Neither the Optimus L5 2 or Optimus L3 2 are particularly exciting smartphones but they're not competing the Nexus 4, Galaxy S3 and similar devices. LG aims to offer a decent smartphone for those on a budget. See also: Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 hands-on review.
In the design department, the L5 2 and L3 2 look similar to the original L Series smartphones. The device's look fairly plain with the same oblong shape but the square edges have been rounded which is not only nicer on the eye, it also means the handset feel better in the hand.
"LG has a history of pushing the envelope when it comes to style and Optimus L Series II builds on this heritage of design innovation," said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile. "By evolving the sophisticated style and premium features of the original Optimus L Series, its sequel is expected to continue the popularity of the L Series around the world."
See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?
The L5 is the mid-range smartphone from the L Series 2 while the L3 2 is the entry-level budget handset. It has a medium size 4in screen with a WVGA resolution (480 x 800). Meanwhile the L3 2 has a smaller palm-sized 3.2in (240 x 320). Build quality seems reasonable for what are cheap phones. As you would expect, they are very much plastic but they feel fairly sturdy.
Both the L5 2 and L3 2 run on a 1GHz single-core processor, albeit different chipsets suited to the screen resolutions, which isn’t much to shout about but was running Android well enough in our short time with the handsets. Each has 512MB, 4GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot for up to 32GB more. Read: LG Optimus L3 review
Most importantly is the fact that these phones run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. In the past we've seen new handsets arrive with an old version with the promise of an update at an unknown later date. Gladly, this appears to be a thing of a past and despite the low-end specs the L5 2 and L3 2 performed well.
We haven't had time to test the cameras properly but the L3 2 comes with a measly 3Mp camera and the L5 2 has a 5Mp camera. Neither has a front facing camera for self-portraits or video calls. One of LG's software features is a voice activated shutter. Say "cheese" literally.
Other features include QuickMemo and Safety Care which offers emergency call forwarding, location notice and non-useage notice. A QuickButton (only on the L5 2) can be customized to launch whatever you may choose. Unfortunately these handsets don't have QSlide which allows two apps to be used at once.
The LG Optimus L5 2 and Optimus L3 2 will arrive in the UK this spring, or more precisely the second quarter. No pricing has been given yet but we can expect the smartphones to be at the lower end of the market.
Keep an eye out for our full reviews of the Optimus L5 2 and L3 2 as soon as we get our hands on them.
SHOULD I BUY LG OPTIMUS L3 2?
We're pleased with LG's Optimus L5 2 and L3 2 after a first look. After last year's disappointment, these could be realistically good smartphones for those on a budget. Look out for our full reviews and verdicts.