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
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.

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  • SpaceRanger - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Same here.. Fellow G2X owner and I will NEVER get another LG product again.
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I had a G2x for a long while. Gave it to my brother, so no longer my headache. The software on that phone was literally never finished. That's what the problem was, and that's why it was so ridiculously buggy. I think the O4XHD will get the 4.1 update at some point, but definitely nothing after that.
  • Myrandex - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Hey there windows Phones were / are pretty well supported! Their launch Quantum is supopsed to be getting the 7.8 upgrade, its just a shame that they have been pretty quiet on that front too. I knew a bunch of people that bought the Quantum here in the U.S.
  • Myrandex - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    That's because Microsoft is doing the updating, not LG's software engineers.
  • Lepton87 - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Aren't you a little contradicting yourself? First you say "Now with all that out of the way, I think my flagship phone recommendation for most consumers is still the One X." and then "
    In real life, I prefer the O4X HD - the elegance of LG’s software package, in my book at least, has a bigger impact on my day to day usage of the phone than the hardware polish of the One X or the GPU horsepower of the S3. In my personal rankings, the O4X HD and One X are almost even, with the O4X coming out just ahead, and the S3 is a definite third."

    So you actually prefer LG but think than you are unlike most consumers and thus ONE X will be better for them?
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Essentially. The HTC is without question a better phone - better design, better screen, better camera. But honestly, I enjoy using the LG more, simply due to the software. It's essentially the same rationale behind me sticking to a Galaxy Nexus when the hardware has been outstripped on T-Mobile by the One S and S3. It's a purely personal preference, and if you don't have an issue with Sense 4, then there's no real reason to not get the One X.
  • MDme - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    it is a rectangle with rounded corners!
  • Spunjji - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

  • Spunjji - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    (But seriously, it's OK, the radius of the corners is wrong. Because that is somehow relevant and can totally be patented.)

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