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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  • SoulShadow - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    Brian,

    Do you have any idea if that audio chip will make it into all future Tegra 2 phones, or is this just a lucky phone? Droid Bionic with a Wolfson DAC would make me a happy camper.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    Those specific choices are ultimately left up to the handset makers. It seems to be a relatively common component to select however. I have no idea whether the Bionic or Atrix are getting that same audio IC.

    We can definitely run RightMark audio analyzer on phones from now on. ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • LostPassword - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    I travel. Limited bands is disappointing. Waiting for comparisons to HTC dual core. Screw Motorola. Reply
  • HAVM - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    There is one SoC missing in the 2011 roadmap...

    Nokia and likely also Sony Ericsson will start to ship smartphones based on the ST-Ericsson U8500 platform in the second half of 2011.
    Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Tuesday, February 08, 2011 - link

    is that going to be dual-core, or competitive with the tegra/omap/scorpion level socs? Reply
  • kenyee - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    This is probably the most comprehensive Optimus 2x review I've seen yet, so big kudos.

    What still bugs me about phone reviews is they don't seem to measure how well GPS receivers work in the phones. Even a simple stick it outside at the same location and see how many satellites show up and how quickly (GPSStatus has a feature that measures time to first fix) would help.
    E.g., my crappy Moto Cliq sometimes flakes out and even if it claims it sees 10 satellites, it never gets a fix. It's important for those of us who are using our phones for navigation...
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, February 08, 2011 - link

    There is a whole section titled "GPS Performance" on page 9, basically comes down to that the hardware seems fine but since it is still preproduction A-GPS wasn't set up. Reply
  • vision33r - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    Is the iPhone 4, all the other phones all had bulges, plastic, and weird ergo shapes.

    No wonder the iPhone 4 is sought after more, metal, optical glass, highest resolution, and pixel density count.
    Reply
  • azagall - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    Good performance but the back of the phone is the ugliest I have seen in a while ... And why the plastic ... Isn't this supposed to be a premium phone? Reply
  • texanstc - Monday, February 07, 2011 - link

    It looks like I'm not missing much with the LG 2X. Reply

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