REVIEW: LG Optimus L3 in shape for first time smartphone users

Korean firm LG Electronics has launched the LG Optimus L3 smartphone that runs on Android, looking to offer smartphones ideal for first-time mobile users or those on a tighter budget.

The LG Optimus L3, available for approximately US$176 in South Africa on pre-paid, comes loaded with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) which ensures first-time smartphone users have access to a wide range of apps and good functionality on the phone.


It is definitely one of the better looking budget Android phones available on the market, despite being made from plastic. At the same time as being relatively stylish, it manages to differentiate itself from other budget Android phones.

With its dimensions – 102mm x 61.6mm x 11.7mm – it fits snugly into the average palm and easily into any pocket.

The LG Optimus L3 comes with the now common single physical button at the bottom, which when pressed reveals the Android buttons on either side.

As the first and entry-level model of LG’s ‘L’ range, it definitely raises the bar as far as “cheap” smartphones go in terms of design and styling.


One of the impressive features of this phone is the battery life. It runs a 1540 mAh battery, which is more than sufficient considering its small screen and 800 Mhz processor. On low usage, a full day and a half without needing to recharge is possible. This, compared to other low end smartphones, is above average performance.

Although the call quality is clear, what was not consistent and a tad bit irritating was calls being dropped and it not finding a cellular signal.

The other negative factor is the 1GB on-device storage and only 384MB of RAM. Although users can increase storage by inserting a microSD card of up to 32GB, the RAM makes it sometimes slow in updating app content and non-conducive for installing many apps.

Display and Camera

The LG Optimus L3 has a 3.2-inch screen which is pushed as close to the edges as possible, although it looks rather odd given the two large black spaces at the top and bottom. The screen gives a 320 x 240-pixel resolution, possibly acceptable for an entry-level smartphone. The colours are dull and text looks a bit ‘blurry’.

The camera is a 3-megapixel one, with no flash. Just like the screen display, the colours from photos taken with the camera are dull.

The plus side is screen responsiveness, with no issues experienced even with multiple touch points on the screen.

Software Features

The new phone comes with Gingerbread loaded, but it also has its own UI skin slapped on top of it known as the Optimus UI 2.0 Lite. This UI will probably be acceptable to many first time smartphone owners but begs the questions as to why LG even loaded it on the L3 as it does not deviate much from the standard Gingerbread UI and is a much more watered down version of the UI found on the L7.

The rest of the software features are standard features as they can be found on any smartphone running Gingerbread.


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Compared to its competitors, it wins in the style and design department but its low resolution screen and camera let it down despite its above average battery life. At the recommended retail price and to new smartphone-users, it is definitely a buy.

Otherwise, spend a little bit more to get a better quality phone.

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