LG Optimus L5 2

29th May 2013 | 16:30

LG Optimus L5 2

Is the awkward second album better than before?

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

The Optimus L5 2 is a decent device. In a less crowded market, or against less of its siblings, we could see the L5 2 carving out a bit of a name for itself. However, it's up against Samsung's Galaxies in a very crowded market.

Like:

Handy Quick Key; MicroSD support; Good battery life; Intuitive UI;

Dislike:

No auto brightness; Laggy processor; No front camera; Poor internal storage;

Introduction

It seems a long time ago that LG was helping dominate the mobile market, with phone offerings such as the LG Chocolate. In reality, 7 years is more than a long time in tech, with LG's more recent mobile offerings often failing to hit the same mark they did before.

That said, LG's partnership with Google created not only the latest (and possibly last) Nexus 4 device, but also one of the hottest pieces of mobile tech that easily rivalled the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5.

Much like Samsung, LG is banking on its Optimus range, now equipped with the Optimus G Pro and Optimus 4XHD, to take on the world. Aimed at the budget end of the market, LG created the L Series, now in its second iteration, packed with the LG Optimus L3 2, Optimus L5 2 and the upcoming Optimus L7 2.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

Hitting price points of around £13 per month, or £120 out right, the Optimus L5 2 is set to battle it out against the Huawei Ascend G510, Sony Xperia J and Samsung Galaxy Ace 2. Does it have the clout?

LG is hardly reinventing the wheel with the design of the Optimus L5 2, with a very square all glass front and prominent home button sat front and centre, just below the screen.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

We can't help but feel a tiny bit disappointed with this kind of design, as we love design innovation, but the Optimus L5 2 is a very smart piece of kit.

Measuring in at a 117.5 x 62.2 x 9.2mm, and weighing in at 103g, LG has created a slim and light device. The Optimus L5 2 sits very comfortably in the hand and the pocket, and at only 66 per cent the weight of the Ascend G510 is a lot less noticeable. Despite the weight, or lack of it, the build of the Optimus L5 2 still feels sturdy.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

As we said, LG's L Series was designed to be the budget range, with the Optimus L5 2 sitting right in the middle of the Optimus L3 2 and L7 2.

With this in mind, we weren't expecting mind blowing specifications, and the 1GHz single-core processor alongside 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage seem to fit with the pricing, although LG has seen fit to equip the L3 2 with the same specs.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

Interestingly, the LG Optimus L5 2 seems to have near identical specifications to the lower powered Huawei Ascend G330.

This is more than a little confusing. LG does equip the Optimus L5 2 with Android Jelly Bean, with a basic overlay. In the form of camera sensors , the Korean firm have interestingly only given the L5 2 a 5MP rear facing sensor.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

Whilst disappointing, given that the aforementioned Ascend G510, Xperia J and Galaxy Ace 2 all have a front facing snapper, we can be a bit forgiving as the low resolutions that were on offer almost made them redundant.

LG has also graced the Optimus L5 2 with a 4-inch screen at 480 x 800 pixels, so by no means the HD definition that we've become accustomed to on flagship powerhouses, yet still clear enough for day to day use. Elsewhere, the L5 2 comes with 3G, Bluetooth and NFC.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

We said that L5 2 sits comfortably in the hand, and the 4-inch screen is easy enough to hit with one hand. Thankfully, LG has placed all the standard buttons in familiar (unlike on the Huawei Ascend G510) and easy to hit places, with the power/lock button on the right hand side, with the volume rocker sat on the left, just below a customisable quick key (more on that later).

Just below the screen sit the almost traditional backlit soft keys, replacing the need for Android's on screen controls.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

We only mention the backlighting as we found that its exclusion on the Ascend G510 meant that the buttons were a little hard to see. The back and menu key sit either side of a physical home button.

The home button has a nice LED light behind it, that illuminates whilst charging, during calls and alarms as well as for notifications and missed events. Downloaded apps can also make use of the light.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

In the way of ports, the Optimus L5 2 comes with the obligatory 3.5mm headphone jack (on the top) and the microUSB data/charge port in the base.

We're big fans of the placement or the microUSB as it makes using the L5 2 easier whilst charging, as for the headphone port, the positioning debate will continue long after this review.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

The back cover is smart and fully removable, wrapping around the sides of the L5 2. The plastic has a brushed metallic look, and whilst completely smooth, provides a decent level of grip so you don't drop it. Along with the LG logo, are the loud speaker, camera sensor and LED flash.

