The LG Spectrum joins Verizon Wireless' line of seriously power Android smartphones with LTE. It's definitely an improvement over the LG Revolution in most every way, but it has some stiff competition from the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Droid RAZR and RAZR MAXX and HTC Rezound. What the LG brings to the tablet is an excellent 720p IPS display with accurate colors and serious sharpness, and a Qualcomm dual core CPU and radio chipset for more stable reception.
The LG Spectrum runs on a 1.5GHz dual core Snapdragon CPU with Adreno 220 graphics. It's the kissing cousin to the LG Nitro on AT&T, but the casing is different. Verizon and LG went with a shiny patterned back that looks good but shows fingerprints, and chrome-look surround. Build quality is good, and the 5 ounce phone feels solid. This is a tall and narrow phone with a 1280 x 720, 4.5" display. We can't say enough about the display: it's very sharp, clear, and colorful and it has good brightness though bright outdoor light does subdue it. Colors are more accurate vs. Samsung's Super AMOLED and Super AMOLED Plus displays, and contrast is quite good.
The phone ships with Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread and will get Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It has three buttons rather than 4 (backlit, capacitive), and the left button does double-duty to share the menu and search button functions. The phone runs LG's custom UI that's similar to the LG Nitro and other recent Optimus phones. From reader feedback, we hear this isn't one of the more popular Android UI overlays. We don't hate in; in fact we like some of LG's widgets and the app drawer that's geared toward organization and customization. But the UI seems to slow down this state of the art smartphone. It has a 1.5GHz third gen Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, but it doesn't feel particularly fast. In fact, it lags here and there. Benchmarks are middle of the road compared to other phones running this CPU, and it scored as follows:
Reception is good and we've so far had no problem with dropped calls. Like all Verizon phones, it does sometimes lose its internet connection when it drops down to 3G from 4G LTE, but as a consolation, the all-Qualcomm chipset offers more stable radio behavior as we noted on the HTC Rezound running the same internals. Call quality is just OK though, with a bit of digitized voice that sounds less clear and distinct than the Droid RAZR and Galaxy Nexus. It's not a terrible voice phone and is on par with or a tiny bit better than the Rezound, but it's not tops.
The 8 megapixel camera is quite good and is an improvement over the Galaxy Nexus for image and video quality, but the shutter is slow. Battery life? Verizon LTE phones never have good battery life, but like the LG Nitro, the 1830 mAh battery is challenged when running on LTE.
The LG Spectrum is available now on Verizon for $199 with contract. Unlike other recent Verizon LTE phones, it uses a full size SIM card for LTE rather than a micro SIM. It has 4 gigs of internal storage (1.5 gigs available) and ships with a 16 gig microSD card. It has a front 1.3MP camera, WiFi, Bluetooth and a GPS that works with Google Maps and Navigation as well as VZNavigator.