LG Optimus One P500 Review
In a nutshell: The LG Optimus One is a budget smartphone running Android 2.2 (Froyo). It ticks all the smartphone boxes, but compromises on most features. But for £15 a month on contract, you'll get a modern smartphone with great apps, full web functionality and brilliant satellite navigation. You'll get a music player, an FM radio, a very basic camera, fantastic battery life and great connectivity. It can't compete with the high-end Android phones, but it blows them out of the water when it comes to price.
Review: February 2011.
It may sound like a character from a bad science fiction movie, but the Optimus One is actually an entry-level Android phone from LG. The Optimus One is powered by Android 2.2 (Froyo) and is a budget smartphone, competing with the likes of the HTC Wildfire and the Samsung Galaxy Apollo.
The Optimus One isn't a large phone, but it's a great size for single-handed use. It feels quite solid, being heavier than most phones of this size. It's rather plasticky and anonymous in style, but then so are most mobiles these days. A narrow metallic strip around the edge gives it a little more class than we were expecting. We're also pleased to see four real, physical buttons beneath the screen. These are easy to press, and light up when in use. First impressions, then, are good.
The screen is the next thing to catch our eye. It's the same size as the HTC Wildfire at 3.2 inches across, but with a slightly higher resolution, which is very welcome. The colour resolution is rather low - just 256k colours - but the screen is bright and is quite acceptable for most uses. It's capacitive too, making it responsive to the touch, although once again perhaps not as smooth as in the high-end phones. But so far, so good.
The user interface is Android 2.2 with some customisation by LG. There are some customisable shortcuts at the bottom of the home screen and LG have provided their own keyboards - a QWERTY and an alphanumeric, both with word prediction. There are one or two other minor customisations, but it isn't as extensive as what HTC or Samsung have done to their Android phones. Still, Android does the job even if it lacks the sparkle of the iPhone interface. The processor runs at a respectable 600MHz, so it's reasonably quick at responding to user input. It isn't up there with the super-smooth responsiveness of the HTC Desire of course, but this is a much cheaper phone.
Like other Android phones, the Optimus One gives you plenty of toys to play with. The web browser is a highlight, being fast and well designed for the mobile internet. Multi-touch zooming is possible. The Optimus One has a fast HSDPA connection, giving download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps when possible, and using GPRS or EDGE when on a 2G network. The 3.2 inch screen is just large enough to use the web comfortably, although as with the Wildfire, sometimes we're left wishing for a higher resolution display and a faster processor. One thing missing is Adobe Flash video support.
Music support is adequate. The music player isn't highly functional, being the basic Android 2.2 player, but it does the job and there's an FM radio too. Sound quality is average, and you also get the option to plug in your own headphones via the 3.5mm audio jack.
The camera is very basic, with a resolution of just 3 megapixels and no flash or focussing. You really won't be able to use it for more than quick and dirty snaps - it's certainly not capable of taking print-quality images. It records video at VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixels) and these tend to play in a rather jittery way, thanks to the slower processor and lower screen resolution.
One of the attractions of an Android phone is the apps. Out of the box the Optimus One comes with Facebook and Twitter, and these integrate well with contacts and messaging. You can download more apps from the Android Market, although with the built-in memory of just 170MB, there isn't an awful lot of space here, either for apps or content. The phone does have a microSD card slot, however, and you can use this to add up to 32GB of storage.
A highlight of Android phones is Google maps. This works with the GPS and assisted GPS tracking to show you where you are and what's around you. Turn-by-turn navigation is possible too. You can even use the voice recognition tool for speaking to your phone whilst driving. Or if you're just plain lazy.
Battery life is excellent for a smartphone. There's a whopping 1500 mAh battery under the hood, and this in combination with the smallish screen and weaker processor gives more than enough power. Connectivity is excellent too, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB all present and correct.
To conclude, the Optimus One is a nice phone. It's not a remarkable phone, but it does the job. Priced to go head to head with the HTC Wildfire, it competes well. Like the Wildfire, there are compromises with the display size and resolution, with the processor speed and with the available memory. The Optimus One compromises seriously when it comes to the camera, but it's slightly cheaper too. We think that the Wildfire just has the edge, but both are great phones and it's good to see as many manufacturers as possible embracing Android.
Features of the LG Optimus One P500 include:
LG Optimus One User Reviews
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Average rating from 11 reviews:
Reviewed by Vipul from India on 16th Jan 2012
Reviewed by jen from canada on 8th Nov 2011
Reviewed by sumit from india on 27th Oct 2011
Reviewed by Pandhari from India on 18th Sep 2011
Reviewed by Lauren from London on 4th Sep 2011
Reply by Michael from U.K. on 4th
Reviewed by ta from nepal on 23rd May 2011
Reviewed by pzoi from Vietnam on 16th Apr 2011
Reviewed by Dave from UK on 15th Mar 2011
Reviewed by Jay from England on 5th Mar 2011
Reviewed by Martin from Britain on 11th Feb 2011
Reviewed by Jason from London on 7th Feb 2011