LG Optimus GJ Review

7
Introduction and Design
Introduction

LG Optimus GJ is the company's first shot at a waterproof Android handset, like the ones that fellow phone makers Sony and Samsung already outed this season. It got launched for Taiwan not long ago, but is available globally through various third party retailer.

LG simply went for sealing the Optimus G hermetically with the GJ. It is certified for up to three feet (1m) of water for up to half an hour, and that coincides with the Xperia Z and the Galaxy S4 Active diving abilities.

Those two competitors are high-end, though, whereas the Optimus GJ specs now put it squarely in the value category, or the new midrange, that comes with HD 720p displays this day and age. Has LG managed to play its cards well with the GJ, putting in decent specs, while keeping the price tag for the waterproof extra in check, as it has successfully done before? Read on to find out...

In the box

  • In-ear stereo headphones
  • Wall charger
  • MicroUSB cable
  • Warranty and information leaflets

Design

LG Optimus GJ is slightly taller and thicker than the Optimus G, and the IP57 designation means it can stay underwater as deep as three feet for 30 minutes. The handset still sports a removable back cover, though, which means a battery that is easy to swap on the go, and there is a microSD slot for storage expansion there, too. A rubberized coating plastered inside the back cover hints that this is not your regular aquaphobic handset.


LG Optimus GJ
Dimensions

5.39 x 2.71 x 0.37 inches

136.9 x 68.9 x 9.39 mm

Weight

4.98 oz (141 g)

LG Optimus G
Dimensions

5.19 x 2.71 x 0.33 inches

131.9 x 68.9 x 8.45 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 g)

Sony Xperia Z
Dimensions

5.47 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

139 x 71 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.15 oz (146 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
Dimensions

5.5 x 2.81 x 0.36 inches

139.7 x 71.3 x 9.1 mm

Weight

5.33 oz (151 g)

LG Optimus GJ
Dimensions

5.39 x 2.71 x 0.37 inches

136.9 x 68.9 x 9.39 mm

Weight

4.98 oz (141 g)

LG Optimus G
Dimensions

5.19 x 2.71 x 0.33 inches

131.9 x 68.9 x 8.45 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 g)

Sony Xperia Z
Dimensions

5.47 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

139 x 71 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.15 oz (146 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
Dimensions

5.5 x 2.81 x 0.36 inches

139.7 x 71.3 x 9.1 mm

Weight

5.33 oz (151 g)

Compare these and other phones using our Size Comparison tool.



The power/lock key has gone at the top, and, together with the volume rocker on the left, the side buttons are a bit mushy to feel and press, with shallow tactile feedback. They are both painted in the red or black official chassis colors.



Display

The Optimus GJ sports an in-cell touch IPS-LCD panel, and we get 720x1280 pixels of resolution, clocking in at 312ppi pixel density. The colors look pretty vivid, and brightness is about 500 nits, ringing in decent outdoor visibility when coupled with the high contrast ratio. Being an IPS panel, this screen also sports very good viewing angles.



Interface and functionality

Shipping with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, the handset is, naturally, coated with the newest Optimus UI overlay of LG. This means automatic landscape redrawing mode of the interface when you turn the phone sideways, and the QMemo functionality that lets you doodle on any homescreen with your finger, as well as the QSlide floating apps set that can hover a calculator or a video player on top of everything else you are doing.



Processor and memory

The phone is powered by last year's speed king, the quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, clocked at 1.5 GHz, and comes with 2 GB of DDR2 RAM tucked inside. The combo might not ravage the benchmarks like Snapdragon 600 or 800, but it is still plenty powerful to plough through the interface and any apps without a hiccup, as you can see from its benchmark scores.

The Optimus GJ comes with 16 GB of flash storage out of the box, and you can add 64 GB more via the microSD card slot.


Quadrant StandardAnTuTuGLBenchmark 2.5 (Egypt HD)Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
LG Optimus GJ7784209104959 / 44 fps1849 / 579
LG Optimus G76699565

Sony Xperia Z82212083533822198/626
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active11854168963538 / 31 fps1406 / 692


Internet and connectivity

The Optimus browser sports a plain interface, with handy back and refresh button overlays at the bottom, which hide away when you don't need them. Adobe Flash can be sideloaded on it, so that you can access such content when you can come across it.


A fast LTE or 42.2 Mbps HSPA+ 4G connectivity is present on the GJ, depending on the market, as well as the range of other radios like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, DLNA, NFC and FM Radio.

Camera

The 13 MP unit on the back of the GJ sports an LED flash unit next to it, and the Optimus UI camera interface lets you say things like “Whisky” or “Cheese” to take a picture from afar. The app offers many options, like Panorama, Time Machine, HDR and night scenes, plus a variety of color effects and shooting modes.


The pictures come out decent in good lighting, with accurate colors, enough detail, and no white balance issues. The phone has trouble with high dynamic range scenes, though, overexposing the whole frame, unless you tap to manually focus on the bright object or the sky beforehand.


When the lights dim down, the sensor just can't get a focus quickly, resulting in slower shot-to-shot times, and often blur. The LED flash illuminates the scene well from distances of about three feet.

Video is shot with 1080p resolution and smooth 30 fps inside and out. It exhibits a good amount of detail and accurate colors, while the recorded audio to it is clean and artifact-free, but a bit muffled.

LG Optimus GJ Sample Video:

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LG Optimus GJ Indoor Sample Video:

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Multimedia

The Optimus UI gallery sports a standard thumbnail grid view, which can be pinched to zoom in and out your folders. There are rich editing options built right into it, with color effects and drawing capabilities.


The music player can take you to a YouTube video of the current song with the touch of a button, but sports no equalizers, just a Dolby Mobile preset in headset mode.

The Optimus GJ runs every major video format you throw at it, with the inclusion of MKV/DivX/Xvid files, and up to 1080p resolution at that.




Call quality

Voice quality is pretty hollow and distorted in the earpiece, plus we'd like to hear more volume. The two noise-canceling mics do their job well while relaying our voice to the other party, who said we sounded fairly loud, with no over the top distortion or parasitic noises.

Battery

The 2280 mAh unit is quoted to keep you talking for 15 hours on a charge, which a pretty good result, and indicates that the Optimus GJ should last you the typical day, day and a half with moderate usage.

Conclusion

The Optimus GJ is a very good first shot at waterproof greatness for LG. It might not have a Full HD screen or the latest processor, plus the call quality is not stellar in the earpiece, but that's about all the complaints one can muster about the handset.

Currently available from $420 contact-free, the phone comes in as less expensive than the flagship Sony Xperia Z and Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, which sport the same IP certification, but have 1080p displays and newer processors. Thus the Optimus GJ has the chance to woo you with some nice specs packed into a waterproof body for a decent price, and with a swappable battery at that.

Software version: JZ054K

Video Thumbnail


Pros

  • Waterproof chassis yet removable back cover

Cons

  • Weak call quality in the earpiece

PhoneArena Rating:

8.0

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