AT&T's first 3D phone, the LG Thrill 4G, was a wise choice. The Thrill is the US version of the LG Optimus 3D, a phone that was well received in Europe. It has high end specs that include a dual core 1GHz CPU, a 4.3" 3D display, HD 2D and 3D video recording, a front camera for video chat and 4G HSPA+ 14.4Mbps. That's a lot of phone for $99 with contract. And we mean that in the literal sense too: the Thrill 4G is a relatively large smartphone that's as big as the 4.5" Samsung Infuse 4G, and is a bit larger than the 4.3" HTC HD7S Windows Phone.
The LG Thrill runs Android OS 2.2 Froyo, and it's upgradable to 2.3 Gingerbread, though we don't have an upgrade timetable. In fact, we're not quite sure when AT&T will release the somewhat delayed Thrill, but we're assuming it will be available in early September. LG uses their standard Android UI overlay, and it makes for a mostly pleasing experience. The phone has 8 gigs of internal storage and it comes with an 8 gig microSD card installed in the slot under the back cover. It has 512 megs of RAM and a 1500 mAh battery.
Beyond its relatively high end specs, the phone's claim to fame is its glass-less autostereoscopic 3D display and dual 5 megapixel rear cameras that can shoot 720p 3D video as well as 1080p 2D video, and it can shoot 3D and 2D photos. I haven't been a fan of consumer 3D, be it in phones like the HTC EVO 3D, tablets like the LG G-Slate or 3D TVs. The LG Thrill bucks that trend, and our staff and I actually found 3D video and photos so enjoyable it made the 2D stuff seem boring. As with other glass-less 3D mobile displays, you have to find the sweet spot and get accustomed to the 3D experience, but once we did we didn't feel queasy, dizzy or otherwise uncomfortable, despite on-screen warnings that precede 3D content that tell you to take breaks and not view 3D content for too long lest you feel uncomfy.
LG and AT&T pre-install a collection of 3D applications, and we like that; there's no wondering what to do with the phone's 3D capabilities. These include the 3D camera/camcorder, 3D Guide, 3D Space, Get 3D Games (a link to purchase more 3D games from Gameloft), 3D Games & Apps (a launcher for your 3D titles, that's redundant since they're already listed in the 3D section of the main app launcher), and several 3D games including Asphalt 6, NOVA 3D and Let's Golf 2. There's a Movies app that's powered by mSpot as well, but so far we see only 2D titles listed there. The only app that doesn't impress us in terms of 3D viewability is 3D Space, a 3D carousel of 3D apps and content including YouTube's 3D channel. The launcher is useful, but the 3D effect is poor, and that's a shame since it will be most users' first entry into the phone's 3D experience since it's on the home screen icon launcher bar.
As you'd expect from a smartphone with a 4.3" display, the Thrill is large and the viewing experience is excellent. This is a parallax barrier display, a 3D display technology, and it provides an average 2D viewing experience. It lacks the unreal colors of Samsung's Super AMOLED displays and contrast is average. Outdoor visibility is passable, and viewing angles aren't particularly good. The resolution is 800 x 480, a common resolution for mid to high end Android phones, and we wouldn't mind the even higher qHD. But 3D requires plenty of graphics power and at $99 we won't complain.
Deals and Shopping:
As with other autostereoscopic (the fancy word for 3D displays that don't require glasses) 3D handsets on the market, there's a limited sweet spot for viewing 3D content. Move the handset around and tilt it until you see a clear 3D effect, and all is good. The Thrill has an on-screen slider in all 3D apps that allows you to adjust the 3D effect level, and we liked it best at max, though your eyes may be different. We felt less eye fatigue with the LG Thrill than the HTC EVO 3D, but that said, I enjoyed it for up to 30 minutes at a time. Beyond that, and my eyes and brain did feel tired. That means feature length movies are best viewed with rest breaks, but watching that 5 minute 3D video you just shot with the camera isn't a problem. Keep in mind that the phone's UI and non-3D apps are presented in good old fashioned 2D, so your eyes won't suffer, but you also won't see that "wow" effect everywhere.
The phone looks like a larger version of the T-Mobile LG G2x, and that's not a bad thing. The front is dominated by the glass display with brushed metal top and bottom bezels. The soft touch back finish feels great in the hand and it doesn't attract as many fingerprints as glossy plastic backs. The 5.9 ounce phone feels solid and weighty, and the metal accent strip on the back gives it a more interesting and quality look. The strip also highlights the dual camera lenses that are set well apart (by phone standards) for better 3D capture.
The LG Thrill 4G has micro USB and micro HDMI ports under rubber covers, a 3.5mm stereo jack and a 3D hardware button on the side that launches the 3D app launcher and switches between 2D and 3D modes when using the camera. The small power button is up top, and the microSD card slot is under the back cover. There's no need to remove the battery to access the card.
