After a long wait, LG has finally outed the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for the Optimus One P500 in India. When we reviewed it some time back, we mentioned that it was a value-for-money buy as no other Android phone below Rs. 20,000/- at that time had 512 MB RAM. This positioned the phone very nicely, and plenty of folk (in India and around the world) went out and bought the phone. If you own one, you must be itching to find out how the new Android 2.3 Gingerbread update performs - and if it brings anything new to the table. The update was served regular LG style for the curious few; we downloaded it to a PC and updated the phone through the USB cable. Our thoughts and first impressions are waiting for you past that “Read more” link.
1. The first thing you would notice after the update is the black notification bar instead of the silver one. Though we feel this definitely improves the look and also maybe the battery life, almost all the icons in the notification bar look cartoon-ish. A sense of refinement here is definitely lacking (something that the stock Google 2.3 build provides) but the icons are functional (switching from white to green colour when data is smoothly flowing).
2. LG has retained the original launch bar. It gently reminds you that you are still using the same phone.
3. One thing that the LG Optimus One has been susceptible to, is its tendency to become slow when many apps have been installed. This sluggishness has been dramatically reduced with the Gingerbread update. The phone is more responsive than ever before. This can be noticed while swiping between home screens or while looking for an app in the App Drawer.
4. LG has removed some built-in applications which were present earlier. App Killer seems to be missing but Thinkfree Office is still present.
5. A quadrant test score of 780+ which is a major improvement over all previous versions of Android that were installed on this phone, without any ROM modifications.
6. The new Gingerbread keyboard is easier to type with. This has been achieved by reducing the size of the keys. We definitely like this.
7. The latest version of the updated Android Market (the one with the rectangles and squares) is absent, as is the Voice and Video calling feature for Google Talk (which is expected - there’s no front-facing video camera on the Optimus One)
While using the phone after the Gingerbread update, the phone feels a lot snappier in almost every area. The Android 2.3 Gingerbread update breathes new life into an aging phone and promises better battery life. All in all, this update is definitely worth the time it would take you to download and install it. We recommend a factory reset after the update for best performance, which is a requirement in many cases while upgrading phones (It was a requisite while upgrading the Spice Mi-300 from Android 1.6 to Android 2.1 and while upgrading the Samsung Galaxy S from Android 2.1 to Android 2.2).
Update: We've seen this thread on the XDA forums and can confirm that the proximity sensor works fine, the menus work fine and the battery life is fine for the day that we've been using the updated phone - the icons are ugly as we previously mentioned in this post; not much LG could do there. We're guessing that the V20b version for India has most of these bugs fixed.