LG Optimus Black Review

Internet and Connectivity:

The web browser on the LG Optimus Black comes with full Adobe Flash support straight out of the box, which has to be its biggest advantage. However, handling heavy Flash content is a difficult task for the smartphone’s single-core CPU, and do not expect all videos embedded in web pages to play back smoothly. Nevertheless, casual web browsing is not a problem for the Optimus Black’s built-in browser – loading times are average and scrolling gets choppy only when a lot of objects are being rendered simultaneously.

Surfing the web from the LG Optimus Black while on the go is possible thanks to its 3G  radio capable of reaching 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA speed peaks, at least in theory. Such figures are not anything spectacular, of course, but should do the job for every day browsing and media streaming. Alternatively, you can use the built-in 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi radio for downloading larger files from the internet or apps from the Android Market.

What is really cool about the Optimus Black is that it supports Wi-Fi Direct connectivity with up to 8 other devices. This allows for files and data to be transfered between other Wi-Fi Direct-capable devices. The Wi-Fi Direct transfer speeds (up to 250 Mbps theoretically) are far greater than what the Black's Bluetooth 2.1 radio is capable of, and you do not need a router nor a hotspot! The Samsung Galaxy S II and certain high-end Blu-Ray players support the technology today, but it is expected future iterations of the protocol to require only one of the devices participating in the transfer to be Wi-Fi Direct-capable.  Another neat feature that you can use to share content wirelessly is SmartShare. Media stored on the Optimus Black can be browsed, viewed or played back on another device such as a TV with support for DLNA connectivity.

The A-GPS module on the LG Optimus Black took a minute and a half to find our location from a cold start. After that, each time we launched Google Maps again, our location was spotted within no more than 3 seconds.


A nice touch to the camera's interface is that the on-screen buttons follow the handset's orientation. Browsing through the camera menu reveals that the camera on the Optimus Black supports both automatic and manual focus, face recognition, and sensor sensitivities from 100 ISO up to 800 ISO, which can be adjusted manually as well as automatically. There is no dedicated shutter key anywhere in sight, but that is not that much of an issue as the Black is not bragging to be a born shooter. It would have been nice to have an HDMI-out port for viewing content on an HDTV, but one has not been included by LG.

The 5-megapixel auto-focus main camera on the LG Optimus Black is nothing impressive, but it is suitable for taking a casual photo once in a while. Just make sure you have the suitable lighting conditions because the photos taken in dark environments are not going to impress you. The single LED flash does provide some level of illumination, but it also tends to make photos look too bright in the middle and too dark around the edges. The images taken with it in broad daylight look OK on the NOVA display, almost as if they have a very light soft focus filter applied to them. That hides away some imperfections like noise and artifacts, while making the image appear brighter overall. However, when viewing the photos on your computer's LCD screen, the colors look a bit dull and the dynamics are noticeably missing. As far as night shots go, well, they simply have a bit too much noise on them than we would tolerate.

The LG Optimus Black is capable of recording 720p HD videos at 30 frames per second in 3GP format. Pretty much, all that we said about the photo camera applies to the videos as well. As long as you have enough light around you, the footage is going to look decent. One strange thing that we noticed was that when videos taken in HD were played back on our computer, their aspect ratio was abnormally stretched horizontally. Trying a different media player did not make any difference. The glitch was not present with videos shot in lower resolutions, and fixing it with a software update should not be that hard (we guess).

LG Optimus Black Sample Video 1:

LG Optimus Black Sample Video 2:

LG Optimus Black Indoor Sample Video:


The LG Optimus Black comes along with a wired headset that can be used during phone calls and to listen to music on the go. The sound quality that the earphones deliver is more than satisfactory from a stock pair – they sound loud and clear, and their rubber tips provide a  comfortable fit. The earphones also double as an antenna for the built-in FM Radio, which may always come in handy.

Using the Optimus UI 2.0's media player to listen to songs is pretty straightforward. All songs loaded on the smartphone are loaded into the playlist where they can be arranged in the order the user pleases. Flip the phone in landscape mode and you get a neat 3D like display of your media library, completed with album art and sorted alphabetically.

Playing back 720p HD video on the LG Optimus Black is a breeze using the stock Android video player, and they look pretty nice and smooth on the bright NOVA display. DivX and XviD formats are supported right out of the box, but H.264 videos were running without sound for some reason. We presume that this drawback can be easily avoided by getting an alternative media player from the Android Market.

If you wish to upload media to Facebook, Picasa, or YouTube, for example, this can be done straight from the gallery. Besides that, basic photo manipulations like rotating and cropping can be performed with only a few taps.

More content with (Optimus Black)



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.

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......

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.

4. luis_lopez_351

Posts: 951; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

I love the way the optimus UI looks :)

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:)


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.

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")

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

24. Nhet unregistered

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

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.

27. me unregistered

*** ahfndsajnc

28. me unregistered


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!!!

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!

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

32. gifted11

Posts: 3; Member since: May 11, 2012

Optimus Black
  • Display 4.0" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 2 MP front
  • Storage 1 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1500 mAh(6.00h talk time)

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.