With the back cover wrapping around to the front of the L5 2, there is no set place with which to work the cover off. That said, we found it pretty easy to work our short finger nails under it at any corner, or buy using the gap for the microUSB port.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

The ease of removal left us a little worried about dropping the Optimus L5 2, but on the one occasion we did drop it (on carpet), we're pleased to say it stayed on.

Behind the back cover there is access to the 1700mAh battery, the standard SIM slot, as well as the fiddly, hot swappable microSD slot.

First impressions of the LG Optimus L5 2 are pretty promising. The plastic feel, and standard layout match the price tag, but being light and easy to use one handed show LG may have hit a sweet spot.

Interface

In just about every review of an Android device, we have to mention that nearly every OEM is now putting some level of overlay to the Android software. Unfortunately, we don't have a name for the UI on the Optimus L5 2.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

What LG has done to Jelly Bean on the L5 2, on the whole, is relatively basic and not too dissimilar to a lot of other UI's we have seen. It's clean, simple and very pleasant to use.

Starting at the lockscreen there are four apps at the bottom that can be quick launched. We like this approach, especially as it makes loading the camera quicker - or so we thought.

It turned out that the 1GHz single-core processor took a few seconds to load the app, which was a little disheartening. Opening the lock screen is done by placing your finger on the screen, and swiping outwards, slowly making the homescreen appear.

LG has only seen fit to provide five home screens, with widget happy users probably finding that this is a little inhibiting. Chuck in the Google Now, Clock and Gmail widgets, and the home screen space suddenly starts to feel a little restricted.

This isn't helped by the persistent Google search bar at the top of the page which makes everything seem a tad cramped.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

Maybe the lack of home screen space is to the Optimus L5 2's advantage, as we found that the processor didn't cope as well as we had hoped, swiping between home screens was by no means lightning fast and adding data intensive widgets to the mix will certainly not help the situation.

Widgets are accessed via the app drawer, having their own dedicated tab. They can also be accessed via long pressing a space on any homescreen. Some widgets are resizable, so you can make them bigger or smaller, but there is no clear indication as to which ones have this ability.

The main stay of any widget array, is the clock/weather widget. We've seen LG's clock/weather widget elsewhere, on other OEM's devices, but as we have commented before, it is a smart looking and functional clock.

One neat feature, and one of the highlights of what we thought was a generally poor UI from Huawei, is the ability to change themes on the LG Optimus L5 2. As we said in our Ascend G510 review, "changing the icons as well as the wallpaper, almost gave the phone a new feel".

LG Optimus L5 2 review

We know it's only a small touch, but it is the small touches as well as the larger innovations that make the UI feel intuitive.

Things like being able to create folders by dragging one icon onto another as in iOS, for instance, or the ability to long press an icon in order to change its look all add to this.

We were a little disappointed to find that there was no infinite scroll, but we did manage to find a toggle for that whilst digging through the settings.

The app drawer was easy to use, nothing really more than just the stock Android offering. The downloads tab did make it easier to filter out the preinstalled rubbish, although we were pleased to say that it was possible to uninstall at least some of the bloatware.

We were impressed that we were able to rearrange the icons according to taste, our preference being alphabetical. That soon faded, however, as after we downloaded more apps, we found that they had just added themselves to the end of the list, rather than being automatically sorted.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

Like many other OEMs, LG has graced the Optimus L5 2 with some quick settings in the notifications bar. This is a feature that has become prevalent in modern UI's, HTC Sense, Samsung's TouchWiz and Huawei's Emotion UI are all equipped with them.

All manner of settings, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC and Portable hotspot can be switched on and off from the notifications bar.

Interestingly though, there is no brightness button. Instead, LG has decided to equip its UI with a brightness slider, like we saw on the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini. Given all the power settings, we found this disappointing.

Android's Jelly Bean experience, swipable and expanding notifications, is also present making it easy to dismiss the spam emails, or a Facebook message that you "don't want" when you're at work. The multi-tasking pane, accessed by long pressing the home button, is also present.

It is clear that LG has given its UI a decent level of thought, with the Optimus L5 2 feeling generally intuitive throughout.

There are a few niggles, such as the auto brightness, however we found that the biggest problem was the lack of processing grunt, meaning that loading the camera took a few seconds, and swiping between the screens sometimes seems a bit laboured.

