LG Optimus L3 [E400] Review

LG Optimus L3 E400

I have played with the youngest of the L style LG Optimus devices for quite some time now, enough to tell what kicks and what doesn’t. LG announced them as a range of 3 during Mobile World congress earlier in the year, branded them stylish, and in a way they are. Atleast they are nolonger producing bulky smartphones anymore. That’s a step in the right direction, its past the era of bricks in the pocket. Now the three L style Optimus devices are the L3, L5 and L7, specs going up the ladder from left to right. And as you most probably predicted, L3 was the first to be available for sale in this market. Am assuming that LG is saving the ammunition to fight the mighty Samsung Galaxy S III once its in the market starting next week.

Now back to my recipe. LG Optimus L3 launched amidst two other competitiors in the same price point. Infact to be more precise, Galaxy Pocket launched sometime earlier in the day and by the evening we had an announcement for the Huawei Gaga by Orange Kenya and later LG announced the availability of the LG Optimus L 3 and its price in the market. And the race was unofficially opened.

Well, it has been for quite sometime, with the scramble for the market that intends to purchase entry level smartphones, a forte that was for Nokia, but the boys are now maturing, and Asha is under threat.

What makes LG L3 tick or not?

Well, I will take you through a quick walkthrough of the phone specifications. LG Optimus L 3 dons Android 2.3.6(it should be declared illegal to launch a droid on anything less than this), 3.2 inch QVGA screen, (capacitive, multitouch), 1GB internal memory, 150mb user memory with microSD support of upto 32GB, 3G HSDPA, doing upto 3.6 Mbps, 800MHz processor, Cortex A5 and 1500mAh battery, the rest are the usual, Wi-Fi, USB, Wi-Fi hotspot, 4:3 aspect ratio(well, that’s not usual), and a 3MP camera.

The good

LG L3 is one easy to use smartphone, the aspect ratio of 3:4 is quite good, ensuring a well stretched out virtual keyboard. This makes it easy to type, particularly if you have fat fingers or are like me who has played with bigger screen devices for quite some time. Something else that cannot escape a user is the battery life. The 1500mAh is one thing a sharp user will notice and is a fine selling point for this device, gives you many more hours. 1500 on a low graphic, small screen and little storage device like this will sure outperform itself when it comes to battery life.

For an entry level device it shouldn’t escape you that the display offers capacitive multi-touch, and the fact that the OS is Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The fact that it has GPU(Adreno 200) and accelerometer is also a plus, you can play more games on this one. The design sure stands out, atleast from the back, the overall is not what you’d call sleek but when it lies on its back you can actually try to become a suitor. Something else worth noting is that you can hot-swap the memory card, not unusual but it’s something good when in there.

Dont know to add here that it can actually stand on its own(see gallery).

Its now usual to get android devices having features like wi-fi hotspot and microSD support of 32GB, so these dont really fit in the good. The 3.0 camera too.

The bad

Display: This was abit compromised. You can take quite good shots off the LG L3, but the 240 x 320 resolution makes what you view after that kinda grainy. You get to see the actual images were any good when you move them to another display like a computer. The waste of space at the bottom below the screen, I actually had not picked this, but a female friend asked to see it while in one of the events and she noted that quite fast, that is wasted screen space right there, you dont see that in today’s smartphone, LG.

The Ugly

User memory, that’s the only one you are allowed to install your apps to, no option to select storage to install to. So whether it has 1GB internal memory, you can only install so many apps, actually around 6, depending on specific app size before you run out of memory. Shoulda given one an option to install to mass memory and microSD. Then again, maybe LG didnt want numerous apps to spoil the battery life party. The phone also has a huge bezel, which you would be led to believe is metallic but is actually thick plastic, again, wastage of space. You would notice this if you open the back cover, or when the coating actually chips off on the corners.

Then, when is LG ever going to be active in the contribution to the growth of apps, local developers anyone? LG is so silent in this front, choosing to stay in the background and sell devices. It wouldnt hurt to see an app by a Kenyan dev preloaded on one of your devices


There are some fancy features, like the pinch to collapse apps menu, the separation of installed apps. The phone is a good one, even for its price point of Kes 12,000, it will give you most of the features it promises, the battery, the “good” camera, Android Gingerbread and the apps, and the aspect ratio as noted above. Sound quality is awesome, no dropped calls and the phone wont need a desktop dock, it will stand on its own. I didnt test it in water, as there was no talk of it being waterproof, trust me, I would have if there was a single mention of that. Its my understanding that the two colours, white and black are not available from all retailers, the white one is more widely available. The textured plastic back cover feels good in the hand, but since it’s white, trust it to require scrubbing once in a while if you get sweaty.