Jun 03 2011

LG Optimus 2X revisited

Right, so I unrooted my Optimus 2X, flashing LG's own latest stock build, and sent it back to the shop with a full sheet of errors, reporting its more or less severe shortcomings. So what did LG do? They "updated the firmware" to the exact same one I had already just updated to, and sent it back to me.Same build, same kernel, same all.

So what did that solve? Well, much what you'd expect.

But you know, I gave it a shot, and after a week in LG's perverse version of FroYo heaven, I've had it. Maybe there's something wrong with my particular handset, maybe it's just a bad goddamn phone. Either way it's going back again.

I got my Galaxy SII today. Preliminary review says, "Nice !"

May 23 2011

LG Optimus 2X review (slight return)

Some time ago I posted a lengthy review of the LG Optimus 2X here.

In my conclusion I wrote that, "I think the best that can be said about the LG Optimus 2X at this point in time is that it has the potential to be a really great device."

I fully stand behind that statement, because of its specs, beautiful screen and physical build quality. But, I also wrote a bit about root and custom ROMs saying, "If [you] know what you're doing, you can pound this beast into submission and have a great Android experience with it.", and I'm going to have to retract that. I most certainly know what I'm doing and as it is, the bloody thing is useless.

Most notably, I had a pretty consistent issue with the phone ringing, me answering the call, causing the phone to promptly reboot. But its inability to switch seamlessly back and forth between mobile network data connections and stored WiFi access points was also very, very annoying. There was a multitude of other major and minor faults, peppered with Force Closes and unprovoked reboots.

LG have been promising a gingerbread update that may or may not solve everything, but that update has been pushed from March to April to May and when I contacted LG Denmark, they said it was coming "this summer", which could just as well be September (or never) as it could be June.

So I've handed it back in with a full A4 sheet of error descriptions and my carrier has subsequently sent it back to LG. We're awaiting their response but whatever that may be, I'm done with it, and I'm getting myself something else instead. Probably a Samsung Galaxy SII, if they can deliver.

Apr 26 2011

LG Optimus 2X review

I've been using the LG Optimus 2X (hereafter called the o2X which the americans would be familiar with as the g2X) as my primary device for the last two weeks, which has given me a pretty good impression of the device. And it's a mixed bag of nuts to be honest.

On the hardware side, it seems good. Well, mostly good. The screen *is* really good. I don't know if its an IPS-panel, at least I haven't been able to confirm that, but it's vivid, clear and sharp with good color representation. And it's fully readable even in direct sunlight. Coming from the HTC Desire that's a nice change.

- Design

Well, it a big one and a bit on the heavy side, isn't it? The camera bulge on the back seems like a bad choice in my opinion. I have huuge hands, so it fits me well, but it's no girl's phone. The *design* is a matter of preference, but despite the brownness of it all, I kind of like it. Build quality seems great, the screen curves slightly down the sides and the seams with the frame fit well. No creaking plastics.

- Camera

The 8MP camera takes decent pictures that are good but not *that* good. Then again, anyone who understands anything about photography already knows it's not about the megapixels. I would have accepted a good 5MP camera over the bulge on the back of the device.

- Video

It takes decent video with vivid color reproduction, that looks *magnificent* when viewed on the device. The HDPI output works fine and is a zero-setup function - plug it in and the device is mirrored on your TV. It handles portrait/landscape changes without issue, and mirrors whatever is on your device screen to your flat screen, except video which is only displayed on your TV. But! Seeing my recorded 1080p videos on my 40" Samsung I wouldn't guess it's 1080p. I'd hardly peg it at 720p, actually. It runs smooth but there is blocking and odd compression artifacts. It looks like halfway between a good "720p" YouTube video and a bad 720p mkv encode, if that means anything to you.


As for the hyped up reason it's called "2X" ... meh? I mean, there's no doubt it's fast, as it should be running Android on a dual core cpu, but it's not *that* fast. I can't honestly say I feel a stunning performance increase compared to a HTC Desire running Oxygen 2.0.3, for instance. Go Launcher still lags when swiping between homescreens. ADW Launcher Ex doesn't, but it didn't on my HTC Desire either. Angry Birds Rio still lags a bit when you restart the levels and zoom in/out. I could go on but I won't. I get the frustrating feeling I'd associate with running 32-bit Windows Vista on a quad core PC with 8 gigs of ram. Or racing a Porsche 911 on an icy lake. The power is there, but it isn't being transferred to something useful.

