(Head Honcho)
12/03/11 03:16 AM
LG Nitro HD First Look Review and Video Review

The LG Nitro HD is definitely a phone worth getting exciting about. In fact, after I heard about it, I was wondering if my Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket's days were numbered. What's so hot about this Android smartphone? It has a 720p IPS display, and LG makes some impressive mobile displays. It runs on the same dual core 1.5GHz Snapdragon CPU as the Skyrocket and the slightly lower clocked HTC Vivid , and it has an excellent 8 megapixel rear camera. Good stuff, no?

Better yet, the Nitro HD has true 4G LTE on AT&T, and though they don't have many markets covered, they've been expanding aggressively. In fact, New York City just got lit up with LTE on AT&T, and our home market (one of the first) has the Nitro downloads averaging 20Mbps and 9Mbps up. That's particularly heartwarming for those of us who want to use the mobile hotspot feature and turn the phone into a high speed wireless modem for 3G and 4G deprived tablets and laptops.

From the front, the LG Nitro HD looks pretty much like every other Android slab phone, with a 4.5" display that dominates an otherwise black front. But turn it over and you see a positively dizzying embossed herringbone pattern in black plastic. At least it's grippy. The phone is surprisingly light and fairly slim, with the 1770 mAh Lithium Ion battery contributing most of the smartphone's scant weight.

Android OS 2.3.5 Gingerbread is on board with LG's UI customizations. I don't find their icon treatment particularly captivating, but I do like the app drawer with LG's pinch zoom to collapse feature and customizable categories. LG adds a few clever touches like turning over the phone to silence the ringer or speaker (yes, HTC did it first but we still appreciate it).

In terms of speed, the Nitro feels zippy enough and it tears through 1080p high profile MPEG4 video, both to the display and to an HD TV using an MHL adapter (not included). The phone has 4 gigs of storage, with 1.86 gigs available and AT&T includes a 16 gig microSD card to make up for the paltry internal storage. The Nitro manages 2400 on the Quadrant benchmark, well under what Samsung squeezes out of the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket. It does very well in the Sunspider JavaScript test, scoring near the top among smartphones with a 2869 (lower numbers are better).

Here's our LG Nitro HD video review. Our full review will be here next week, along with a Nitro vs. Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Smackdown.


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