LG Optimus Black Preview
Introduction and Design:
We heard about the LG Optimus Black for the first time back in December of last year. It was codenamed LG B at the time, and the leaked screen spec sheet highlighted its brightness – 700 nit, which is the most ever on a smartphone.
It was also compared to the iPhone 4, which, at the time, was the thinnest smartphone on the market, and found to be even slimmer. At the CES 2011 show LG finally lifted the veil over the phone, giving it the name LG Optimus Black, and also christened the screen technology – NOVA display.
Now we have a prototype of this incredibly thin and light Android phone with what LG claims to be the brightest mobile display out there. Is it worth the hype, considering that screen reflectance is at least as important for good visibility in direct sunlight as is display brightness? We can't really vouch for that, considering what we had is a non-final version, but read on for our initial impressions...
You can compare the LG Optimus Black with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The first thing you notice about the LG Optimus Black is how amusingly thin and light it is – with 3.84 ounces (109 grams) of weight, and 0.36” (9.2mm) at its thickest, it really raises the bar, considering it boasts a generous 4” display. .
What's even more noteworthy is that LG managed to achieve this profile with an LCD display, since it is the Super AMOLED technology that is supposed to allow for thinner screen parts. The 4” IPS-LCD display with 480x800 pixels of resolution on the LG Optimus Black, is another culmination of LG's mobile LCD display prowess.
Being able to produce an IPS-LCD for the iPhone 4 with 500 nit brightness and wide viewing angles, LG saved a little bit of that magic for itself, upping the brightness on the Optimus Black's screen to 700 nit. Not only that, but it actually draws zero watts when showing black, like the AMOLED displays, hence probably the name LG Optimus Black. How did LG achieve it is a mystery to us, but that's what its comparison table claims. It can't be the color of the phone itself, since it is also offered with white and pink back covers, while designer covers are on their way as well.
As we noted, the battery cover, which is only cut for the opening of the 5MP camera with LED flash, is tapered along the left and right sides, giving the Optimus Black a prismatic look from the back, and making it more comfortable to hold.
Below the NOVA display are four capacitive Android buttons, which are illuminated sequentially in purple when the phone boots up, just for joy. Even in the prototype unit we had, they were responsive to the touch. The same goes for the rest of the buttons alongside this Slim Jim – the volume rocker and the G button on the left, and the power/lock button up top, where the standard audio jack is as well.
The G button is an additional way to navigate around the browser and the gallery by tilting the phone while holding it, plus scrolling and zooming by pressing it, if you are so inclined, or if you have just eaten those chicken wings from the bucket, and don't want to mess up your shiny NOVA display. It is all due to an innovative 9-axis motion sensor, which LG calls... you guessed it... the G-sensor. It will be interesting to check how many additional control gestures will be implemented at launch.
In a nutshell, the LG Optimus Black is indeed an eerily thin and light Android device, with the brightest screen out there, although in reality we couldn't notice a droolworthy difference over the iPhone 4's 500 nit display. The NOVA display didn't make us reach for our shades when looking at it, but let's not forget that we are still some time away from a final production unit.