LG Optimus L9 review: an affordable mid-level Android handset for T-Mobile | Wifi Walker, J B Chaparal Properties

LG Optimus L9 review: an affordable mid-level Android handset for T-Mobile

DNP LG Optimus L9 examination An entrylevel steal

Just when we suspicion LG was finished with a Optimus L-series for a year, a Korean association astounded us with a LG Optimus L9, that replaces a Optimus L7 during a low-end range. The L-series inclination are positioned as LG’s stylish nonetheless affordable line of entry- to mid-level phones, so they unequivocally don’t examination to a company’s quad-core offerings like a 4X HD or a Optimus G. Instead, a L9 runs Android 4.0 and boasts a 4.5-inch qHD arrangement along with a dual-core 1 GHz TI OMAP 4430 processor and 5-megapixel camera. At $79.99 with a two-year agreement on T-Mobile, it’s designed to interest to shoppers on a budget. But is it a good buy? Let’s find out.

LG Optimus L9 review

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When we initial laid eyes on a Optimus L9, we gifted a bit of déjà vu. It’s roughly matching to a L7, with a chrome trim and piano-black, Gorilla Glass-coated face. It even has a same symbol layout, with a earthy home symbol flanked by capacitive behind and menu keys. The behind cover is a opposite story, however. The L9 has a textured matte aspect comprised of mixed tiny lifted dots, a depart from a L7’s striped backing. As such, it has a nice, grippy feel that reminds us of leather (or vinyl, maybe). Its sloped edges and slim 9.1mm form creates for a surprisingly gentle feel in a palm notwithstanding a far-reaching 127.6mm x 66.9mm footprint. All told, a boxy figure struck us as tedious during first, nonetheless we were eventually won over by a phone’s clean-cut design.

DNP LG Optimus L9 examination affordable entrylevel Android 40 handset for TMobile

Adding to a L9’s good looks is that 4.5-inch qHD (960 x 540) TFT LCD, a transparent alleviation over a L7’s 4.3-inch, 800 x 480 panel. Though not utterly as frail as a TrueHD arrangement we saw on a Optimus G, we found a L9’s colourful arrangement ideally adequate. The observation angles are decent, content is pointy and colors are rich. However, we can’t assistance nonetheless feel a tiny cheated — a ubiquitous chronicle of a L9 boasts a better-specced 4.7-inch IPS display, and it appears we’re doubtful to see that stateside. We’ve seen these sorts of conduit shenanigans before — a ATT chronicle of a Optimus G totes an 8-megapixel camera instead of a 13-megapixel shooter found on other Optimus G handsets, for instance — nonetheless it doesn’t meant we approve.

DNP LG Optimus L9 examination affordable entrylevel Android 40 handset for TMobile

Under splendid object a Optimus L9 is utterly usable, nonetheless usually if we ramp adult a liughtness to 100 percent. Otherwise, it looks like a chunk of black glass. Sadly, we had to adjust a liughtness manually each time lighting conditions shifted due to a miss of an auto-brightness setting. Indeed, a phone lacks an ambient light sensor, an repudiation we find terribly annoying. The rest of a common sensors are on board, including ones for proximity, orientation, revolution vector, captivating margin and three-axis acceleration.

DNP LG Optimus L9 examination affordable entrylevel Android 40 handset for TMobile

Aside from a aforementioned buttons, a front of a L9 is home to a front-facing VGA camera on a tip right, directly above a T-Mobile branding. The volume and energy buttons lay on a left and right edges, respectively, while a 3.5mm headphone jack resides on top. Nestled inside a textured behind cover are a block 5-megapixel camera lens and an LED flash. There’s also an outmost orator opening on a reduce left. If we wish to arrangement a phone’s innards, you’ll have to fist a fingernail into a tiny cutout during a bottom, nearby a micro-USB port. You can afterwards examine a cover open to exhibit a 2,150mAh lithium-ion battery, a SIM label and a microSD label slot. Those who crave for a presentation LED will be unhappy however, as there isn’t one.

LG Optimus L9 Pricing $79.99 with a two-year T-Mobile agreement Dimensions 5.03 x 2.63 x 0.36 inches (127.6 x 66.9 x 9.1mm) Weight 4.2 ounces (119g) Screen size 4.5 inches (114mm) Screen resolution 960 x 540 pixels (245ppi) Screen type TFT-LCD arrangement Battery 2150mAh Internal storage 4GB (2.7GB available) External storage microSD, nothing enclosed Rear camera 5-megapixel, AF, LED peep Front-facing cam VGA Video capture 1080p HD NFC No Radios Quadband GSM / GPRS/ EDGE; quadband 4G UMTS/HSPA+ (2100 / 1900 /1700 (AWS) / 850) Network speeds HSPA+ 21Mbps Bluetooth v3.0 CPU 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 GPU PowerVR SGX 540 RAM 1GB MHL No WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/a Operating system Android 4.0.4 Supported multimedia formats MP3, AMR, AAC, AAC+, WAV, AC3, MPEG-4, H.263, H.264, DivX, Xvid

