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16 Apr 12 LG Optimus L5 Android phone (preview)

LG’s Optimus L5 is the mid-range model in the company’s new L-Style range of Android phones, which focus mainly on a stylish design. Unfortunately, the Optimus L5′s display has an incredibly low resolution despite its large 4in screen size, which would make it very hard to recommend.

LG Optimus Vu preview

LG Optimus L3 preview

LG Optimus 4X HD preview

LG officially unveiled the Optimus L5 at the 2012 Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona back in February. It’s one of three new LG smartphones (the others are the high-end L7 and the low-end L3) the company is categorising under the term “L-Style”. It’s basically a fancy marketing name for some strict design rules that these new LG phones will adhere to.

LG’s marketing team says that the L-Style design philosophy is based around five aesthetic elements — a modern square-style that aims to provide comfortable grip, a “floating mass” screen for a slimmer look, a more intuitive arrangement of menu keys, metallic accents and a slim shape. In short, LG’s L-Style smartphones will attempt to appear attractive by using a square, slim case.

The Optimus L5 has similar specifications to the smaller Optimus L3. Once again the key feature is its 4in “floating mass display”. This isn’t a new display technology but merely means the display is positioned closer to the surface of the screen, which aims to give the impression that the screen is floating. We’ve already seen this type of display on the LG Optimus Black, and to be fair to LG, it does look pretty impressive.

Unfortunately, despite such a large screen the Optimus L5 has a very low resolution of 320×480. Although LG will point to the fact that this isn’t a flagship or premium phone, it still seems odd to see a 4in screen with that resolution. Compared to displays with higher resolutions, the LG Optimus L5 will lack the detail and sharpness of many of its competitors.

The Optimus L5 doesn’t fare too well in other specification departments, either. A single-core 800MHz processor and a 5-megapixel camera are both standard features that certainly don’t push any boundaries.

Thankfully, the LG Optimus L5 will ship with the latest 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” version of Google’s Android operating system. This will be skinned with LG’s poorly named “3.0 UI” overlay which is yet to be detailed. We can only hope LG keeps things simple and doesn’t add to many features to an OS that is relatively pleasant to use on its own.

LG is yet to announce if or when the Optimus L5 will launch in Australia.

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16 Apr 12 Android Community Weekly: April 15th, 2012

Welcome once again to our weekly update on everything you need to know in the Android universe. If you’ve neglected your news for the last seven days, take a few minutes to consider the following – everything else is a sideshow. There’s a considerable amount of hardware, software, modding and business news to cover in the Android world, so settle in. While no earth-shattering announcements were made this week, those who like big tablets and even bigger acquisitions should be well satisfied.

One of the most interesting bits of hardware news came right away on Monday, when Toshiba announced brand new 7.7, 10 and 13-inch (!) tablets in their Excite line. All three Tegra 3 ICS machines should be out by the summer. HTC had some rather humdrum announcements for new Desire phones in China, and leaks are beginning to show off the low-end HTC Golf and Verizon’s HTC Incredible 4G. Those waiting for the One S on T-Mobile won’t have to wait too much longer: a launch party and dummy units make the rumored April 25th date seem likely.

As usual there’s a lot of movement in the Samsung camp: the Galaxy Tab 2 10-inch gets an official price of just $399 for the 8GB version, and rumors indicate that even more 7-inch and 10-inch tablets are coming under the “Espresso” label. Finally, the Galaxy Note 10.1 may not be in its final form just yet. Both Lenovo and Barnes Noble are showing off new devices, the former with a new IdeaPad 10-inch tablet and the latter with a lighted version of the Nook Simple Touch. LG’s new Optimus L7 is coming  to France this month, with its little brother the Optimus L5 following in May. A pair of smartwatches made splashes, Sony’s Xperia SmartWatch for coming to the US, and the brand-new Pebble e-ink smart watch for getting an incredibly successful Kickstarter campagin. Finally, ASUS’ toned down Transformer Pad 300 will be here in the US by the end of the month.

The biggest industry news was Facebook buying the photography app Instagram for an incredible one billion dollars. There were rumors of Google trying to sell Motorola’s hardware division to Chinese handset manufacturer Huawei, not to mention some interesting statements on low-cost tablets during their quarterly earnings call. Nearsighted folks like yours truly will be glad to know that Google’s Project Glass will work with prescription eyeglasses, and we finally found some concrete evidence of the Samsung Galaxy S III’s screen buried in an OLED Association report.

In update news, Motorola’s showing off some Ice Cream Sandwich training videos for the DROID RAZR… but still won’t say when the update is actually coming. At least there’s some progress on a community-created workaround for that pesky locked bootloader. If you’ve got an international HTC One X, you’ll want to check out this easy battery-saving mod. At least one Samsung Galaxy S III has been spotted in the wild, but it’s in disguise. Sony’s started updating their Xperia phones to ICS, as promised, but only in northern Europe so far. Finally, if you’re a Dolphin Browser HD user, you’ll want to check out their latest update to Version 8.0.

Here at Android Community we’ve got lots of fresh content for you. You’ll want to check out our in-depth look at the HTC One V, and a second-hand review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7-inch version. We’ve also got a review of the latest Samsung PMP, the Galaxy Player 3.6. Galaxy Nexus owners wishing for a little more longevity will definitely want to read our review of Mugen Power’s 3900mAh extended battery. On the software side we’ve got an in-depth review of the new Next Issue magazine subscription service, and a look at the incredibly useful social widget BlingBoard. Finally, we’ve tracked down the five best alternatives to Instagram, for those who aren’t into the hipster scene. As always, stay in school, don’t do drugs and always make a Nandroid backup.

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