At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, LG launched the first 3D smartphone, the LG Optimus 3D. With its dual camera system, the phone doesn’t just support 3D video playback – it records in 3D too. Forget Avatar – you can now film baby’s first steps in 3D! And thanks to a partnership with YouTube, those 3D home movies can be posted directly to YouTube where they can be viewed in 3D right from your handset itself. Or, via an HDMI connection, they can be streamed to any 3D TV, too.
LG Optimus 3D: Not Too Bad, Actually
The biggest surprise with the Optimus 3D is how completely not awful it is. That’s not to be unkind, but when a company launches the “world’s first” anything, you sort of expect a halfway viable product. Instead, the Optimus’ 3D video ran well enough, we’d say – the 3D videos seemed fast, without major lagging. It was an engrossing experience when watching the video demos or when lining up that perfect shot in a 3D golf game. There was a narrow “sweet spot” for 3D viewing, however – holding the device at even a slight angle could disrupt the 3D effects.
Of course, 3D comes with a big downside too: headaches. In fact, when showing off the 3D adjustment slider – a feature that lets you incrementally increase or decrease the 3D effects through a touchscreen widget – an LG rep told us that “everyone will get a headache from 3D within 5 minutes.” We’re not exactly sure that’s true, but the overall point is valid. 3D may be here at last, and glasses-free too, but it’s not perfect by any means. The technology will affect different people in different ways. Some may get headaches immediately when toying with 3D phones like this, while others could probably handle a 30 minute gaming session without ever noticing negative side effects. As they say: “your mileage may vary.”
The LG phone also takes advantage of the 3D feature in its application launcher, something which operators love, we’re told, because it’s a great way to really sell the phone’s abilities. This feature lets you flip through app shortcuts to things like the Photo Gallery and the 3D YouTube app from a 3D carousel interface. It’s fun, but it also feels a bit gimmicky too. Fortunately, it’s not the only way to launch apps – you can still tap their homescreen icons too.
As far as the device itself, it’s a little bulky, but not too bad, with a 4.3-inch WVGA glasses-free 3D display, a dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP4 4430 processor, two 5-megapixel cameras set 24 mm apart, plus support for connectivity options like HDMI and DLNA.
Until reviewers can get hands-on with these devices, we can’t quantify the impact to the mobile device’s battery when using 3D. But an LG rep pointed out that the 3D file sizes are the same as their 2D counterparts and that the only burden to the battery is when the 2nd camera is activated during recording and when the 3D screen is activated for 3D content viewing. Neither action has a dramatic impact on battery life, he said. We’ll see.
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