The LG Optimus T is special. Sure, it doesn’t have a 1GHz processor (or 800MHz for that matter), a 5 megapixel camera with 720p recording, a superb 3.7-4.3-inch screen, or any of the other things that make a smartphone nowadays brilliant. No, the Optimus T is an entry-level Android smartphone with something else: full on, uncoated, sweet Android 2.2 FroYo. Hit up the “more” link to go after the line break to know why it’s one of the best entry-level smartphones available in the U.S. today.
Price As Reviewed: $29.99 on 2-year agreement with T-Mobile. The Optimus T launches November 3rd.
Lucky for me, I got the Optimus T almost a full 2 weeks before release. I’ve been using it as my primary and personal phone, downloading apps, making phone calls, and browsing the Internet on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network. First off, special thanks to T-Mobile for getting the unit over here, and now I think it’s time to talk about the specs of the first $30 FroYo phone:
- A 3.2-inch 320×480 HVGA LCD display
- 3.2 megapixel camera with 480p video mode
- Full on Android 2.2 with LG widgets and app launcher
- FM radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, A-GPS, and HSPA 7.2
- A 2GB microSD card
- 3.5mm headset jack
So surely the Optimus T is worth every cent you pay for it.
Let’s see here: an all plastic with smooth rubber build, burgundy and black versions available, hardcore search, menu, home, and back buttons, a relatively chunky profile, and a well-lit and very readable TFT LCD 3.2-inch screen. I must admit though, the Optimus T is every bit better built and much better than the LG Ally, which was a mess, in short.
What It’s Like Using It
Putting all the features and specs aside, I’d like to look at the Optimus T and Android 2.2 right now. Everything you’ve come love about Android 2.2 (and so do I) is present here. Updated Google apps, improved multitasking, and an extremely snappy experience on low-end hardware without any lag. Because of the latest version of the Google operating system’s improvements in usability, you have to keep on reminding yourself that your holding a 30 dollar “smartphone” with an advanced mobile OS running on it.
Of course, there is a bit of compromise here for the $30 hardware. Because of the slow processor speed, Flash 10.1 cannot make an appearance here, which is completely plausible and correct; even on high-end hardware like the Droid 2 and Nexus One, Flash 10.1 can have its downs and ups, more usually downs.
Besides the redesigned app launcher by LG which causes for some pain since downloaded applications are at the very bottom, and pre-loaded apps are at top. On the left and right sides of the launcher, you have the option to either launch the phone or messaging apps, and currently I’ve not been able to change them to — well I don’t know — something better than phone and messaging all the time?
Lastly, here’s some shots of what the Optimus T is capable of when it comes to its 3.2 megapixel shooter. The 480p video is smooth and clear, but not worth getting too excited about.
A Last Look At The Optimus T’s Category
I do like that for $30 you can now get a decent Android 2.2 handset. What I don’t like is that there are too many sub-par and “cheap” Android phones out there, turning the whole spectrum of “1Ghz Android monsters” to the “poor man’s smartphone”. In my “book”, it’s either you pay that $200 for a “superphone”, or you stick with that flip-phone from Samsung or LG for that matter.
As an entry-level smartphone the Optimus T may very well be the best, but as a true smartphone that can be the true “pocket computer” that runs apps at lightning speed, it’s not “worth” it, although 30 dollars is pretty hard to look past by for a smartphone. Stay calm, wallet. As for the extreme budget conscious: your Android has arrived.
- Android 2.2 in one of its purest forms.
- Tethering and mobile hotspot are both available.
- $30 is pretty reasonable.
- Very decent build quality
- LG’s over-sized widgets
- Clunky-looking app launcher
- Wi-Fi to be added with an update at an unknown time