous observations about Android, Flash and the sameness of the features apply so it’s not necessary to rehearse them here.
Instead let’s talk about the look and feel of the phone and that 3D screen.
First impressions aren’t great – the rear of the LG Optimus 3D is a flimsy, rubberised, piece of plastic with an unexciting metal effect strip housing the camera’s two lenses and flash.
The cheap feel continues with the presence of two rubber ‘plugs’ which cover the USB and HDMI connectors. Given this is meant to be a premium handset, scrimping on the finish seems a huge own-goal.
The front of the handset features four touch sensitive buttons – Menu, Home, Back and Search which, when active, are backlit. However the backlight switches off pretty quickly which makes it hard to find the button you want.
In addition, the handset goes to sleep ridiculously quickly after which you have to use the power button to reactivate it – the touch buttons won’t do this despite being the most convenient to reach.
Above the buttons is what this phone is all about – a bright, vivid 4.3” screen with 3D support.
There’s no doubt this looks impressive but it also makes for a pretty wide handset which is uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time.
Given the selling point of this phone is its 3D capability the standard 2D Android interface is an unexciting first encounter.
Home screen widgets such as contacts can be resized but despite the presence of ‘grab arrows’ which imply the ability to drag them to your chosen size, you’re actually limited to pre-selected sizes. This means on some widgets you hold them down to display the resizing arrows only to discover there’s no other sizes available.
You can access 3D apps either by holding down a button on the side of the phone, clicking the 3D Space icon on the home screen or clicking their icon in the app drawer.
The first two methods bring up a carousel of 3D apps each accompanied by some stylish animated icons. As well as a 3D camera and YouTube apps, there are a selection of pre-loaded games.
The games are serviceable though not really enough to get excited about and while the 3D is a nice gimmick, I found it hard on the eyes and certainly couldn’t imagine playing them for an entire commute.
As well as accessing 3D content, you can also create 3D photos and videos using the phone’s built-in cameras, though it’s debatable what use this is if those you want to share with lack a 3D phone.
The LG Optimus 3D certainly answers the accusation that all Android phones are the same, daring to be different and bring something new to the game.
However, “glasses-free” 3D is a newish technology and history tells us its likely to see rapid improvements.
Anyone considering buying this first generation model needs to ask whether they’ll be happy being tied into a contract when newer, improved versions come out.
Additionally, be it on handheld game consoles or the big screen, 3D isn’t suited to everyone’s eyes. If you are thinking of buying, try to get some hands-on time in store before making a final decision.
Our rating: 4/5
Our review LG Optimus 3D was provided by Three which is offering the handset from as little as £30pm on a 24 month contract.