I still find the Final Thoughts of the L-series of smartphones from LG hard - they're budget phones, but I can't find myself recommending them. The Nexus 4, also made by LG, is less than $350 - and offers twice the specs, and twice the phone.
What LG have done with the Optimus L9 is finish off a series of smartphones with a better 'bang'. The L9 has better specs, a bigger screen and is the much better performer of the three L-series phones from LG.
Should you buy the Optimus L9 for yourself, a friend or family member? That depends on what they already have. My dad for example, would be perfect for this phone - he's not a technology expert, but he's not a novice either. The bigger screen is perfect for him, and so is the feature set. He doesn't need a naked version of Android, or an iPhone.
I think this is where the L9 fits in - to specific people, wanting a phone at a specific price without huge amounts of 'whizz-bang'.
LG have used the L-series as a testing ground for their new F-series, which was announced during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in late-February. We should have some of these units soon to play around with, and by the looks of things, we should see some much-needed improvements in the F-series.