Jan 19 AT 9:58 AM Anthony Domanico 55 Comments

LG Spectrum first impressions, goes on sale today for $199 at Verizon


The LG Spectrum is the latest LTE device to be released amidst a sea of LTE devices on Verizon Wireless. The Spectrum is the follow-up to last year’s LG Revolution and is aimed at the mid-range market (that hole that exists between the Galaxy Nexus/Droid RAZR and the Pantech Breakout/Samsung Illusion). I’ve had my hands on the LG Spectrum for a little over 24 hours now. What follows are my initial impressions of the device after a day’s worth of use.

The Spectrum is a highly spec’d device, with a 4.5-inch True HD (720p) IPS display, 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S3 and an 8 megapixel HD camera capable of taking 1080p video. LG’s Spectrum runs Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread with LG’s custom UI overlay. By now, you probably know how I feel about the UI skins manufacturers and carriers are putting on devices, so I won’t bore you with another rant about why we need more stock Android devices.

In my opinion, LG’s skin has taken MOTOBLUR’s spot at the bottom of my list, specifically when it comes to the app drawer. LG’s app drawer separates apps into unhelpful categories and by default has a whopping 8 categories you’ll have to expand and shrink to get to whatever app you want to choose (though you can remove 6). I prefer the standard app drawer, and the better solution to LG’s skin is to simply install a launcher replacement application from the market (GoLauncher, ADW, and LauncherPro are my faves).

When it comes to how most people use their devices, the display quality and screen resolution are key points of focus. Though the display on the LG Spectrum is certainly not bad by any stretch, the color output appears dull in comparison to the Galaxy S II (with Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus technology). Since the LG spectrum features a 720p display, it has a standard resolution of 1280×720 which, though awesome for displaying multimedia (videos) on the device, often has me squinting to do some of the more basic functions like reading/responding to email.

The Spectrum feels incredibly solid in the hands, and though the plastic backing renders the phone a bit slippery, I’m really liking the overall form factor of the device. The black with chrome accents motif has always been a favorite of mine, and the LG Spectrum wears this finish quite well.

Overall, the LG Spectrum is a good choice for those who don’t want to spend the $300 Verizon asks for its top-of-the-line LTE devices. As with all large purchasing decisions, we highly encourage you to go to a Verizon store and check the Spectrum out for yourselves before making the purchase decision. We will have a full review in the coming weeks.

The LG Spectrum goes on sale today, January 19, at Verizon Wireless stores for $199.99. Anyone out there planning to pick up the Spectrum?

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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    im sure it will sell.. especially when they put it on sale at radioshack,cotsco, etc

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      i’m sure it will too.

  • SCJaredJ

    My oh my, how quickly the landscape changes. A “mid-range” phone w/ 720p resolution, 4.5″ screen, 1.5GHz S4 processor, 8MP camera and 4G LTE?

    • staryoshi

      My sentiments, too. The one feature I find lacking on my E4GT is the screen resolution… 720p would have been awesome :P

  • redraider133

    How is this a “mid range device?

    • Paul Atreides

      “is aimed at the mid-range market (that hole that exists between the Galaxy Nexus/Droid RAZR and the Pantech Breakout/Samsung Illusion)”

      Doesn’t cost the now common price tag of $299 for a Verizon LTE device.

      • redraider133

        Well the razr is $199 now also so is that mid range? This has specs on par with razr and the nexus and yeah lg isn’t good with updates but that doesnt make it “mid range”

        • Paul Atreides

          You’re making this more difficult than it needs to be. It’s not mid-range specs but mid-range pricing.

          • redraider133

            $199 isn’t mid range pricing though…

    • eduardo stanley

      because its from lg. and it will be like the lg g2x and everyone knows how that turned out. specs will be nice like the g2x the lg will not support it after awhile so dont expect ics anytime soon. then lg will blame verizon and verizon will blame lg for not updating it. just like they did with tmobile.

  • triangle

    Anthony, did they Bing this one like the Revolution?

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      nope. De-Binged!

      • triangle

        That’s good to know. Hopefully, the Binging of devices has ended.

        The Spectrum seems like a decent device, but at that price, I would rather go with the Rezound since I feel better about HTC updating it to ICS than LG updating the Spectrum. (I’ve already made my decision by getting the Nexus)

        I look forward to your review.

        • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

          NO, I don’t think the Bing-ing of devices has ended. I don’t think it’ll be all devices, but you know Microsoft is paying Verizon to put Bing on certain smartphones.

  • spazby

    Very nice specs

  • MMcCraryNJ

    The Spectrum, as far as I know, has a Snapdragon S3 processor. Not the S4. Since the Spectrum is the same as the LG Nitro on AT&T with a different radio and all…

    Don’t think we’re seeing the S4 until the Spring.


