LG Optimus Sol Preview

Introduction and Design

Unveiled back in August, the LG Optimus Sol is tailored for those in search of an eye-pleasing smartphone that does not cost an arm and a leg. And by using the term eye-pleasing, we are not referring to exotic, high-end materials here; it is the phone's display we are talking about. Packing 3.8 inches of “Ultra AMOLED” goodness, the Optimus Sol was announced as the most affordable Android smartphone with an AMOLED display and 1GHz processor.

With its fair hardware specs and slim waistline, the Sol has the potential to be a decent mid-range offering. Well, we have a prototype unit on our hands today so let's fire it up and see how good of a smartphone the device is shaping up to be.


The LG Optimus Sol looks and feels like a run-of-the-mill piece of plastic, just like the ones the smartphone market has more than enough of already. However, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise as the Sol is meant to be a cheap handset, so we will have to accept the fact that its body is made out of boring, flimsy plastic.

On the good side, the choice of materials makes the smartphone lightweight. Because if its dimensions, the Sol can be easily used with a single hand, and its waistline of 9.8 millimeters or 0.39 inches gives it a slim profile.

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

There are three capacitive buttons underneath the smartphone's display. Accidental presses are absent since there is a good distance between them and the bottom bezel of the device. The top side of the smartphone is populated by a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, a microUSB port protected by a removable cover and a lock button. There is also a secondary microphone for noise cancellation, which you do not get to see too often on handsets of this caliber. However, the volume rocker on the phone's side could have been exposed better.

The LG Optimus Sol is the first in the company's portfolio to boast an AMOLED display. Bearing the “Ultra AMOLED” moniker, LG's panels have yet to make a name for themselves, but we can say that we are pleased with what we see on our unit here. The Sol's display delivers intense, saturated colors and deep blacks, which together bring images to life and make watching videos a pleasant experience. We were also satisfied with the display's outdoor visibility as it glows bright enough to be used easily on a sunny day. Still, there are a couple of things that we need to point out with the first being the display panel's viewing angles. Not too big of a tilt to the side is required for the colors to start looking distorted. Besides, even though the display on the Optimus Sol has a high for its physical size resolution of 480x800 pixels, fine text lacks sharpness and is somewhat difficult to read. Nevertheless, bear in mind that what we have here is just a prototype, so both of these imperfections might get ironed out in the smartphone's finalized version.

Overall, the LG Optimus Sol packs an eye-catching display, its body is slim and lightweight, but that is pretty much all that would really grab anyone's attention. Perhaps, the device can leave a better impression with its functionality? Let's move along and find out.


LG's Optimus UI installed on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread is what runs on the Optimus Sol, but it has a twist added to it. The Dark UI theme that the interface is tweaked with is designed to use as little white light as possible in order to minimize the power drawn by the phone's display. LG has also incorporated what it calls “an enhanced idle-based power management system”, which should help boost the Sol's battery life by 20 to 30 percent.

You get seven home screens that you can customize to your taste with shortcuts or widgets. Should you like to do so, you can even change which one of them gets brought up when the “home” key is pressed. Last but not least, typing on the phone's on-screen keyboard is a piece of cake as it is well-spaced and sufficiently responsive.

Internet browser:

We were quite happy with what the internet browser on the Optimus Sol offers in terms of features. Adobe Flash support comes out of the box for that full-blown web browsing experience, and the text reflow functionality automatically adjusts paragraphs to the width of the screen for easy viewing. Another touch that has been added is the ability to view all open tabs in their own preview windows and switch to the one you like.

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The 5-megapixel auto-focus camera on the LG Optimus Sol lacks flash so it would be useless unless you have enough light to work with. Its interface does not come loaded with much, yet still you get a handful of shooting scenes, face detection, and the ability to take panorama photos. In terms of video, the LG Optimus Sol is capable of capturing 720p footage.

LG Optimus Sol Sample Video:


It may be rather basic, but the audio player that the Optimus Sol comes with gets the job done. It can list your tunes by artist, album or by song name, and a set of media controls are always easily accessible through the Android drop-down notification bar. When it comes to playing back flicks, the built-in video player handles MPEG4 and DivX/Xvid videos of resolutions up to 720p HD. Thanks to the Ultra AMOLED display, watching videos on the Optimus Sol is a fun experience.


LG Optimus Sol's key feature is the eye-pleasing WVGA Ultra AMOLED display with its saturated colors and deep blacks. Its slim, lightweight body should also be pointed out, and the addition of a secondary microphone for noise cancellation is not something many mid-range phones can brag with. However, the boring design and the cheap, plasticky feel both spoil the experience a bit, but since the Optimus Sol is meant to be affordable, something has to be sacrificed for the cause.

The most affordable 1GHz Android handset with an AMOLED display is what the Optimus Sol was promised to be when it was announced. Unfortunately, even though this sounds good in theory, a month and a half later the smartphone is still not widely available. Facing heavy competition, LG better price the Optimus Sol accordingly once it is ready to release it in all intended markets. Smartphones that it will be running against include the Samsung Galaxy W, which may not have an AMOLED screen, but is powered by a snappy 1.4GHz processor. The HTC Desire S should also be taken into account with its stylish design and aluminum unibody construction.

Stay tuned for our review of the Optimus Sol, which we will post once we get our hands on a final unit. We will keep our final verdict until then.

LG Optimus Sol Video Preview:

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