November 13, 2013

LG Optimus Dynamic Review - Tracfone Smartphone

The LG L38C Android Powered Smartphone from Tracfone

This review by TracfoneReviewer covers the LG Optimus Dynamic (LG L38C) offered by Tracfone.

LG Optimus Dynamic Review tracfone
LG Optimus Dynamic Review
The LG Optimus Dynamic is one of four new Android powered smartphones that Tracfone has made available to consumers.

The ZTE Valet and Samsung Galaxy Centura (click the links for our reviews of each phone) are two of the other three smartphones, and are both widely available. The fourth Tracfone smartphone is the Huawei Glory, which we have just reviewed, so check it out!

These four phones are the first smartphones (using Android OS) Tracfone has made available for use with their prepaid service.

Tracfone has also just recently released the LG Optimus Dynamic II, an Android smartphone with many improvements over the original Dynamic reviewed here, but also more expensive.

Tracfone Wireless is a prepaid cell phone company that offers relatively inexpensive phones and prepaid minutes/service days at low prices. Learn more about Tracfone by reading our Overview of Tracfone.

Now, let's get to the details of this  LG Optimus Dynamic review:

Review of the  LG Optimus Dynamic from Tracfone

The  LG Optimus Dynamic is a touchscreen, candy bar style phone with Android Operating System 2.3. The LG Optimus Dynamic is a phone offered by several different cell phone service providers (like Net10), but a Net10 LG Optimus Dynamic will not work with Tracfone service.

This phone uses the CDMA network (you can tell by the 'C' at the end of LG L38C), which is the case with all of Tracfone's current Android phones. Using the CDMA network means that this phone will most likely use Verizon towers. Learn more about the difference between GSM and CDMA cell phone networks.

Let's take a look at the full feature and specifications list for the LG Optimus Dynamic:

LG Optimus Dynamic Features and Specs:
  • WiFi Connectivity
  • 3G Network Speeds
  • Triple Minutes for Life
  • Android 2.3 'Gingerbread'
  • 3 MP Camera and Video Recorder
  • 4 GB Micro SD card included
  • Supports up to 32 GB Micro SD Card
  • MP3 Player
  • Bluetooth Wireless Technology
  • Access to over 700,000 Apps on Google Play
  • GPS Enabled
  • Gravity/Shake/Tilt sensor
  • Hearing Aid Compatible
  • Alarm Clock
  • Text/Picture Messaging
  • Email and Mobile Web
  • Hands Free Speaker
  • Voicemail, Caller ID, Call Waiting

Specifications and Dimensions for the LG Optimus Dynamic:
  • 800 Mhz Processor
  • Size: 4" x 2.4" x 0.5"
  • 3.2" Touchscreen
  • Battery Standby: 6 Days
  • Batter Talk time: 6 Hours
A powerful list of features, especially compared to Tracfone's older, non-Android phones. While the LG Optimus Dynamic comes with Android 2.3, which is not the most recent version of Android, it will still provide plenty of bang for your buck. If you want a phone with a newer version of Android, like 4.0, check out the other smartphones Tracfone offers, as they all use Android 4.0 or higher.

But before we get too far into analyzing the features, and comparing this phone with the others, let's just see the likes and dislikes we have about the LG Optimus Dynamic.

Likes and Dislikes for the LG Optimus Dynamic

LG Optimus Dynamic Likes:

Let's begin by saying there is a lot to like about this phone. Comparing it to older Tracfone mobile devices, this phone is light years ahead because of one great feature - Android Operating System.

lg optimus dynamic review tracfone
LG Optimus Dynamic
(click image to zoom)
The Android Operating System allows the user to access Apps (applications) that are available through Google Play. There are over 700,000 different apps, which means lots and lots of features at your fingertips.

Some of the top apps include the Chrome web browser, YouTube, Instagram, Google Calendar, FIFA 14 and plenty more. To get many of these apps, you simply download them to your phone.

Some of our other big likes about the LG Optimus Dynamic are the WiFi, Triple Minutes for Life, and 3MP Camera.

WiFi on the Optimus allows you to surf the web for free when connected to a wireless network, like at home, work or at a coffee shop. You won't use any minutes when you are surfing the web using WiFi.

Triple Minutes for Life is the best deal Tracfone offers at the moment, and it basically triples any minutes you add to the phone. So if you buy at 60 minute refill card, you will get 180 total minutes.

