In many ways, the smartphone platform has evolved following the same kinds of steps we saw in the early days of the PC—lots of different software and hardware platforms, rapidly changing lead players, faster and faster platform update cadence, the slow emergence of obvious majority leaders. Anand and I have talked extensively about just how striking the similarities are between the PC evolution and the current mobile one, but one of the striking differences is just how much faster that evolution is happening in the mobile space. The reason is simple—nearly all the hard lessons have already been learned in the previous PC evolution, it's just a matter of porting that knowledge to mobile under a different set of constraints.

2011 is going to be a year dominated by multi-core smartphone launches, but there always has to be a first. So just like that, we have our first example of said category of smartphone, the LG Optimus 2X, with Nvidia's dual-core 1 GHz Tegra 2 AP20H at its heart. The Optimus 2X (simply the 2X henceforth) hasn't changed much since we saw it at CES—the hardware is aesthetically the same, and software at first glance is the same as well. We weren't able to publish benchmarks at that time purely because LG hadn't finalized the software build on that test hardware, but we definitely can do so now.

First off are the hardware specs. There's a version of the 2X already shipping on South Korea Telecom which is similar but not identical to the version we were sampled—what we're reviewing is the LG PP990 rather than the SU660. You can look at the specs of that Korean version and compare yourself, but the differences boil down to a few things. The South Korean version ships with 16 GB of internal storage compared to 8 GB like ours, Xenon versus LED flash, likely a different build of Android (more on that later), and a physically different set of Android buttons. The Korean version also has T-DMB for mobile TV. LG hasn't officially announced what carrier the 2X will launch with stateside, nor has it been specific about what UMTS or GSM bands that final version will work with, I'd expect that announcement to happen at MWC. Needless to say, I was surprised that the 2X immediately hopped on HSPA when I inserted my personal AT&T SIM. Regardless, just know that what we're reviewing here is something between the international model and what will be launched in the US. The 2X will launch running Android 2.2.1 and is already slated to move to Android 2.3 at some time in the future.

Physical Comparison
Apple iPhone 4 Motorola Droid 2 Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate Google Nexus S LG Optimus 2X
Height 115.2 mm (4.5") 116.3 mm (4.6") 106.17 mm (4.18") 123.9 mm (4.88") 123.9 mm (4.87")
Width 58.6 mm (2.31") 60.5 mm (2.4") 63.5 mm (2.5") 63.0 mm (2.48") 63.2 mm (2.48")
Depth 9.3 mm ( 0.37") 13.7 mm (0.54") 9.91 mm (0.39") 10.88 mm (0.43") 10.9 mm (0.43")
Weight 137 g (4.8 oz) 169 g (5.9 oz) 127 grams (4.5 oz) 129 grams (4.6 oz) 139.0 grams (4.90 oz)
CPU Apple A4 @ ~800MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 3630 @ 1 GHz 1 GHz Samsung Hummingbird 1 GHz Samsung Hummingbird NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual-Core Cortex-A9 (AP20H) @ 1 GHz
GPU PowerVR SGX 535 PowerVR SGX 530 PowerVR SGX 540 PowerVR SGX 540 ULV GeForce @ 100-300 MHz
RAM 512MB LPDDR1 (?) 512 MB LPDDR1 512 MB LPDDR1 512 MB LPDDR1 512 MB LPDDR2 @ 600 MHz data rate
NAND 16GB or 32GB integrated 8 GB integrated, preinstalled 8 GB microSD 2 GB, 16 GB microSD (Class 2) 16 GB Integrated 8 GB integrated (5.51 GB internal SD, 1.12 phone storage), up to 32 microSD
Camera 5MP with LED Flash + Front Facing Camera 5 MP with dual LED flash and autofocus 5 MP with auto focus and LED flash 5 MP with Autofocus, LED Flash, VGA front facing, 720P Video 8 MP with autofocus, LED flash, 1080p24 video recording, 1.3 MP front facing
Screen 3.5" 640 x 960 LED backlit LCD 3.7" 854 x 480 4" Super AMOLED 800 x 480 4" Super AMOLED 800 x 480

4" IPS-LCD 800x480

On paper, the 2X is impressive. Highlights are obviously the AP20H Tegra 2 SoC, 4-inch IPS display, 8 MP rear camera and 1.3 MP front facing camera, and 1080p24 H.264 (Baseline) video capture. We're going to go over everything in detail, but starting out the review are our hardware impressions.

LG Optimus 2X Hardware Impressions
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  • djgandy - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    It'll be interesting to see how all the other SoC's perform with DDR2. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    Where can I find more information on this? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    Here's a link to the immediate mode vs. tbdr discussion in our old Kyro II review:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/735/2

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • silverblue - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    I'm not sure I agree with the wording in this article about TBDR. The reason PowerVR didn't need to slap DDR RAM onto the Kyro II cards is because they simply didn't need it thanks to the reduction of traffic that comes from deferred rendering. The unknown element at the time was hardware T&L because it simply wasn't available and was thought to be impossible, however as this is yet again being performed on-die, wouldn't that also result in a marked reduction in traffic? Might need some clarification on this one.

    I've never seen it confirmed that the Adreno GPU performs TBDR; some clarification would be appreciated on this one as well! :)

    Onto the option for changing fonts... my vendor-agnostic Galaxy S has such a feature called "Font style" under the Display settings, allowing you to choose the "Default font", "Choco cooky", "Cool jazz" and "Rosemary", with the option of getting more online.
    Reply
  • Exophase - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    Qualcomm bought out AMD's mobile GPUs and hence the Adreno 200 was a rebrand of AMD z430. Here's a little more background on the tiling nature of z430:

    (since apparently I can't post a link without being flagged as spam just google for this: gdc2008_ribble_maurice_TileBasedGpus.pdf - it's the first hit)
    Reply
  • silverblue - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    Interesting... I'd like to see the differences between their approach and that of Imagination Technologies. Reply
  • silverblue - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    Thanks by the way... answered a lot of questions. :) Reply
  • AndroidFan - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    should be 300mhz (=600/2) Reply
  • Zaitsev - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    Is the camera really too thick to fit the width of the phone? I heard of many Evo users who have cracked the glass covering. While I haven't had this problem, it makes me wonder if it's really necessary in the first place.

    Thanks
    Reply
  • MeSh1 - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    I cant wait until you can wirelessly shoot your phones display to your tv ala intel WiDi. This HDMI out is cool, but the cable kind of kills it. With wireless display your phone becomes a game controller :) or a remote when shooting movies to your tv. Plus how cool would it be if your phone can fetch movies from your home network and you shot the playback to your TV. The Sony NGP should have implemented this. Ah well. Reply

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