LG announced the Optimus L II series last week, and today we got our first chance to check out the new mid-range handsets at Mobile World Congress. As it was last year, the L series represents LG's line of mainstream handsets, with increasingly powerful hardware as the numbers increase.
At the low end, there's the Optimus L3 II, powered by a 1GHz CPU on a 3.2-inch WVGA display. That's 320x240 pixels, and it looks about as good (or not) as you'd expect. On the other hand, this is a super-low-end smartphone, and we'd expect it to be priced as such. It's not all bad news though, as the L3 II runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean beneath LG's own skin, and the software experience is pretty snappy. You do however miss out on some of the higher-end features like the QSlide multitasking capability -- and the same is true of the L5 II and L7 II.
Moving up to the L5 II, you're still dealing with a 1GHz CPU, but on a larger 4-inch IPS display, and the difference in clarity is striking. The software differences, however, are fewer -- the basic look and feel of the UI is the same, and Jelly Bean runs smoothly enough despite the single-core CPU. The camera spec has been upped too, from 3MP on the L3 II to 5MP on the L5 II, along with the addition of an LED flash. Accessory-wise, LG was showing off hard shell cases for the L5 behind glass at the booth today.
Finally at the higher end there's the Optimus L7 II, which packs a dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon S4 Play CPU and 768MB of RAM. It too is running Jelly Bean and LG's UI, which looks a lot brighter and sharper on the 4.3-inch WVGA display. The back panel is a little more matte than the lower-end phones, with a grippy texture and a slight hump to its profile. Around the back you'll find an 8MP camera. With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on board, there's plenty of software muscle to back up this kind of hardware.
The L II series isn't the most exciting bunch of phones you'll see at Mobile World Congress, but it's a staple LG phone on the international stage, particularly in Europe. With a modest hardware refresh -- and more importantly the bump up to Jelly Bean -- LG will be hoping to make further inroads in Europe in 2013.