Pros : Great tweaks to Android; Decent 5MP snapper; Good budget performance. Cons : Build quality has some issues; No front-facing lens.
Cons : Build quality has some issues; No front-facing lens.
Verdict : This is a smartphone that has loads of features and costs a tad over a hundred quid, and yet still offers a decent five-megapixel snapper and good performance.
The first Optimus L Series included a trio of affordable smartphones, and now there’s a new kid on the block in the shape of the Optimus L Series II. This 4in model is mid-range, situated between the small L3 and the dual-core handset, the L7.
The L5 II does not look that different from the back, and the front looks pretty much the same as the first L5. It has a good-looking glass panel and simple design – just a black border, a slim home button and an LG logo.
On the back, LG has managed to swap the ugly plastic backplate for a nicer, smooth finish. It has a brushed metal look, although it still seems somewhat plasticky. It’s a bit too easy to pop off the backplate, which covers the SIM card and Micro SD memory cards slots and the battery. Having said that, it never came off when it was in a pocket or bag.
There’s a bit of flex where the sides meet and it’s debatable whether it would come through a drop unscathed. The Optimus L5 II does seem rather light compared with similar handsets.
The power button is rather stiff – you really need to push it to get the display turned on or off. The Quick key performs better – this sits on the edge on the left and is used to launch a favourite app. This can also be used to fire the shutter on the camera.
Make it your own
LG has made the phone even more user-friendly than its predecessors, with some great smart features on the operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. You can organise your folders of apps, and scroll through them without having to open them. It is even possible to personalise your screen swipe effects, alter shortcuts that sit on the lock screen, and play about with most aspects of the operating system.
The desktops can be changed too – make app icons really big if you wish, or create your own icons using snaps from the camera. Another neat feature is Quick Memo, which lets you write notes on the desktop and then keep them open even if you fire up other apps. That means you can jot down a phone number when on a phone call, then fire up the contacts list and enter the number while it stays on the display. Simple but enormously clever.
The notifications bar sits at the top of the display, and shows any alerts or missed events. The home button underneath will flash in different colours to alert you to any vital stuff. Red means the battery has run down, green is for a text or email, and green and yellow flashing says you have a call coming in. Very neat.
It’s got the power
Battery life is pretty much what you’d expect – 24 hours for average use with GPS and Wi-Fi switched on and the screen brightness turned right up. Video streaming will give you five hours of continuous use from a full charge.
We weren’t expecting a dual-core chip for this price, but the single-core 1GHz processor works remarkably well. We played some reasonably up-to-date games, such as Iron Man 3, and found that we only saw the occasional lag. You might see a little jitter on some actions and if you’re a quick typist the handset may have to catch up every now and then, but on the whole it runs pretty smoothly.
Onboard storage is just 4GB, so you’ll want to buy a Micro SD memory card if you’re planning on listening to a lot of music or watch videos. Luckily, you can pick up cards pretty cheaply online.
The display measures four inches, which is good enough for playing games, watching films and playing with apps. Surfing the net offers a smooth experience, and the screen’s 800x480 resolution can sometimes make the text seem a little blurred if you zoom out. The screen does have the features of a budget display – it doesn’t have the quality and warmth of more pricey phones, but it’s bright enough to handle most glare and is good enough for watching YouTube videos or TV shows.
The five-megapixel snapper is good for the price. Our macro shots were especially good, offering lots of detail in sharp focus. Some colours can seem rather dull and the sharpness is not always evident in scenic photos. The camera doesn’t cope well in dull light conditions but there is a flash for taking shots at night or in dully lit rooms. It is also possible to grab video and take panoramic pictures. The ‘continuous shot’ mode, which takes six images in quick succession, is something you rarely see on a budget model.
It’s just a shame there’s no front-facing snapper for video chats.
LG has done a good job of bringing the original L5 up to date, with better specs and a more attractive design. The extra features for the operating system, such as the colour-coded notification lights and ability to customise desktops and icons, are a real selling point. There’s plenty packed into the Optimus L5 II and it really delivers.
|Type of device||Smartphone|
|Operating System||Android 4.1 Jelly Bean|
|Dimensions||118 x 62 x 9.2mm|
|Processor speed||1GHz single-core|
|CPU||1 GHz processor|
|Screen size||4 inches|
|Memory card slot||Yes|
|Special camera features||Flash|
|FM Radio description|
|Colours (Standard)||Black, Silver and White|
|What's in the box||Charger|
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