    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      thanks! corrected :) source document was wrong.

  • Charlesbrown79

    Nice specs, bad UI. Too bad they couldn’t scoop some ice cream into this, but then with that overlay how would you even know if they did?

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      Yeah, LG just makes me mad with their UI. It feels like a cheap, knock-off version of Touchwiz.

  • GeauxLSU

    Another Thursday passes with no Droid 4 :(

    • tom

      was waiting for that to the screen is not as good as razor

  • Vance

    I pray every day for Verizon to come to Alaska so I can get off ACS!

    • Joanna

      guess what there working on that yay go vzw

  • Leonard Grossman

    Any comments on the camera in this beast? Otherwise it sounds like just what I want. But I need a decent camera.

  • yankeesusa

    I know its the $100 less than the nexus but for the same price you can the best phone on att, sprint or tmobile. Verizon just overprices their phones on their 2 year contracts. If I was still with verizon I would wait a month and usually verizon will drop the price or get it through best buy or online at amazon. Either way at least with the expensive lte phones verizon is still expanding lte coverage which I think is the best 4g around. At least till sprint starts up their network.

    • redraider133

      They dropped the prices on the razr and rezound also so maybe it is a step in the right direction. Even the rumored droid 4 is said to be at $249. Hopefully more competition will drive the prices of lte phones down.

      • Buckgrad

        They will be dropping the price on the Razr because they will not be including the 16gb sd card… And they stilll can’t say at Verizon when it will be available.

  • Matt

    There is no search key on the hardware key row, which makes this a silly toy. Next, they’ll remove the Home key, reasoning that you can just press the Back button several times to get there. Then the Menu key will disappear, because only nerds have any need of options. Then the Back key will be reprogrammed to take the user to the home screen.

    Android and iOS will soon be indistinguishable if people keep buying phones with blunted functionality.

    • redraider133

      You ever think they did it for ICS? The nexus does not have a search key either and it seems to be selling and working well.

      • Matt

        How does ICS make that any better? The Search key is still missing. I’m sure it will sell fine. I am just sad that this is the direction we are going.

  • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

    Unfortunately, it’s by LG, and they’ve demonstrated that they just don’t care about product support, no matter how popular the phone is at launch (I’m looking at you, G2x).

    You’ll get that “promised Android 4.0 update” (not noted in this article, but other blogs state so) around November.

    • TheWatcher

      Really! They don’t care about product support? The G2x launched 2011 end of april early may. It is a several month process to test a new OS, in this case Gingerbread. Once the OEM finishes testing then the carrier needs to test and approve. All in all the GB update launched on the G2x end of summer. So sorry that you did not get instant gratification you impatient schmuck. Oh by the way the Spectrum is a very nice phone and quick, LG confirmed ICS planned for second qtr but I know thats not soon enough for you since its not a Rezound or Razr….oh wait….do they have ICS yet?

      • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

        Check your facts buddy. Yes, it launched in early May. It shipped with FroYo. Out of the gate, they promised a Gingerbread update “within the ***FIRST TWO WEEKS*** of release”. It didn’t hit the air waves until late July. I don’t know what calendar you’re using, but that’s not two weeks.

        When the update first came out, they required you to use their special Windows-only firmware updater tool. While that can be considered an inconvenience, their firmware updater tool was also responsible for bricking several phones because of Windows 7 glitches. The recommended solution? Use an XP computer. REALLY?

        Even if they hadn’t promised such a firm timeline initially, the fact remains that the initial firmware was buggy as hell. When the Gingerbread update finally rolled it, it fixed some – but not all – of them. I don’t have my random reboot or “sleep of death” problems as frequently as I did with 2.2, but I still experience them frequently enough that they’re a problem.

        They ignored and even denied all these problems. Their customer relations department on social media was abysmal. They issued the same canned response to everyone who mentioned a problem. There was no “person” behind their account.

        LG confirmed ICS for second quarter. Sure. I’ll believe that when I see it. I hope they prove me wrong, I really do.

        • TheWatcher

          Hmmmm 2 weeks to port/test—approve (on LG Side) then send to Tmobile to Test/Approve OS update….doesnt sound realistic. I would like to see where the documents are that prove your so called facts buddy. I would say 2 months at minimum.

  • Vanilla Rainbow

    No Ice Cream Sandwich = not buying it. I’ve seen how Verizon and LG are (I own an LG Revolution) and there’s no way I’m getting a smartphone that doesn\t already have the latest OS installed on it.

  • Leonard

    Meanwhile has anyone had hands one experience with this camera or its it’s AT&T sister whose name I forger?

