LG Optimus Black Review
This is a global GSM phone. It can beused with T-Mobile USA and AT&T, but without 3G.


We are not really sure why this happens, but every time we have to review a new slim and sexy device for you, we feel a heartwarming blend of excitement and anticipation. Such is the case with the LG Optimus Black, which we are holding in our itching hands today. The smartphone captured our attention right out of the box with its thin waistline measuring a mere 9.2 millimeters making it officially one of the thinnest Android devices we have ever come across. Furthermore, the beautiful 4-inch NOVA display has already impressed us with its unprecedented brightness of up to 700 nits – enough to outshine all its current IPS-LCD and AMOLED competition. But does everything look as pretty on the inside as it does on the outside? Well, it is time to find out!


It doesn't take a second look to figure out that the LG Optimus Black has been designed for the style-conscious audience in mind. Its thickest section measures only 0.36 inches (9.2 millimeters), which is a guarantee that the smartphone will never be noticed in your pocket. Its weight of 3.84 ounces (109 grams) seems to be spot on for a device of its size – the handset feels neither too light, nor too heavy in the hand. Such a small figure was achieved greatly thanks to the all-plastic body of the smartphone, which means that die-hard fans of solid metal constructions might want to look away now. We do agree that adding some premium materials would have added a great dose of style to the handset, but this would have also taken a toll on its weight, so we accept the Optimus Black's plastic outfit just the way it is. Despite its name, the LG Optimus Black will not come in black only – a white and a pink versions are expected to be seen as early as next month.

You can compare the LG Optimus Black with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The overall design of the LG Optimus Black is rather minimalistic with no unnecessary buttons or lights anywhere in sight. The four capacitive touch-sensitive buttons underneath the display change their color from pure white to neon blue each time you press them. That nice little touch goes to show the attention to detail the Optimus Black has been honored with. Video calls are made possible thanks to the 2-megapixel front-facing camera, which is located next to the nearly unnoticeable earpiece.

Flip the phone around and you will see a matte plastic back cover protecting the LG Optimus Black's battery and internal components. The 5-megapixel auto-focus camera and the tiny single speaker become apparent as well. Also, we cannot miss commenting on the slightly curved edges on the back of the smartphone – a characteristic dubbed C-curve by LG that not only reduces the device's slim profile even further, but also adds a nice comfortable grip to it.

Taking a closer look at the LG Optimus Black's left side reveals something that LG calls the G button. It is located right under the volume rocker and enables the phone's interface to be interacted with by tilting or rotating the device, but we will go through all of its functions a little later. Charging the LG Optimus Black's battery is done via the microUSB port located on top of the device under a sliding cover. Right next to it we find a 3.5 millimeter headphones jack, a tiny secondary microphone used for noise cancellation, and the smartphone's power/lock button.

NOVA display:

Pick the LG Optimus Black up, turn it on, and you will be greeted by a 4-inch IPS-LCD screen with 480x800 resolution – the NOVA display, as LG has decided to name it. What makes it so special that it needs to have its own name? Well, the NOVA technology that LG has incorporated in its screen makes it the brightest display ever installed on a smartphone so far. The maximum luminous output of the display clocks at the impressive 700 nits, or 700 candelas per square meter, if you will. In theory, that should make the NOVA display look brighter when compared to, let's say, the iPhone 4's display with its 500 nits of brightness, or next to most of the other smartphones, which average at  about 480 nits.

LG  states that 700 nits is the exact threshold for achieving perfect outdoor visibility, allowing the human eye to easily distinguish pictures even in direct sunlight. In reality, our outdoor tests showed that the Optimus Black's display remained clearly visible indeed, but we did not see any miracles out of it. The screen was bright just enough for reading emails, surfing the web, and navigating through the menu while being under direct sunlight even though we had to clean its surface from our fingerprints first. As far as viewing photos in a sunny day, you better find some shade before doing that. Otherwise, under normal lighting conditions, the display on the LG Optimus Black was noticeably brighter than other smartphones that we paired it with, including the iPhone 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S II, although the difference in brightness levels was not that huge.

The NOVA display technology is capable of delivering some very nice and deeply looking shades of black making photos and videos look quite lifelike. Whites are bright and warm, without a hint of showing blue or yellow tints. But blacks and whites are not everything – the entire color spectrum is vivid and intense though we might say that the reds tend to stand out too much. Overall, the colors are bright and impressive, feeling only a bit overly saturated. Photos and videos look clear and pleasing to the eye.

Of course, we cannot forget mentioning that the NOVA display is very energy efficient. According to LG, the NOVA technology allows for a greater amount of light to pass through, making the screen brighter without having to suck excessive amounts of power from the battery. Besides that, pixels that display black essentially turn themselves off thus draining exactly zero watts of power.

The NOVA display on the LG Optimus Black is one of the smartphone's main selling points, and we do agree that it performs great indeed. Let's move along and see if LG has put just as much effort in crafting their device on the inside like it has done on the outside.

