Mar 09 AT 6:37 PM Taylor Wimberly 52 Comments

LG Optimus 2X report card

The LG Optimus 2X is coming to America soon so we figured it was time to post our review of this highly anticipated device. The only problem is we received an international version of the phone (LG-P990), so I don’t think the traditional smartphone review is the best format. Instead I would like to submit to you my LG Optimus 2X report card, which is a snapshot in time or progress report of this device and its performance to date. Did the Optimus 2X live up to the hype? Read the report card to see how we graded it.

For our first report card we have no format, so I’m just going to talk about the highlights of the device, how it performs on a daily basis, what’s in store for its future, and what issues have arrived so far.

The LG Pitch

For anyone new to the party, let’s just jump right in with how LG is promoting the Optimus 2X. LG has branded the Optimus 2X as the World’s first dual-core phone and wants you to know it offers “Super-fast web browsing & app. Start-up, seamless multi-tasking, full HD & HDMI mirroring and true visual gaming.”

Key specifications of the Optimus 2X include Android 2.2, 1Ghz dual-core processor (NVIDIA Tegra 2), 4-inch ISP-LCD WVGA screen, 8GB memory (up to 32GB via microSD), 512 MB RAM, 1,500 mAh battery, 8 megapixel rear camera and 1.3 megapixel front camera, HDMI mirroring, and 1080p MPEG-4/H.264 playback and recording.

Please keep in mind these specs are for the international version and they could be tweaked for a US launch.

NVIDIA Tegra 2 super chip

The NVIDIA Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip (SoC) is the highlight of the Optimus 2X and the main reason this device is a revolutionary step forward and not just an evolution of an existing model. Tegra 2 is the first mobile super chip to feature a dual-core CPU, which offers faster web browsing, a more responsive UI, and better overall performance.

System performance

Smartbench 2011 is one of the few multi-core friendly benchmarks.

Our Optimus 2X came loaded with Android 2.2 which was not designed for multi-core processor architectures, but it still supports multi-threaded applications. Several games are optimized to take advantage of Tegra 2, but most apps are not.

A few synthetic benchmarks like Smartbench 2011 are multi-core friendly and we saw the potential when we matched the Optimus 2X against several single-core phones. In the Smartbench 2011 productivity suite, the Tegra 2 devices scored nearly three times higher than single-core phones.

Overall we did notice a big boost in performance when browsing the web. NVIDIA worked with Adobe to make Flash 10.1 fully hardware accelerated, which improved page load times and made scrolling and zooming more smooth. Browsing a heavy desktop website like provided an enjoyable experience.

Moving forward, performance should continue to increase with future versions of Android. Google just released Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) for tablets which was the first version of the platform designed to run on multi-core processor architectures, and those enhancements should find their way into a smartphone soon.

Google’s Android 3.0 platform highlights say that a “variety of changes in the Dalvik VM, Bionic library, and elsewhere add support for symmetric multiprocessing in multicore environments” which will result in increased performance. The good news is that these optimizations can benefit all applications, even those that are single-threaded.

To read more about the benefits of multiple CPU cores, see our previous report.

Games performance


Tegra 2 offers the fastest GPU, for now.

The LG Optimus 2X offers the best gaming experience of any Android phone that is commercially available.

It features an ultra low power GeForce GPU, which shares a similar architecture to NVIDIA’s desktop graphics cards. This means that games engines which were originally developed for multi-core desktop CPUs and desktop GPU architectures can be easily ported to run on Tegra 2.

In our recent round of Tegra 2 benchmarks, the Optimus 2X came out on top of every graphics test we threw at it. Motorola’s Atrix 4G has the same Tegra 2 platform, but it scored lower since it has to push 30% more pixels thanks to its high resolution qHD display.

NVIDIA has focused on premium content with their new Tegra Zone application, which showcases games that are optimized for Tegra 2. The selection of games available at launch is limited, but NVIDIA has demonstrated the quality of titles coming to Tegra 2 devices and over a dozen game studios are on board to fill up their lineup.

