LG Optimus 3D review

Price when reviewed

Whenever we cover 3D products in PC Pro, the feedback is always the same: nice, but come back when you’ve got rid of the glasses. The problem is that doing so isn’t easy, as the TV manufacturers beavering away on a solution know only too well.

With a handheld, however, the barriers to glasses-free 3D are much lower – there’s only one pair of eyes to deal with, and generally always at the same viewing position. So first Nintendo launched its 3DS console, then several pocket camcorder manufacturers followed suit, and now LG has won the race to bring us the first glasses-free 3D smartphone, the Optimus 3D.

LG Optimus 3D

Physically, it isn’t too different from previous LG phones. The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s a little chunky, the 168g weight is higher than most new phones we see these days. But the edges are nicely rounded and the removable back is a nice soft plastic, with a raised silver strip to house the camera hardware.

From the front there’s no visible sign of the added 3D, with a standard 4.3in screen that doesn’t look to be buried behind any extra magic layers. It’s a capacitive touchscreen with the usual 480 x 800 resolution, decent brightness, which we measured at 394cd/m2, and a contrast ratio of around 850:1. It’s no IPS marvel but it’s good enough, and it has that 3D party trick that even the best smartphone rivals can’t match.

LG Optimus 3D

To try it out, push the dedicated 3D button on the right side and up pops a fancy carousel menu. If that effect doesn’t impress, the quickest way to get more 3D is to fire up one of the four preloaded games: popular shooter Nova, racer Asphalt 6, Let’s Golf 2 or Gulliver’s Travels. The quality of the depth effect varies from game to game and scene to scene, but there’s no denying the glasses-free technology works. Occasionally, it takes a few seconds to focus as the perspective shifts, and it feels more like hard work on the eyes than wearing glasses, but it’s good fun.

Games are probably the weakest demonstration, though. Flip the phone over and you’ll see its best feature: a pair of linked 5-megapixel cameras with a flash between them, capable of recording stereoscopic video at 720p and 30fps, or taking 3D stills. You can slide the depth of the effect up and down as you play them back, and although it sometimes has a cardboard cut-out layered look about it, the 3D effect on these real-world captures is genuinely impressive.


Cheapest price on contractFree
Contract monthly charge£25.00
Contract period24 months
Contract providerOrange


Dimensions68 x 12 x 129mm (WDH)
Primary keyboardOn-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity512MB
Camera megapixel rating5.0mp
Front-facing camera?yes
Video capture?yes


Screen size4.3in
Resolution480 x 800
Landscape mode?yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth supportyes
Integrated GPSyes


OS familyAndroid

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