LG Optimus S, first hands-on! (update: video)

The low-end Android game just got real, folks, with Sprint's introduction of the LG Optimus S, a $50 (on-contract, post-rebate) Android slatephone running Froyo on a 3.2-inch HVGA screen, with mobile hotspot functionality for up to five devices, 802.11 b/g WiFi and a 600MHz processor to run the whole shebang. As you'd expect in a world of 1GHz smartphones at the $200 price point, it's not quite up to spec, but that doesn't keep it from having a super-solid build, durable and weighty, that belies its low price. It honestly feels much like a Nexus One in the hand, though with nice big physical buttons instead of capacitive function keys, and of course a lower-quality LCD screen. There's an auto-focusing 3.2 megapixel camera on the back and a fairly responsive capacitive touchscreen up front, and though browsing was a little painful on the low-res screen, the Android 2.2 device sped through the UI without skipping a beat. If this device impresses as much after we throw it through a barrage of tests, I'll be hard to imagine ever spending a cent on a regular ol' featurephone again.

Update: We've just been informed that the Optimus S has 256MB 512 MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM, an MSM7627 chipset and Bluetooth 2.1, but there's more -- it pulls a respectable 430 in the Quadrant benchmark thanks to Qualcomm Adreno 200 graphics, and we've got visual proof. See some direct-from-device screenshots and a couple sample pics from the Optimus S's camera in our second gallery below!

Update 2: Video after the break! %Gallery-104469% %Gallery-104475%

Myriam Joire contributed to this report.