The LG Optimus 3D, expected to arrive as the LG Thrill 4G for AT&T stateside, does one thing most other handsets can't do – glasses-free 3D on a 4.3-inch screen. But if you think that 3D is just a gimmick, the handset will not zealously try to convince you of the opposite as the feature is implemented very subtly so you can easily use the phone without it. The dual-core TI OMAP4430 chip paired with dual-channel memory makes the Optimus 3D one of the speediest handsets we've seen to date. Throw in full HD 2D video recording, and you get the main highlights of the Optimus 3D. It's not absolutely perfect, though, as it can be a bit too bulky for some and it comes with Android Froyo instead of Gingerbread.
The LG Optimus 3D has a hefty weight of 5.93 ounces (168 g) that you can instantly feel. It's not among the slimmest of phones either with 0.47 inches (11.9mm) of thickness, but while that might be a downer for some, it makes the phone feel solid in the hand. The 4.3-inch LCD screen with resolution of 480 x 800 pixels dominates the front and defines much of the handset's functionality. After all, it's among the first 3D parallax displays on a phone (the other is the HTC EVO 3D) allowing you to view 3D content glasses free. When in good ol' 2D mode, the screen has very good viewing angles, but a slightly disappointing direct sunlight legibility.
The LG Optimus 3D feels solid in the hand
You can compare the LG Optimus 3D with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
But how does glasses-free 3D work? Holding the 3D button on the right is when the magic happens and the screen shows its parallax nature by feeding your eyes 3D images and videos which you can see without glasses. Basically, parallax means that you have an extra slit plate atop the standard screen, which blocks part of the picture for each eye, so you see a slightly different variation of the same image with each of the eyes. The tradeoff? You'll have to be willing to sacrifice quality as you only get to see half of the horizontal resolution.
The parallax display
There is one key requirement for the whole magic to work – you have to look straight at the screen. Looking from the side, you'll only see shades and won't get a sense of depth, which means that only one person can enjoy the 3D view at a time. When gazing straight in, however, the screen unveils a very realistic 3D picture. Actually, the people who got to look at the Optimus 3D were impressed by the functionality and had lots of fun. But while the initial reaction is extremely positive, we have to mention that our eyes felt slightly tired after a couple of minutes. It all depends on the personal preference, though, if 3D is not the exact thing you're after, it seems likely that you'll find yourself playing with the feature only once in a while and mostly use the screen in the traditional 2D mode.
Taking your eyes off the screen, you'd notice that the LG Optimus 3D is actually made of plastic, but with a soft-touch coating on the back and a brushed metal-like finish up front it doesn't feel plasticky, which is a good thing. Below the screen there are four capacitive buttons reacting swiftly with haptic feedback, while an earspeaker, a proximity sensor and front-facing camera are above the display.
On the left, lid-protected and nested in the body of the Optimus 3D, are the microUSB and microHDMI-out port. On the opposite side, there is a volume rocker and a nifty little 3D button that toggles 3D mode on or off.
The top holds the lock key, a second microphone that the handset uses when recording audio and video and a 3.5mm standard headset jack.
The back of the LG Optimus 3D
Finally, the phone looks big and solid, but very well built. The somewhat boring colors contribute further to its serious looks. If you don't mind that along with the thick profile of the device, you'd be rewarded with a phone ready to serve you with top notch functionality.