Hands-On With The Optimus 4X, LG’s Big, Beautiful Of Ice Cream Sandwich [MWC 2012]

BARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2012 — LG’s making a strong showing at this year’s Mobile World Congress with a host of new Android devices, but the one that really intrigued us when we stopped by their booth this morning was their brand new flagship, LG Optimux 4X.

The 4X in the LG Optimus 4X’s name refers to it’s speedy quad-core 1.5GHz CPU, but it might as well also reference its display size: a 4.7-inch monster that is as big as it is beautiful.

It’s this display that really stood out to us in our time with the device, because LG’s really pitcjing this thing right. Fed up with the faddish obsession with AMOLED lead by Samsung, LG’s dedicated an entire section of their booth highlighting their display technology, which results in much more true-to-life color quality.

Here’s the deal. According to LG, one of the problems of AMOLED displays is that as part of the gas phase deposition technology used to make their devices, a pixel can only have two sub pixels: one that flips between red and green, and the other that flips between green and blue. This leads to muted colors, which companies like Samsung overcompensate for by saturating the hell out of the image and over emphasizing the reds. It’s why AMOLED’s look so great in product shots, but often lookcartoonish in person.

LG says their True HD IPS technology avoids all of these problems, while also allowing them to pack in more pixels per inch than AMOLED. In truth, when we had a hands on with the LG Optimus 4X we were very impressed by the display: the screen was rich and clear, but didn’t suffer from any of the blown out colors on display in many Sandset handsets.

Performance wise, the LG Optimus 4X felt snappy, and the handset itself felt great in our hand, thanks to its thin profile (just 8.9mm) and softly rounded edges. However, we did notice that it was extremely warm to the touch after just a few minutes of using it, which worries us: it could be just because the device was seeing extensive use from journalists, was under hot lights, or be because the device is still a prototype, but phones shouldn’t feel that warm.

It also raises the question of battery life. Battery life’s unknown, and LG was playing a little coy when we asked them, but we were told that the device should last two days in normal use. That’s impressive if true, but we’ll see if real-life results panned out.

Rihght now we’re cautiously optimistic that the LG Optimus 4X might bring LG back to the forefront of Android makers. The display is great, the phone itself packs a punch thanks to its quad-core chip and Tegra 3 graphics, the 8.1MP camera make it great for snaps, and LG seems to be marketing it pretty well, at least here at MWC. We’re going to try to get a review unit when the phone begins shipping in Q2 of this year, so stay tuned for more.