LG has made quite the name for itself with the budget Optimus Lseries, and here’s another entry with the LG Optimus L9.
Boasting a 4.7 inch IPS LCD display and a dual-core processor among other things, it’s not a high-end device by any means. Rather it’s pricing aims it sorely at the lower-mid-range segment. Above the Optimus L7, Optimus L5 and Optimus L3.
So is the latest entry in the Optimus Lseries worth considering? Check out our review to find out.
Note: This is the International version of the LG Optimus L9, not the T-Mobile 4G version that’s released in the US/UK.
The Optimus L9 builds upon the same angular, minimalistic, rectangular design we’ve seen with the other Lseries devices before.
You have the usual tapered edges, with a textured back panel, all measuring 131.9 x 68.2 x 9.1 mm and weighing just 125 grams which means its easy enough and comfortable to hold as well.
The build quality is mostly plastic, which is why the L9 is light, but surprisingly doesn’t feel too cheap. Doesn’t feel like a budget device, for sure.
At the front, you have large 4.7 inch IPS LCD display at 540×960 qHD resolution which gives you an okay-ish pixel density of 245 ppi.
LG’s displays have been pretty good lately, and while the one on the L9 might not be the highest resolution, it’s bright with vibrant colors, and has great viewing angles and legibility outdoors.
Above the screen, you have a front facing VGA camera for video calls, and a proximity sensor.
Below the screen, you have the hardware home key with hidden capacitive back and menu keys on either side.
On the right side, you have the lone power/screenlock button.
At the top, you have the 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones, and a tiny pinhole for the secondary noise cancelling microphone.
And on the left side, you have the volume rocker key. The keys are easy to find by touch, but are admittedly a bit small.
At the bottom, you have the usual microUSB port, and a pinhole for the main microphone.
At the back, you have the textured back panel that can be removed, with a 5 Megapixel camera and single LED flash above prominent LG branding. Towards the bottom is the loudspeaker grille.
Underneath the back panel, you’ll find the 2150 mAh battery, microSD card slot and a slot for a standard SIM card.
Overall, it’s a design that isn’t really new, and might not look as premium as LG’s flagship devices like the Nexus 4, but some folks might actually prefer the minimalistic design.
The LG Optimus L9 has a dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor, which is much improved compared to the single core processor used in the Optimus L7.
Along with that, you have 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage along with the aforementioned microSD card slot.
Performance is actually pretty solid, and you can navigate around the UI wilt much noticeable lag or slowdowns, and apps generally start up quickly.
In terms of connectivity, the Optimus L9 has WiFi, WiFi-direct, GPS, and Bluetooth 3.0. Curiously the L9 doesn’t have NFC, which is weird because the L7 did.
The LG Optimus L9 runs Android 4.0.4 out of the box, with LG’s Optimus UI on top.
LG’s skin isn’t as intense as HTC’s Sense UI or Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, so it’s much lighter and closer to the vanilla Android UI, and hence performance is fluid as a result.
There’s nothing new on the L9 UI that we haven’t seen on previous Lseries devices, and you get the same LG features and apps like quickMemo which lets you annotate screenshots, or LG’s smart share that lets you stream media using DLNA.
It doesn’t have some features of LG’s latest devices, like QSlide or Live Zooming but I’d assume those are going to be limited to LG’s quad core devices only.
Apart from that, it’s also interesting to note that when you first start up the Optimus L9, you’re presented with a bunch of apps to install. First time I’ve seen that happen on an Android phone, heh.
Moving on, the onscreen keyboard is quite comfortable to type on thanks to the large screen.
LG definitely has one of the nicer keyboard as far as Android manufacturers go.
Things are comfortable in portrait, though I don’t see many folks preferring to type in landscape mode because the screen might be too wide for it to be comfortable.
Coming to web browsing, the stock browser does a good job but there’s also Google’s Chrome browser pre-installed which is a better experience.
Websites load quickly and panning or zooming around is fluid enough. No flash support unfortch.
Coming to multimedia, the gallery is pretty much your usual Android affair, with images sorted in a grid of thumbnails.
The onboard music player and video player work just like you’d expect them to. The video player supports DivX and Xvid videos out of the box as well, which is pretty great.
And dont forget, there are tons of other media players and apps available right over at the Google Play Store.
The 5 Megapixel camera on the Optimus L9 produced some pretty decent shots. They’re not particularly great, but they’re not bad either, which is pretty expected of this price range.
Color reproduction is pretty accurate though details can get fuzzy at full resolution. Outdoors camera shots were decent though indoor images got a fair bit of noise.
Pretty much your average low-mid-range phone camera to be honest. Here’s a couple camera samples to give you a better idea of it:
Coming to video recording, you can record at up to 1080p full HD which is pretty great.
Results are good but background noise can be an issue. Details are lacking a bit but the camera does a decent job otherwise. Here’s a camera video sample to give you a better idea:
The Call Quality:-
Call quality was generally good on the Optimus L9, with voices sounding clear, natural and loud on either side of the call.
Even in a noisy environment, the noise cancelling did a pretty great job.
The Battery Life:-
Officially, the 2150 mAh battery on the Optimus L9 is rated at one day and five hours of ’usage’ time, which is a little vague but more or less accurate.
We were very easily able to get through an entire day’s worth of moderate usage on the L9, with still so,e battery life to spare.
The Video Overview:-
Here’s a quick video overview of the LG Optimus L9, just to give you a better idea of it:
The LG Optimus L9 is actually quite an interesting phone. On one hand, you have a large screen, but it’s a bit low resolution. Camera quality isnt too great unfortch, but performance is pretty decent on the TI Dual-Core processor, and it has Android 4.0 ICS out of the box to boot. Then there’s the design which you’ll either love or hate.
Personally, I’d save up a bit more, and import in an LG Nexus 4, or buy the much similarly priced but higher speced Sony Xperia P. But hey, if you’re on a budget and really want decent battery life and good call quality, this is the best in LG’s budget line up.
– okay design
– Pretty good battery life
– Great Call Quality
– Smooth-ish performance
– Average camera
– Priced a bit high
With the LG Optimus L9, you get a good screen, great call quality, and good battery life in a slim-ish package. Still think it’s priced a bit high though.