Mobot regulars will attest that autostereoscopic 3D and I are like rival cats; we simply do not – and will not – get on. Last year I penned To 3D, or not to 3D from Mobile World Congress 2011, which turned out to be a rather scathing assault to be honest, but this year I decided to give Lucky Goldstar a second chance.
Heck, we’ve both made the journey to Barcelona, and – if nothing else – having a play around with the LG Optimus 3D Max will provide great fuel for an anti-3D rant. To the LG stand, Batman!
The LG Optimus 3D Max’s stand boasts that it’s the world’s “thinnest and brightest 3D smartphone”. To be fair, you ain’t got much competition there, boys.
The first thing you’ll notice about the LG Optimus 3D Max compared to its predecessor (if you’ve had the misfortune to handle both (…kidding!)) is that it’s shed a pretty significant 2.3mm in thickness – as well as 20g of flab. Physically, at least, this is a very much different fellow to the chubby chap I handled last year.
On the inside, it’s Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) in the boiler room, powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. That’s a step up from the 1GHz effort on the original LG Optimus 3D, but we reckon the absence of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) at launch might put potential LG Optimus 3D Max buyers off.
Furthermore, the battery has been cranked a modest 80 units of juice to 1,580mAh, so I imagine that LG Optimus 3D Max users will find themselves whipping out their chargers fairly often.
Of course, rocking Gingerbread, the LG Optimus 3D Max sports the old-school formation of four hardware buttons. I quite like the way they light up, but considering it side-by-side with new three-buttoned Ice Cream Sandwich offerings such as the HTC One X and LG’s own 4X HD, the LG Optimus 3D Max already seems like a pretty poor prospect.
Interestingly, the LG Optimus 3D Max has removed the 3D slider found on its predecessor, however you can still – thankfully – reduce the 3D-ness with on-screen controls.
Other than the weight and thickness, this is largely the same phone I met one year ago, and while the reps seem incredibly confident that the LG Optimus 3D Max will be a raging success (well, they would, wouldn't they?), it’s hard to imagine that being the case.
The most interesting thing to happen during my hands-on with the LG Optimus 3D Max was the sudden appearance of a chap from Gameloft, who claimed to be quite fond of autostereoscopic technology. Ironically, I was playing N.O.V.A. at the time.
Gaming is the one category where I reckon you could argue that glasses-free 3D-ness is of any interest, but the resounding failure of the Nintendo 3DS (which had its price slashed severely shortly after launch) would suggest that Joe Public doesn’t care.
And, as I've pointed out before: 3D is rubbish. Would you want to watch The Godfather or Shawshank Redemption in 3D? Would 3D add anything to either film, or is it simply a cheap gimmick currently being forced on the masses by Hollywood? Undoubtedly the latter.
It’s definitely fair to say that 3D smartphones haven’t set the world on fire in the past 12 months, and LG and HTC are the only big boys to dip their toes in autostereoscopic waters to date. But might 3D smartphones still be the next big thing after a bit of a false start? Prove me wrong, LG.