This includes Gameloft who has already ported seven of their games to the Optimus 2X and EA Games who is working on some flagship titles. A representative of Gameloft even told me that Tegra 2 and other dual-core Android phones were their primary focus for 2011, so you can bet there will be a steady flow of big releases that will all be optimized for the Optimus 2X.

Check out out previous post Gaming with the LG Optimus 2X for another take on what to expect.

10-point multitouch touchscreen

The Optimus 2X touchscreen performance is so good I thought it deserved special attention. LG’s display has a 10-point multitouch controller that can independently track all of your fingers. I can’t think of any apps that take advantage of this, but it just shows you the ability and accuracy of the screen.

As noted in our gaming preview, it offers the best touch performance when playing games with multitouch controls. I hope this becomes the standard of Android phones.

1080p video with full HDMI Mirroring

Thanks to the performance of the Tegra 2 chip, the Optimus 2X supports 1080p video capture and playback. Another cool feature is full HDMI mirroring which displays everything from your phone onto a big screen. This enables some cool experiences like big screen gaming or browsing the web on your TV. Hopefully the US carriers will leave the HDMI mirroring enabled, because I really enjoy this feature.

Camera performance

Golf balls

I really suck when it comes to taking good photos, but the LG Optimus 2X is the first phone camera that exceeded my expectations by producing great results. Check out our Hands-on the Optimus 2X camera for picture samples, a walkthrough of the camera UI, and a 1080p video clip. To put it simply, I found the Optimus 2X offers the best camera performance of any Android phone I have tested (until the Sony Ericsson Exmor R sensor comes out).

Battery performance

Battery benchmark via Anandtech.

The Optimus 2X features a 1500 mAh battery and it’s performance is comparable to other high-end Android phones. A single charge should get you through the day and you must charge it every night. Total battery life depends on so many factors, but I found the Optimus 2X stood up to my heavy usage.

For a more detailed battery analysis, see the Optimus 2X review from our friends at Anandtech.


Our reivew unit of the LG Optimus 2X shipped with Android 2.2.1, and an upgrade to Gingerbread Android 2.3 is already in the works. LG says they are committed to software updates, but we will have to wait and see how they perform.

We expect T-Mobile will start selling the G2x (their version of the Optimus 2X) by April and our sources tell us an over-the-air update for Gingerbread could be available “within weeks” of the official launch date.

Everyone likes to focus on the custom skins that handset makers are slapping on their devices and criticize them, but the beauty of Android is that you can load any alternative home screen and easily change the look and feel of your phone. I didn’t really care for LG’s custom UI and iPhone-inspired keyboard, so I quickly changed them out.

My biggest gripe with the software on this Optimus 2X unit was the exclusion of some of the core Android apps that are not available on the Android Market. The two omissions that annoyed me the most were the default keyboard and messaging app, but 3rd party software from the Android Market satisfied my needs (Smart Keyboard Pro and Go Messager).

Often the more important question with Android phones has become – “Is the device locked?”

Early research shows that the Optimus 2X has a locked bootloader but it is not signed like the Motorola Atrix and it should be easily hacked. Previous LG phones like the Optimus One already have working ports of CyanogenMod 7, so that gives you an idea of how hacker-friendly LG phones can be.

Community developer Paul O’Brien of Modaco fame announced on his forums that he will be purchasing the Optimus 2X, so you can be sure there will be plenty of custom ROMs and support for this Tegra 2 phone.

Needs improvement

My only real complaint with the Optimus 2X has been some instability issues that I experienced. Several times the phone would slow down and then lock up, which forced me to pull the battery. My unit was meant for review purposes and it had pre-production software, so I’m not really worried about this in the long run.

Just about every new Android phone has some minor software oddities at launch, but that’s the price that early adopters pay. If you want to really be sure that all the bugs are ironed out, then wait till Android 2.3 is rolled out since it should include a lot of enhancements.

LG Optimus 2X grade for March 2011: A

After spending nearly a month with the LG Optimus 2X, I would grade it a solid A. The dual-core processor guarantees this device will be future-proof for awhile and I believe LG when they tell me that software support is a high priority.

Hardware wise, the Optimus 2X offers industry leading performance and it will only get better when Google catches up and optimizes Android on smartphones for multi-core processors. Rumors suggest that Google might release dual-core optimizations for smartphones with Android 2.4 around May. This means the Optimus 2X should see a nice performance boost in the second half of this year.

