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LG Optimus S Review

LG Optimus S

Posted: , by Brian K.


Interface and Software:

Like the Sanyo Zio and Samsung Transform before it, the LG Optimus S is a Sprint ID device meaning that the user can install customized ID packs built around a central theme or content provider. We went over this more in the other two reviews, and since nothing has changed we won’t mention any more about it here. While you have to install an ID to begin using the phone you can then cancel that download and stick with the basic Android experience if you wish. By doing this the only Sprint apps on the phone are Sprint Zone and Sprint ID; to get other Sprint apps like TV, Football, etc. you can download the Sprint ID pack.

LG Optimus S Review

At the LG Optimus S's core though is stock Android 2.2, making it the second 2.2 device in Sprint’s lineup behind the EVO 4G (the Transform, Zio and Epic 4G will be upgraded to 2.2, and the Galaxy Tab launches with it.) The LG Optimus S and Zio run on identical Qualcomm MSM7627 processors clocked at 600MHz and share memory specs, but the Optimus is the zippiest Android phone we’ve seen on Sprint this side of the Epic and EVO. It easily outpaces the Moment/Intercept/Transform trio, which are all clocked at 800MHz. It will be interesting to see what the 2.2 upgrade does for the Zio and Transform, but for now the Optimus S is the clear leader of the three in terms of OS performance.

The home screen of the LG Optimus S - LG Optimus S Review
The home screen of the LG Optimus S - LG Optimus S Review

The home screen of the LG Optimus S

Even when we put it through some stress testing the LG Optimus S held up well. Typically an onslaught of rapid-fire downloads from the Market will make a lesser device choke, but we downloaded 35 apps in a matter of a few minutes and, while there was a brief pause here and there, the Optimus S chugged along quite fine. We were worried that the 140MB of internal memory would not be enough, but we took it down below 45MB with those 35 downloads and it still zipped along quite fine. Your average user won’t realize that some of these apps could be manually moved to the SD card, but until you run out of space altogether we don’t see a need for this. Quadrant scores in the 430s aren’t exactly stellar (high end devices like the EVO 4G and Nexus One score in the 1300s) but the real world performance is quite great. We are awfully impressed with the speed and fluidity of this device.

Android Market - LG Optimus S Review

Android Market

There are several messaging options such as Handcent and Chomp to replace the stock SMS app, and other messaging services like Kik (think a cross-platform BlackBerry Messenger) are available as well. We had no issues using the stock Android keyboard on the smaller display, but of course there are other options in the Market for this as well.

LG Optimus S Review
The on-screen keyboard - LG Optimus S Review

The on-screen keyboard

Camera and Multimedia:

The 3.2MP camera uses the stock Android interface with no real adjustments beyond focus mode, picture quality and color tone. Images turned out OK but not great. In general color reproduction was good, but the pictures had a lot of blur to them and some expected noise in lower lighting conditions. The autofocus isn’t the quickest thing on the market; it took a little over 2s to snap a picture from when the shutter button was pressed. Thankfully the Optimus S was almost immediately ready to snap another picture when done with the first. The camcorder was also acceptable but nothing special. We’re not expecting Epic 4G quality here, but it would have been nice to see a bit better camera performance from the Optimus S.

The camera interface - LG Optimus S Review
The camera interface - LG Optimus S Review

The camera interface

Samples made with the LG Optimus S - LG Optimus S Review
Samples made with the LG Optimus S - LG Optimus S Review
Samples made with the LG Optimus S - LG Optimus S Review
Samples made with the LG Optimus S - LG Optimus S Review
Samples made with the LG Optimus S - LG Optimus S Review

Samples made with the LG Optimus S

Strong - Indoor samples - LG Optimus S Review
Medium - Indoor samples - LG Optimus S Review
Low light - Indoor samples - LG Optimus S Review



Low light

Indoor samples

LG Optimus S Sample Video:

The music and video players are capable enough, but are not nearly as pretty as the ones found in iOS. There are several alternatives in the Market that will add shine, functionality or both to the phone.

