Welcome to Android Community's review of the T-Mobile G2x, T-Mobile's first dual-core device, LG's first dual-core device, and back when it when people called its very close relative the Optimus 2x, the first dual-core period. All that doesn't matter though because there this sassy little lady is, and it's bumpin. Over the past few days we've been putting this phone through some wild tests and real-world use tests, even playing some games on it, and here we've got the first big verdict.
This phone is long and thin, having a 4-inch screen, one notch smaller than what HTC is quickly claiming as their trademark gigantic 4.3-inch competitor. The display is bright, very bright, coming at you with a LCD IPS screen at 480 x 800 pixel resolution and yes, the touchscreen is both capacitive and very, very sensitive - there's NEVER a time when you're going to be tapping over and over again like some of you've wondered aloud in the posts leading up to this one.
The entire unit measures in at 4.90 x 2.50 x 0.40 inches (124 x 64 x 10 mm), weighs 5.00 oz (142 g,) and has a camera on the back as well as the front. The front-facing camera weighs in at 1.3 megapixels while the back boasts an 8 megapixel camera with auto focus, image stabilization, smile detection, geo tagging, multishot, and panorama abilities, as well as an LED flash. You can record in 920x1080 (1080p HD) for video on this back camera, and of course you'll be video chatting the night away with the front.
Volume on this device can be adjusted with the up and down buttons along the right, power button, headphone jack, and HDMI port (with lovely plastic cover,) are along the top. On the left there's absolutely nothing, and on the bottom there's a couple of fabulous bigtime speakers and a microUSB port for all of your power charging and data transfer needs. Of course if you're the kind of person who would rather do this sort of thing via microSD card, you can get at that behind the full-body battery cover on the back.
Also under this battery cover you'll find the 1500 mAh battery and right between the battery and the camera lens, a location to slip your T-Mobile SIM card. The battery cover is clever in that instead of making it all plastic, (light, but appearing cheap,) or all metal, (looks nice but feels heavy,) LG has mixed the two, adding a single metal strip down the center as a gesture that not only adds some class, it ties it directly to the G-Slate which appears so far to be inextricably brand-tied to the G2x in more ways than one. Best friends forever!
Then there's the metal band around the entire border of the device, revealing another major speaker at the top of the phone on the front right above the T-Mobile logo. Again, light and powerful. The front of the G2x is covered with curved Gorilla Glass. This adds a layer of elegance to an already classy device, all of these things together making what's easily one of the nicest feeling Android phones on the market today.
Inside, you're going to find a fat and awesome Dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor, pumping power for all your high-demand apps and wackiness through this phone like its ambrosia. Sidenote: that'd be a great name for a processor, don't you think? There's also 8 GB storage, 512 MB RAM, and that microSD slot can handle up to 32GB. As for connections you'll get Wifi 802.11 b/g/n, EDGE, Dual-band 4G UMTS/HSPA+ (Bands I and IV,) and Quad-band GSM (world phone) 850/900/1800/1900 MHz. Also jam some video and/or games into your television with HDMI and DLNA, and go wild with your accelerometer, compass, and GPS. And use the phone as a wifi hotspot. And a partridge in a pear tree.
What you're going to get here is a Vanilla Android 2.2 Froyo experience. What that means is that it's exactly as Google intended it to be inside this phone, few to no modifications other than the addition of a few apps and features, all of them welcome, believe it or not: Need for Speed Shift HD, N.O.V.A (demo,) T-Mobile TV, Zinio (magazine app,) and Qik (video chat.) Qik, if you've not used it before, allows you to video chat to other people with Qik, record videos and share them (in a very user-friendly environment,) and send video mail. Simple and well done. Definite competition for Skype (whenever it officially comes out with video chat for Android.)
The couple of games that come with the phone, Need for Speed and N.O.V.A., will blow you away. Need for Speed needs no extra download so you'll be able to jump right in - it's a racing game with a fantastic soundtrack that's so smooth, you'll basically have a heart attack. For extra fun, play it via HDMI cable, using then your device as the steering wheel and your gigantic television as your display.