While we wait for the OS to catch up, NVIDIA’s Tegra Zone should supply us with a constant flow of premium games that are multi-threaded and take full advantage of Tegra 2′s power. In the mean time, Tegra 2 devices will continue to lead in web browsing performance when compared to single-core phones.

I’d like to be more critical of Optimus 2X and make some suggestions for LG to improve the experience, but it’s difficult to find much fault in this phone. Any Android fan should be proud to carry the Optimus 2X as their daily driver.

Soon we will learn how T-Mobile chose to customize this phone to their liking, but I feel pretty confident in being able to recommend it right now. I’m sure these decisions have already been made, but it would be a dream come true if T-Mobile decided on a stock Android build similar to their G1 and G2. LG’s custom UI and widgets bring nothing new to the table and T-Mobile is better off just letting their users customize the phone how they see fit.

LG pleasantly surprised me with their mid-range Optimus One and the company did it again by producing a quality high-end Android device on their first try. Just like every Android phone before it, the Optimus 2X will be outclassed six months from now but it offers a big enough jump in performance to enjoy a healthy life and I think it will still be competitive a year from now.

We know that LG Mobile had a really tough time last year, but now I get the impression they are fighting for their life in 2011. I like that attitude and I think LG could be a big winner with US consumers if they continue to push the limits of today’s smartphones and really focus on delivering the best software support. It won’t be an easy road, but devices like the Optimus 2X (and the upcoming Optimus 3D) show me that LG is on the right path.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Vibrant 2.2

    Oh jeez… I really really hope US carriers don’t f*** with it.. This could potentially be my next phone…

  • http://Website ari-free

    video looks like they out-droided the droid ads

  • http://Website onlyever

    I know that I’m going to get flamed for this; but IMO, no phone without stock Android should receive an ‘A’ rating.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I prefer stock Android too, but It’s not that important to the average consumer. The hardcore geeks know which phones support custom ROMs and they can flash whatever version of Android they choose to run.

      It appears the Optimus 2X will be friendly with custom ROMs, so I have nothing to complain about.

      • http://Website T

        @Owain: I know I’ll get at least one update. I will also root it and such.

        @Micah: I can confirm it doesn’t have a LED notification :(

        @Albert: so far my LG 2x has a better battery performance than my old Nexus One (Froyo). I do have my e-mail and such all synced.

        @dagamer34: I do agree it could improve, but at least the cable is easy to use. It’s not really handy, but at least it works on every TV. For now it will do. Certain companies use their own standards, that’s what I call fragmentation.

    • daveloft

      You can also install LauncherPro or ADW Launcher and make it look and act just like stock Android.

  • http://Website JGarrido

    Awesome keychain, where can I get one??

  • http://Website T

    The European LG 2x was shipped with 2.2.2. Software was improved, I’m using a different launcher anyway. Just certain apps would freeze and ask for a forced close.

    A pic for for all you haters:
    Sucky quality, I know :)

    Feel free to ask questions :D

    • http://Website Owain

      I’m sure you’ll get an update soon… So I wouldn’t worry. :-)

  • http://Website Micah

    Okay, quick question, does it have any form of LED notifications like many other android devices have?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      No, this version did not have any LED notifications.

      • http://Website Moonie17

        Over at XDA there talking about developing some LED notification by using one of the capacitive buttons…. most probably the home one, that will rock!

  • http://Website dagamer34

    I’m not sure why HDMI mirroring would be exciting for gaming. Are you telling me that you are really going to run a 6-8 ft cable from your device to your HDTV just so you can play a game on it? And it just leaves it so open for someone to trip over it.

    If Google TV had been successful, you might have seen an AirPlay-like competitor that would let you push your screen wirelessly to your TV, but that’s a pipe dream right now.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Running a 10-ft cable to the TV would not be ideal for gaming. I think we need an official wireless gamepad.

