We thought a quad-core processor and 4G LTE support would spell trouble for the LG Optimus G's battery. Since the battery is non-removable, we were worried, but ended up pleasantly surprised with the phone's 2100mAh cell's performance.
Of course, we weren't actually able to test 4G's drain on the Sprint Optimus G's battery, since Sprint doesn't have a 4G coverage in San Francisco. However, AT&T does, since the two phones have the same batteries, we'd imagine their performance is roughly the same. Check out the battery section of our LG Optimus G (AT&T) review for more information.
We did give it a run with the TechRadar battery test. After 90 minutes of playing a video file with full brightness, WiFi, 3G and GPS enabled, it still had an impressive 73 percent of its battery remaining. That's not bad at all, considering the size of the Optimus G's display and the drain of its quad-core processor.
It didn't score as high as the Samsung Galaxy SIII though, a phone that also has a quad-core and the same 2100mAh battery. The Galaxy still has 82 percent at the end of our testing.
Testing the phone around town, we found that a day of heavy usage would generally have battery life in the twenties by nighttime. This is after a day of browsing the web, checking Facebook, making calls and watching videos.
Overall, the Optimus G's better life is respectable. It's definitely a charge every night kind of device, but it's reliable enough to get you through the day with average use.
The LG Optimus might be 4G capable, but for the average Sprint customer in the U.S., it'll be a 3G device. While Sprint is expanding its limited 4G LTE network, it's just not available in most markets, including our own San Francisco Bay area.
Although it can feel like dial-up after using 4G, Sprint's 3G is reliable and blankets San Francisco quite well. We only experienced connectivity issues in extreme locations, like when driving across the Bay Bridge. It was easily good enough for web browsing and streaming radio services like Spotify. Obviously, more data intensive services like Netflix and downloads from Google Play suffered the most.
Data speeds were generally within the 800-550KBps range, which is pretty average for 3G service. The speeds themselves were not impressive, but we were generally able to maintain reliable, four-bar connection, even in crowd urban areas.
The lack of 4G really stinks because the Optimus G's hardware is built for browsing with multiple tabs and watching crisp HD video, but we won't dismiss Sprint as a carrier. It's one of only a few companies who still offer unlimited plans data plans to new customers. The only way to get a plan like with AT&T and Verizon is to be grandfathered in from years back, and that can often come with considerable caveats and red tape. Sign up for unlimited 3G data with Sprint now, and get unlimited 4G whenever it comes to your area, if you can stand the wait.