Editors' note: Since the Optimus V is so similar to the Optimus S, in this review we'll focus on what sets the Optimus V apart. For more design details, please read our LG Optimus S review.
We thought the LG Optimus U would be the last of the LG Optimus line of handsets (see the LG Optimus T, the Optimus S, the Vortex, and the Optimus M), but it appears we were wrong. Virgin Mobile has released its very own Optimus handset, appropriately named the LG Optimus V. As you might expect, the Optimus V is practically identical to the Optimus S, with similar features and specifications. It does offer a few minor differences over the LG Optimus S, which we'll review here. The LG Optimus V is very competitively priced at only $149.99 without a contract.
The LG Optimus V is really the spitting image of both the Optimus S and the Optimus U. It's quite slim, just like the other phones, at only 0.52 inch thick, so it's very pocket-friendly. It has a nice soft-touch finish all around, and the 3.2-inch touch-screen interface is just as colorful and intuitive.
The only design differences are cosmetic. Instead of slate gray, the Optimus V is pure black. It has the same button placement as the Optimus U, with the Menu key first and the Home key second, followed by the Back and Search keys. The Optimus V has a default home screen with Virgin Mobile colors (a gradient of red to black) along with a few built-in Virgin Mobile apps.
Otherwise, the Optimus V has a fairly stock Android interface, with shortcuts to the phone dialer, the main menu, and the Web browser on the home screen. The Optimus V does have the Swype keyboard built in. This lets you quickly enter text by sliding your finger in one continuous motion over the screen keyboard. Of course, you can always switch to the default multitouch Android keyboard if you prefer.
The LG Optimus V ships with Android 2.2, but it should be upgradable to Android 2.3 in the future. Still, Android 2.2 is a great operating system for an entry-level smartphone. Some of its features include voice dialing over Bluetooth, app sharing, and phonebook integration with Facebook and Twitter contacts. Do note that it can't play Flash video in the browser even though the firmware technically supports it--the Optimus V just doesn't have the hardware for it. You can still play Flash video, but only with YouTube and third-party apps.
The rest of the features are impressive as well. It has 3G in the form of EV-DO Rev. A, stereo Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS. The GPS can be used with a variety of location-based apps, like Google Maps, Latitude, Places, and Scvngr, a scavenger hunt-inspired app. Unlike most of the other Optimus handsets, the Optimus V does not have mobile hot-spot capabilities, which is a disappointment.