Internet and Connectivity:

The LG Optimus S utilizes Sprint’s EVDO Rev. A network and is quite zippy on the internet. For those without 3G coverage, wanting faster speeds or just looking to conserve battery life Wi-Fi is also available. The stock Android 2.2 browser is decent, and there are some good alternatives such as Dolphin Browser HD, Opera Mobile and Skyfire, not to mention the continued progress of Firefox Mobile. Unlike the Sanyo Zio, the Optimus S supports multi-touch and it is executed smoothly. Unfortunately Flash is not available, but with a lower spec processor this is not a surprise and Skyfire’s server side rendering allows you to watch Flash videos on the phone. Bluetooth clocks in at v2.1+EDR and supports the HSP 1.2, HFP 1.5, OPP, FTP, PBA, DUN, A2DP 1.2 and AVRC profiles. GPS is of course also available for turn-by-turn navigation and a whole slew of other GPS enabled applications.

Internet browsing with the LG Optimus S - LG Optimus S Review
Internet browsing with the LG Optimus S - LG Optimus S Review
Internet browsing with the LG Optimus S - LG Optimus S Review

Internet browsing with the LG Optimus S

  • Options

posted on 15 Nov 2010, 19:06

1. smpdx (Posts: 127; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)

People are LOVING this phone! Especially for the price point! It really cant be beat. I would ALMOST dare to say its better than the Hero. It has android 2.2 and is hotspot capable!

posted on 31 Dec 2010, 20:55

5. Fierytaco (unregistered)

It IS better than the Hero. It has twice the RAM (Optimus has 512mb), The Optimus has a faster processor by 82mhz, similar build quality, higher quality screen, AND Android 2.2.

posted on 22 Nov 2010, 16:47

2. sutman12 (unregistered)

Just bought this phone and am totally satisfied!!! Stated in the article that this phone will not "steal sales" from EVO/Epic I beg to differ. Was considering both and decided to go with the lower price point. Wish it had a flash for camera but otherwise no downside. Check it out!!!

posted on 06 Dec 2010, 22:04

3. Racemoney (unregistered)

After 3 phones on my 5 line account died I managed to strong-arm Sprint into giving me 4 new Lg Optimus S's for FREE on my expired contract existing account when I threatened to make a move to Verizon....(I cancelled one line upon renewal of my contract for 2 years) No rebates no activization fees...no BS. They even overnighted them to me!! They arrived as promised the next morning. And they absolutely ROCK...I have been using Windows mobile phones for 6 years or so since my first Sprint PocketPC was ordered way back when. My most recent was an HTC Touch that just refused to die...until it did...with no warning whatsoever. What a difference a fantastic OS can make! Google, LG and Sprint really have a winning combination going here. High Praise goes to everyone that made this little miracle come to market so affordably. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! Sorry so long...BUT...for the first time in year I actually excited about a new piece of hardware...and it's cell phone...Who would have thought it??

posted on 09 Dec 2010, 11:59 1

4. Tristann (Posts: 76; Member since: 04 Nov 2010)

I played with my cousins optimus s, for a 600mz processor its really fast(partly due to froyo)! put my samsung vibrant to shame. The screen was crisp and felt nice to text on camera was good as well depending on how much light there is.
Want a cheap but really good smartphone? Get this.

posted on 20 Feb 2011, 21:28

6. Boti95 (Posts: 162; Member since: 05 Sep 2010)

Great phone! I have this in Virgin Mobile. Its called the LG Optimus V. Its the same but without Mobile Hotspot and Sprint ID.

posted on 11 Sep 2011, 10:00

8. VirginCOLL (unregistered)

it actually does using the app quicksettings and its free:)

posted on 23 Feb 2011, 02:00

7. ma77h3uw (unregistered)


Download Quick Settings and it'll enable Mobile Hotspot for free.

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LG Optimus S

LG Optimus S

OS: Android 2.3 2.2
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display3.2 inches, 320 x 480 pixels (180 ppi) LCD
Camera3.2 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S1, Single core, 600 MHz
Size4.47 x 2.32 x 0.52 inches
(114 x 59 x 13 mm)
4.06 oz  (115 g)
Battery1500 mAh, 5 hours talk time

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