LG Optimus L9 Review: Decent Mid-Tier Value
The Optimus L9 is the nicest phone in LG's "L" line, but its features don't pack enough of a punch to stand out from the crowd in a packed market. If you're looking for a truly world-class phone, check out the Optimus G on AT&T and Sprint. But if you're shooting for a mid-tier device, the L9 comes with some high-quality features.
The L9 is a slim device, measuring just 0.4-inches, which gives it a svelte look. It stands 5.1-inches tall and 2.7-inches wide, and the textured back plate accompanies a matte finish to give it a premium appearance. The backplate also comes off to so you'll be able to quickly change the battery -- a nice feature. And it's as light as it is thin, weighing just less than four and a half ounces, so you'll feel sprightly holding it.
The 4.5-inch touch display is bright and responsive, but unfortunately, it just isn't in the same class as other top-tier devices like the Galaxy S3 or iPhone 5. But the price isn't as high either, and as long as you adjust your expectations accordingly, you'll enjoy the 960-by-540 pixel resolution. You won't have to worry about bumps and bruises, either -- it's made of sturdy Gorilla Glass 2.
The 5-megapixel camera captures decent photos. The light and color representation is accurate and a powerful LED flash illuminates dim environments. The pictures themselves are no better or worse than you'll find from similar lenses, but the L9 has a very quick shutter, so you'll be able to capture spontaneous moments or action shots with clarity. It also comes with a fun "voice shutter" feature, which prompts a shot every time you say "cheese." It's not incredibly useful, but it's a neat gimmick. In addition, you'll be able to record high-definition 1080p videos, or chat with friends on an unimpressive but workable VGA front lens.
The Optimus L9 runs on Android's Ice Cream Sandwich software, rather than the new Jelly Bean version -- and that's fine for a mid-tier device. But, unfortunately, LG added its Optimus 3.0 skin atop the original software. The interface isn't a disaster, but it adds ugly widgets while providing little usefulness. One of its "fun" elements, the ability to choose between different swipe effects, isn't as entertaining as you'd expect. And all of the effects are subpar at best. You'll still have an easy time navigating the home screens, though, but a vanilla version of Android would have been more aesthetically pleasing.
One of the unique features is the "Quick Memo" app, which lets you jot down notes with your fingers on top of whatever you're looking at on the phone. It's helpful if you need to add notes on a map, for example, but it's difficult to accurately scribble notes with your digits. Just take normal notes if you're not in a huge rush.
The Optimus L9 runs very smoothly, aided by a powerful 1-gigahertz dual-core processor. It's not the fastest on the market, but it's not the most intensive device either. You'll be able to connect to T-Mobile's HSPA-plus network, which isn't as speedy as AT&T or Verizon's service, but if you're locked into T-Mobile, it's one of the fastest devices. Overall, the L9 won't blow you away, but it's a decent value for mid-tier phone -- especially on T-Mobile. ♦
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November 10, 2012
Not Bad At All, LG
LG has outdone itself. The Optimus L9's display is top-notch. It's large and vibrant and ideal for reading websites or watching videos. The navigation is easy to use and the keyboard is a breeze to type on -- much better than even most physical keyboards on the market. When you press a key, there's an audible "click" to let you know it's pressed. There's no tactile feedback, but it's better than using regular keys. But best of all, the price is right.
There's quite a bit of bloatware added in. I would have preferred a little less, but it's there. The battery life is a little less than I'd like as well. I spend half the day playing games, checking e-mails and browsing the Web. I guess I'm what you'd consider a heavy user, and for most the power should be enough.Was this review helpful to you?
50 out of 54 people found this review helpful.
February 10, 2013
This is a great phone for the price. Not the most powerful, but just about right for the average user. It has a dual core processor, a large bright display, a 3.5mm earphone jack, and comes with Android ICS. I was just notified that Jelly Bean upgrade will be available in a few weeks. I've had the phone for two months and have not had a single problem.
The only thing I dislike is it only comes with 4gb of internal memory. With the operating system taking up 2gb, you only have 2gb for apps. It wasn't a deal breaker for me, but more memory would be nice. And adding an SD card will only expand memory for pics, music, etc. If you like downloading tons of apps, you might run out of room.Was this review helpful to you?
11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.
December 09, 2012
Good IPhone Alternative
If you're looking to switch from an iPhone, this phone is a good choice. It's not as sexy as the Galaxy S3, but it packs a lot of solid features. The dual-core chip is beefy, and the reason this phone is so fast. You can run several apps at once without the least bit of lag or stalling.
The touch screen is just gorgeous. And the Gorilla Glass makes sure it's still durable enough to last the bumps and bruises of everyday use. Voices sound great on calls and text is easy to read on the browser. I listen to music all the time, and I was surprised by the volume of the speakerphone. I don't even use headphones now.
