LG Spectrum In-Depth Review

February 21, 2012 6:31 pm

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LG Spectrum

LG Spectrum has released as one of the most recent smartphone brought by Verizon Wireless. Firstly noticed at CES a little while ago, Spectrum managed to get our attention as it seemed to be the device that has the most respectful specifications as opposed to other Verizon’s LTE smartphones. The fact that LucasFilm is involved in the marketing of this new comer made us even more curious with it. In this article, we are going to dive into the inner space of LG Spectrum and find out if this $199 smartphone really has the potential to dominate the high-end smartphone market.

LG Spectrum

LG Spectrum: What’s in the box?

Besides the LG Spectrum itself, nothing seems to be very special to talk about in this review. You will get the ordinary 16GB microSD, micro USB, and a charger.

The Hardware of LG Spectrum

Supporting the handset from the inside, there is a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor topped with 1GB of RAM. The handset’s got a built-in internal flash storage of 4GB but of course, that won’t be sufficient for any smartphone users. That’s why the 16GB microSD is in the box in the first place. Several complementary features such as gyroscope, Bluetooth and WiFi, accelerometer as well as GPS are also on-board to maximize the users’ experience. With that in mind, LG Spectrum easily categorizes itself as one of the high-end smartphones available in the market today. Still, we’re going to find out what this handset can do with such specifications later in this review.

LG Spectrum sports a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display with native resolution of 720×1280. We were quite happy with its viewing angles and its capabilities to handle thousands of colors as we didn’t notice any significant quality drop when we took some views from different angles. However, as we tried to open more pictures files which more rich of colors, we did find a flaw with this handset. Colors gradients didn’t show up like what we had expected earlier.

Unlike typical Android handsets, LG Spectrum doesn’t have the common Search button. You can access it however, if you press and hold on the Menu button. We personally think that the bezel is a bit larger but it’s great to keep the 1.3 MP front-facing camera intact. Thing we did not really like from the overall impression of LG Spectrum is the fact that it misses the LED notification. We’re not sure either why LG removes such helpful stuff from its latest smartphone.

The top of the phone is a house for the headphone jack, microphone and micro USB port, as well as the power button. That’s pretty full of stuff we’d say and it might get you uncomfortable when you want to open the microUSB port while the device is being recharged.

LG Spectrum

Meanwhile, the volume rocker is placed at the left side of the phone. The rear part of the phone is covered with the curved and checkered battery cover. Again, this is where we think several other handsets are better than LG Spectrum. The battery cover is finished without any texture. This led to bigger tendency for our fingerprint to be left on its surface which easily can make the handset look dirty. Furthermore, we noticed that the handset just couldn’t sit nicely on a flat surface simply because the house of the 8MP camera is not wide enough. It looks more like an annoying bubble.

Opening the cover, we are welcome by the 1830mAh battery, Verizon LTE SIM, and a slot in which you can insert the microSD card. You can remove the microSD card without having to take out the battery but removing LTE SIM requires you to do so. Now there is one thing in this point that attracted our attention. It’s the black sheet on the inside of the battery cover. We found no documentations regarding this stuff in the users’ guide. Still it can’t be the house for NFC chip because LG has confirmed that LG Spectrum does not come with it.

Software

LG Spectrum is powered with Android Gingerbread 2.3.5. It’s topped with some customizable skin that really looks like Touchwiz by Samsung. This may sound good to you but as soon as you get a feel on it, your expectation will easily dropped down to the lowest. The custom skin causes LG Spectrum to lag most of the times. Even just trying to navigate here and there in the home screen is unbearably slow. Furthermore, the fact that native Verizon bloatware cannot be removed is quite a pain. We’re not really a fan of bloatware and we do not want such unhelpful stuff installed on our smartphone. On top of that, the VZ Navigator just wouldn’t start unless we reboot the device.

In addition, Verizon has chosen Bing to be the default web browser search engine for LG Spectrum and if you think you can change it to Google then get ready to be disappointed because you can’t in any way! If you wish to use Google then you must either press and hold the Menu button like we told you earlier or use the widget.

Obviously, we think the software is really a bum for LG Spectrum. Hopefully, an update to settle down these issues will be pushed in the near future so users won’t need to bear with it for a long time.

LG Spectrum Camera

Despite having 8MP camera, the overall capability of LG Spectrum to take some nice shots is not really that high. You may notice that the colors output is so much muted and far from being sharp. Furthermore, the auto flash feature will only start when you take a shot in conditions in which there is little to no light at all. Not to say that the auto focus feature is not really sophisticated either, causing the images to be somewhat blurry in nature.

LG Spectrum

That’s pretty much the same with its video recording. Although the manufacturer claims that LG Spectrum is able to make 1080p video, the result was far from our expectation. We did find that our LG Spectrum camera couldn’t handle light transitions pretty well. Our video showed numerous tearing and wobbles. Furthermore, the audio quality dropped quite easily even when the wind just blew in such a fair manner.

Performance

On our benchmark tests using a couple of different tools, LG Spectrum scores varied. In one test the handset achieved good scores but in another, it indicated slow performance at some points. Similarly, we had pretty good impressions upon LG Spectrum the first time we turned it on. However, as soon as we run some applications and did multiple tasks, the handset seemed to be slowing down.

Reportedly, we also came across a number of reboots and hangs. Therefore, it’s worth noting that the benchmarks scores are not necessarily the best way to determine the performance of a handset.

Anyway, we gave three times trials to each tool to test LG Spectrum. This way, at least we can be sure that the test scores nearly represent what the handset really has under the hood. In our test using AnTuTu, LG Spectrum reached average score of 6440. Using Quadrant, the average score was only 2466. While both test results seem to contradict one to another, this is only a sign that LG Spectrum is not stable yet.

Call quality and browsing speed

We were quite happy when testing the 4G speeds boasted by LG Spectrum. The speeds ranged from around 14000kbps up to 24000kbps. On the other hand, the average upload speeds was noted to be around 5600kbps. Even though it’s not as fast as what AT&T has to offer, we are quite sure that this speed will improve shortly because Verizon just started to extend its footprint.

Similar experience we had with its call quality. LG Spectrum didn’t seem to have any problems to funnel our voice to the other end. Our friends did not report any sound distortion that could make our voice unclear. So, two thumbs are awarded in this section for LG Spectrum.

Battery power

Unfortunately, we got disappointed once again to know that the 1830mAh battery coming with LG Spectrum is not that powerful. It failed to prove the promise made up on its launch day. Moreover, with our AnTuTu battery test, the average score we got was as low as 374.

LG Spectrum Review – Conclusion

LG Spectrum does have several aspects we love. The dual-core Snapdargon processor and LTE connectivity are good to start with. However, the fact that the handset has seriously severe issues regarding the software and battery just doesn’t help us give 5 stars rating for this LG Spectrum smartphone.

[Rating:3.5/5]
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