The Good The LG Optimus L9 has a snappy dual-core CPU, 4G, Android 4.0, and a 1080p HD camera.
The Bad The Optimus L9 battery runs out of power, has a poor audio speaker, and comes with too much software.
The Bottom Line Priced at $ 80, the dual-core processor and Android 4.0 make the LG Optimus L9 a reliable mid-range handset.
As the largest and highest quality mid-range device from LG’s L-series phones, T-Mobile’s LG Optimus L9 MetroPCS , provides just the right amount of performance and performance that makes it thoughtful, not too ambitious.
It has a better camera than the Optimus L5, and a faster processor than the L7 , but with a prepaid price, it also will not break the bank.
The phone also comes with Android 4.0 ice cream sandwich.
And while shipping with this version of OS looks like a no-brainer, there are many mid-range devices in the T-Mobile lineup that instead run on the dated Gingerbread Android 2.3. This makes the L9 ideal for any T-Mobile user looking for zippy Android 4.0 in terms of budget.
Editorial Note, July 24, 2013: This review was originally written for the T-Mobile version and has been updated to reflect the release of the Optimus L9 on MetroPCS .
Although it is similar to the inspired Optimus L7 (also known as LG Splendor Cellular) The LG Optimus L9 has a slim but dense, comfortable design. It measures 5.03 inches in height, 2.63 inches wide and 0.36 inches tall. The device is lightweight, weighing 4.16 ounces. Although it will not fit into small pockets of jeans without looking over the seam, it can easily fit into a small shoulder bag or purse.
On the left side is a volumetric swing, which contains a tiny cone for easy pressing. Above is a 3.5mm headphone jack and on the right is the sleep / power button. At the bottom is a Micro-USB port for charging.
The back plate is made of textured matte plastic that almost feels like rubber. This material gives the phone a more luxurious feel and I like the way it reflects the fingerprints and scratches. In the upper center you will find a 5MP rear camera with LED flash. A small gap in the lower left corner opens to the audio dynamics. To access the SIM and microSD card, as well as the 2,150 mAh battery, remove the pad with a small indentation at the bottom.
The phone has a 4.5-inch qHD touch screen. Although the display is not as striking as the screens on other LG devices, it is brighter LG Optimus G , the screen itself is decent. He was sensitive and easily registered my touches. The application icons were clear, the text sharp, and the colors bright with maximum brightness. Although the gradient patterns looked a bit flashy, overall the images were rich and colorful.
At the top of the display is the proximity sensor and the front VGA camera on the left. Below is a physical home button, with a backrest and a hotkey on both sides of it that lights up when in use.
Zipping by the LG Optimus L9 (pictures)
Features and OS
The LG Optimus L9 runs Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich OS. With ICS, the handset gets the usual slew of Google’s services, like Chrome, Gmail, Plus, Latitude, Maps with Navigation, Messenger, Search, Talk, and YouTube. The Google Play stores for Books, Magazines, Movies & TV, and Music are included as well.
T-Mobile also included a handful of its own apps, including the hotline (and for some reason, horoscope-giving) app, 411 & More; a ringtone store; a gaming portal called Game Base; and More for Me, which scouts local deals based on your interests. In addition, there’s mobile hot spotting; an app to check your phone and data info; a trial subscription to the caller ID service, T-Mobile Name ID; visual voice mail, Lookout Security, which backs up and secures your data; and lastly, a 30-day trial to T-Mobile TV. This is a service where you can stream live TV from channels like Fox News and PBS Kids.
Other benefits include two file sharing applications (SmartShare and FileShare), an Amazon Kindle, a crash application, another game portal, Slacker Radio and a Polaris Office 4.0 mobile office suit. And, of course, there are more basic applications such as your own browser, navigator and email client, calculator, music and movie players, alarm clock, address book, notepad and voice recorder.
In addition to being the latest LG phone, it uses the Optimus 3.0 user interface. The user interface does a good job of adding some functionality without imposing too much of your own personality on top of an ice cream sandwich. But it’s not as smooth and elegant as Google’s vision of the OS, and some widgets look dated. In any case, the OS does not interfere with the use of the phone.
LG’s signature application, QuickMemo, comes bundled with Optimus 3.0. With this app, you can use your finger or stylus to record quick notes and thumbnails directly on the image screen that you can save and share. You can also customize the color and style of the pen tip.
Although I love a few tastes of choice as much as the next guy, L9 has too much software. There are already two game portals, two browsers and two navigators, and I really don’t think anyone needs T-Mobile ringtones.
Camera and video
The 5 megapixel camera offers a variety of options: autofocus, touch focus, flash, 15x digital zoom, face tracking, geotag, timer, continuous shooting and panoramic shooting. It also has brightness, five image sizes (from 1,280×720 pixels to 2,592×1,944 pixels), four shooting modes, four ISO options, five white balance, four color effects and a voice shutter function that you can use work the shutter by saying “cheese”.
The front-facing camera offers the same brightness meter, white balance settings, color effects, timer and geotag, but with no shooting or face tracking modes, only one image size (640×480 pixels). There is also a mirror image variant that stores a vertically inverted version of your photo and a “frames of beauty” meter to adjust the brightness and blur of the image. This is useful when you take self portraits and want to soften your photo.