  • Nicole

    The camera on this phone is awesome. Quick shutter time too. The 8 mp camera along with the full 720p screen is nothing shy of amazing. This phone is by no means “mid-range” I’ve had my hands on this phone for about 2 1/2 weeks now and haven’t had any of the typical “LG Problems”. Overall, I’ve been happy with the device. No qualms thus far. LG announced that this phone would get some ice cream early Q2. I thinks it’s definitely a best buy from Verizon.

    • Leonard Grossman

      Hope you are right, Nicole. My local Vz store expects delivery tomorrow and will call. At least the standard 14 day return policy applies. I would probably have tried an iPhone by now if they didn’t have a no return policy imposed by Apple.

      I’m gonna miss my pregnant Palm Pre though.

      • redraider133

        you can return the iphone, you get the 14 days like every phone.

    • Ahmad

      How is your battery life ? does it last the whole day with medium use ?

      • Michele Roberts

        I’ve purchased the LG Spectrum for 2 reasons, and I am a loyal HTC user. I took a gamble on the LG Sprectrum and left HTC as it seemd that LG had all the options of my HTC Incredible, and the 4G Network and I got sold on the bigger screen. I am trying to utilze the video and slingbox features and find my HTC’s screen as small. So far, Slingbox app worked great after a download from the market/no problem downloading again/already purchased it for the Incredible. Worked great, not issue. So fare love spectrum, only thing screen gets fingerprints easy due to this very shiny screen/but will put on a screen saver soon. Right now, I think I made the right move and best pick. My other option picks were HTC upgrade to the Rezound/liked alot/wanted larger screen/Beats headphones just about had me locked in. iPhone/was even an option as I am an avid Itunes person and lots of Music/must test my music on the LG Spectrum next/downed free Itune compatible app to try out. Phone is fast and battery lasted both full days I’ve had it (only 2 days worth). HTC/sorry…I am a loyal HTC person/LG took the best of it all and go me. LG/give us Ice Cream first quarter and your the leader!

  • KC

    It’s not ICS that matters. ICS will come eventually to it. It’s NO NFC. How can Android Beam or any e-payment or phone tap apps be used w/o NFC? Otherwise, a nice device.

    • Michele Roberts

      What doe NO NFC stand for? I’m a tchnical type person and have used many phones, but not recognizing this term?

      • Rono

        I think it stands for Near Field Communication … it ensures that the device has to be real close to another device for it to communicate, therefore if you are using it to pay for something you will not mistakenly transmit to another register.

  • RRR

    Great about it is it’s true RGB matrix 720p, 326ppi screen.

    Next step is final destination on the smartphone resolutions — 1080p. Will it happen or not i do not know. Things are that you will still notice pixelation at closer then 12″ distance. And 9″ is still perfectly fine for our eyes

  • Fran

    UI Overlays:

    We spend lots of money, tie up our staff (when then could be writing code that we actually need), and produce a “special” UI that no one likes, and then we’ll forbid them from ever removing it.

    Good idea!

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico


  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=583695634&ref=profile Rahul Singh

    All the good phones are coming to either Verizon or AT&T, what happens to us on T-moble, can we get some more choices too please!

  • redraider133

    Does anyone know if you are able to switch from the lg launcher to the stock android launcher like you could on some other lg devices?

    • TheWatcher

      You can download the LG Smartworld App and there is a stock gingerbread android launcher you can download from there for free for the spectrum if you so desire.

  • Sil Claeys

    Where can I get this wallpaper for my phone? [/drool]

  • Louis A

    This is a great phone, I will love to see how good the screen/display is on this phone.

  • dan

    i will have this phone by 3pm monday seeing i dont have a V store near me so i had to order online.i talked to LG and they assured me that ICS will be available within a few months of release date.i also ordered the extended battery for the spectrum.for those considering the droid 4 or razr,i recommend staying away as the battery life is awful.you pretty much have to turn off everything to somewhat enjoy the phone..if its a droid you must have sit tight and wait for the droid razr maxx.


    Does anyone know when the ice creme sandwich upgrade will be out. Does end of February sound realistic?

  • Andy B

    I saw the Rezound and the Spectrum tonight. My original Incredible is due for an upgrade. I liked HTS’s current version of Sense better than mine, but I liked the LG phone. I am not a tech guy, just a guy that wants something “better” than what I have. I think that is the combination of LG’s hardware and HTC’s skin. I didn’t know what a skin was until I read this review and followed the link to the other story. But the skin is exactly what I didn’t like about the LG. It’s amazing to me that any company that is trying to add value and distinguish themselves through the development of a skin, can do such a HORRIFIC job at it. To the point where I will likely keep waiting for a better phone. I am digging my heels in against the apple phenomenon, but you can’t argue that it is a very nice piece of hardware to use. I think Apple has been selling form over function since the ipod. So why can’t manufacturers of handsets figure out what we actually want!? I can’t offer an opinion on the quality of the two phones at VZ, but it sure was nice browsing the internet on the large LG screen!!