Name: LG G2x
Price: $200 w/Two-year contract
The Back Story: Wait a minute, what's this? We thought T-Mobile didn't have a "particularly compelling portfolio of smartphone offerings"? At least, that's what AT&T said when it filed its supporting documents last week with the FCC on how and why it's buying the nation's fourth largest wireless carrier. Maybe AT&T should have held its tongue until T-Mobile released its first ever dual-core processor smartphone, the LG G2x.
There’s been tremendous hype surrounding NVIDIA's Tegra 2 multitasking and gaming capabilities, and when you throw 4G compatibility into the equation, the G2x has some pretty high expectations to live up to. So can LG pull off a mobilephile’s wet dream, while giving T-Mobile users a reason to stick with the soon-to-be phased out carrier? Lets just say it does a really good job accomplishing a majority of those tasks. Which in particular? Here's a closer look.
• Dual-core processor and gaming performance: The inclusion of NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor pushes Android smartphones to new extremes. Whether you’re navigating through menus or skipping to certain points on an HD video, all touchscreen commands are instantaneous and highly responsive. It supports full 1080p video playback and records the same output via the rear 8MP camera. Mobile gaming also gets a huge boast from the monstrous chip. Games like Need for Speed Shift HD and the futuristic FPS N.O.V.A. display beautifully rendered graphics and play smooth, with the assistance of the handset’s gyroscopic sensor. Plus there’s an accompanying NVIDIA Tegra Zone app that lets users search, buy, and download games.
• Built for multimedia: Besides its gaming high-marks, the G2x offers a ton of media perks. The device is DNLA-enabled, so you have the option to wirelessly share files with other compatible devices, plus it comes with a micro-HDMI port to view mobile content (photos, videos, etc.) on your TV. T-Mobile also includes its TV service, T-Mobile TV, to stream live and on-demand programs, along with a music player widget that provides homescreen access to your music playlist. Then there’s the Zinio Reader app that offers tons of digital magazine subscriptions. There's no reason for you to ever be bored using this phone.
• Stunning display and sleek design: LG’s powerhouse dons a sharp 4-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen that generates vibrant colors and contrast. Text and web pages look crisp, while Flash and high-quality YouTube videos look marvelous. As far as design, it’s nearly identical to the Samsung Galaxy series, but the G2x is a more opulent and solid structure, with its aluminum metal casing and firm grip. Measuring in at 4.9 x 2.5 x 0.4 inches, the phone is fairly light at 4.8 ounces and fits perfect in any jacket or pants pocket.
• Great call quality: Phone calls were loud and clear with little to no background noise, while the speakerphone did a surprisingly good job with audio output. It’s pretty cool that you can make and receive calls over the wi-fi connection as well.
• Strong battery: A 4G phone with some good battery life? Believe it. You can go almost an entire day on a full charge through regular use, or squeeze an impressive 7 to 9 hours while heavily using the 4G or wi-fi connection and moderate multimedia use. The phone also displays an on-screen message that informs owners to unplug the device when it’s fully charged to avoid overheating the battery. That's a smartphone for you.
• 4G speed and sporadic coverage: Even though the G2x runs on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, the carrier’s 4G platform runs more like 3.5G. For comparison purposes, T-Mobile's 4G is, according to download speed tests, around four-times slower than Verizon's LTE network. We also found network coverage to be inconsistent at times, randomly switching from 4G, 3G, and even 2G in low signal areas.
• No Android 2.3 OS (Gingerbread): By now we would have expected all next-gen Android phones to run on Gingerbread. So it’s a little disappointing to see such a powerful gaming handset stuck on Froyo for the time being. But T-Mobile recently tweeted that an update is coming “real soon.”
• Dual cameras and video chat quality: The front-facing 1.3MP camera captures second-rate shots and the rear 8MP camera doesn't work well in the dark, capturing grainy images with or without the super bright LED flash. We also experienced some connection issues with the phone’s pre-loaded video chat apps like Tango and Qik.
Final Say: Hands down, the G2x is T-Mobile’s best handset—well, for now, at least. Having a dual-core processor at the helm enhances the entire mobile experience from launching web pages to watching HD videos. Gaming is where Nvidia’s mobile chip really excels, exhibiting some of the finest 3D graphics and game playability experienced on a smartphone. And once Android’s Gingerbread OS becomes available, the G2x might end up becoming a thorn in the side of competing handhelds. T-Mobile’s 4G network didn’t exactly live up to our high-speed hopes, ranking lower than Verizon’s LTE and Sprint’s WiMax service, but it still dishes out fast 3G speeds. Besides some minor network issues, LG gives T-Mobile subscribers one of the freshest and most powerful handsets on the market.