- Software

That leads us to the real issue. The stock LG software on the o2X isn't bad, it's f****ng terrible. Sketchy beta release terrible. Straight out of the box, this thing is disappointing, if not useless. It bundles obsolete and redundant social networking apps that you can't get rid of. It hangs and lags and sprinkles Force Closes and Sleep-of-deaths generously. If you leave a Wi-Fi network and come back, the o2X doesn't hop back on. You have to turn your Wi-Fi function off and back on, or it just stays on 3G. Maybe that's why LG chose to include a toggle widget for the notification drawer, giving easy access to that function, which is useful at least. Unfortunately the drawer also features a music control that takes up a full 20% of the notification drawer while keeping the Music app persistent at the expense of your battery. Can you turn it off? Sure but it pops right back up, because as we remember, the o2X doesn't remember. It tends to forget saved settings, including saved Wi-Fi networks altogether btw, and it drinks a full battery up in less than 8 hours while doing absolutely nothing.

It has to be said that the g2X presumably ships with stock Android and might be another story altogether, and that LG has promised a Gingerbread update "soon" , that may or may not do wonders, depending on what their plan for the device is. As it was, I only managed to live with the stock software for a day, including a thorough test drive, and proceeded straight to rooting and a custom ROM. And at the moment that's sort of the way forward here. Most notably o2X owners should keep a close eye on the LG Optimus 2X section at 2X.MoDaCo.com and the corresponding Optimus 2x Android Development section at xda-developers. CyanogenMod is on it's way with Gingerbread for the g2X, so presumably the o2X as well.

I'm going to be building my CirclesMod specifically for the o2X for the foreseeable future, of course.
My Mod is shown here [link removed, no longer relevant] on MoDaCo Custom ROM Fr12. I've modded all relevant statusbar icons and removed that damn music control drawer widget.

- Conclusion

"CAVEAT EMPTOR" with big goddamn letters, people. If know what you're doing, you can pound this beast into submission and have a great Android experience with it. But if you're not willing or able to root and customize your handset yourself, I promise you it'll end in tears. I think the best that can be said about the LG Optimus 2X at this point in time is that it has the potential to be a really great device. In many ways, this has the potential to be the developer reference phone that the Google/Samsung Nexus S fell pathetically short of. But it needs the proper software support. Not just a half-assed GingerBread update, but a stock Android option with better and properly maintained platform of open source hardware drivers.

Feb 07 2011

LG Optimus 2X

Engadget got their hands on th LG Optimus 2X and reviewed the hell out of it.

While it is a really cool device, it suffers from the same illness as most other android phones, namely that the vendors feel a need to disguise android in their own bloatware, which range from the tolerable (Sense) to the downright nasty (MotoBlur? Sony Ericsson?).

I would have loved to see this lovely thing wearing only stock gingerbread.

Oct 25 2010

The dumbest dumb-phone I've seen in a long time is actually pretty clever...

John's Phone (via Design Milk, Walyou and Gizmodo) is a completely stripped down cell phone, devoid of all and any but the core functionality of making and receiving phone calls.

It doesn't have a camera and doesn't offer sms/texting, email, chat, alarm clock or weather updates. The built-in address book is a paper notebook with a pen.

The web site claims that stand-by battery life is "more than three weeks", which is nice but not exactly stunning. John's Phone is roughly the same size as an iPhone, probably to accomodate that large keyboard - but since the phone has absolutely no features, not even a screen worth mentioning, it should be pretty much empty inside and therefore able to pack enough battery to last a year...

John's Phone is marketed as well suited for older people, which I guess would mean my grandmother, since the only phone my parents have ever been able to use properly is an iPhone - arguably one of the most advanced and powerful smartphones of all time :-)

The design is really cool, though, and I think that sheer anti-connected-ness of the thing would appeal to some people I know who feel that the technological advances of mankind should have been halted in 1970.


Legal mumbo: When the pr-people involved won't waste their time on individuals, said individuals have to make do as best they can. If anyone - well, the rightful owner(s), at least - take offense to me using the pictures displayed here to advertise their product for free, please let me know either here or in the comments section- I'll remove them immediately :-)


EDIT: And so they did, and so I did.


Jul 18 2010

Free Condoms For All (...Now Fuck Off!)

So Apple held their press conference and to address the antenna issues with iPhone 4, and in the absence of a proper solution they have decided to give all iPhone4 owners a free bumper case.
The iPhone4 isn't available here yet but I already ordered it, right after Gizmodo leaked it and it was clear that it was the real thing. I preordered it in my local mobile store, before it was even officially announced, ok? Now, I don't know.

The Steve/apple entity has been telling us that ...More...