LG Spectrum Review

Have you ever looked at a device and had a feeling that you might have seen this before?  For example the LG Spectrum from Verizon, looks a lot like the LG Nitro HD and if you keep looking at the device you might think you are looking at the Optimus LTE.  Well, you wouldn’t be mistaken.  The LG Spectrum and the Optimus both have a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 1,830mAh battery and a very nice 4.5IPS display (that for lack of better wording is a fingerprint MAGNET).  With all that said does the LG Spectrum still stand tall next to its identical twin, or will this device be the forgotten child in the attic?  Find out below and if you want to check out the video review feel free to check it out here.

Hardware

Let’s take a look at the internals of this device shall we?  The 4.5-inch IPS display, a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera, 8 megapixel rear camera with LED, 4GB of internal memory and a 16GB microSD card preinstalled.  Remember that 4.5-inch IPS display I have been talking about?  Well this display is what is being called a True HD screen makes movies really pop off the screen.  It really is amazing how clear the display is.  What we have here is a Gorilla Glass-encased 16:9 IPS panel. As with the Nitro HD, the Spectrum packs an impressive 329ppi into its 1280 x 720 display. You’ll also get some great viewing angles out of the handset. On the bottom of the device is a row of haptic touch controls, including menu, home and back.  The menu button is a unique as it has a silver underlay beneath the coat of gloss adding a little bit of spice to a rather drab front.

Along the edges of the phone are just a few buttons, a volume rocker and the power button are the only physical buttons on the sides of the device.  You will also find the headphone jack, a small slit to help you pry off the back of the phone and have access to the battery.  The speaker on the back when playing back movies and a secondary mic as well, and finally the charging port is hidden behind this little flimsy door that I always felt I was going to break off.

Performance and battery life

The battery life on the LG Spectrum performed ok.  Could have been better, even after a software upgrade but in the end the phone lasted roughly 4hr30mins during a regular usage test, and a more moderately 8 hours on a light usage test.  Just getting you through a day without charging the phone.

The phone performed decently during standard use.  The Qualcomm MSM8660 1.5GHz dual-core processor experienced some hiccups, including a lag coming out of the camera program.  Other than that the phone handles itself quite well.  Apps load quickly, and games run smooth.  Surfing the web and loading up videos didn’t lag too much with this device.

Camera

The camera quality on this phone really had me surprised.  Even in dimly lit environments it was able to capture fine detail and handle contrast well.  A downside is the quality started to suffer when you would zoom in closer on your subject.  Same with the video side it became somewhat pixelated and grainy.

You can shuffle between portrait, landscape, sports, sunset, and night modes very quickly.  You can even tinker some more with white balance, ISO and color settings or snap a panorama shot.  The 1080p video capture like I said performed fairly well.  It also captured sound from all angles and sadly the autofocus  is missing during the recording process.

Software

This device still sports Gingerbread and LG promises an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich “soon”, so you have something to look forward to on that front.  The OS is slightly dated and it masks LG stock skin.  Not a whole lot of 3D animation going on in the menus.  This helps things move along a lot faster than having to wait for a fancy little 3D animation.  You also are loaded up with Verizon software as well.  The usual cast of characters are here including, VZ Navigator, V Cast Media Manager, Verizon Video, Netflix and some third-party ones like Rhapsody and Blockbuster.  You can also adjust widgets, shortcuts, folders and wallpaper.  Plus you can share media with Smart Share.   This allows you to share your media wirelessly to DLNA enabled devices.

Wrap-Up 

Even if it is the twin brother of another device and it shed a lot of charm in the process, it is more than capable of handling its own in other areas.  With a  great camera, 1080p recording quality, LTE network for great download speeds, and a somewhat decent battery life.  The end result is going to wind up in the hands of our trusty scientists with a judgment of BUY IT, FLIP IT or SKIP IT.  The LG Spectrum from Verizon gets a BUY IT but just barely, only due to its quality camera and also at a great price point for the beginning smart phone buyer.   Sure there are other phones out there that can perform much better and do so much more like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus or the Samsung Galaxy S 3.The LG Spectrum is a good device to help get your hands wet when it comes to smartphones.

Article first published as LG Spectrum Review on Technorati.

email