With such a crazy unique feature like 3D thrown into the phone, we're not entirely shocked that the regular, plain vanilla 2D camera isn't as good as most other top-of-the-line handsets equipped with dual-core CPUs. Sure, the pair of 5 megapixel image snappers aren't the pits, but LG isn't exactly known for putting the highest quality sensors in its mobile devices. As with the Optimus 3D, the Thrill takes satisfactory pictures in most settings, with one exception: the automatic exposure appeared to have difficulty making adjustments in direct sunlight, causing several washed-out photos in an inconsistent manner. As an upside, pictures taken on cloudy days or under the cover of trees were actually very good, macro shots turned out fantastic and images in low light scenarios were average -- let's just say your images of that sunset on the beach won't be getting re-tweeted.
The camera has the usual settings you'd come to expect in a feature-packed phone. It delivers the typical suite of scene modes, white balance effects and focus options for macro, continuous focus and face tracking, and even offers custom exposure settings to help improve those paltry noonday shots. It also offers touch-to-autofocus (only for 2D mode). Notably lacking, however, are ISO adjustments and panoramic shot options.
Nevermind for a moment that the Thrill feels like a gimmick with its 3D capabilities. Forget -- just for a little while -- that its 2D and video qualities are somewhat lacking, and that the phone's running on software in desperate need of being updated. The device is a powerhouse, thanks primarily to its 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 CPU and 512MB of dual-channel RAM. Seldom did we have any issues with the system lagging or delaying as a result of our multitasking, which involves emails, Twitter, using the browser with Flash, playing games and so on. It was incredibly responsive and didn't crash a single time during our tests.
Of the above benchmarks, there's one in particular that stands out the most: the Thrill 4G's Sunspider speeds zoomed right past the HTC EVO 3D and didn't bother waving goodbye. In fact, we typically don't see devices register a score beneath 4,000 when using the stock Android browser -- a feat we saw the Droid Bionic
achieve-- yet this device consistently passed that milestone. Additionally, Quadrant and Nenamark also cranked out very respectable results, with Linpack and Neocore ranking not far behind.
Its stellar performance is great news, of course, until we consider the phone's battery life. It may perform like a top-notch handset, but you can't enjoy it for very long. The Thrill lasted barely over four hours in our video rundown test, and we weren't able to get much more than ten with moderate usage (emailing, social networking, occasionally calling and taking 2D / 3D pictures and videos). Needless to say, you'll want to become good friends with the task manager and pay it a visit regularly.
Lastly, the call and audio quality was very similar to the Optimus 3D, with reception almost consistently one bar above an iPhone 3GS tested on the same network. Voices, much like its lookalike, were loud though slightly tinny, and calls were pleasant otherwise.
Reviewing the Thrill 4G was essentially a complete rehash of the LG Optimus 3D, with the obvious exception of AT&T branding and price ($100 with a two-year commitment). While we didn't notice a large improvement over the global model to rate it a different score, we're willing to give major brownie points since it's a high-performance phone offered at a reasonable cost. This is one of the least expensive dual-core handsets on the market, and its overall performance is outstanding for the price point. Sadly, the phone's still a small step behind the EVO in 3D capturing abilities but it's not a disappointment by any means. We were, however, let down by its miserable battery life.
You may be tempted to consider the Thrill a niche product, and rightfully so. After all, there's no mistaking that it is -- first and foremost -- a 3D camera hunkered inside a phone. But in exchange for a Benjamin, you're getting a decent dual-core device that uses good (but not great) components throughout the remainder of the phone. Whether or not you approve of this pioneer's adventure into unexplored territories, you could do far worse than the Thrill 4G.