For an example of what N.O.V.A. has to offer, check out our peek at the G2x back at CTIA - it's still just as tight:
N.O.V.A. is not a brand new game and it doesn't require a dual-core processor to work, but it sure as heck looks massively impressive on this device, that much you can be sure of. Beyond that, everything is slick. Have a look at how fast everything loads up - no pauses:
The cameras on this device, again, are a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat and an 8-megapixel back-facing camera with the ability to record at 1080p.
You'll have just noticed that while the front-facing camera's video and photo capabilities are rather mortifying at 1.3-megapixels, it's not really meant for much other than live video chat - recording is just a bonus. On the back-facing camera, it's nothing but excellence. I need say no more. See a few more examples of photos and video back in our bigger G2x 8-Megapixel Photo and 1080p Video Examples post.
Phone and Performance
Calling in and out has seemed to have no issues whatsoever with volume and clarity. The one issue that we've seen that MIGHT end up being an issue is that, and this only happened once, but it's that concerning, a phonecall was dropped at the same moment the device dropped T-Mobile's 4G signal and moved to 2G. That said, download and upload speeds have seemed alright but have been recorded as not very fantastic. See our extended test back in our G2x Speed Tests Around the City post and see an example right here:
As for further performance, this phone's been quite amazing when it comes to opening and playing gigantically demanding games and movies, and it's been nothing but fabulous when it comes to browsing and doing everyday tasks. No complaints here! Have a look at our full G2x Dual-Core Optimized Benchmarks post and check out a couple examples here:
The battery on this device has been surprisingly excellent. While we're still having less than favorable results with battery time on the LTE version of 4G phone the HTC ThunderBolt, T-Mobile's 4G seems to have little to no effect on the battery at all. One full day of medium to high use has seemed to be about the amount of time you'll be able to use this phone without a need for a charge. That's impressive when you understand fully what this phone is capable of. When I write this review, the phone has been up with no charge for 15:30 hours with medium to high usage, (see that video up there with the games being flipped in and out? I just did that,) and the battery is still at 45%. I played about 30 minutes of a high def video on the phone as well (Tron Legacy, to be exact, check out the post where you see that example back [here].)
There are some people comparing this phone to the AT&T ATRIX 4G. Don't do that. It may have a few of the same guts, but this phone is the class. The form factor here is enough to be worth the average $200 a top-tier smartphone these days ought to cost, but surprise! It's selling for cheaper than that. The media collectors on this device are slick, and the media presenters on this device are double-slick. The screen size is perfect (unless you can't get enough of the slightly larger 4.3-inch screen that HTC is putting on basically every phone they're releasing, and the phone feels excellent in the hand and in the pocket.
LG and T-Mobile have more than likely agreed upon a Vanilla flavoring of this Android device's user interface so that it might pump up to fully modern once Android 2.3 Gingerbread is first available to it. The phone has two of the largest cameras available on the market today. There's a beautiful metal strip with Google engraved in it. The screen is one of the most responsive yours truly has ever engaged with.
So wait, what's bad about this phone? Connection speed, field of play, and the flash hole. The hole is on the back of the phone, basically a crater where dust and pocket lint will more than likely be getting caught as one keeps this device cycling through one's pocket. Field of play is limited by the stripped-down nature of the Android operating system as it exists without a manufacturer-added user interface plopped over it. This limits the phone to advanced users of Android - but what does that mean? It means that utterly new newbs probably wont be able to understand the inherent possibilities jumping around inside this phone, but they'll still very much enjoy it. Finally, the connection speed - we discussed this in short in the post above, and it is an issue if you plan on downloading apps without Wifi on the regular - if you're a Wifi lover, you're golden!
Should you buy this phone?
Of course you should! It's freaking amazing, and especially if you want to compete with the upcoming power of the G-Slate, you're going to need the overclockable power of the G2x on your side. It's a race to the top! Yours truly reviews phones VERY often and uses a single Android at a time for a carry-around. Will the G2x replace the phone I've been carrying around for the past couple of weeks? Sure it will!
At least for a couple more weeks, that is.