Look and feel
The LG Optimus L3 II sports a dinky-yet-chunky design, which should survive some punishing journeys in a bag or purse despite the flexible screen and slightly off join. It’s comfortable to hold one-handed, but the home button is very narrow.
Ease of Use
That tiny screen isn’t ideal for web browsing and app use, and the low resolution means you’ll need to zoom right into a website to see what’s going on.
Although the Optimus L3 II still sports the funky glowing home button that we loved on the L5 II, the camera is basic at best.
The single-core processor struggles at times, even when typing on the virtual keyboard and running other basic tasks. Only basic games run smoothly.
The LG Optimus L3 II’s strongest feature is its battery life. You can easily get a weekend of use, or seven hours of video playback, before the screen fades to black.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,6/19/2013 12:49:08 PM
Ease of use
Good battery life;
Comfortable to hold
Tiny low-res screen;
LG’s Optimus L3 II is the tiniest member of LG’s new L-Series phones, designed to pack in plenty of features and decent performance at a highly affordable price. We enjoyed the four-inch Optimus L5 II, which crammed in more than we expected for a £125 smartphone, but the 3.2-inch Optimus L3 II strips back the features and suffers as a result.
The Optimus L3 II is a squat 3.2-inch smartphone with a chunky build. Not so chunky that it feels like a brick, and you certainly won’t struggle to slip it into your pocket – in fact, the compact length makes it ideal for carrying in a purse. It’s also comfortable to operate one-handed, even if you suffer from stubby fingers. Our main complaint is the incredibly slender home button, which sometimes takes a couple of attempts to push.
LG has used a uniform design for its L Series II phones, so once again the front is plain black while the plastic rear sports a funky brushed metal finish. The screen is easily pushed in, causing the display to distort, and the backing plate never quite fits perfectly onto the frame – we found there was always a tiny gap. However, it never came loose accidentally and the Optimus L3 II can be thrown into a backpack without worrying about it falling apart.
Low res screen
When smartphones have a sub-£100 price tag, their screens tend to be low resolution, which makes images look blocky and ugly. The Optimus L3 II is no exception. Videos are pixellated (but still watchable) and web browsing is particularly difficult, as you need to zoom right into a page to read the text. In fact, in Google Chrome we couldn’t even tell how many tabs we had open, as the number was impossible to read. We also found some links were difficult to tap on.
The dinky screen size means the virtual keyboard is compacted into very little space, but strangely we didn’t find it too irritating to type on. That’s in part down to the excellent auto-correct feature, which seemed to guess what we were trying to poke out almost every time.
Performance is also impacted by the budget specs, with the single-core 1GHz processor occasionally struggling to keep up (a problem that Samsung’s Galaxy Fame and Galaxy Young also suffered). Occasionally quitting out of an app takes several seconds longer than it should, and even when tapping a text field in a webpage, you may experience a lengthy pause before the virtual keyboard pops up. Thankfully we were able to play the likes of Temple Run 2 with only the odd stutter, so casual games should run fine.
The Optimus L3 II’s battery life compensates in some form for the jittery performance, giving you enough power to last an entire weekend. Of course, if you start abusing it with constant video streaming, you can expect a still-marvellous seven hours of playback.
We were pleased to see that some of the Optimus L5 II’s features had made it onto the L3 II, such as the ability to personalise app icons and the nifty glowing home button that warns you of waiting messages. Of course, some other features have been trimmed right down.
A 3MP rear camera takes basic photos, fine for capturing simple Facebook snaps but not much more. There’s no manual focus so close-up shots always come out blurry, there’s no flash so evening shots are too dark to be of any use, while even daytime shots have a hazy quality about them. Features are limited to scene selection and manual setting adjustments, and you don’t have a front-facing camera for web chats.
We loved LG’s Optimus L5 II, which crammed an impressive range of features into a slender frame for just £125. Sadly the Optimus L3 II has stripped back on features and contends with a tiny low-res screen, while performance isn’t quite up to scratch. Considering the small jump up in price, we’d have to recommend bagging the Optimus L5 II or Huawei’s Ascend G510 instead.