The LG Optimus L5 is the perfect Android phone for someone who wants style on a budget. Unfortunately, it hasn’t got much else going for it.
The body of the Optimus L5 doesn’t look cheap – actually, it kind of looks like a Samsung Galaxy S, with its rectangular button in the middle. The front and sides of the device are glass and plastic painted to look like metal, and it has a plastic cover on the back that has been painted in such a way that it’s kind of glossy and doesn’t look cheap. Until you turn the screen on, you might think that the L5 was a far more expensive phone.
LG have clearly gone for style over substance, because the 4-inch display seems nice on the surface, but it’s very low resultion for its size at 320 by 480 pixels. The colours are a little washed out, especially reds and pinks. The text smoothing could also be improved, as you’ll suffer a bit of eye-strain if you try to read on it for longer than a couple of minutes.
The LG Optimus L5 has an 800MHz processor, which should be fast enough for the phone to run smoothly when doing day-to-day tasks like web browsing and posting a status update – in theory. The fact that it’s running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) should make it responsive and snappy, too. Sadly, that’s not the case – the Optimus L5 would frequently lag while I was doing something as simple as typing a text message. It was frustrating, and at times made me want to switch my SIM back into my regular phone and toss the L5 out the nearest window.
On the plus side, the battery life for the L5 is very good. It would last me three to four days with regular use, and I text, call, web browse over Wi-Fi – the whole shebang. When the 1500mAh battery was run completely flat, however, it was dead flat – I couldn’t turn the phone on at all until I’d left it on the charger for a while. And when it’s dead flat and you charge it, it doesn’t show you how much the phone has charged, but instead just flashes the LG logo on the screen. Once you’ve had it charging for a little while, you have to unplug the charger before you can turn the phone on, then plug it in again so it’ll charge the rest of the way. All in all, getting the phone powered up is a total hassle.
There is one feature of the L5 has that might make it worth considering, particularly for those folks living in Wellington who use public transport frequently. It has near-field commuications technology that’s supported by Snapper and 2degrees’ Touch2Pay service. That means if you get a Touch2Pay SIM card from 2degrees, you can use your phone for mobile payment – just swipe your phone on the Snapper/Hop sensor on your bus, or in your local convenience store, and you’ve paid. The L5 is not the only phone on the market here that’s capable of Touch2Pay, though.
For those who don’t want or need Snapper, there are pretty much only two reasons to buy the L5. It’s cheap – although not cheap enough – and it’s nice to look at. It might be a good choice for your teenager, but if you want more than looks from your phone, look elsewhere.