The Optimus LG7: Lots of Flash, Less Substance

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The L-series of LG phone is LG’s attempt to snag the gadget-fashion conscious at a lower price point than the iPhone. And with sleek, minimalist sensibilities, the Optimus L7 manages to stand out style-wise. But while it promises style and substance, it only delivers on the first half of the bargain.


LG put a lot of effort into the Optimus LG7’s design. In fact, it’s the flagship phone of LG’s new “floating mass” technology. The front face of the phone is actually wider than the back. So when you sit it on a flat surface, the phone looks like it’s floating. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “exquisite” like LG does, or even unique. But it’s definitely a conversation starter.

The LG Optimus L7 is certainly the belle of the L7 line. It’s thinner than most at 8.7mm deep, with nice 90-degree corners to give it the look of a high-end business accessory. A stainless steel-esque border means it looks flashy in your hand and by your ear without calling too much attention to itself.

The L7’s thin shape and lines are complimented by a minimalist aesthetic, which is my favorite thing about this phone. The 4.3-inch, 800×480 WVGA display is framed by a small home key at the narrow bottom of the face, and a camera and light sensor at the top. It’s sleek, clean and to the point. And it’s probably one of the best things that the L7 has going for it.


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Although the Optimus LG7 is a beautiful phone, it falls short on usability in a big way. The culprit is the LG7’s 1GHz Cortex A5 processor which struggles at times, resulting in a bunch of little stutters that get frustrating even with trial use.

For example, LG’s neat little OS, the Optimus UI 3.0, unlocks with a touch that makes a bubble pop up on the screen. You slide your finger to the edge of the bubble to unlock the screen. But the animation stutters unattractively sometimes. Not a great start.

Once you get into the interface, the apps are a few seconds slow to open and close, a glitch that might bother app-happy users. And new widgets take a few seconds to show up when you add them to the home screen.

Texts and phone numbers take a few seconds to show up too. Not great if you’re trying to communicate in a hurry. Delays also slow up LG’s easy-to-use browser despite 3G connectivity and Wi-Fi b/g/n. Some websites take as long as 5 seconds to load up. Content and ad heavy pages can take up to 7 seconds to load and longer to fill out — even when you’re using a Wi-Fi connection. Pages that use flash won’t run at all. The Optimus LG7 won’t support them.

The Good News

Although the Optimus LG7 might not be the best at its price point, it does have several perks. There’s a 5MP camera (and VGA 640×480 quality video) with a front and rear-facing lens, LED flash and lots of options including scene modes, ISO and white balance options and color effects. And you can use the volume rocker switch to take pictures which makes for steadier handling.

The LG7 also has a 1,700mAh battery which will give a day or more’s heavy usage on a single charge. And it’s fully removable just in case you need to do a hard reset, or switch out batteries for long trips.

There’s also flexible storage. The phone comes with 4GB of internal storage for standard use. For media-philes, there’s also a microSD slot which can accommodate up to 32 extra GBs.

And speaking of content, the Optimus LG7 supports LG PC Suite (available for download from LG’s site) which makes dragging and dropping content onto the phone a breeze. PC Suite also comes with a SmartShare app that lets you wirelessly connect your phone to any computer, tablet or television.

All in all, the Optimus LG7 is a middling phone for the price. It looks great, but its interface has delays and deficits that make Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Optimus UI 3.0 frustrating to use.

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