LG Spectrum review

It broadens Verizon's 4G LTE selection, but can it topple the competition?

LG Spectrum
A sleek LG phone with 4G - but is it any good?

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LG spectrum

Right out of the box, the LG Spectrum looks like a stellar smartphone. The fantastic display is remarkably clear and colorful, making this an ideal media player, while the build quality impresses despite a slippery back cover. But little issues become lingering frustrations, such as mediocre call quality, weak battery life, and various UI annoyances.

We liked:

The 4.5-inch display is truly a thing of beauty, running at 1280x720 for a ppi of 329. It's up there with the best available screens on the smartphone market today.

Verizon's 4G LTE network is put to pretty good use here, with speedy page loads and sharp streaming video quality. We didn't register our best speed tests on the LG Spectrum, but it's still quite effective.

With a dual-core 1.5GHz processor in tow, the menu screens open and close quickly and apps load with little delay, making it easy to breeze through numerous tasks.

We disliked:

Call quality was consistently below par for a 4G LTE phone. The voice on the other side frequently sounded grainy and distorted, and switching to speakerphone didn't help the situation.

Battery life is always a concern on 4G LTE handsets, and here it's a real problem. Casual users might get a full day out of a change, but anyone who uses the phone for work or fidgets with it semi-regularly may struggle to finish out the afternoon.

LG's skinned version of Gingerbread – not even Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest Android revision – is clunky in parts, with a cumbersome app listing menu screen and some frustrations organizing apps on busy home screens. And the bloatware is a bit excessive here.

Video recording quality is very hit or miss. Without the ability to manually focus on subjects, up-close shots lose clarity and we noticed graininess even in well lit and otherwise detailed clips.

Final verdict:

While the LG Spectrum has some standout features, it's outclassed by other Verizon 4G LTE handsets when it comes to important details like call quality, battery life, OS usability, and included version of Android.

Compared to phones like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus or Droid RAZR MAXX, this seemingly premium phone is simply underwhelms compared to more complete options.

The little issues might be bearable at the right price, especially if Ice Cream Sandwich arrives sooner than later; but Verizon users hesitant to commit to the LG Spectrum for the next couple years should rightly follow their gut instincts and consider other options.