LG Optimus Black 360-degrees View:

More content with (Optimus Black)



32. gifted11

Posts: 3; Member since: May 11, 2012


31. cross

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 22, 2012

pls i love dis phone i need an advice whether to buy it or any other one

30. lasa unregistered

Optimus Black is sleek, light and has a better design. I think LG is the best company for design. The product recognizes touch well, and is very fast. I looked for apps in Android Market and downloaded LG SmartWorld. LG smartphone users can sign up really easily and download apps. Try it!

29. leggy unregistered

We recently changed phone providers at work and changed to this phone. Well let me tell you, when there are more than 20 of them in the company and you are the person people call with their issues, you realised how glitchy they are. People are constantly needing to restart them because they stop recieving email, or stop transmitting the hotspot, and any other number of problems. The battery life is terrible, with some users needing to charge them 2 times in the middle of the day, and the charge time is so incredibly slow. It might be an ok phone for personal use, but for a high use business customer I would suggest you look for a better option. A number of us in the company have iphones and we have come to the conclusion they are a much better and more stable device - even my old iphone 3gs!!!

28. me unregistered


27. me unregistered

*** ahfndsajnc

26. Knesty unregistered

I myself was also a victim with this reviews and forums. Once I was thinking og the Wave2, Optimus Black, galaxy S2 and HTC mozart. I spend almost 3 days reading reviews and forum with these phones. Then I decided to go in the MALL to make hand-on with these phones. All phones was good. Remember you cannot say it is good in just one time hand-on. You can only say if it is good if you use it straight 5days because that span of days you will encounter many instances that will test the quality of the phone like battery draining, force close application, mistake download, accidentally drop, charging not in right battery level etc. So I take the risk I base my decision to the SPECIFICATION. No offense I bought LG Optimus Black. Because I like its SPECS from the rest. And I was not wrong I am using it now for a week. I even force to shut down my phone by removing the battery because I download an application that is to heavy it takes 50 minutes to download and I can wait that long so I decided to dismount the battery. The LG optimus black still in best function. No slight damage to its softwares or laggy. i once drop it but still in good shape, I open couple of websites while playing youtube and facebook. still I cant feel any laggy. For me its the best for its price it was justified. And lastly you will not worry using it under the heat of the sun because the LCD it very2 clear especially when you max the brightness if your in outdoor 12noon. Thanks!

33. julkite

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 02, 2012

I got this phone 2 months now and was very satisfied with its performance. I highly recommend this phone for those who are looking for mid range budget phone.

24. Nhet unregistered

Its a good fone but the battery drains o quick...need to be charge everyday...sucks

23. Sayzerrr unregistered

The clock and weather that comes with the clock, displays the wrong time- half an hour earlier. Does anyone know how to change or update the time? Thanks

22. Kushalappa unregistered

LG optimus black is good. but very poor in battery backup. battery drains in 2-3 hours while online or in market

19. Zaid unregistered

i wanna ask if the optimus black will have android 2.3? i mean is this phone will have OTA software update?

20. prajnyan

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 12, 2011

yes, it does get an OTA update sometime in september or october to android 2.3.

18. Rajesh Naik unregistered

Funny.....!!!! Phoneareana says the call quality is very good, GSMareana says the call quality is pathetic. Whom to belive....?

21. prajnyan

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 12, 2011

I too have the same doubts. But found the review from techradar that its not bad.

16. mokermo unregistered

Hi,interesting review.There's a special offer for this phone at 290$ without contract and and I'd like to ask you if it worths it.In this price can I find a better android phon?Thank you.

13. Yasir unregistered

This phone stands top in the mid-range phones category! The specs in this phones may not be the best(except NOVA display), but it is still a way high than the mid-range phones even than the IPhone 4. I agree with other fellows who rejected its rating of 7.5 out of 10. What I think that the reviewer has always the top specs in their minds like of Galaxy II, Optimus 2x etc. what they might don't know that any new phone released is not to be the top of the topper ! You see, when LG's Optimus 2X was announced(award winning phone), then Samsung released their Galaxy II with higher specs in terms of processor and RAM, although there is no achievement for Samsung. Similarly, these reviewers expect that every big phone should be the successor of previous phone which is wrong. According to my point of view, this phone is for those people who are not always interested in top specifications and for these people, Optimus Big is just perfect! If I were the reviewer, I would give the phone at least 8.5 marks point out of 10.I would recommend the reviewer to re-consider his given ratings to the LG Optimus Big! Thanks, Yasir

12. Wanton noodles unregistered

What's happening now ? Many people say touch wiz 3.0 found on the samsung galaxy s is just a rip off from the iPhone's interface , well I disagree . From my opinion the optimus ui is just the rip off of samsung's touchwiz 3.0 , they look exactly the same ! But lg polished it up and make it a little more pretty . The worst ui I think would be the one found on xperias so ugly

11. arschael unregistered

in indonesia this device will be launch in a price slightly more expensive than galaxy ace,but way cheaper than galaxy S so i don't think the price is too pricey for such spec(one of the weakness above is "Offers weak hardware for its price range")


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

I think the reason why people get so angry over phonearena's reviews is because they lack any real cons. It seems recently every great android phone has been purposely downrated without giving any real reason. For example, this phone has a lot of pros but only two cons and they are very minor at best. Yet it only gets a 7.5, notice how they stopped providing scores on its features. Like display, battery, etc. Because in the end, the review score does not match up. People believe that phonearena purposely downgrades android phones to make the iphone look better. Despite all of the flaws and issues the iphone 4 had, it got a nearly perfect 10 and you see phones like the Samsung Galaxy S2 get a lower score yet it is far superior in almost every way. If they want to rate phones on today's standards then they should review the iphone 4 again and give it the rating it deserves now. They even did that with the Droid Charge. First they gave it a 9, then they gave it a 8.5. And I'm sure some idiot will say "drrr they arent going to review every phone again" of course not, that would be stupid. No I am talking about the only phones that matter, that people want to buy and are in the spotlight still.

