Mobile Phones Guide

LG Optimus Black review

LG Optimus Black - Shining Black (Updated!)

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Overall rating 7.5/10
Design:
7.5
Features:
7.5
User-Friendliness:
7.5
Performance:
7.5
Value:
7.5
THE GOOD
Light and slim
Good display legibility under strong sunlight
Minimal buttons to keep design sleek
THE BAD
Poor handling, tends to slip from grip
Low battery mileage for single-core device
Lacking in responsiveness
Design/build could have been better


Performance - Part I

The Power Within

The Optimus Black belongs to the average smartphone category, with a single-core Texas Instrument (TI) OMAP 3630 1GHz processor acting as the brains behind the operation. This is a stark contrast to its faster cousin, the LG Optimus 2X, which has the NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz processor under the hood.

Nonetheless, single-core processors have performed their tasks just as well, from what we've seen on earlier devices such as the HTC Incredible S. To put its performance into numbers, we'll be subjecting the Optimus Black to our usual benchmark apps:

  • The first benchmark is Quadrant, which measures the device's performance based on its CPU, I/O and GPU. Simply put, Quadrant is a benchmark that gives you a general idea of how your device performs against other Android devices.
     
  • The second benchmark is NeoCore, targeting the device's GPU performance.

These benchmarks, as we've mentioned in our earlier reviews, are a rough gauge on the device's performance. Its usability varies according to user preference, but it does provide a median performance level to help gauge where it stands amongst other similar phones. Our tests were conducted from a fresh reboot of the Optimus Black. To get a better understanding of how the Optimus Black stands against similar devices, we compared it against the following Android devices - Samsung Nexus S, HTC Incredible S, and Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc.

Device LG Optimus Black Samsung Nexus S HTC Incredible S Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc
CPU TI OMAP 3630 1GHz Hummingbird 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 1GHz
GPU PowerVR SGX530 PowerVR SGX540 Qualcomm Adreno 205 Qualcomm Adreno 205
RAM 512MB 512MB 768MB 512MB
OS Google Android 2.2 Google Android 2.3 Google Android 2.2 / 2.3 Google Android 2.3

The Optimus Black was placed as the weakest of the four Android devices, with its Quadrant and NeoCore scores marked at 1231 and 46fps. To shed some light on these lower numbers, remember that the Optimus Black is running on Google Android 2.2 and uses a different processor from the Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 processor found on the Incredible S and Xperia Arc. To put it plainly, Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors look to have an edge over those from the TI variant.

As we've mentioned, Quadrant does measure the overall performance, and thus the device's memory comes into play. With only 512MB RAM loaded on the Optimus Black, it's not surprising to see the numbers falling short of what is seen on the Xperia Arc and Incredible S. Its NeoCore result has also shown it to be the weakest, clocking in at 46fps while the rest are reporting at least 55fps in the benchmark.

We do have doubts on the optimization of its single-core processor. At times, the Optimus Black lacked the responsiveness we're used to on other 1GHz devices. Screen transitions and apps switching was average at best, and at times we noticed a slight lag as we handled the different menus within the device. To get a better feel of how its CPU and GPU perform, we ran a game of Angry Birds and Dungeon Defenders. Bird tossing was mostly a smooth affair. But we are not singing the same tune with Dungeon Defenders, with frame rates looking lower than usual.