The new version looks much the same as the old, though the grippy plastic back has now been replaced with a faux brushed metal look. As before, the hard home button is surrounded by an LED that glows with different colours depending on what is occurring red for low battery, green for incoming messages etc, plus you can customise the colours. There is also a customisable hard button on the side above the volume rocker which can be used as a short cut to almost any app you wish. It is priced at £160. This year's Optimus L7 II tries to address that with an improved processor and camera, plus a few other improvements.
It has the same 4.3-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 800x480 pixels (217ppi) as last time, which is only disappointing because we'd hoped for better. It is not the sharpest but it is sharp enough to do justice to busy web pages and YouTube videos without being irritatingly wooly. It is sensitive enough too, and we did not feel the need for extra presses as sometimes happens with cheaper screens.
It is running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which is still fairly recent, and is overlaid with LG's UX interface, which adds a few aesthetic touches but does not get in the way of standard Android. Extras include LG's QuickMemo, available from the drop-down menu, which allows you to write on whichever screen you are using.
Processor and appliance
The 1GHz dual-core processor backed by 512MB RAM is a step up from the previous single-core version, but it still would not break any records, and our AnTuTu scale test delivered a score of 7,623 quite disappointing considering the Acer Liquid Z3, available for under £100, managed 9,568. Scores are not everything though, and in use it performed reasonably smoothly, with only a slight delay when opening apps, though it seemed to struggle a little with some hi-res games from Google Play.
The eight-megapixel camera has been upgraded from the original five megapixels and proved to be not bad at all. It has autofocus and an LED flash, plus a few other settings like voice operation and a variety of scene modes. Picture quality is not particularly outstanding but it is okay so long as you are careful with your light you can get some decently sharp and vibrant shots.
There is a paltry 4GB of memory on board but you can boost that by up to 32GB via microSD. Battery life meanwhile has been bumped up with a larger 2,460mAh battery and it got us through two days of steady use with no hassle.
The Optimus L7 II makes some good upgrades to the original, particularly with the improved processor and camera, though it would have been nice to see a sharper screen too. Its price keeps it competitive at the lower end of the midrange and if it cannot match the abilities of the Google Nexus 4 also made by LG it has the benefit of being around £80 cheaper.