While a L9’s opening can’t compare a quad-core Optimus G, a dual-core 1GHz ARMv7 CPU isn’t too shabby. Indeed, we found it some-more than acceptable, as we’ll explain in a opening territory below. The L9 adds a PowerVR SGX 540 GPU to a mix, along with a 5-megapixel camera and support for T-Mobile’s “faux-G” HSPA+ network that tops out during 21 Mbps. Those specs aren’t too bad for an $80 mid-range handset. As we competence expect, a Optimus L9 supports quad-band GSM / EDGE, along with quad-band 4G UMTS/HSPA+. You won’t find an NFC radio here, nonetheless there is, of course, WiFi and Bluetooth. The L9 even boasts WiFi job interjection to a partnership with T-Mobile. The GPS works remarkably good — it noted many of a locations precisely as we ventured around San Francisco.

Performance and battery life

The L9’s 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP4430 chip is sincerely out-of-date; it’s a same processor used on final year’s Droid RAZR and Droid Bionic, and it’s unequivocally not as zippy as a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor found on newer handsets. That said, shade transitions are poignant enough, and a phone doesn’t take prolonged to switch between open apps. Zooming in and out of web pages feels mostly smooth, nonetheless we did notice a bit of loiter with picture rendering. The camera app, though, is somewhat indolent in launching. Cold-booting takes a tiny some-more than 22 seconds, that is copiousness discerning for us.

DNP LG Optimus L9 examination affordable entrylevel Android 40 handset for TMobile

Benchmark scores are about what we approaching — a L9 compares good opposite TI OMAP handsets, nonetheless pales in comparison to likewise specced phones that use Qualcomm’s latest. Its Quadrant scores are aloft than a Galaxy Nexus’, nonetheless a L9 doesn’t perform as good in a other benchmarks. In general, a opening is fitting a L9’s bill status.

The 2,150mAh battery inside a L9 offers sincerely brief battery life. In a customary outline test, a L9 lasted a tiny longer than 5 hours, that is a bad arrangement compared to many phones we’ve tested recently (eight hours would be some-more acceptable). Still, with reduction fatiguing use (i.e., holding photos, regulating Maps and browsing a web, with pull notifications set up) a L9 still had around 50 percent ability left after 8 hours.

DNP LG Optimus L9 examination affordable entrylevel Android 40 handset for TMobile

At slightest in San Francisco, where we conducted a testing, we enjoyed a flattering plain signal. Call peculiarity was good — callers listened us shrill and clear, and clamp versa. However, we did confront a occasional immobile buzz, and voice peculiarity was some-more digitized than we would like. It’s engaging to note that a L9 supports T-Mobile’s WiFi job capability. When we incited this on, call peculiarity softened somewhat — there was, perhaps, a tiny reduction immobile — nonetheless not adequate that a callers noticed. Still, it’s a good choice to have if we wish to save those monthly minutes. The built-in orator sounds rather tinny, nonetheless we could holder adult a volume high enough. T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network in San Francisco fluctuates extravagantly from area to neighborhood. In a southern and western tools of a city, we got around 1.5 Mbps down and 1.1 Mbps up. In downtown and some-more executive tools of city however, we enjoyed download speeds that averaged around 14 Mbps while upload speeds hovered around 4 Mbps.


DNP LG Optimus L9 examination affordable entrylevel Android 40 handset for TMobile

Though we would’ve elite Jelly Bean, we don’t unequivocally mind Ice Cream Sandwich on a bill handset like this. As with many other LG phones, a L9 has a skin conceal famous as UI 3.0, that is utterly light as distant as Android skins go. The close screen, for example, lets we appropriate in any instruction to clear a phone. It also incorporates discerning entrance to 4 customizable apps — we generally like a camera by-pass — and opposite time designs. We’ll acknowledge we cruise UI 3.0 is rather undisturbed and boring, nonetheless it’s not terribly descent either.

LG UI 3.0 Screenshots

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T-Mobile’s change on a L9 is immediately apparent as shortly as we start adult a phone — you’ll find a magenta-tinged wallpaper and widgets as we flip by a 7 home screens. You do get ICS mainstays like that barbarous Google hunt widget along with a ability to emanate folders. The wharf binds 5 icons by default and is simply customizable. You can serve tweak things by adjusting a shade appropriate effect, a scrolling wallpaper, a animations and a theme.

One acquire further is a Quick Settings menu in a presentation drawer. With a elementary appropriate of a finger, we can adjust a sound, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and get accessible entrance to LG’s QuickMemo app. You can also supplement a liughtness toggle that lets we switch between low, middle and full, that is intensely useful deliberation a miss of auto-brightness mentioned earlier.