Contacts and calling

Contacts

The LG Optimus L5 2 follows in the same way that all Android smart phones do, pulling in contacts from all across your various social networking feeds.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

Interestingly, and we have found that this is the case on an increasing number of devices, the L5 2 doesn't come with the Facebook app preinstalled. Thankfully this can be downloaded from the Google Play Store easily enough.

LG's contacts app is little more than functional. It's a smart list, but still just a list, albeit with some small contact photos. The colour scheme almost seems a little industrial, as if LG didn't think to extend some of its attractive UI touches to the app.

The biggest advantage to the Android contact system is its integration with your Google account(s).

Those of us that have long had Google accounts, and have worked the system online are at a big advantage, and it is something that we would have to recommend, as the Google contact system is second to none.

That said, the LG Optimus L5 2 does a good job of pulling all your contacts down from your social networks, and off of your SIM card.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

All contacts can be sorted so you can choose not to display contacts from different accounts, or filter out contacts that don't have phone numbers. This is a godsend as Android has a habit of pulling down nigh on everybody that you've ever emailed.

The small contact photos are selectable, bringing up a quick selection of methods to contact that person, or you can open the contact itself, thereby being able to view every manner in which to contact that person, or edit their details.

Swiping left and right over the contacts takes you to different tabs, namely the dial pad, call logs, favourites and groups sections.

Each section is very self explanatory, being yet more lists of your most recent calls, most frequently contacted people, or of groups of people (should you be that organised).

Calling

In order to be a smartphone there would have to be a certain level of calling abilities. The LG Optimus L5 2 handles it impeccably.

To even begin to make a call, you need to have cellular coverage. We did notice times that no coverage was seeming to be received, but in honesty, we didn't expect to receive coverage in those areas.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

When we made a call, we were impressed by the clarity of the speakers. We didn't have to raise our voice, nor were we asked to repeat ourselves.

Within the call, you are presented with the standard Android call options, so again we were a little disheartened that LG hadn't provided more overlay touches.

That said, the stock Android call features are very well stocked, providing everything that you need; end call, dial pad, headset etc.

Within the Phone app, there is a smart T9 app, in an off white colour, that supports smart dialling. Typing 323 bringing up both 'Dad', as well as any contacts with 323 within the contact number. You can also choose to message the number selected, rather than calling, from the dial screen.

The lack of front facing camera is a massive clue that the LG Optimus L5 2 doesn't include video calling. Skype is available to download from the Google Play Store, however, and can be used for both IM and voice calls.

Messaging

Arguably more important than the phoning capabilities of a smart phone, are its messaging capabilities.

Being an Android device, the LG Optimus L5 2 does come with just about every form of messaging capabilities that you can think of.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

SMS, the now oft forgotten MMS, IM and Email capabilities are all out in full force.

Varying IM applications are available to download off the Play Store, such as the very popular Snapchat, Whatsapp, Kik and Facebook messenger applications, to sit alongside Google's Talk (soon to be replaced by Google Hangout) IM program.

Google also provide their superb Gmail application, as well as the more generic email app.

The SMS app is one of the nicest stock text applications that we have seen to date.

On the face it is just a list of all the text conversations that you have going. Dig a little deeper by opening up different conversations and you'll find that the conversations can be themed.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

Whilst there is no option to set different themes for different conversations, we found that having different backgrounds and matching coloured text bubbles made the app very pleasing to the eye, far more so than the TouchWiz variant on the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2.

Sending group messages is also very easy, the small icon in the top right that looks a little like the contacts icon brings up your contact list. From there it's a case of selecting multiple contacts, either from the contacts list or from favourites and groups.

Google has put a lot of thought into both of its email applications, although there is obviously far more support for the Gmail app.

Gmail has been around for a while, and has long been touted as one of, if not the best mailing system available, and the app has support for everything that you get on the desktop, including the labelling system.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

You can sideswipe between messages, and mark unread to remind you to read later. One tiny gripe we have do have with both the Gmail and email apps are that HTML files don't display automatically, although we can see this being very useful for limited data allowances.

The standard email app contains just about everything that you could want; aggregated inbox, folders, varying font sizes etc. The message layout is a simple affair, showing who they're from, the subject line and first line of the email. We don't need much from an email client, and this will more than suffice.

In order to type out your messages with ease, you will need a decent keyboard. Unfortunately we can't say that the Optimus L5 2 has one.

