The LG Optimus 4X HD has been a long time in the making: Samsung's Galaxy S3 flagship Android phone have been on sale for months now. But only now has its bitter South Korean rival finally managed to get a powerhouse running Android 4.0 on to shop shelves. With a 4.7-inch screen, quad-core processor and 8MP camera, it's a powerhouse smartphone that anyone would be proud to own - on paper. It's just a shame Android 4.1 is now already out there, not to mention the iPhone 5.
The design of the LG Optimus 4X HD doesn't stand out from the crowd, but the 8.9mm thin block is rock solid, and if you like non-descript slabs rather than neon plastic in your pocket, it'll do just fine. In fact, it looks remarkably like an enlarged Samsung Galaxy S2 - no bad thing.
And for raw power and screen, the LG Optimus 4X HD kicks it with the best of them. The 4.7-inch HD display is absolutely gorgeous and pin sharp - every bit as good as the panels on the HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy S3.
The eight megapixel camera's also one of the best we've tested, snaffling up crisp stills in low light and HD video on the side.
Android 4.0 is almost a year old now, so as beautiful and easy to use as it is, to find it on a new smartphone is a little bit disconcerting. Especially since LG seems to have spent the intervening months tampering with Google's operating system and morphing it into something unrecognisable.
LG's skin over the top of Android has some nice touches - connectivity toggles in the drop down notification tray, for instance - but others are a bit daft. The confusing dock at the bottom which places the apps list on the right hand side rather than the centre, for instance. And for every change LG has made comes more development time for an Android 4.1 update - not that LG has confirmed it will be getting one yet.
Even if it does announce one at some point, there's also a trust issue here. More than any other big name phone peddler, LG simply cannot be relied upon to provide timely Android updates, or even any at all. Be very prepared: the LG Optimus 4X HD may never, ever see Android 4.1 Jelly Bean grace its dazzling display.
The bottom line
The LG Optimus 4X HD may look the spitting image of Samsung's Galaxy S2, but it's a much more powerful blower. It's still a hard sell though, with the Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC One X on the prowl, and the iPhone 5 on the way. Why trust LG to keep bleeding edge tech on the bleeding edge of software though when it's repeatedly failed to before? Regardless, if you can find one for a reasonable price, it might just be worth a punt.