DNP LG Optimus L9 examination affordable entrylevel Android 40 handset for TMobile

We have to acknowledge we’re not vast fans of a L9’s default, LG-designed keyboard. It appears to be a mutated chronicle of Swype, where we form difference by shifting your finger opposite a keys. It works good adequate when you’re regulating it that way, nonetheless when you’re only entering content a out-of-date way, it can be fussy and imprecise. There’s no choice to switch to a batch ICS keyboard, that is a vast beating in a eyes.

The app launcher is comparatively identical to batch ICS, that we can navigate by side-swiping a screen. You get 3 opposite tabs during a top: Apps, Downloads and Widgets. The sections exist independently, so we won’t be kicked over to a subsequent add-on once we strech a end; we would only corkscrew behind to a commencement again. We should note that a Downloads area represents commissioned apps, not downloaded files — those can be accessed around a Downloads app instead. You can name to fit a 5 x 6 grid of icons and we can arrange them however we wish. (To do this, simply strike menu while in a launcher and name “Show tiny icons.”) Those who wish to arrange by apps alphabetically are out of luck, however — you’ll have to do that manually.

DNP LG Optimus L9 examination affordable entrylevel Android 40 handset for TMobile

Perhaps a biggest censure about a L9 is a volume of bloatware T-Mobile motionless to toss in. You get 411 More, Caller Tunes, Game Base, More for Me (a discounts/deals application), T-Mobile My Account, T-Mobile Name ID, T-Mobile TV and Visual Voicemail. Like many pre-installed apps, they can’t be uninstalled and they take adult changed storage space. Other pre-installed apps embody a Amazon app store, Application Manager, FileShare, WildTangent Games, Polaris Office (which can be uninstalled), SmartShare for WiFi Direct connectors and Slacker Radio. LG enclosed a possess QuickMemo on here as well, that lets we pull and explain what’s on a screen. The default browser includes an engaging toolbar during a bottom with a common navigation keys like Back and Forward along with a Zoom key. If we want, we can reason your finger down on a Zoom pivotal and lean a phone brazen to wizz in on a page. We cruise this is so we can handily navigate a vast Web page single-handedly, nonetheless it’s utterly a singular use case.


DNP LG Optimus L9 examination affordable entrylevel Android 40 handset for TMobile

The camera UI here should be informed to anyone who’s formerly owned an LG smartphone. The controls line a left side of a viewfinder, and we can adjust a picture size, stage modes, ISO settings, white change presets, timer, geotagging settings, shiver sound and tone effects. You can opt between autofocus and face-tracking, where a camera will try to concentration in on what it thinks is a face. We generally suffer scenery mode, and continual shot is also good if you’re attempting to fire a relocating subject. The back camera can record adult to 1080p HD, nonetheless a front-facing webcam maxes out during VGA. We found a 1080p video utterly pointy and acceptable with a autofocus, nonetheless it doesn’t hoop low light and shadows too well.

We’ll be frank: if we wish a phone with a top-notch camera, a L9 isn’t for you. The 5-megapixel sensor works excellent for elementary snapshots, nonetheless users who wish something that can reinstate their point-and-shoots would substantially sneer during a bungled picture peculiarity on arrangement here. Most of a representation shots showed dull, washed-out colors and there’s an hapless volume of sound even in cinema taken underneath adequate light. Low-light opening was alright — sunsets looked decent, for instance — nonetheless pellet and fuzz continue to be an emanate there as well. Touch-to-focus works fine, nonetheless don’t pattern a shoal abyss of margin in your macro shots. As we competence expect, a camera works best underneath splendid sunlight, nonetheless even then, colors are rather lackluster.

LG Optimus L9 camera samples

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DNP LG Optimus L9 examination affordable entrylevel Android 40 handset for TMobile

The Optimus L9 isn’t totally though merit. We conclude a boxy nonetheless clean-cut pattern and a sharp, colorful display. And while a opening didn’t blow us away, it’s some-more than good adequate for bland tasks like browsing a web, checking email and personification a occasional game. We also enjoyed a further of T-Mobile’s WiFi job feature. Yet, a common camera reminds us of a mid-level status, a carrier’s bloatware is a beating and LG’s UI 3.0, nonetheless inoffensive, belongs in a past. Its brief battery life is also a unsentimental emanate that buyers should be wakeful of before signing any contracts.

Perhaps a biggest saving beauty is this: it costs only $80 with a two-year T-Mobile agreement. Those new to Android competence find that $80 buys a workable phone, nonetheless savvier users will expected be disappointed. If you’re adhering to a parsimonious budget, we’d advise a HTC One S instead, that is accessible for giveaway with a T-Mobile contract. An additional $20 could obstacle we a higher HTC One X if you’re peaceful to go with ATT. Or, we competence wish to cruise saving adult for a Nexus 4, generally if two-year contracts are not your crater of tea.

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