The video settings consist of a single digital zoom, flash, brightness meter, geotag, color effects and white balance. There is also a silent shutdown, and you can choose from six video sizes (from full HD 1080p to QCIF). There are fewer video viewing options; it has the same exposure, white balance, color effects, geotag, and audio, but there are only three video sizes (VGA 480p to QCIF). You can also take photos while recording video.
However, both cameras enjoy the “live effects” that you can activate while recording video. One is “silly faces” that will change your face in different ways, such as squeezing it together, squeezing your mouth, or making your eyes huge. The tricks are fun at first, but after a while the distortions just started to look creepy. Another is a background module where you can change your background to outer space, sunset, disco or your own image.
The quality of the photo was impressive. Even with the cloudy outdoors, the camera took detailed pictures. The edges were clearly delineated, the objects in focus, and small details such as grass or running water could be distinguished. Although the shades were difficult to distinguish, the colors were mostly true to life and the automatic white balance was accurate. Shots in the dim room were a bit worse. There was a noticeable amount of digital noise and grain, but the items were still easy to distinguish and colors were on the mark.
The video quality was also excellent. Thanks to the phone’s fast internal speeds, autofocus was fast, and moving subjects became crisp and sharp. The colors were accurate, though again the dark colors were mixed together, and there was no lag between my camera movement and the feedback. The audio was well matched and the stills did not slow down the recording process.
I tested the quad-band (800/1700/1900/2100) of the LG Optimus L9 in San Francisco. There were no signal quality issues – I did not receive any rejected calls, third-party buzzes or audio recordings. The sound quality was respectable, although the maximum volume could be louder. The voices were audible and clear, and I was told that it was easy for me to understand. However, I did receive comments that at times sounded somewhat muted.
On the other hand, the quality of the speakers was poor. The calls, like music, sounded harsh and harsh, making it unpleasantly sharp. During the calls, I could especially hear the sound coming from the back of the phone. The volume down helped a little, and I could still hear what was being said, but it was unpleasant regardless. Listening to music or watching videos on the speakers yielded similar results.
The MetroPCS model produced similar results. The call quality was steady and steady, and voices were heard clearly. During absolute silence, I heard no additional noise. When I made the phone call on the street, it was still audible despite the traffic going on near me. (However, the person I was talking to said they could hear the traffic coming from my end.) The quality of the speakers was also poor because I heard the same pettiness from my phone calls.
Listen Now: LG Optimus L9 (T-Mobile) Sample Call Quality
Listen now: LG Optimus L9 sample quality (MetroPCS)
With 4G T-Mobile (850/900/1800/1900), the data transfer speed was decent. On average, it downloaded our mobile CNET site in 6 seconds and our full desktop website in 9 seconds. The New York Times mobile and desktop sites took 5 and 10 seconds respectively. The ESPN mobile site loaded in 7 seconds, and it took 11 seconds to download the full site. The average download time of the 22 MB Temple Run game took about 38 seconds. And the Ookla speed tester showed me an average of 7.73 Mbps and 0.98 Mbps.
When I ran the same test for our MetroPCS unit, the data transfer rate was a little slower overall. For example, downloading the websites I mentioned earlier took almost twice as long. The CNET mobile site took 13 seconds and our desktop took 21 seconds. The New York Times mobile site took 11 seconds and the full site took 25 seconds. Finally, ESPN’s mobile and full website took 9 seconds and 15 seconds respectively. Temple Run took an average of 19 minutes, and Ookla showed me an average of 1.96Mbps down and 1.40Mbps up.
The 1GHz dual-core processor was also smart. It took about 39 seconds to shut down and restart the phone, and it took about 2.35 seconds to open the camera. Playing the intense graphics game Riptide GP is also a breeze. I didn’t feel any stuttering or delay with the app and there was a high refresh rate with the graphics. Simple tasks, such as browsing through the application drawer and navigating back to the home screen pages, were also quick.
|Performance: LG Optimus L9 (T-Mobile/MetroPCS)|
|Average ‘4G’ download speed||7.73Mpbs/1.96Mpbs|
|Average ‘4G’ upload speed||0.98Mbps/1.4Mpbs|
|App download (Temple Run)||22MB in 38 seconds/1 minute and 19 seconds|
|CNET mobile site load||6 seconds/13 seconds|
|CNET desktop site load||9 seconds/21 seconds|
|Boot time||39 seconds/–|
|Camera boot time||2.35 seconds/–|
During our battery test, the video lasted 7.75 hours. Anecdotally, she had a disappointing battery life. After spending hours playing games, watching videos, and browsing the Internet, the battery drained most of its stock and needed to be recharged about halfway through the workday. In accordance with FCC radiation standards, both versions of the device have a digital rate of 0.70 W / kg.
Given the T-Mobile mid-range 4G handset offering, I recommend the LG Optimus L9. Its $ 240 prepaid price is reasonable and it offers ICS at the outset.
But even postponing OS and 4G upgrades, users will also get a dual-core processor and a 5MP that can record 1080p HD video. With these decent features and reliable performance, the L9 is worth considering for any T-Mobile customer who wants to make the most of their wallet.