When the T-Mobile G2x and two other Android OS gadgets debuted this week, I was there at the lavish event in New York City put on by T-Mobile to get some early hands-on time. The demoes that took place included an extensive look at this Android smartphone’s HDMI, mirroring-enabled video gaming.
Although T-Mobile had embarked on online sales of the G2x the week before, the shindig in Manhattan on Wednesday coincided with the first-time this new smartphone was made available in T-Mobile stores nationwide.
As the initial U.S. edition of the LG Optimus 2X, the candy bar-shaped 4G phone offers a 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip for ultra fast processing. The smartphone is also getting played up as the first in the U.S. with a DTS sound system.
Other key features include HDMI mirroring (more on that below); 1080p HD video capture; an 8 megapixel rear-facing and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera; and a 4-inch WVGA touchscreen, big enough for easy viewing, yet still reasonable enough in real estate not to result in a bulky device.
Also at the New York event, T-Mobile gave a formal send-off to the LG G-Slate Android Honeycomb Tablet, as well as to Bobsled, a new series of cloud-based services led by a VoIP calling app for Facebook users as its first offering.
Meanwhile, at a gala in Los Angeles that same day, T-Mobile launched a revived edition of the Sidekick, newly outfitted with the Android OS, operability over T-Mobile’s 4G network, and a spiffy new keyboard. The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G hit store shelves the same day as the G2x.
Unlike the G-Slate, which runs Android OS 3.0 (Honeycomb), the G2x and Sidekick 4G currently come with Android OS 2.2 (Froyo). Yet, where the new Sidekick adds a custom user interface (UI), the G2x does not.
In New York, the G2x and its HDMI mirroring commanded the lion’s share of attention. Celebrants — who included journalists, bloggers, and some early purchasers of T-Mobile’s 4G gadgets — listened to live music, posed for photos on a motorcycle brought indoors for the occasion, and hobnobbed around a huge buffet table filled with sliders, desserts, and other treats.
In between, though, they ducked in and out of booths along the sidelines to check out the HDMI mirroring. When I first got to the NVIDIA booth, a partly informed passer-by told me that, in the HDMI mirroring, the G2x operates as a remote control unit for HDTVs. Yet, what really happens in HDMI mirroring, underneath the covers, is that video is streamed directly from the smartphone to external displays.
Along with other guests, I tried my hand at playing video games streamed from the G2x to 42-inch HDTVs. Resolution on both the phone and TV indeed looked to be the full 1080p HD claimed to be supported with the HDMI mirroring.
In the demos, gaming moves were ostensibly controllable through the Touchscreen on the phone. However, we were left largely to our own devices (pardon the pun) in experimenting with the mirroring in the NVIDIA booth. The controls weren’t all that immediately intuitive to figure out.
Still, the phone seems plenty trim enough, at 4.9 x 2.5 x .40 inches — and light enough, too, at 5.0 ounces — to double as a slick handheld tool for video gaming.
The G2x’s screen gave a bright appearance during subdued lighting, when a musical performance was happening on stage, as well as when the lights came all the way back on at the end of the event.
NVIDIA ran the gaming demos without use of the G2x’s DTS audio, which is supposed to provide great improvements in sound quality and volume. The audio advancements would have been drowned out in the din of all that ambient noise, anyhow. Reportedly though, the DTS audio will also output to either a TV or a stereo system over HDMI.
A smaller booth at the T-Mobile event featured demos of HDMI streaming from the G-Slate, a new 4G tablet also produced by LG. Like the G2x, the G-Slate sports a Tegra 2 chip. However, it also adds a second rear-facing camera not present in the phone. While contributing to a total tablet weight of about 21.8 ounces, a bit higher than that of the also Honeycomb-enabled Motorola Xoom, the second camera also allows for HDMI streaming of 3D video recorded on the G-Slate.
To view the video in 3D though, you need not just an HDTV, but a 3D TV, pointed out a rep. Donning the 3D goggles that are also required, I spent a few minutes viewing a 3D movie streamed from the G-Slate onto a 3D TV. I’ve seen much better 3D quality in theaters of course, but to me, the 3D video streamed from the tablet seemed to display fairly well on the 3D TV tucked away in the booth.