LG, recently, has been in a pretty uncertain place in the smartphone world. It’s been a long while since it had a relevant high end Android device, especially in the US market. The low end Optimus T and it’s stateside variants have succeeded in delivering a solid entry level Android experience, but in terms of headlining devices, they’ve been a little short. The Optimus 2X and G2x made a decent splash, and the G2x was probably LG’s last true hit in the US market. Since then, the Optimus 3D hit the US market as the Thrill to a relatively lukewarm reception, and LTE devices like the Revolution, Spectrum, and Nitro have been similarly neglected by the market. Mostly, the problem has been twofold: mediocre hardware design, and rather poor software builds, both in terms of UI as well as stability. LG’s Froyo and Gingerbread skins were ugly, clunky, and generally among the worst I saw from a major handset manufacturer at the time, and many devices (including the Revolution and, surprisingly, the G2x, even though it ran a nearly stock Android UI) were plagued by unstable software builds and infrequent update intervals. 

So with all that in mind, this release cycle is very important for LG to re-establish itself as a maker of high-end Android phones, competing on the razor-edge of market share and mindshare with the HTCs and Samsungs of the world. Thus arrives the Optimus 4X HD, the flagship of LG’s new lineup, a device expected to go head to head with the international versions of the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III.  It comes with high expectations and a spec list to match - 1.5GHz Tegra 3 quad-core, 4.7” 720p display with an IPS LCD panel, 1GB of LPDDR2 RAM, 16GB of NAND storage (expandable via microSD), an 8MP camera with 1080p video recording, and a massive 2150mAh, 3.8V battery (8.2 Wh, or 8.17 if you do the math yourself.) 

Physical Comparison
  LG Optimus 4X HD Samsung Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ Samsung Galaxy S3 HTC One X
Height 132.4 mm (5.21") 135.5 mm (5.33") 136.6 mm (5.38") 134.8 mm (5.31")
Width 68.1 mm (2.68") 67.94 mm (2.67") 70.6 mm (2.78") 69.9 mm (2.75")
Depth 8.9 mm (0.35") 8.94 mm (0.35") 8.6 mm (0.34") 8.9 mm (0.35")
Weight 133 g (4.7 oz) 135 g (4.8 oz) 133 g (4.7 oz) 129 g (4.6 oz)
CPU 1.5 GHz Tegra 3 Quad-Core Cortex A9 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4460 Dual-Core Cortex A9 1.5 GHz Exynos 4412 Quad-Core Cortex A9 1.5 GHz Tegra 3 Quad-Core Cortex A9
GPU Nvidia GeForce ULP PowerVR SGX 540 ARM Mali400MP4 Nvidia GeForce ULP
RAM 1 GB LPDDR2 1 GB LPDDR2 1 GB LPDDR2 1 GB LPDDR2
NAND 16 GB NAND with up to 32 GB microSD 16 GB NAND 16/32/64 GB NAND with up to 32 GB microSD 32 GB NAND
Camera 8 MP with AF/LED Flash, 1.3 MP front facing 5 MP with AF/LED Flash, 1.3 MP front facing 8 MP with AF/LED Flash, 1.9 MP front facing 8 MP with AF/LED Flash, 1.3 MP front facing
Screen 4.7" 1280 x 720 IPS LCD-TFT 4.65" 1280x720 SAMOLED HD 4.8" 1280x720 SAMOLED HD 4.7" 1280 x 720 LCD-TFT
Battery Removable 8.17 Whr Removable 6.48 Whr Removable 7.77 Whr Internal 6.66 Whr

The Optimus 4X HD, One X, and Galaxy S III all have quad-core A9 SoCs, large 720p displays, and sit at the very top of each manufacturer's respective Android 4.0 lineup. It’s also interesting to note that at present, none of these three are available in the US in their quad-core international forms. Both HTC and Samsung have gone with 28nm Qualcomm dual-core CPUs and LTE/DC-HSPA+ modems with the American versions of the One X and SGS3, and it’s not currently clear when or in what form the Optimus 4X HD will reach the US. So let’s focus on the international version that we have here. LG dropped off the O4X HD at my house four days before I flew to India for a month-long vacation. I left my trusty Galaxy Nexus at home (a decision I regretted later because it deprived me of the chance to play with Jelly Bean) and brought along the Optimus to see how it fared as a standalone travel companion. My biggest question going in was whether or not LG had finally turned around their history of software woes, and if the included software build could keep up with the admittedly stellar hardware on tap. I ended up being pleasantly surprised, but we'll get there in time. First up - the design.

Hardware
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  • TheJian - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    I'm not sure any of these benchmarks even matter. It's kind of like benchmarking office and how fast it waits on me to type in word. Until they start benchmarking ACTUAL games (which is the only way I know how to judge one vs. the other and my fun on them out to a tv :)), the only other interesting thing is battery life.

    I can't play sunspider (it's not a game last I checked), have no interest in linpak etc. I want to know how they perform when output to TV over hdmi and using my xbox360 controller to have some fun. Consoles days are numbered, but I guess they can breathe easy until we start getting some real benchmarks that actually tell us something. The same can be said about bandwidth memory tests on desktops etc. All pointless accept to prove your stuff is operating correctly. I can't have fun or get any work done running sandra benchmarks ;) So who cares? I can't wait for a GAME mobile phone benchmark (I mean a real game, not some 3dmark crap for phones). Fraps for phones? :) SeeMeGaming? As Vivek already said, pretty much anything runs fine on all the latest phones. So gaming will be the differentiators.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    One thing: I wish manufacturers would stop using Tegra 3 in phones.
    Use Dual core Krait, and increase the size of the battery... and then we're talking.
    Reply
  • krazyfrog - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Your weather widget is showing Seattle weather but your network ID is Airtel. It seems you are based out of India. :) Reply
  • krazyfrog - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Never mind. Commented before I saw the camera page. Reply
  • rocketbuddha - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    The picture of the temple seems to be the Madurai Meenakshiamman temple. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Thillai Natraja Kovil in Chidhambaram. Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Ya still get slapped anyway... :)

    *slap!!*
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Screenshots/images taken at different times, so some happened while I was in India, some after I got back to Seattle :) Reply
  • jramskov - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    LG doesn't exactly have the best track record in that regard... Reply
  • cserwin - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    As a G2X owner, I would say that you will never see an update.

    The G2X has soured me on Android completely. It's pushed me into community supported ROMs just to have some semblance of a functional smart phone. And bless their hearts, but the community support for this phone has been marginal - soured by poor driver support from NVIDIA and LG.

    This stuff is sold in the U.S. on 2 year commitments. But the manufacturers and carriers aren't committed 5 minutes to this hardware.

    Really, how much research should I need to do before I purchase a smartphone with a decent feature set and expect it to work? It is complete bullshit the level of quality and consistency in the Android ecosystem, and LG wears the crown for putting lipstick on a pig.

    This phone will never be updated. And it will fail you weekly.
    Reply

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