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CTIA Wireless: Hands-on with LG G-Slate, Optimus 3D and more

ORLANDO -- LG brought a stacked catalog of new 4G and 3D-enabled gadgets to CTIA Wireless 2011. Here's a first-hand look.
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By Rachel King on
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1 of 15 Rachel King/ZDNet

First up is LG's foray into the tablet market, the G-Slate. Powered by Android 3.0, this tablet doesn't use another customized user interface alongside Honeycomb...unlike some other tablets. LG hopes this will make things easier for consumers, not to mention make the G-Slate a more popular device. LG is probably on to something here...

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One of the highlights on the G-Slate is the 3D still and video recording capability. I'm still not a big fan of the 3D trend, but it was interesting to try out in person. However, holding a tablet up in the air to record anything isn't the easiest way to go about things. Maybe 3D shooting has a better shot on smartphones after all.

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The G-Slate sports dual 5.0-megapixel cameras on the rear and a 2.0-megapixel cam up front. The ones on the back can work together and record in 3D. For old-school 2D footage, one of the 5MP cameras also uses an LED flash. The 22.9-ounce slate doesn't feel exceptionally light or sleek when being held, unlike the new Samsung Galaxy Tabs or even the iPad 2. Still, it's a very portable device that shouldn't weigh anyone down.

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The LG G-Slate will retail for $529.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and with the signing of a two-year service agreement with T-Mobile. A contract-free version will be available for $799. LG's tablet is expected to roll out this spring, which LG reps joked as anytime before June 21. Fingers crossed!

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Next up is the LG G2x, just announced yesterday at the start of the show. The 4-inch touch screen isn't exceptional in person, but the 8-megapixel camera and NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor certainly are.

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However, the G2x feels very light on the hands and pockets at only 4.9 ounces. It's a speedy and slim smartphone, but it's not as groundbreaking as the next device in this gallery.

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Pricing hasn't been announced yet, and the G2x will run on Android 2.2 (Froyo) when released this spring with T-Mobile. However, a Gingerbread update is waiting in the wings.

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Again, I'm not a big fan of 3D smartphones just yet, but the LG Optimus 3D is the first of its kind, so maybe we should give it a break...at least until we see what the final cost will be. The Optimus 3D is the global model, which will be known as the LG Thrill 3D stateside.

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The Optimus 3D runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and is a GSM device destined for AT&T when launched in the United States, supposedly some time before Christmas.

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LG's Optimus 3D supports 1080p HD 3D videos and can record them with the built-in camcorder as well. These clips can be transferred to a 3D-enabled TV via DLNA or HDMI.

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One might assume with the 3D power and lenses that the Optimus 3D would be a heavy smartphone. It's not as light as some of the other latest smartphones at the show, such as the Samsung Galaxy II S, HTC Thunderbolt or even the LG G2x. But it only weights 5.9 ounces, so it shouldn't be too stressful on anyone's pockets.

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Here's a look at the Optimus 3D hooked up to an LG 3D HDTV via HDMI. The screen on the Optimus 3D doesn't require active or passive 3D glasses, but watching the 3D video playback on the big screen will. 

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Just like the G-Slate, the Optimus 3D is equipped with a pair of rear 5.0-megapixel cameras. The front-facing camera is a bit diminished at 1.3-megapixels. Up close, the rear cameras have a bit of a retro-feel with the brushed aluminum finish on the bar. Everything else about this smartphone is quite modern.

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One of the more impressive features I found on the Optimus 3D was the gaming quality. The graphics were on par with what I saw on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play earlier this week. I really  appreciated the feature that allowed gamers to adjust the 3D intensity. I don't know if it's because I have bad eyes or not, but I preferred the 3D level to be on the low side of the spectrum. However, some gamers might want a more intense visual experience. 

The final version is also promised to have a built-in accelerometer that should come in handy when playing racing games. However, when I tried, the feature wasn't turned on, so I crashed.

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Finally, here's a look at the LG's first 4G-enabled phone, the Revolution. Also expected to ship this spring, pricing hasn't been revealed for this Android 2.2 phone. It has been confirmed for Verizon Wireless in the U.S., and a Gingerbread roll-out is expected soon after the launch.

Besides the LTE connection, the only other stand-out features are HDMI and DLNA support. The LG Revolution only runs on a single-core processor, so expect that to help out with a lower price tag as well.

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