Personally, I think the L9 looks better than the iPhone. It fits comfortably in my hand and doesn't feel heavy or bulky.
I have a problem with the battery life though. And the camera is a bit disappointing. But those are minor gripes. And they're probably better than average. Still, if you're looking for a good iPhone alternative, give the Optimus a try. Most people flock to the Galaxy, and LG makes quality phones on par with its South Korean brethren.Was this review helpful to you?
42 out of 46 people found this review helpful.
December 28, 2012
Great for Daughters and Wives
I picked up two of these the other week -- one for my daughter and one for wife. After a few days with it, they were both hooked on it. We've owned our share of phones in this family, and the Optimus L9 is one of the best.
As a dad, one of the most important things to me is reception and battery life. And both are very good on this phone. Since my daughter never puts it down, I need a phone that can last the day. Also, price is a factor in my choice, and you can't beat T-Mobile's deal on this phone. They sell lesser phones at twice the price.
As for the hardware, the processor is fast. The music and volume are great -- so my daughter says -- and the camera takes great photos. My wife uses it to browse the Web and she enjoys the experience, as well as the apps.
Overall, I'm very satisfied with the L9. And if you have to buy a bunch of phones, it's a good choice if you don't feel like spending your life savings on phones.Was this review helpful to you?
35 out of 39 people found this review helpful.
December 05, 2012
Love My FIrst Android
I've been using this phone for the last few weeks and I'm very happy with it. The best part is the long battery life. I can get over a day with a charge, which is rare in today's smartphones. The design is clean and slick, and the interface is very friendly for a first time Android user like me. The touch screen is very responsive -- I never have to tap twice -- and the apps are easy to find and install.
I love the Quick Memo feature is fantastic. I use it to jot down phone numbers while I'm on a call. And it's easy for me to use this for business and personal use. Did I mention the call quality is ridiculously good?
The speakerphone isn't the best. And the ringer volume could be louder. But otherwise it's a great phone. I'm an LG fan now.Was this review helpful to you?
39 out of 44 people found this review helpful.
February 24, 2013
- Looks fantastic and premium
- Excellent touch responsiveness
- Great GPS capabilities, detects location even when you're indoors -- all previous Android mobiles I've used do miserably in this respect
- RAM is better than phones in the same price range, plays most games efficiently
- Battery life better than most phones
- Low SAR values if you are concerned about radiation
- Decent white leather case comes free
- 5 MP camera may be not as great as other phones but takes perfectly fine pictures
- Would have loved Gorilla Glass on this phone
- 4 GB internal memory may be a tad less for heavy duty app downloaders
Also, do yourself a favor and buy the white variant of the phone. Personally I felt it looks infinitely better than the black version that has some cheap steel rims at the edges.
- Pathetic earphones -- black ones supplied dont go with the white phone, sound quality is poor, please buy a white Skullcandy at the earliest
- Front VGA camera could have been better and better specced (not a major issue)
- Speaker phone clarity could be a tad better
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.
January 08, 2013
Not Bad, Not Good
I got the Optimus a week ago and here are my first impressions of the device:
- The phone is a pretty good value for what you get. The design is not the sexiest, but it feels like a premium device. The display is decent too -- especially at half-brightness. Outdoors, the screen is easy to read in direct sunlight.
- The battery is on par with most smartphones. If you turn the display brightness down, you can usually get a few more hours -- lasting the whole day.
- The call quality is good, but not as great as some of those old dumb phones.
- The camera is not bad outdoors, but pretty bad in dim lighting. So if you plan to take photos in a club or bar, this isn't the phone to do it.
- I love to play games on this phone. The 4.7-inch screen makes it very enjoyable. And the dual-core chip makes sure everything runs pretty smoothly -- even the high-end games, but it tends to overheat. I've heard this issue happens a lot to other Android devices. I've never had any issues watching videos at 1080p.
- I'd say the speakerphone is pretty average too. It's not the best quality, but that's what headphones are for. The supplied earbuds are so-so -- I wish they'd have been better. Buy better ones if you can.
30 out of 37 people found this review helpful.
January 21, 2013
This is a mid range mobile with an affordable price. Camera quality is really good and the battery life is much better then other phone which have high range in price.
nothing... ... ... ...Was this review helpful to you?
4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.
February 04, 2013
Good phone ruined by unnecessary restrictions
Nice screen, lightweight and fast. It would be a good phone if the cons (see below) would not totally make it worthless to buy it.
This phone does not allow data transfer to/from the SD card over the USB cable, so you either have to remove the SD card and insert it in a PC or use bluetooth.
In addition, this phone is now almost impossible to root. My guess is that the two problems are related, LG does not allow USB connection to make rooting extremely difficult.
I bought this phone as an upgrade from LG Optimus T, and now I regret doing that.
After this awful experience, I doubt I will ever buy another LG device again.
5 out of 12 people found this review helpful.
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