There really is one word that we can use to describe LG's offering, and that is fiddly. It could be because the screen was a little smaller than we're used to, but the buttons were a little close together.

This wouldn't be too bad if there was a decent level of autocorrect built in. There is a certain level, but we found that on the whole, it was very poor, struggling to understand the words we had mashed with our larger fingers.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

The problem was exacerbated typing one handed, which was disappointing as the screen is the right size to be used one handed.

In landscape mode, the keyboard is understandably easier to operate as the keys are a lot bigger. You do also have to sacrifice screen space so you cannot see what you are replying to.

Maybe we haven't quite gotten the knack for landscape typing, or our hands are a little small, but the 4-inch screen did feel a little large.

Internet

As has been mentioned time and again, internet browsing is becoming increasingly important whilst on the move. As shocking as it may seem for a device that is pitched right down in the budget end of the market, the LG Optimus L5 2 doesn't come with a 4G connection.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

With LTE chips still generally being the preserve of the highest end flagship devices, and with 4G connections still not being massive in the UK, we can more than forgive its exclusion, especially with 3G speeds still being more than enough for the 1GHz processor to take.

In terms of browser offering, LG has made 2 different browsers available; stock Android or Google Chrome.

We don't ever see anybody using both, so it would have been nice for LG to make at least one of them removable.

When it comes to choosing which browser is the best, it's very much a case of 'flip a coin'. Both browsers are very well stocked, and provide a near identical experience to the user. Speed differences between browsers are also negligible.

We personally recommend Chrome, as it ties in better with the Chrome desktop experience, but don't take our word for it, as both allow you to access your bookmarks on the go. Incognito browsing is also available through both browsers.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

Neither browser supports automatic text reflow, however both support certain levels of zoom.

The native browser requires you to pinch to zoom, and then double tap the screen, with text reflowing then.

Chrome requires a double tap, but only zooms to make the text fit the page, without customising the zoom level.

Offline viewing is also available, saving the pages as images. Whilst functional, this means that there is no ability to open links within the page, even when your data connection returns.

Standard Android options include the ability to exit text easily. Long pressing on an area of text brings up two sliders, marking the beginning and end of highlighted text.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

These can be adjusted to you select as much, or as little text as needed, then tapping again to copy the words to the clipboard.

Elsewhere in the settings, there are varying toggles, such as the useful ability to turn off image loading and disable plug ins, ideal for those on restrictive data plans.

Settings also highlights the security features on offer, such as password management and location features.

The internet browsing on the LG Optimus L5 2 was little more than functional.

On the hardware side, the screen is bright enough, and everything always appears sharp and the single-core processor didn't slow the browsing experience down enough to warrant any real comment.

Camera

Matching the competition pixel for pixel (Samsung Galaxy Ace 2, Huawei Ascend G510 and Sony Xperia J), the LG Optimus L5 2 comes with a distinctly average 5MP rear sensor.

Unlike the aforementioned phones though, the L5 2 comes with no front facing camera for those all important video calls and pouty profile pics.

The camera can be launched from the lock screen, which seems to save a few seconds. The reality of the 1GHz processor meant that it still took a few seconds to do so.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

Whilst this is no major problem, if you plan to quickly snap a cat in a funny pose, chances are it will have moved on before the camera has loaded.

The most interesting feature that the LG Optimus L5 2's camera has is its 'cheese shutter'. We really don't see a massive amount of point for its inclusion, it is more a novelty, but it is a lot of fun to play with.

It does what you would expect, utter a key word such as the oft used "cheeeeeeeeeeese", and the camera will automatically take a photo.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

It's a fun feature to play with, but it is just as simple to press the shutter button. The bigger bonus we found was the so called Quick Button.

A scroll through the settings menu brings up the options to change it, and it can be set to quick launch the camera app, and then as the shutter within the app.

We tested this function out with the Quick Memo (the default) app set as the quick launch, and we found that the camera would take a photo, and then allow you to doodle on the image. However, the unedited image was not automatically stored before editing.

In terms of features, the Optimus L5 2 camera has just about all you would expect; flash, image size, geotagging, three colour effects (mono, sepia and negative), scene modes, iso, white balance and a timer.

Generally we found that these features are not of much use on mobile cameras, tending to be for the more serious photographer.

More interestingly is the ability to take panorama shots, something that has become an Android staple. Again this is a feature that we do not see being used very often, but its always nice to have its inclusion.

