LG L3 review

The LG L3 is part of LG's line-up of 'L-Style' smartphones. The trio of devices share a similar design with the L3 the smallest and cheapest option with the lowest specification.

LG L3: Design

The LG L3 handset has a very square and flat look to it from the front. A glossy black screen bezel is surrounded by a silver metallic shell which runs round to the back. On the front a small physical Home button has touch sensitive Menu and Back buttons either side.

Turn the LG L3 over and you find a removable black plastic cover which hides the battery, SIM card slot and microSD card slot. This is reasonably thick and has a textured finish for added grip.

Overall we like the black and silver colour combination but the phone looks short and stumpy at 62 x 103mm. The L3 is nice and light at 109g but isn't as thin as we hoped at 11.9mm. See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?

LG L3: Build quality

We can't say that the L3 is anything special in terms of build quality but it's also no wet blanket. The handset feels quite solid, mostly thanks to its chunky shape and metal frame. The removable rear cover is plastic but isn't wafer-thin like we annoyingly find with a lot of handsets.

LG L3: Hardware

The LG L3's cheap price is reflected in its set of hardware which starts off with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800MHz single-core processor. LG doesn't specify the amount of RAM in the phone but the Geekbench 2 software we use for testing states it has 301MB – so not much at all.

Storage isn't very impressive at 1GB, but the redeeming factor is the microSD card slot which can be used to add up to a further 32GB. The L3 did better than expected in the Geekbench 2 tests with an average score of 434 over three rounds.

We were impressed with how quickly the L3 opened apps, faster than the HTC One V in a side-by-side race. It also coped surprisingly well with browsing desktop versions of web pages with only a small amount of lag with scrolling and zooming.

Being a compact handset, the L3 has a small 3.2-inch screen. This is slightly smaller than the iPhone 4S and HTC One V for comparison. The TFT display has an extremely low resolution of 240 x 320 which means app icons, widgets or anything on the screen look grainy and rough round the edges, quite literally.

Things get even worse if you don't look at the screen directly on, too. We found that the screen easily washed out after tilting the L3 only a small amount. This isn't too much of a problem when holding the device but is a real annoyance when it's on a desk or similar surface next to you.

It's just the basics when it comes to connectivity with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Externally there is a microUSB port and 3.5mm audio jack. See also: Group test: what's the best Android phone?

LG L3: Camera

We'd like to tell you that LG has sacrificed other specifications to include a decent camera, but it hasn't. The L3 comes with a paltry 3Mp rear facing camera and there is no front facing shooter whatsoever.

Pictures from the camera were unsurprisingly grainy because of the low resolution and with no built-in flash it had no chance coping with low light conditions. If you want a phone with a decent camera then the L3 is not the right choice.

LG L3: Software

Software is an important part of a smartphone and the L3 is regrettably let down by the well out of date Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It has LG's Optimus 2.0 Lite user interface but this doesn't help much.

The most notable part of LG's overlay is the easy access to connective and music player controls via the notification bar. There's nothing exciting in the way of pre-installed apps but you can, of course, download whatever you like from the Android Play Store. However, with only 1GB of memory you'll need to get to the shops for a microSD card before long.

LG L3: Battery life

We found battery life to be a positive feature of the L3. The low-end set of hardware meant that we got a good couple of days' worth of use out of the 5.5Wh battery. Unlike a lot of smartphones being released at the moment, the battery is removable in case you want to carry a spare around with you.

LG L3: Specs

  • Google Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread
  • LG Optimus 2.0 Lite
  • 3.2-inch (240 x 320) TFT display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800MHz single-core processor
  • 301MB RAM
  • 1GB internal storage
  • 3Mp rear camera
  • No front camera
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • microUSB
  • microSD card slot
  • GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • HSDPA 900/2100MHz
  • 5.55Wh battery
  • 62 x 103 x 11.9 mm
  • 109g
  • Google Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread
  • LG Optimus 2.0 Lite
  • 3.2-inch (240 x 320) TFT display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800MHz single-core processor
  • 301MB RAM
  • 1GB internal storage
  • 3Mp rear camera
  • No front camera
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • microUSB
  • microSD card slot
  • GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • HSDPA 900/2100MHz
  • 5.55Wh battery
  • 62 x 103 x 11.9 mm
  • 109g

OUR VERDICT

The LG L3 is cheap but doesn't really tick any other boxes. It has old software and an abysmal set of hardware with the all-important screen the worst of the lot. It's only saving grace is the good battery life but we recommend saving a few more pennies and going for the HTC One V or opting for the even cheaper Huawei Ascend G 300.

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