The LG Optimus 3D has been getting great reviews,and has quickly become recognised as one of the leading mobile 3D TV devices. It's always been likely that mobile TV would become one of the preferred ways to watch 3D content for many viewers, and it's very likely that these devices will present a serious challenge to the big screen 3D TVs currently on the market.
Here we'll take a look at the LG Optimus 3D and examine what's good and not so good.
The first thing we noticed about the new LG Optimus 3D Smartphone was the presence of a second camera lens. They are positioned 2.5cm apart, the optimal width for shooting 3D video (think of the distance between an average person’s pupils).
The Optimus doesn’t just shoot video in 3D, though - it can play it back in 3D too, on its 4.3 inch (compare that with the iPhone 4’s 3.5 inches) autostereoscopic 480x800 LCD screen. So what does “autostereoscopic” mean? It means you can see the 3D without the help of special glasses. The trick behind this is something called a parallax barrier - a layer of material placed above the screen consisting of a series of tiny, precisely calibrated vertical slits. The 3D video is sent to the screen as a series of alternating vertical bands - a segment of the left eye image, followed by a segment of the right eye image and so on - and the barrier ensures that each eye only sees the image intended for it, hence the 3D.
The trade-off is that, compared with 3D with glasses, the viewing angle is somewhat narrow. We don’t think this is a major issue; it’s much easier to change the position of a hand held device than a widescreen television (unless, of course, you have more than one person watching).
Under the covers, the Optimus is running Android 2.2, powered by a 1GB dual core processor and 512MB of RAM. A special feature of this is that the memory has a dual channel mode. This means that each processor core can access the memory completely independently of the other, thanks to a full 64-bit memory bus (compared to the standard 32 bits). One core can also access both memory channels simultaneously, leaving the other to handle other tasks. We’re guessing here, but we can see how this dual access capability would prove useful when two independent video streams need to be processed simultaneously.
The video is true HD too, beating out the iPhone 4 at 1080p, with 720p available also. If you only want to shoot in 2D, you can do that as well. Apparently 3D and 2D use exactly the same amount of storage - we’re guessing that has something to do with the parallax barrier and, in terms of screen area, only half the screen being used for each eye. Speaking of storage, the Optimus comes with 8GB as standard, but this can be extended to 32GB through use of the micro SD slot.
Along with its impressive stats as a portable 3D viewing platform, the Optimus is a fully capable smartphone, supporting the GSM and UMTS networks, and EDGE data. The menu system is pretty cool too, taking advantage of the 3D with its cascading window views.
For gamers, it comes with three 3D games preloaded, all from popular mobile gaming vendor Gameloft. These include N.O.V.A. (Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance), a space-based 3D FPS. And if you find the 3D too distracting, you can “flatten” the viewing depth (reducing it all the way to 2D if you like) by use of an on-screen slider.
Apple are going to have to pull out all stops with their iPhone 5 to beat this. And for those who are already on the 3D bandwagon, it’s a great addition to their arsenal.