LG Optimus L5 review

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LG Optimus L5 review

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LG Optimus L5 review

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LG Optimus L5 review

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LG Optimus L5 review

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Video

Unsurprisingly, the video recorder app on the LG Optimus L5 2 is just an extension of the camera app.

This means that the same basic features are out in effect; adjusting exposure and white balance, adding colour effects and geotagging.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

It is clear, should you have thought otherwise, that the L5 2 was not designed for filming home movies, rather just short films that you can easily share with friends.

We don't see that being a problem, we can imagine the L5 2 being bandied around teens on limited data allowances, rather than movie makers.

We mention this because video recording is limited to VGA (640x480) resolution, and you can turn off audio recording, thereby saving even more data.

In viewing mode it is also possible to share videos directly with varying social media; WhatsApp, Facebook or YouTube.

Media

By this point it is probably clear that the LG Optimus L5 2 was not designed for media creation, with the emphasis being more upon media consumption. Thankfully, the L5 2 is not so lacking in this area.

Overall our biggest concern with the L5 2 is the rear speaker. Whilst being very loud, the sound produced was of a lower quality, i.e. tinny.

Thankfully this problem doesn't persist whilst using headphones, and audio effects are also available whilst using them. There isn't much on offer; bass enhancement/reduction, treble booster or vocal booster.

Music

LG Optimus L5 2 review

For the low price point that the Optimus L5 2 hits, we weren't expecting anything amazing, certainly not to the awesome levels of the flagship HTC One, but given that cheaper HTC Desire C comes packing Beats Audio software, we might have hoped for more.

Even the Huawei Ascend G510 comes with DTS audio software that, whilst having "very little effect", at least showed a level of thought from the Chinese.

The music app on the L5 2 is a lot nicer than the one found on the Chinese offering. For starters, it has the ability to show a music controller in the notifications bar.

You can also set a sleep time to turn the player off automatically, ideal if you want something soft to send you to sleep. Simple touches but all together make the L5 2 seem more intuitive.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

There are also other handy features, such as the ability to view lyrics (if downloaded) by tapping the album artwork, side swiping between songs and our personal favourite, the ability to search YouTube for the video by tapping the icon that looks a little bit like a TV.

Overall LG has clearly put some thought into the look and use of the app, the large artwork and the brushed metal effect are very attractive, and it is an easy to use and intuitive.

Video

The video app is a little less feature packed. Supporting video playback of MPEG4, H.263 and H.264 file types.

Having a dedicated video app seems to be something standard, but it was something that was excluded on the Ascend G510 that we've mentioned once or twice.

Features wise, the Optimus L5 2 packs in the ability to adjust the brightness within the player by sliding your finger up and down, or move back and forward through the movie by swiping left and right.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

You can also lock the screen whilst watching a video, so that erroneous touches don't affect your viewing experience. Again, simple touches that make the LG seem more intuitive.

LG has thankfully popped in microSD support for the Optimus L5 2. This is a feature that is often missed out, with HTC having decided that there is not enough room in some of its highest end devices recently.

Having a decent microSD card will prove to be a godsend with the L5 2, as the internal storage that was quoted at 4GB is a lot closer to 2GB with the OS chucked in.

FM Radio

With the exclusion of an FM Radio being a small talking point on the Samsung Galaxy S4, we've come to appreciate its inclusion in other devices.

Maybe we shouldn't, as it is still a generally accepted feature of a modern smart phone. As an app, it is again, well designed with a large scroll bar in the centre.

As always, you need some headphones plugged in, though you can play music through the rear speaker. In terms of functionality, the L5 2 found none of the stations we expected it to, so we were highly disappointed.

We manually tuned to the known frequencies, but the FM Radio struggled to pick them up clearly.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

Gallery

Photo's are accessed via the Gallery App. The app itself is attractive, with tiles showing each folder in a grid.

Being an Android phone, we were relieved to see that the Optimus L5 pulled in our Picasa/Google+ photo albums, although not our Facebook albums.

There were some basic photo editing options available, accessed by the menu button. These include image rotation, cropping, light levels editing, basic image effects, and colour levels.

These effects are fun to play with, and can make images brighter and more interesting, yet we don't see them being used often.

Battery life and connectivity

Battery life

Battery life is one of the hottest topics of any smart phone review, with our HTC One review being updated to 5 stars due an increase in its battery capabilities.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

On a modern smartphone you should at the very least expect a whole days usage from it, something that seems very fair. That said, everybody uses their phones for different things, so it can be a bit more difficult.