The 3 MP camera is decent enough, and can take good photos in well lighted situations. Don't expect too much from it, as many newer smartphones have much better cameras.

Finally, we really like that the LG Optimus Dynamic comes with a 4 GB Micro SD Card. It is convenient to be able to lead music onto it for the MP3 player, or store pictures and other information from the phone on it. While the ZTE Valet also comes with a 4 GB Micro SD card, the Samsung Galaxy Centura does not.

There are several more nice features on this phone, but we want to take a look at some of the dislikes to give a balanced perspective.

LG Optimus Dynamic Dislikes:
It's true, there are a few things we don't really like about this phone, but none of them are enough to keep us from buying this phone. Let's run through them so you have an idea, and can make your own decision.

First off, while the Android 2.3 OS is great, it is not the newest, and all the other smartphones from Tracfone offer newer versions of the OS. So this is important to be aware of.

A dislike that is more of a disappointment is that these new Android Smartphones won't accept promo codes. In other words, you can't get any bonus minutes when adding a new card.

Which brings us to another slight dislike, the prepaid minutes for this phone (and the other Android smartphones) are broken up into three pools or buckets - calling minutes/texting/data.

When you add a 60 minute card, for example, you will now get 180 minutes for calling, 180 texts, and 180 MB of data to use (because the phone has Triple Minutes for Life). While this is a good deal for people who use all three of these functions, people who just text will not get as great a deal.

Finally, this phone is not exactly a new smartphone, it has been around for a few years. So if you are looking for the latest and greatest smartphone, this is not a phone for you. However, it is a tried and tested phone that is used by several different cell phone service providers, so it has been thoroughly tested (as is the case for most Tracfone mobile devices).

To conclude, there are things about this phone that we really like, and there are a few things we didn't like, but all in all it is a good phone for most users, especially those who would like their phone to have additional features beyond the basics.

How to Check your Airtime Balance: 

On the LG Optimus Dynamic (and all of Tracfone's new smartphones) there is no airtime display like we are accustomed to. You must now check your airtime through other methods. The easiest is as follows:

Download Tracfone's official app on Google Play which will allow you to sign in, and check your airtime balance from there.

Another options is to log on to your Tracfone account and submit a balance request, OR simply set up a bookmark in your browser (on your computer or phone) to go to "" (replace 1234567890 with your phone number). You'll get a free text message on your phone with your balances. The service end date is not in the text message. It's only shown on the browser screen.

Overall Review and Pricing for the LG Optimus Dynamic

The LG Optimus Dynamic is a good phone, and offers a huge upgrade for most longtime Tracfone users. LG is a great brand with a history of good phones.

lg optimus dynamic review
LG Optimus Dynamic
It is a phone best suited to people who want more out of their cell phone than just calling and texting. The app market on Google Play brings a huge selection of features to the table that older Tracfone devices don't have. If you are looking for a more simple phone, visit our Cell Phone Reviews Page.

The LG Optimus Dynamic is available in some stores and many places online including Tracfone's website. It retails for $99 most places, although it can be found for less, especially when bundled with minutes or other accessories form eBay or HSN.

We have also found it on Amazon for $20 plus Free Shipping!

And there is even a white version of the LG Optimus Dynamic for those who want to stand out a little more than the rest.

Compared to the Samsung Galaxy Centura, the LG Optimus Dynamic is better in several ways, such as price and included Micro SD Card, however it uses an older version of Android, which is a drawback.

When comparing the LG Optimus Dynamic to the ZTE Valet or Huawei Glory, TracfoneReviewer would likely choose the Valet or Glory because of the slightly better processor, similar price, slightly larger touchscreen, and newer Android OS. But these phones are very similar, and it could come down to specific features or even brand.

Additional Resources: LG Optimus Dynamic Tutorials and Information

Leave a comment with your thoughts on the LG Optimus Dynamic, and any questions or reviews you have.

You might find our recent post with the New Tracfone Promo Codes for June 2014 useful if you haven't upgraded to a smartphone yet, or learn how to Get a Burn Phone Fast with Tracfone.

Also learn more about bringing your own phone to Tracfone on our Tracfone BYOP page where we have information, details, and a phone list.

We hope you found this useful, thanks for visiting!


  1. No you can't use a promo code, but a previous 200 unit card yielded 600 units on a TMFL phone and min/txt/data were pulled from that one pool, where a 200 unit card now yields 600 min/600txt/600MB, I would say that is a bonus over and above any bonus code ever offered. The only issue are those who do a lot of texting and to that I say TF should add a Text card as they do a Data card.

