This time we bring you our opinion of the new L series addition, the LG Optimus L9.
Thanks to LG we were able to test this device and have it long enough in order to be able to create an opinion about its design and performance.
Read on to find out if the L9 is worth your time.
As every other device of the L series, the L9 comes in a very minimalistic box.
Contents of the box:
- USB Cable
- Quick Star guide
Feel free to check out the unboxing video below.
Design and Ergonomics
Design keeps the main characteristics of the L series. Sturdy, small and light for its screen, the L9 is a great looking device. Its 131.9 x 68.2 mm body size is home for a 4.7 inch, and its weight stays at 125g, which is pretty light if you think about it.
On the top of the L9 you will find the 3.5 phone jack. On the left there’s the volume rocker, which also serves as a shutter button for the camera. On the top right of the device you will find the lock button.
The back of the device has a pattern that helps you to not let the device slip from your hands. If you take the back cover of the L9 off you will be able to see the 2150 mAh battery as well the SIM and microSD card slots.
With a microSD card, you will be able to increase your memory up to 32GB, according to LG. As it is, the L9 has only 4GB of which 2.2GB are free for you to enjoy.
The display is, as said before, a 4.7 inch IPS LCD with 234ppi. Having gotten the specs out of the way, I have to say that the image is sharp and clear, and the colors are well represented.
LG got it quite wrong when it came to the L5’s screen, since it had a huge problem when it came to viewing angles, but the screen on the L9 has no problem with them at all.
The viewing angles are great and there is no noticeable loss of quality when you turn the phone in your hand when you are playing, which is great if you intend to play games that integrate the accelerometer in the controls.
Performance and Software
The L9 counts with the 4.0.4 Android version and the users, as we, hope there will be an update to the latest 4.1.1 or even 4.2. The lack of software updates has been the greatest pitfall of LG and we really hope they try to correct this as costumers will be more willing to buy their devices if they know they won’t be forgotten as soon as new devices start hitting the markets with the latest software.
Of course LG keeps their UI over the basic Android user interface, and that’s good because the Optimus UI is light and definitely improves the user interface provided by the OS.
You have 7 homescreens available to customize at your own desire. There are a few Widgets already available, such as the widget for the new Social+ LG app.
The device’s performance when dealing with simple tasks, such as navigating between homescreens and menus, was great. There was no lagging noticeable and it responded quickly and fluidly enough for our standards.
First there are the obligatory Google apps: Gmail, Google Talk, Navigation, Google Maps, etc. Every Google app behaved admirably when tested, especially Gmail, which we were able to test with the new updates that allow you to swipe to archive a message.
The contacts, messages and dial interface are pretty much the same as the L5’s, so if you want to see a detailed description, please read our review of the LG Optimus L5, or simply watch the video review at the end of the page.
The LG keyboard behaved, once again, admirably. It allows the user to write without forcing any words and simply giving hints of what he might want to write. It also responds well to your touch and you won’t find yourself having to erase what you wrote often. The same can’t be said about many of the devices out there
With the Optimus UI come some pre-installed proprietary applications as well.
Is the LG app store. It is a shame that it obliges the user to register and login in order to be able to download any apps. In our case, if it weren’t obligatory to register we would definitely have tried some of the apps that catched our interest.
This is a new addition to the LG app family. This app allows you to add twitter and Facebook accounts to the app memory, and you will be able to see everything that happened in your accounts via the widget available. You can also update your status and see new messages in Facebook. You are also able to schedule a time interval by which the app will update the feeds.
This was a great idea and LG deserves kudos for it. Having said that we definitely though this app deserved a video review. So take a look at it below:
Allows you to share files directly with other devices that have FileShare capability.
We are glad LG listened to the testers on this one and decided to add a file explorer to the list of preinstalled apps. This way you can see where you saved your files and move them around from the internal memory to the sd card and vice-versa.
The other LG apps description can be viewed in our LG Optimus L5 review.