Moving up from featurephones, where batteries can easily last a week on a charge, might be a bit of a shock.

For starters LG claims the Optimus L5 2 can last two days before needing a charge. Whilst this might not be a week, two days is a very impressive figure for a smartphone.

With our video tests the 1700mAh battery is comparable with just about every battery that we have tested, being less impressive than the smaller (1500mAh) Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini battery, but on par with the Huawei Ascend G510.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

That said, we put the Optimus L5 2 through a day's standard use, played a few games, sent a few texts, made a few calls and we still had considerable charge left.

After a day's light usage, on Wi-Fi all day, sending a few texts, receiving one phone call and sending two emails, we hard 56% battery left.

The big disappointment with the battery life is that the there is no auto brightness setting for the screen. That said, that often meant that we had it on the lowest setting whilst inside which can only have helped preserve the battery.

Being able to quickly toggle through most of the power settings in the notification menu also helped a lot.

Connectivity

As smartphones become more and more connected, this section gets a little more difficult to write each time without sounding like we're filling every phone going with oodles of praise. We're going to try and start this section then, with some negatives.

Would you believe it but the Optimus L5 2 doesn't come with 4G or DLNA streaming?! OMG right?! NO INFRARED EITHER?! Shocking. Let's face it, these features are only starting to grace the highest end phones (the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z).

We can be a bit more sceptical over DLNA streaming though, as that did manage to make its way over to competition like the Ascend G510.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

What you do get, is a 3G, NFC and Bluetooth enabled, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) toting smartphone with GPS and A-GPS support. It's a fairly standard, but still impressive spec sheet. The Optimus L5 2 does also double up as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot.

We don't envision this being used a lot, as we can imagine the contracts that accompany the L5 2 to come with some severely restricted data allowances, but it works well if you have a bit more data to gobble through.

Connection to a PC is done via the supplied microUSB cable. The Optimus L5 2 then provides a couple of options that can be changed whilst connected. These are Charge, Media Sync (MTP), USB Tethering, LG Software or Camera (PTP).

Media Sync is just a fancy way of saying that the Optimus L5 2 is connected up as a mass storage device, to drag and drop files from the PC to the phone.

We were a little worried by the warning message on our PC saying that the L5 2 might not be able to play the files we had transferred, but this wasn't an issue.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

The filing system on the L5 2 meant that anything transferred can be easily accessed via the bundled File Manager.

The other options available are fairly standard, allowing a quicker charge via the USB cable, sharing the L5 2's data connection as a wired modem, or transferring files using downloaded software.

Maps and apps

Maps

LG Optimus L5 2 review

We won't go into much detail with regards to the Google Maps app, as the chances are that you have heard it all before, and have a fairly good understanding of the app through any use on other devices, or through browsing the web on your desktop.

Being possibly the most well known Google product, after its search function, Google Maps was always going to get a lot of love and attention.

As with every iteration on every device, the application is absolutely superb.

Google Maps also includes Navigation software. We've always been impressed by Google's effort here, not least because its free.

There are other Satnav apps available from the Play Store, but for when you're in a spot of bother, Google will easily sort you out.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

GPS lock on wasn't the fastest, possibly hindered by the slower processor behind the L5 2, however we were found and had a route planned quickly enough.

Apps

Google's Play Store is pushing Apple further and further in terms of app store population. Split into categories, with general apps and games being split and then split further still.

Usefully, Games and Apps are viewable by Top Free, Top Paid, Top Grossing, Top New Free and Top New Paid, helping to filter out the rubbish.

In the way of preinstalled apps, the LG Optimus L5 2 does come with some useful, and some not so useful apps. For starters there are the standard Google apps such as Google+, Talk, Gmail, Google Play, Play Music and YouTube, alongside the Mapping apps such as Maps, Local and Navigation.

LG Optimus L5 2 review

The included *cough* insanely popular Google+ is the only social media offering, with Twitter and Facebook available to download.

We're disappointed that they weren't included, but given that the internal storage is somewhat limited (2.1GB of the 4GB that was quoted), this might prove to be a popular decision.

In the way of non standard apps, LG has provided an Application Manager (that allows you to uninstall certain apps, though none that we downloaded from the Play Store oddly enough), Quick Memo, an app that by standard can be launched from the Quick Button, and allows you take to take notes and doodle on screen shots.

