LG unveils the ultra-thin Optimus G and Optimus L9 smartphones

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The Optimus L9 runs on the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android

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As rumors around the Web put the debut of the iPhone 5 just a couple weeks away, Korea's LG has just released two new ultra-thin Android-powered smartphones to add to its Optimus lineup – the Optimus G, which based on the latest rumors may well surpass the technical specifications of the upcoming Apple smartphone, and the lower-end Optimus L9, which comes bundled with a few interesting pieces of software.

Optimus G

The Optimus G is positioned as a top-tier smartphone, and has the hardware to back up that claim. It features Qualcomm’s latest quad-core 1.5GHz S4 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a new GPU – the Adreno 320 – which is purported to perform three times faster than the previous generation. It's powerful enough to enable smooth zooming in and out of an HD video as it’s playing.

Its 4.7-inch True HD IPS display sports a resolution of 1280 by 768 pixels, which translates to a very respectable 320 pixel-per-inch density that, according to LG, has a high color accuracy that shows images in a natural, life-like fashion. The display comes with in-cell touch technology, which integrates touch sensors within the display. This removes the need for a separate touch-sensitive layer and reduces thickness of the entire device down to under nine mm (0.35 in).

The Optimus G is powered by a high-density 2,100mAh battery with a lifespan of 800 cycles at 80 percent charging rate, which is much better than the 500 cycles of most phone batteries. The power-saving Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and the inclusion of asynchronous symmetric multiprocessing technology – which enables each core to power up and down independently – should also contribute to an improved battery life, though LG has not released official figures in this respect.

The included 13-megapixel camera can snap pictures in response to a voice command, making the standard countdown feature obsolete. LG also bundled “Time Catch Shot,” which allows users to select and save the best shot among the images taken just before the shutter button is released.

Optimus L9

The L9 is a very different beast – not quite as high-end, but still packing some distinctive features of its own that should make it an appealing product for consumers. Its clean, square design features a 4.7-inch IPS display and a 5-megapixel rear facing camera. Under the hood, the L9 sports a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, and a high-density 2150 mAh battery.

The smartphone will come with the QTranslator software through which users can take a picture of some text, perform optical character recognition on the image, and even translate the resulting text from 44 foreign languages into 64 user languages. New keyboard software will allow users to dynamically change the keyboard layout according to the user’s typing style (right-handed, left-handed or two-handed).

Price, availability, and technical specifications

The cost of these devices will vary based on country and carrier, although Engadget reports that Vodafone is selling the L9 for €340 (US$425) unsubsidized. The Optimus G is set to debut in Korea sometime next month with a worldwide launch expected for later this year.

Here's a look at the specs for both phones.

Optimus G

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro Processor with 1.5GHz Quad-Core CPU, Adreno 320 GPU with 4G LTE
  • Operating System: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Network: 2G / 3G / 4G LTE
  • Display: 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS+ (1280x768 pixels) / 15:9 ratio
  • Memory: 32GB
  • RAM: 2GB DDR
  • Cameras: 13.0MP rear / 1.3MP front
  • Battery: 2,100 mAh
  • Size: 131.9 x 68.9 x 8.45mm (5.2 x 2.8 x 0.33 in)
  • Weight: 145g (5.1 oz)
  • Other: Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, USB2.0 HS, A-GPS, MHL, DLNA, NFC

Optimus L9

  • OS: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Chipset: 1GHz Dual-Core
  • Main Display: 4.7-inch IPS Display
  • Memory: 1GB DDR2 (RAM) / 4GB e-MMC
  • Camera: 5MP rear / VGA front
  • Battery: 2,150mAh SiO+
  • Size: 131.9 x 68.2 x 9.1mm / 125g (5.2 x 2.7 x 0.36 in / 4.41 oz)
  • Others: DLNA, QMemo, QTranslator function, My Style Keyboard function
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