At a glance, the Optimus T and Optimus S look attractive if not somewhat generic. Our review units came in a lovely shade of burgundy (T-Mobile) and purple (Sprint), but each is also available in black. Both devices feel solid and comfortable in hand. Build quality is excellent, and the abundance of soft-touch plastics remind us of Sprint's HTC Hero. LG rightfully opted for physical buttons all around, and added a smattering of tasteful chrome / silver hard plastic accents. The 3.2-inch 480 x 320 pixel TFT LCD is bright, with vibrant colors and decent viewing angles. The capacitive touchscreen is responsive, but we're still debating the material -- likely glass but possibly high-grade plastic. There's a 3.5mm headphone jack and power / lock button on the top edge, a micro-USB connector and microphone hole on the bottom edge, and a volume rocker on the right edge of each phone. In back, a color-coordinated aluminum pod houses a 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera without flash.
Under the hood you'll find a 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7627 with Adreno 200 graphics, 512MB of memory, WiFi b / g, Bluetooth 2.1, AGPS, a compass, and an accelerometer. These are pretty impressive specs for a budget phone, so we'll forgive LG for leaving out a light sensor. The Optimus T is the world traveler thanks to a GSM radio with quadband EDGE and dual band HSPA (1700 / 2100 MHz), while the Optimus S is more domestic, and only provides CDMA support with EVDO Rev. A. T-Mobile's model also includes an FM radio and WiFi calling support, both of which are missing on Sprint's version. Both devices come equipped with a sizable 1500mAh battery, which resulted in 2 happy days of moderate picture snapping, music listening, web browsing, and messaging with WiFi / AGPS on, Bluetooth off, and multiple Gmail accounts configured. We didn't have any issue with reception or call quality.
Cameras on budget phones are often abysmal, but fortunately, that's not the case with these. Both devices feature the same 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera with macro and VGA video recording, but without flash. The resulting pictures are pretty nice, especially in good light. Colors are a bit muted, but exposure is handled well. Low-light performance is surprisingly decent, and noise is kept under control at the expense of some detail. Video recording is somewhat jerky (we measured 17fps), but otherwise adequate. Although T-Mobile's Optimus lacks the dedicated 2-stage camera button present on Sprint's version, it compensates by replacing the default Android camera application with LG's excellent camera interface. This provides additional settings such as scene modes, smile detection, and ISO, as well as a clever on-screen shutter key (hold to focus, then release to take the shot). The icing on the cake is that the Optimus T captures better quality audio than the Optimus S.
The Optimus T and Optimus S dish out a tasty serving of vanilla Froyo, each lightly sprinkled with a unique combination of toppings. In both cases you'll experience the complete Froyo goodness, including WiFi hotspot functionality (albeit subject to carrier provisioning and pricing). All the usual applications are present, including Gmail, Latitude, Maps, Places, Search, Talk, and so on. Unfortunately, this also includes Android's lackluster music player. Performance-wise, the UI is responsive and everything feels quite snappy, as you'd expect from a pair of modern phones running plain Android 2.2. The web browser handles large sites like Engadget without fuss -- albeit without Flash, since it's not (yet) available for these devices. But we're most impressed with how the Optimus T and Optimus S fared in the Quadrant benchmark, scoring higher than the Droid.
Sprint's Optimus keeps the original dessert almost uncontaminated. What is normally the browser button to the right of the app tray button is replaced with a Sprint ID button. Sprint ID, which you'll remember from our Samsung Transform review, bundles wallpapers, shortcuts, widgets, applications, and ringtones into themed packages available for download from Sprint. While possibly helpful to first-time users, it seems like a waste of valuable home screen real-estate to seasoned Android freaks like us. Oddly, Google's Car Home application is missing, but thankfully, Sprint pre-loads the Facebook and Twitter apps.