      • http://Website cosmos

        I’m guessing you haven’t been able to get it working with a wireless controller then (via wiimote controller app)? The thought of my phone being a portable console with my all my fave retro games is very appealing but I guess we are not quite there yet…

        As for the 2X, I was very tempted, but now I’m pretty sure I’ll get the Galaxy S2… that is unless something really mind blowing is announced at CTIA!

        • http://Website Gladiator_Posse

          Cosmos, I agree…with TV out and the WiiMote controller, my phone would be a portable NES, SNES, GBA, PSX, and now N64 with games a plenty
          Samsung phones don’t do bluetooth very well…my Galaxy S doesn’t work with wiiMote. My HTC does though…but that old thing has no video out. Looks like I’ll be switching to Sprint for the Evo2 this summer for all my retro gaming needs. Don’t go with Samsung…you’ll be sorry…

    • http://Website lancaster09

      Do you remember that not too long ago all controllers had cables? Why don’t you complain about having to use a laptop dock for the Atrix!

  • http://Website RICHARD Yarrell

    2 months ago the thought in my mind centered on possibly switching carriers for the chance of this device when they talked about this product before CES. I calmed myself down and waited which was easy for me cause i knew at that time 2months ago I had the best 4g android device on the market in the Htc Evo 4g. Then MWC came and the Galaxy S2 made it’s apperance and for the first time I felt like I wanted a Samsung device for the first time ever and I am very savy and aware of Samsung track record with updates and actually I did care cause of the technology that is part of this device today I still have a want for this device as of this moment. Then on 3-1-2011 I recieved inside information about my carrier promising that if I waited I would be pleased and knowing they make products announcements at CTIA and still knowing my Evo 4g 9months later still is totally relevant i knew I could wait. Then SOMETHING REAL BIG TOOK PLACE, They announced The Nexus S 4g to be coupled along with the successor to the current Htc Evo 4g, The Htc Evo 3D NOW I KNOW AGAIN SPRINT WILL BE A GAME CHANGER. I will wait for the OFFICAL announcement at CTIA on March 22nd for my new Evo 3D i can’t wait i will be on line again for my Evo just like i was last june 4 2010.. I feel the best devices for 2011 will be the Htc Evo 3D, Lg optimus 3D, Samsung Galaxy S2, Lg optimus 2x, Motorola Atrix 4g, Nexus S 4g, then all the rest…

    • http://Website Nate

      …and Sprint fanboyism is officially worse than apple.

      • http://Website Gladiator_Posse

        No fanboy is worse than Appleseeds…

    • http://Website SIMon

      Wait did you say 4G?

      Please stop calling HSDPA 4G

    • http://Website revs

      evo 3d
      dude are u delusional ??
      and evo hasnt been the best since the mytouch came out months ago

  • http://Website Jay

    Hey Taylor, just 1 question. What phone from your experience has had the better battery or best battery with your usage? Nexus S or this 2X? I suppose you use your phone heavily daily like I do, so which do you think had a better battery and by how much in terms of the gap, was the battery significantly better or just better but noticeably better? Throw in the G2 into that mix too since I think you’ve had and used that too for a good amount of time, rank those 3 batteries in order please, thanks a lot, I love A&M, my favorite Android blog, read it daily.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I think the Nexus S has felt like it lasted the longest, but the Atrix is really strong and I need to test it more. I think having Android 2.3 helps with battery life.

      Look for updated Battery tests soon.

  • http://Website Albert

    Hey Taylor, after all of these benchmark results are you going to wait for the 2x or did you already pull the trigger and switch to att for the atrix? Personally I’m not sure whether I’ll go with the LG or hold out another couple of months for whatever the HTC pyramid turns out to be. I would love stay loyal to HTC but I don’t think I can wait any longer. I’ve been upgrade eligible for 4 months just waiting for a dual core. My mt4g is a great device and still pretty current but a dual core monster is toooo tempting.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I’m using the Nexus S for personal phone and the Atrix 4G for work. I’m really enjoying them both. AT&T is more expensive, but their 3G network has way more coverage than T-Mobile in my home state of Texas.

      • http://Website DaveC

        I seriously considered holding out for this phone. but decided to go with the Nexus S instead. I’m real happy with it. Maybe my dual core device will be a tablet! :-)

  • http://Website jonathan

    Why the hell is everyone running task killers on this phone?