    1. Texts are their new cash cow.

    2. This phone sucks I have to charge my battery every day! I have never been able to get on the web with it and everytime I call customer support I get the run around. I do not like that you have to go online to check your time left on your phone. I can't do this from my phone because I can not access the internet from it.I use my phone for call and texts and with this phone they break up the min. so I have all these min. for the web that I could use to talk and text. This phone sucks takes terrible pictures as well. I hate this phone!!!

  2. You didn't mention system memory in the dislikes? System memory 157MB Internal memory 1GB (1024MB).I bought one. After installing 5 apps, all of the storage was used up and the phone wouldn't even accept another contact in the directory. I only had about 10 contacts in there. The apps can be moved to internal SD card, but not the external.

    1. Check out this:

    2. It DOES NOT let you move the apps to the REAL, external SD - only to the internal SD! Useless...

  3. Just bought one of these and so far am very pleased - but I can't find the Tracfone app to keep track of my balance. Is it in the play store, and, if so, under which category?

  4. Beware of the Tracfone My Account app at the Google Play store. I installed it on my phone and within minutes received some phishing messages. One of them, which appeared with an official-looking Android logo, warned me that my phone was infected with malware that came from visiting "adult-oriented" web sites. The other said my phone was running too slow. Both offered links for software to "fix" the problem. Needless to say, I didn't hit either link but opted to check the phone with a virus-scanning app. No problems found.

  5. Does this phone have voice to text functionality? I've called and read manual and can't find it. I use this function all the time on my old phone. If I can't find it I will return the phone. Someone please help

    1. Hi, while I don't know how to use a lot of the features on this phone yet, I do know this one and I love it. Tap on the area of the screen that brings up the keyboard for typing text. When the keyboard appears, on the bottom row to the left of the space bar is an icon that looks like a microphone. Tap on that and it brings you to the voice function. I hope this helps you out.

  6. So if you turn data off and connect thru WiFi can you send text messages thru the WiFi ?

    1. I think Wifi is only free for data use. If I am wrong, I would love to hear about this! Texting free on WiFi would be awesome!

    2. There is an app called text plus that lets u text free on wifi. U can download it from the playstore.

  7. Apps disappeared off front screen, not sure where to find a solution, does anyone have a solution?

  8. Does it have a front camera?

  9. Lol. In two days i was out of memory, and the volume is horribly loud.You could damage an eardrum with the thing. Waste of money. Completely. Cute, surfs well no complaints there,uses the play store. But useless as a phone unfotunately. I think if you want a good android it will have to be something non tracfone, with real memory, those sd cards are only usefull for pics and videos music files not moving apps.Apps, bloatware are what eat your lunch on memory even with big carriers! So you need way more memory to start with built straight into the phone to support the apps, and that does cost a chunk for a good phone to enjoy so get prepared. Flip and qwerty are great as an inexpensive way to communicate with great reception and actually pretty decent basic phones, and battery life is superb! I've had a flip one that just lasts and lasts on on this plan if your not a chatty kathy cell addict it's a deal! Texts are cheap. Just not happy yet with their androids. At least not this one. Oh and it's gingerbread technology so kinda old. Sucks.

    1. Get a very large (32gb) SD card and try this:

    2. You are kind of clueless.
      1) Volume is adjustable. That it is capable of being loud is good. Now all you need to do is turn the volume down, lol!
      2) The mSD memory cards are completely fit for apps, you're just not doing it right if you think a smartphone needs a lot of internal memory for the limited apps this model is capable of.
      3) You picked it, it's an older phone which lowers the price. That doesn't make it suck at all, back when it was the current OS version people were overjoyed to have such a phone but now you have envy of others for something more advanced than you are capable of using if you can't even figure out that phones have adjustable volume.

    3. LOL. Sounds like my wife! Wanted a phone like mine with keyboard, web browser, etc. She IS NOT technology literate. No matter how times I show her, she can't figure it out. Don't get any more technology than you can handle.

  10. I agree with most of you this phone really has a memory problem so every time I'm about to download an app i have check how megabites it has. I have the white one and I am fascinated with the artistic design. Other than the memory concern I have not had any other problems with this phone

    1. I agree i love this phone it has everything a person could need the only problem is the memory!! Is there anyway to fix that?? If so can anyone help me? Really desperite w the memory me to help me if there is a way...856 628 7831 thanks lauren

    2. Get a larger SD card and use this:

  11. I currently have an LG 800g. When I get a text message I can't see who it is from until after I open it. It just says New Message.