There is also the a Polaris Office viewer, Remote Call Service to allow LG to take over your phone and diagnose problems, as well as Safety Care.

The last one is a particularly interesting app. Whilst in general there is not a whole lot of functionality, should you hit an emergency, it kicks in.

When making a call to the emergency services, or should you not use the phone for a long time, a message is sent out to selected contacts providing details of your location.

LG bill this as ideal for the elderly or for young children. We are very impressed by the apps inclusion, especially as we can see the Optimus L5 being used for young teenagers. In an increasingly dangerous world, it is nice to see OEM's helping keep parent's minds at ease.

Hands on gallery

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

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LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

LG Optimus L5 2 review

Verdict

Having played with the LG Optimus L5 2 for a little while now, we can reach our verdict. We were a little disappointed initially with the specification sheet reading remarkably similar to its cheaper, smaller brother the Optimus L3 2, and the little brother to the Huawei Ascend G510, the Ascend G330.

That said, with other areas upgraded, and a newer OS, the Optimus L5 2 manages to give its competition a run for their money.

We Liked

The biggest plus point we found with the LG Optimus L5 2 was the battery life. This is possibly the most subjective of all the points that we could raise, but the lower processor speed seemed to have worked wonders on the battery longevity. We don't really ever see us hitting the two days that LG has quoted, but one day's use is more than viable.

We also loved the Quick Button. It is only a very minor thing at first, and we don't really see much use for the Quick Memo app other than to doodle on images... ok we see a lot of use for Quick Memo.

The Quick Button really comes into its own though, when used to quickly launch the camera app, as it then doubles up as a shutter button, something that we really wish was on more smart phones.

The inclusion of NFC was also a nice bonus as it's a technology that we predict will slowly infiltrate itself to all manner of devices, the most obvious being other phones, and payment points.

This isn't something that might be one of our top features on a PAYG phone, but if you are signing up to a two year contract, it's nice to know that the Optimus L5 2 has some level of future-proofing.

We were also impressed with the UI. Overall it felt very intuitive, and allowed for a certain level of customisation such as home screen, or conversation themes. LG has also put some effort into giving stock apps a more attractive and smarter feel. Often it was small touches, but LG has got it right.

We Disliked

We really did like the UI, but this might have proved a bit taxing on the smaller processing power. The single core 1GHz innards are by no means the most powerful, and with the Optimus L3 2 also being blessed with the same chip, we can't help but feel a little cheated.

We also feel a little hard done by, as there is no auto brightness feature. This is something that seems to have made its way to nigh on every smart phone going, so its exclusion is almost unfathomable.

As for the keyboard, maybe we have larger fingers but we found that it was very fiddly at times, with correcting mistakes also being a little bit difficult.

The autocorrect was also rather poor. We have seen far better keyboards on similar devices, HTC's being notable for their superb offerings. There was also a lack of Swype style feature.

Our other biggest gripe with the LG Optimus L5 2 was the lack of a front facing camera. We thought that front facing camera's, even VGA camera's that appear on the older Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 or the Sony Xperia J, were becoming a more standard feature.

It does mean less pouty duck face profile pictures (thank goodness), but it also means no Skype video calling.

Final Verdict

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The LG Optimus L5 2 is a very interesting proposition. Single handedly, it will certainly not propel LG back to the forefront of the mobile market. Then again, it was never meant to.

LG' s Optimus range is pitched very squarely against its Korean brethren's Galaxy range, and in all honesty it is hard to see the Galaxy range of devices ever coming out underneath.

The clout that Samsung has created with its highest end devices propel every other device to the fore. The L5 2 also sits awkwardly in the L series range, with near identical internal specs as the smaller Optimus L3 2. This means it is hard to see the L5 2 selling in any sort of massive numbers.

This is very disappointing really, as the Optimus L5 2 is a decent device. In a less crowded market, or against less of its siblings, we could see the L5 2 carving out a bit of a name for itself.

With a very decent battery life and NFC , it has enough to take on the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 and the Huawei Ascend G510.

We can easily see this being a popular phone amongst younger users, and their parents as the safety care app is a smart choice. For £10-15pm, or £120 out right, compromises were always going to have to be made, the question is, can you forgive the lack of front camera and the smaller processor?

If you can, check the LG Optimus L5 2 out for yourself, if not, then this won't ever be the phone for you.

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