  • http://Website Jake

    Looks like it doesn’t have NFC? That’s a deal breaker for me.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I don’t see NFC being widely used for another couple years.

      • http://Website Raveesh

        But aren’t these the things (i.e. failure by manufacturers to include the required hardware) exactly the things that delay the widespread use of new stuff? Like the till very recent lack of phones to have a secondary camera

  • Dave

    I think this might be my phone. I’m selling my G2, & this is right around my time frame to get another phone. April is perfect. I was thinking Nexus S, but this sounds great. Depending on the price range, this might be my next phone.

  • Agent banks

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this phone! Having that accurate of a screen is going to be awesome as well. Hope it gets 1 gig ram though like the atrix.

  • BigC_13

    Will you be reviewing the Atrix anytime soon? I’m strongly considering getting it when it comes out here next week and want to know you thoughts on it. I love your reviews you do a great job of covering everything.

  • http://Website mvp

    TTime to box up the Galaxy S and HD2, put them on eBay! I only hope it gets the same 4G speed I get on the galaxy S (8-12mbs)

  • http://Website jim

    the tegra zone is a joke! you should’ve mentioned that in your review.
    i think gaming on android pretty much sucks though.

  • http://Website TGeezy86

    I think Taylor should receive compensation from NVIDIA for constantly and unabashedly trumpeting their Tegra 2 with every passing moment he can; they don’t need a marketing campaign as long as he’s blogging. I’m gonna wait on my dual-core phone until there’s software besides games to take advantage of it. Taylor would have it seem like my MT4G is completely and utterly useless now that dual-core has arrrived; I’m pretty sure its the fastest single-core Android phone out right now (in MOST categories that is). I’ll be fine for another year or so..

    • http://Website Mast3rShake

      Where does he say ur phone is that crappy? I am sure ur phone is fast but how can u not be excited about the Tegra2 chips. Oh, that’s right…jealousy.

  • http://Website Sugra

    One of the member of forum for Lg optimus 2x Just got an Lg Optimus 2x

    So you can ask any question you have about this phone to him


  • http://Website Dennis Petrospour

    Hey Taylor how does the screen compare to the Nexus S screen? I am used to Amoled I don’t know if I can make the switch back lol.


    I am thinking of going on contract just to get this phone at the discounted rate. But I also would like to wait to see if the Pyramid is revealed as a TMO phone. I have a Nexus S off contract now and really do not want to give up the free tethering and vanilla android features. Im thinking maybe a tablet (zoom, when wifi version is announced) instead and using my free tethering to use it wireless when wifi is not available.

  • Scotter

    This phone would be exactly what i want if it had (a) a 4.3″ screen; and (b) a bit more RAM.

  • http://Website Rashaan

    This phone looks great. too bad its on t mobile. i am waiting to what the htc evo 3d and nexus s 4g will offer.

  • http://Website soboku

    If the 512 ram is where the apps live its not enough. I also wanted a 4.3 inch screen. Everything else s looks great. But Id most likely not buy it because of those two things. The phone looks great and it looks like it performs well.

  • http://Website nene04

    This should be the LG Revolution :( I can’t believe Motorola is the only company to release dual cores on verizon

  • lease agreement

    The phone is a good one. It is sleek and stylish and compared to touchscreen phones, it’s very responsive. It operates on android OS and most of its applications are free.

  • http://Website jesper

    Owner of optimus 2x. This phone could be great, but its just too unstable for me.

    • http://Website jesper

      I retract my comment about 2x being unstable, my phone was defect and carrier called it dead on arrival. New one works perfect! no worries :)

      • melon

        how do you know if it’s defect? and how do you claim it?
        i want to know since my 2x is also unstable, sometimes it’s fast, but sometimes it’s laggy.

  • http://Website leman

    This phone is bullshit. This post is an advertising from LG!!!!

  • http://Website Bob

    Got LG2X…it rocks.

    Beats the Sense UI, the LG is LESS tweaked closer to stock than most.

    You can EASILY Root it to 2.3 etc etc.

    Tegra 2 enough reason to buy over other chip sets.