    Does the same thing happen on the LG Optimus Dynamic L38C? If so, I will not get one. Thanks.

    1. No, text allocation units are deducted as soon as the message is received, before it is even opened.

      If you send and/or receive a lot of text messages this would not be a good phone unless you can install a "free" texting app. I'm not sure about Google Voice, but TextFree and textPlus both claim compatibility with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) so they should work.

      GoogleVoice does not allow for attachment of photos. TextFree and textPlus allow attachment of photos, but have advertising by default. For $5.99/year TextFree is ad free, or for $4.99/year textPlus is ad free.

      Those reporters/bloggers/forum posters that mention conversion rates claim over 6000 text messages per megabyte of data based on an average of 160 bytes per text. My own estimate prior to researching it, based on the assumption that each message would include wrapper data was over 1000 pure text messages per megabyte, far less with picture included. The only place I have seen a definite conversion rate is for a different app, and it claims 10 text messages per megabyte.


      With Android phone and a 400 minute annual card and “free” texting service, assuming only mobile data is used, you would start with 1200 voice minutes, 1200 texts, and 1200 megabytes data. The 1200 texts could be used to send/receive texts with photos, while the 1200 megabytes of data could be used to send/receive 12,000 pure texts even assuming just 10 texts per megabyte.

      On the triple minutes non-android phones the 1200 texts with photos would use 600 minutes and the 12,000 pure texts would use 3600 minutes, so for the equivalent voice/texting ability you would need to add 5400 total minutes. Even the $199 1500 minutes annual card doesn't provide this with triple minutes and 250 bonus minutes (total 4750 minutes).

      Conclusion: It is cheaper to get even the LG Optimus Dynamic II @ $99 plus a 400 minute annual card than keep the LG 840g and get a 1500 minute annual card, if you do mostly texting.

  12. This is the BEST phone ever for beginners!

  13. The LG 38C phone is a piece of crap. Long delays in sending text messages, poor reception, horrible battery life etc. Another thing is that you cannot transfer minutes from an Android phone to a non android with tracfone. Makes no sense to me. If your tracfone has a letter C at the end of it or in it you have to use Verizon towers. When you call customer service be prepared to speak to someone in the Phillipines---trying to understand them is a chore in itself. This phone is TERRIBLE. I will never own another thing that is made by LG period.

    1. I totally agree. I've had this phone for a year and the same problems have been occurring for 3 months. Terrible reception, battery issues, very slow to receive and send texts... I missed an important call and texts from my boss, which showed up 2 hours later. I can't have that, as I run the business, and need to be available at all times. Time to look for a new phone.

  14. So, I have found on a website the LG Dynamic Optimus II for sale. Obviously the sequel to the first one, does anyone know if the memory problems have been fixed in the sequel? Maybe even the review was about the second one which is why the memory problems weren't brought up. I'd love to know, thanks.

    1. The Optimus Dynamic II has 512MB RAM versus 157MB for the original Optimus. It also has significantly more internal storage, but less than the ZTE.

    2. This app is compatible with Android 2.2 and up:

  15. how do you block someone from calling you.?

  16. Go to Google play@get the app Mr blocks unwanted callers@text works great...

  17. after having the LG840
    the Tg10
    Galaxy Centura
    now this one...
    the LG800
    and the LG 840 is my favorite but having to use minutes to surf web is the only drawback.I was hoping this phone was like the 840 but free websurfing and qwerty

  18. Is there a way to stop the LG Optimus Dynamic from searching for a network (cdma)?

    1. You should be able to turn off Wi-Fi. Then it won't search for available networks.

  19. I bought this phone from someone on craigslist for $20 after using an old dmfl phone for 2 years. Its nice to be able to actually get pictures & navigate easier but as others have stated the phone has major memory issues. This isnt a phone if you want to install apps on it, there is only 140mb of memory on the phone & 1gb "internal" memory separate from the sd card to which you cannot move the apps onto. So if you want a phone to just call/text and surf the web a bit then its a good option for its price. Just keep any eye on your data, I wake up somedays and overnight 1mb of data was used up somehow even though I had nothing running.

    Id give it a 6/10, good value but still not a true smartphone if you want to use it heavily. 8/10 if you just want to talk/text and get 3x mins/text/data.