Performance and Horsepower
The phone runs on a 1GHz dual core OMAP processor, and it both feels fast and benchmarks well. It scored 2676 on the Quadrant benchmark, putting it among the fastest dual core Android phones. It scores an excellent 70 MFLOPS on the multi-thread test in Linpack. App launching, UI navigation and Adobe Flash 10.3 playback and 2D/3D gaming are all excellent. The phone performed well outputting HD video content via HDMI to our HD TV, and like many LG phones, it supports the DivX format in addition to MPEG4. Even if you're not interested in 3D, the Thrill 4G is worth considering for its performance, large display and 4G data speeds. Despite the fast CPU, the phone managed good runtimes, and with average use we had no problem making it through the day and night on a charge. 3D drains the battery more quickly, especially 3D recording.
LG Thrill 4G Video Review
Calling and Data
LG phones don't always have the best GSM reception, but the Thrill 4G bucked the trend with good 3G/4G HSPA+ on AT&T's network in the Dallas area. AT&T's HSPA+ network was slow in coming, but we've now got pervasive coverage in the metroplex, and saw speeds ranging from 3.6-5 megs down and 1 Mbps up according to Ookla's Speedtest.net app. That's not quite as fast as T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G network, but it's significantly better than AT&T's older 3G phones (especially upload speeds since those aren't capped on the LG Thrill).
Call quality is good, with clear voice and reasonably full audio. Callers said we sounded very good, with little background noise and we heard no background white noise.
The LG Thrill 4G has a front facing 2D VGA camera for video chat, and a dual lens 5 megapixel rear main camera that can shoot in 2D and 3D. The camera uses both lenses when shooting in 3D, and they're well spaced, for a deeper 3D effect. It can shoot up to 1080p video in 2D and 720p in 3D. Both photo and video quality are very good in 2D mode: we noted strong colors and sharp shots as long as we kept the phone still when shooting. The LED flash helps with subjects at close range, and didn't white out foreground objects terribly.
3D image and video capture are quite convincing; photos look much more cool than their 2D counterparts, though they lack the sharpness of 2D images (a limitation of current technology). LG suggests that 3D is most effective with subjects within a 10 foot range, but we found long shots taken in malls and back yards to show a good bit of 3D depth. 3D images are saved in .JPS format: re-name them to .JPG and you'll be able to view them in standard image editors, and you'll see 2 frames side-by-side. 3D videos are saved in .MP4 format, and you'll see two side-by-side video frames if you use a non-3D viewer.
We really like the LG Thrill 4G, especially at the surprisingly low $99 contract price. It's a fast dual core Android phone, and though we're a little disappointed that it runs Android OS 2.2 Froyo, AT&T says it will get the Gingerbread 2.3 upgrade. The Thrill has a large display and solid build, though the display doesn't wow us in 2D mode. We're not yet sold on 3D phones, but the LG Thrill is the first phone that makes us want one, and we'll forgive its just OK 2D screen for the very good 3D quality. Call quality is solid, 4G speeds by AT&T HSPA+ standards are good and the smartphone is more than able to handle HD video playback over HDMI, Adobe Flash and everything else we threw at it.
Display:4.3" parallax barrier display (2D and glasses-free 3D). Resolution:
800 x 480, supports both portrait and landscape modes.
Battery:1500 mAh Lithium
Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. Claimed talk time: up to 6 hours. Claimed standby: up to 312 hours.
Performance:Dual core 1GHz TI OMAP processor. 512 megs RAM. 8 gigs flash storage with approximately 5.6 gigs available.
x 2.67 x 0.47 inches. Weight: 5.93 ounces.
Phone:GSM quad band world phone with 3G and 4G HSPA+ 14.4Mbps on the 850/1900/2100MHz bands.
Camera:5 megapixel rear main camera with autofocus, LED flash and dual lenses for 3D photo and video capture. Can shoot 1080p in 2D and 720p in 3D.
in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone
WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.
Software:Android OS 2.2 Froyo (upgradable to Gingerbread 2.3) and LG custom UI. Standard Google apps including Maps, Navigation, Car Home, Android Market, Gmail, Email, web browser, YouTube player, Gtalk and more. 3D apps: 3D Guide, 3D Gallery, Asphalt 6 3D, Gulliver's Travels, Let's Golf 2, NOVA 3D, 3D Space and Movies app (powered by mSPOT). AT&T apps: AT&T Live TV (MobiTV), Yellow Pages, AT&T Navigator and Family Maps and account managment app. LG and 3rd party apps: Polaris Office (view, create and edit MS Office docs), LG Video Player, Kindle, Qik Lite, Rich Notes, Alarm Clock and Twitter.
SDHC microSD card slot. 8 gig card included. Supports cards up to 32 gigs.