The year of the quad-core phone begins with the Tegra 3-powered LG Optimus 4X HD

Optimus 4X HD Models

Check out our full review of the LG Optimus 4X HD smartphone.

If 2011 was the year of mobile phones with big screens and dual-core processors, 2012 will be all about the quad-core processor and despite devices using such a chip failing to appear during CES 2012, they’ll be making a big splash at Mobile World Congress.

The rumors have been spreading for months, beginning with last year’s announcement of the Tegra 3 and Qualcomm’s APG8064, then continuing with talk of various tablets and phones such as the HTC Edge/Endeavor, the Samsung Galaxy S III and the LG X3.

Being first out of the gate with a quad-core device is important for the marketeers, who just love the opportunity to liberally sprinkle press releases with the phrase “world’s first,” and once again it’s LG who gets that honor.

Seeing as the Korean company gave us the “world’s first” dual-core smartphone, the Optimus 2X, it seems fitting that this year we’ve got the Optimus 4X HD – the first official quad-core smartphone.

Tegra 3

It’s not just any quad-core chip either, but Nvidia’s impressive Tegra 3, as seen in another “world’s first,” the Asus Eee Pad Transformer 2 tablet. Rated at 1.5Ghz, the 4X HD’s chip is slightly more powerful too, plus the phone has 1GB of RAM to keep things running smoothly.

Ever since the Tegra 3’s announcement, Nvidia has tried to explain its clever architecture, where the four cores are supported by a fifth core which will take care of the more mundane tasks, and therefore putting less strain on the battery.

It has now come up with a more “unique and descriptive” name to help customers understand why their new quad-core phone really has five cores. Nvidia’s calling the system 4-PLUS-1, and has added the graph you see below to its explanatory whitepaper on the technology.

Nvidia Tegra 3 4-PLUS-1

Optimus 4X HD

While the Tegra 3 chip may be stealing the headlines, the rest of the Optimus 4X’s features are similarly high-end. As you may have guessed from the use of HD in its name, the phone’s 4.7-inch LCD screen has a resolution of 1280 x 720, so the sharpness should still be there despite its size.

Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is the operating system of choice, to which LG has added its own user interface over the top. Other features include 16GB of internal memory, DLNA connectivity and a hefty 2150mAh battery, and yet LG has squeezed all this into a chassis which measures 8.9mm.

On the rear of the phone is an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash, while around the front is a 1.3-megapixel video call lens, however as yet there’s no mention of either an NFC chip (often mentioned in leaks of the LG X3, which appears to be the 4X HD’s codename) or a 4G LTE variant.

Launch date

More information on the Optimus 4X HD will be provided during Mobile World Congress next week, and LG says the phone will be released in Europe between March and June, but it has yet to confirm an international or North American launch.

LG has made the most of this past week, making sure its new phones don’t get lost in the MWC crowd by “pre-announcing” them. Will it pay off, or will the inevitable influx of other quad-core phones over-shadow the admittedly great-looking Optimus 4X HD anyway?

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