9. IOS5 unregistered

The most unique and fablous Android phone ever, but agian LG made a mistake with camera?! when you shoot 720p video doesn't show all spect ratio! I think this the reason why PA rated 7.5 out 10? Ps. NOVA display the best Android phone display till date:)

4. luis_lopez_351

Posts: 951; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

I love the way the optimus UI looks :)

3. DroidMePlease

Posts: 13; Member since: Apr 08, 2011

For as much as people cry about PA's apple fanboydom, the anti-iphone hate after every phone review is getting ridiculous. The Iphone4 came out about a year ago. The ratings obviously change over time, for example the Droid Incredible was rated 8.5 vs the Incredible 2 rated 7.5. Does that mean the first was better than its sequel? Obviously not. The number ratings are normalized in the context of the newest phones currently out on market. Someone that understands math beyond basic addition should learn to understand that.

5. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

ok droidme, then explain why it got the same score as the recently reviewed galaxy ace that is a marginal device. huh huh huh. teach me to understand that!!!! :) the point is.. there is NO normalized pointing system on the site. there is no "if the phone does/doesnt do this it recieves X" type of system. each review is up to the individual reviewer and their personal take on the phone. look at the absoulutely rediculous things that were "negative" on the galaxyS2 review and how often it tried to sneak in an iphone4 in to the article. What was truely negative on this phone? NOTHING and yet they dropped it into the 7's. WHY? Thats what we want to know. If your going to drop 2 points because its on 2.2 instead of 2.3 why did the LG GX2 score so much higher? They need a STANDARD SYSTEM for pointing.. BADLY.

6. DroidMePlease

Posts: 13; Member since: Apr 08, 2011

"ok droidme, then explain why it got the same score as the recently reviewed galaxy ace that is a marginal device. huh huh huh. teach me to understand that!!!! :)" The galaxy ace is a mid-range device, not competing with high level smartphones. If you want to find an analogous device it would probably be the LG optimus one. By your logic, PA should give every mid-range phone a 1.0 because the SGS II blows everything out of the water. When I say "context of the newest phones currently out on market," I obviously mean competitors - in this case for the Optimus Black, that's the high end smartphones - TBolt, Sensation 4G, SGSII, Charge, Bionic, and yes, even Iphone since it satisfies a niche. But I understand your point about normalization. Fair enough. I may have been bold in using the word "normalized" because that assumes such a system exists, I should rather say - account for? All I was trying to say was that it's ridiculous to compare scores of current phones to phones released one year ago. I think we can acknowledge that no review is invulnerable to subjective opinion. That's the very reason why there are so many disagreeable comments. What I don't understand is, why do so many people get caught up and distressed over the number? Firstly, we are only reading his review and are not handling the phone like the reviewer is so there is an intangible aspect to the review that we as readers will just never get. Secondly, it's the reviewer's review, and ultimately, his opinion evaluated on the sum of all the criteria. Phone arena isn't saying it's better than your opinion, or your "number." Nor is it putting out a list of "top rated phones on PA." I don't think that has been the point of these ratings. Right now the "comparisons" on PA seem to be being handled by actual "comparison" posts (e.g. Thunderbolt vs Charge), not by the number ratings themselves. If you were reviewing a phone and based on your overall impression of the feel, design, quality, specs, etc. in the context of the phone environment is being released in is say, an 8.0/10, then hell, that's what you're going to write in your review. (I understand you'll still have issue with that system, but it is what it is)

7. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

actually, if you go by the processor, this would be concidered a "mid range" device i think. At this point, anything shy of a hummingbird is a mid range device for single core phones. Dual cores and the hummingbird would be high end, 1ghz snapdragons and OMAPS would be mid range, and anything else thats less than 1ghz would be low end. Maybe the mistake is trying to compare this to a "high end" device.. which other than the new screen, is midrange all the way.

8. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

and as soon as more dual core phones start piling in, hummingbirds will be midrange as well.

2. lsortillon unregistered

7.5??? isn't this phone way better than the samsung galaxy ace??? so why does the black receives the same rating???? this website is sooo weird......

1. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

so it still does more than an iphone4, has a better display, makes phonecalls without antenna issues, yet still recieves 2 points less?? lol.
Optimus Black
  • Display 4.0 inches
    800 x 480 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP (Single camera)
    2 MP front
  • Hardware , 0.5GB RAM
  • Storage 1GB, microSDHC
  • Battery 1500 mAh
  • OS Android 2.3

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless