TechPinas Gadget Reviews Series presents...
LG Optimus Black P970
When Korean company, LG Electronics, released the Optimus Black P970 earlier this year, the handset effectively and officially replaced the Apple iPhone 4 as the thinnest smartphone in the world. With a thickness of just 9.2 millimeters and the title as 'The World's Slimmest Phone with the World's Brightest NOVA display', the LG Optimus Black practically set the standard for how thin a smartphone can be. This in itself - I believe - makes P970 a landmark device.
Interestingly though, LG Optimus Black's ultra-slim form factor serves as a complete anti-thesis to the depth of features the phone offers. Despite being a midrange release, P970 comes replete with top-notch technical specifications including a 1 GHz processor running Android Gingerbread OS (available via update) skinned by LG's gorgeous Optimus UI, a 4-inch 480 x 800 pixels IPS LCD NOVA Display - which is almost twice as bright as screens of other smartphones like the iPhone4, a 5 MegaPixel autofocus camera with LED flash, High-Definition 720p video recorder, and a wide range of connectivity options including Wifi, Wifi Direct, Bluetooth and 3G.
LG Optimus Black officially became available in the Philippines around middle of this year. It entered the market with a suggested retail price of Php 19,990, which was later brought down to Php 17,990.
Great News: LG Electronics Philippines is currently running an LG Optimus Black Online Promo where you can get the phone for only Php 15,990, which is Php 2,000 off its current Php 17,990 SRP! The promo is now on its final week (last week is from Dec. 9 - 18, 2011) so if you want to get the Optimus Black straight from LG this Yuletide season and be sure that you're getting after-sales support should you need it, then visit LGOptimus.PH and place your order now.
Design, Hardware and Ports:
In true TechPinas tradition, let's do the panels.
TP Quick Commentary on LG Optimus Black Design - LG Optimus Black comes with a very minimalistic design that I'm sure users who like clean lines and subtle details will find attractive. Again, the front is all glass (heck, there isn't even a single physical button there) while the back is covered a simple plastic case flaunting the LG and Google logos along with the camera and the loud speaker.
Given P970's ultra-slim form factor and the sheer brightness of its 700 nit NOVA screen, I think it's nice that LG kept other design elements very subdued. It's effective because the first thing that people notice about the phone are those two key characteristics, making them more hardworking as selling points for the phone.
Like what I often say in TP, LG Optimus Black may be thin and light but it sure is deep and heavy on features. So let me talk about five P970 features that I thoroughly enjoy using.
LG Optimus Black has a 5 MegaPixel camera that takes crisp photos both in good or bad lighting conditions, thanks to its LED flash. Another thing that I like about it is that it has an autofocus lens so I can rely on it to take clear macro or close-up images, which I found to be perfect for when I want to show my friends on Facebook what's on my dinner plate (Now, don't laugh at me. It's not like I'm the only one who does that.)
Anyway. Here are some shots that I took (with automatic settings) using LG Optimus Black:
I can't speak for everyone but I think that the quality of the photos (not the artistry, obviously, as I'm not a photographer - in the strictest sense of the word) is quite good -- more so when you consider the fact that they were taken using just a smartphone.
Now, as for video camera, I'd say it's equally good. The one on P970 takes high-definition 720p videos, supports continuous autofocus that's ideal of close-up shots and even has a torch light, which should come in handy for low-light conditions. Check out the video quality:
While LG Optimus Black can't replace a DSLR, I believe the handset can definitely be relied on to take casual photos and videos when you're out and about having fun with your family and friends without sacrificing too much on image quality.
Like its big brother, the LG Optimus 2X P990, one of the strongest points of LG Optimus Black as an Android phone is the intuitive and easy-to-use browser that comes with it.
The default browser on LG Optimus Black loads web pages fast, supports flash content, responds to familiar touch gestures for scrolling and zoom in and out of web pages, and lets you share content easily on your social networking sites.
It also helps that the phone's screen is not only big but is also very bright and clear, making the browser look even better. If you like web-browsing on your phone, I tell you, you'd fall in love with LG Optimus Black.
Oh, and should you get tired of or bored with the default browser, you can always try out others, which are available via Android Market. Some popular browsers for the Android platform include Opera Mini, Dolphin HD and Skyfire.
With LG Optimus Black, you'll have tens of thousands of free applications - ranging from games to ones for social networking - waiting to be downloaded via the Android Market. Some of my personal favorites include FriendCaster, Angry Birds, Raging Thunder, Yahoo Messenger, Google+, Horoscope, Seesmic, Facebook, Angry Birds Seasons, Twitter, Pulse and Youtube, among so many others.
What's cool about downloading and using all these apps on LG Optimus Black is that they all look so good on the phone's super bright IPS LCD display. The colors and details just pop-out even when you're using the P970 outdoors.
As I've earlier explained on TP, Wifi Direct on LG Optimus Black enables users to have wireless transactions with another Wifi-capable device - even if it doesn't have Wifi Direct feature - allowing transfer of content like photos and videos at the speed of up to a whopping 20MB per second! You don't have to worry about going through a router as you can just connect the devices directly over Wifi.
Again, I find this feature very useful in gimmicks or night-outs with friends where everyone has their own wifi-capable phones and are taking their own photos of the whole barkada having fun. Before parting ways, we usually share photos via Wifi-Direct on my LG Optimus Black.
LG Optimus Black has this really nifty feature called Gesture UI which lets users scroll though homescreens, zoom in and out and pan around photos, launch the camera app and more, without even touching the screen of the phone!
To activate this feature, all you have to do is to press the Gesture button on the left side of the phone and move or shake the handset; For example, if you're on the homescreen, pressing on the button and tilting the phone makes the homescreen scroll on its own.
But my favorite gesture is for launching the camera. Here's how you do it: On the lock screen, press the gesture button then shake the phone. Totally cuts the time between unlocking the screen and snapping a shot.
Perhaps LG wants so much to make sure that users get a decent social networking experience on LG Optimus Black that the company has provided users with pre-installed Facebook and Twitter applications specifically made for their LG smartphones. There's even an LG Social+ widget, which users can place on their homescreens to monitor status updates of their friends on social networking sites.
While Facebook for LG and Twitter for LG aren't particularly the most powerful social media Android applications (there's always FriendCaster or Facebook for Android, for example), I totally appreciate LG's effort to give 'more' to its loyal consumers in this increasingly popular department.
For those who are wondering how powerful LG Optimus Black's innards (read: CPU, Memory, I/O, 2D and 3D Graphics) are, here's a chart that I created using Quadrant Standard showing how the phone performs versus other Android handsets in terms of overall processing power:
Not bad for a 2011 midrange release, don't you think?
LG Optimus Black looks good, feels great in the hand, has a bright screen, comes with a useful set of features and runs on pretty powerful innards.
All things considered, including its current promo price tag, I'd give it a 9.7 out of 10.
|Name||LG Optimus Black P970|
|Type||Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)|
|Dimensions||122 x 64 x 9.2 mm|
|Available Colors||Black, Pink, Silver, White, Brown|
|Operating System||Android 2.2 Froyo, upgradeable to Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread|
|Display||4-inch, 480 x 800 pixels, IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Processor||TI OMAP 3630 1 GHz processor|
|Camera||Back: 5 MegaPixels, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, Front: 2 MegaPixels|
|Video Capture||HP 720p at 30 frames per second|
|Audio and Video Playback||MP4/DivX/Xvid/H.264/H.263/WMV player |
- MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+ player
|Ports||microUSB 2.0, 3.5 mm audio jack|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot |
Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP, EDR
|Network||2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G Network HSDPA 900 / 1700 / 2100|
|Memory||2GB internal storage, expandable via microSD, supports up to 32GB|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity|
|Battery||Li-Ion 1500 mAh|
|Uptime||TP Test - around a whole day on Wifi|
|Value-Added Features||Optimus UI 2.0, Gesture UI 2.0, Social Networking Services Integration, Google Services Suite|
|Price||Php 19,990 upon release, currently Php 15,990 via online promo|