LG Optimus LTE pictures and hands-on

We're not certain that the LG Optimus LTE, or LU6200, will ever make it to the UK, but as a flagship device in its native Korea, and recently launching in Japan, we thought we'd have a quick play to see what it offers. 

Naturally the BIG thing in the name is the LTE, which we can't test in the UK until we see a proper 4G roll-out. But it's still an interesting Android handset which gives us an idea of the latest moves that LG are making.

It's interesting putting it in contrast with the launch of the LG Prada 3.0, of which you can find all the details here on Pocket-lint, because there is quite a gulf in design between the two phones. 

There isn't much to look at on the Optimus LTE when it comes to design. We had the white version and it's virtually identical to the HTC Sensation XL. It's certainly expansive in all directions at 67.9 x 132.9 x 10.4mm, although it’s not too big to handle. 

Flip it over and you'll find some detailing on the back cover. It's not the sort of thing you'd find on a handset launched in Europe, being composed of tiny 3D cubes, but we've seen things like this on handsets destined for the Korean market before. You also get the 8-megapixel camera on the back, along with the LED flash.

Buttons are kept to a minimum: the power/standby sits on the top and the volume down the left. Across the bottom of the screen you have touch controls, the central "home" control looks like a physical button but it isn't. The menu and back touch controls are pretty much invisible unless the back illumination comes on, although once you know they're there it isn't a problem. 

But the thing LG is most keen to shout about here is the display. At 4.5-inches there is plenty of space, but this is pared with a high resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, like the Galaxy Nexus. As such it trumps the Sensation XL, as too does the 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8660 dual-core processor.

The display is certainly impressive and with a ppi of 326 - the same as the iPhone 4S - it will render fine detail in things like text really well. It also doesn't suffer the same sort of problems that the Galaxy Nexus does at low brightness settings; although the whites do grey-out at minimum brightness, they don't get gritty and dirty like they do on Google's Ice Cream Sandwich launch device.

There is also an additional setting hiding in the Display menu, which offers to optimise apps for the higher resolution display. Basically when you install an app from Android Market it appears in this list with a check box. In some cases this setting will change the appearance of your app, in some cases it doesn't. For example, BBC iPlayer was squashed into a tiny box, whilst Angry Birds Seasons was larger with the effect applied; Facebook, on the other hand, appeared to be exactly the same. It's something to play with as it seems to have different results on different apps and in some cases, you might get a preferable result.

As the LG Optimus LTE comes from LG's U+ network in Korea, there is a lot loaded into the phone that we couldn't access - including the TV functions. There is also NFC, but again, something we couldn't look at.

Some of the interface changes have been made specifically for the Korean market, such as the changes to the keyboard. This wasn't too hard to unpick, but the English version of LG's keyboard didn't seem very good, easily bettered by a third-party keyboard like SwiftKey X.

Running the entire thing is currently Android 2.3.5, but LG have already declared that the LG Optimus LTE will be upgraded to Android 4.0 and so it should, as the hardware is certainly up-to-date. It has been skinned with LG's customisations that we've seen on their other 2011 phones, which isn't too offensive.

The camera offers Full HD video capture of average quality and the phone will play HD video, but there is sadly no HDMI as there is on the Optimus 2X and Optimus 3D.

Overall it feels and plays like a powerful phone, but in its current guise the design isn't the most inspiring: we don’t think it looks as pretty as the Galaxy Nexus, but that display certainly does a fantastic job.

We're not sure this model will be hitting the UK, but it's a phone loaded with tech and hopefully LG's next flagship handset will offer us some great hardware to get excited about. Oh, and it also came with two 1830mAh batteries in the box, so either LG are being generous, or they don't expect the battery to last long...

Why not read our Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich review?