We couldn’t let the L9 go back without performing some benchmark tests to see how it fared. Again, we tested the device with AnTuTu, NenaMark 2 and Quadrant Standard and here are the test results.
We also took a test drive with the L9 and played Bubble Worlds, Fruit Ninja and Tennis. It never froze or slowed in any of the games but we noticed that during gameplay of the Bubble World it started to warm up a bit, which won’t be a problem as long as it doesn’t over heat like the 4X HD.
During some calls we never experienced loss of signal and when we tested the loud speaker we could hear clearly hear the caller and they definitely could hear us. So this a plus for the L9.
Although the loudspeaker behaved admirably during the calls, when we put some music and tried playing some movies we noticed that there was something missing. You will also notice that if the L9 rings while you’re driving or if you keep it inside a bag or purse, the noise will be severely decreased to the point where you might even miss a few calls.
Again, no performance issues while playing music or videos, besides the lack of oomph of the speaker.
Connectivity and Battery Life
LG as equipped the L9 with NFC capability again, which we love, but they haven’t neglected the 3G or Wi-Fi performance of the device.
As you will be able to see in the video review, it took the L9 only a few seconds to load our webpage, which is loaded with image sliders and lots of other stuff that supposedly make it slow to load. The L9 also had great Wi-Fi signal that enabled us to always be online almost everywhere we went.
Browser wise you have two options, Chrome or the LG modified browser. After a few hours browsing the web, testing both browsers, we think that Chrome as a better response time and a plus of keeping you bookmarks synchronized with your other devices.
When it comes to battery life, the 2150mAh battery lasted up to two days with the Wi-Fi always on and regular use of the device. But when we started to test Bubble World with the L9’s battery fully charged, it only lasted us two hours. Having said that, we don’t quite understand if the problem is with the game, that indulges itself, or with the battery, that isn’t capable of withstand game-playing.
This is definitely one of the pros of this device. The 5Mp rear camera takes neat photos with great quality as long as you don’t zoom in on anything.
The camera interface is one of the best we’ve seen till date. The camera UI has a lot of features.
For example you are able to take a snapshot just by saying one of the predefined words. If you’re making a movie you can also change your face with one of the effects available, or you can change the background to seem like you’re in space or in a sunset, among others available.
Another plus is the possibility to use the volume rocker as a shutter button which enables you to steady the phone and not need to take you hand off to touch the screen in order to take a picture.
You will have three shooting options, being the first the traditional shooting method. The second option you have is the panorama shot. This allows you to take panorama pictures by taking a single shot and then panning your phone a little and take another, until you are satisfied with the panorama photo.
In order to do this the L9 camera interface uses a bar at the bottom of the screen that shows you how far you have turned your phone since the first shot you took. Then the photos will be processed by the device and the result will be a single panorama photograph.
The last option available to you is the continuous shot. This mode allows you to take 6 consecutive photographs after pressing the shutter button only once. The camera interface has loads of other options that you will be able to see in the camera video below.
Indoor Sample Video:
Outdoor Sample Video:
Video Review Part 1:
Video Review Part 2:
I had a week with the LG Optimus L9 as my primary phone and I really enjoyed it. The only thing I missed was a way to tell me if I had any notifications without having to turn the screen on, and of course, the update to 4.1.2 would be very welcome.
Having said that, and with a price tag rounding 300€ the L9 is a device to take into account when you’re planning of switching phones or buying another. There isn’t another device available in the market with this screen size and build quality at this price range, that will behave as admirably as the L9. Some competitors are, for example, the Xperia Go at 329€ and the Galaxy SIII Mini, at 349€.
Of course there is still the software update issue to bear in mind. If LG updates their L series phones to the latest Android OS it will be a huge influence on everyone that is considering buying a new smartphone. Otherwise I believe some will keep ignoring LG and choosing other brands.
Review by: Cátia Sofia @ AndroidEmotions