  20. I have a Boost Mobile number. Can I transfer that number to Tracphone? Also I am getting a Square Reader. Does this phone have 3.5 audio input port?

  21. MEMORY issues. I initially experienced the problem with small System Memory but here is a link to a tutorial that will let you move downloaded apps to internal memory, freeing up limited space in System Memory. Makes a big difference.;jsessionid=EBAB902EAD65D30919188662F82C0431?tutorialId=45267&locale=en_US&deviceId=1258&cid=804480&conversationPropagation=end

    Long address, you should copy and paste. Or just click on the link in the article, "
    LG Optimus Dynamic Tutorials and Information "

    1. Thanks, I have tried this and the free app Move 2 SD. However, none of my apps seems to be able to be moved to the SD card. The button to move the apps is always "greyed" out. I have lots of space on my memory card but can't find anything to move over to clear system space. Can anyone help? Thanks!

  22. I bought mine for $25 from Amazon. It is an upgrade over the LG840G (and certainly an upgrade over the awful LG800G!), but is not a good Android phone. The system memory is tiny, you can only install a couple apps, and even then, many do not work. There is plenty of internal memory, and plenty of SD space, but only a tiny amount allotted for system memory.

    I do like that the tripled the talk, text and data, instead of having one tripled pool. Buying a 200 minute card and getting 600 minutes of talk, 600 minutes of texts, and 600 minutes of data is certainly better than 600 minutes shared between talk, text and data.

    If you are looking at the LG840G, get this phone instead if the price is comparable, this phone is more capable. But if you can afford more, get a better Android phone.

    1. i also upgraded from the lg840g there is an big difference. so far so good

  23. I just bought this phone. Whenever i make/receive a call, the screen locks and i can't unlock it until the other caller hangs up! Anyone else experiencing this problem?

  24. If anyone is looking for a good deal on a 1 year card, shopcelldeals is selling the LG L38C phone on eBay for $80, including 400 min and 1 year of service, which is $5 less than their best price on the service alone. I was planning to either get the L39C, which is supposed to be way better than the L38C, or wait for the L34C, which is in the pipeline, but for less than free, I'm going to get this one to play with. Even if I never activate it, I can use it on WiFi and I'll have an extra charger and an extra 4GB SD card, and they are paying me $5 to do it!

  25. I have a Lg840 Im on a life time with trac Ive had to send the phone back 3 times! I hate it and I was told by trac that u canot block someone. This person keeps texting me she wont stop! anyways I want a smart phone! Thanks 4 puting all this up.

  26. How does this process work when transferring minutes from an older tracfone. This will be my first Tracfone with separate buckets for texts, call and data. If I have a 1000 minutes on my current and take my old phone number and transfer the minutes how will this appear on my new LG Optimus? Thanks!

  27. Does this smartphone support FLAC?

  28. Do you know if any of the credit card reader work with this phone. I tried Square but they said it was not compatible.

  29. Can this phone use WhatsApp?

  30. how do you delete messages

  31. why do my texts expire within a short time, before I can read them. Keeps saying "expired".

  32. I just bought a new one in the box on E-Bay for $25.00

    This is my first smart phone and I mainly want it for the WIFI. I have an older LG with a web browser that won't log on. So, this is why I got the LG Optimus.

    My son told me some of these smart phones won't load basic minutes. A friend of ours has one and bought a minutes card that won't load. He says, you need a higher $ plan with web browsing. Really? We'll see!

  33. I have a lg L38C. Bought it for the voice to text. Was told it used .03 per text in and out. Now Im told it uses .05 in and out. Trouble is it charges 1. Been calling Tracfone for a week, but still not resolved. Saw something above about free text on WiFi. Im dumb, whats that mean???

  34. Worst Android Phone I've ever had,
    Its like the Phone has a Mind of its own, when ur trying to look something up it'll automatically go back to the Main screen .
    Can't Hear that good while Talking / POOR Memory / Can't Download anything cause of it, If the Company made this for Adults they should have made a Better Phone / otherwise its a Good Starter Phone for a Child & I Paid. $80 for this / so Not worth it.
    I even tried taking the Phone Back 1 1/2 weeks after I got it cause of All the Issues with it & they Wouldn't take it back / how Sad is that?
    Again Worst Phone ever made & LG Wint even Stand Behind there Product.

  35. How can I see my text messages again

  36. how do you even add the dang minutes onto the phone is there a specific card or something to buy for it?!!!

    1. Best thing to do is have an online Tracfone account and add minutes that way.


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