Verizon LG Spectrum First Impressions

Aaron Baker
Writer from  Dallas, TX
| Published: January 23, 2012

It's a new device to Verizon, but under the hood, the LG Spectrum is identical to AT&T's LG Nitro HD, with the same 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 4.5-inch IPS 720p display, and 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording.  But it arrives in a slightly reconfigured body that's more industrial looking and is the second device from CES to land in retail stores, which makes me hopeful that manufacturers and carriers are working harder to get devices into consumers' hands and break that typical post-CES lag.

I've had the LG Spectrum for about 10 hours, so without further ado, some initial thoughts:

  • As I said before, this is essentially the LG Nitro HD on Verizon, save for a change in design.  Overall, I like the build quality of Spectrum more than I do Nitro HD (mostly because I prefer a boxy/industrial design over curved edges), though I still find the device to be too plasticky.  It's funny how slight design changes can make a device feel more high-end, though - and the chrome accents on this device do just that.  Holding both side-by-side, Spectrum feels more like a premium device.
  • The 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor performs well, for the most part.
  • The winning feature on the Spectrum is the 4.5-inch IPS HD (720p) display.  It's absolutely stunning across the board, from viewing long text lists to colorful pictures.  With the Spectrum, Verizon now offers three of the four HD-equipped smartphones on the US market.

  • Like the Nitro HD, I keep having issues with gesture input.  I've seen this on the Revolution, Nitro HD, and now the Spectrum, and since I didn't experience it on the G2x, my assumption is that it lies somewhere in the user interface.  In a nutshell, the Spectrum doesn't always recognize my gestures - at times, it takes two or three clicks to enter an application, unlock the display, or pull the device out of a scroll.

  • The 8-megapixel camera shoots a pretty decent still in both well-lit and challenging conditions.  
  • Call quality appears to be decent so far, though I noticed some issues in the elevator inside my parking deck while on the phone this afternoon; an area in which I don't typically see problems with Verizon.  Besides that, earpiece quality is good, and volume is sufficient.  The speakerphone is nice and loud, and successfully annoyed my office mates.  Mission accomplished.

  • I haven't had enough time to test the 1,830 mAh battery yet, and while I'm assuming I'll see similar results, I'll be interested to compare the battery drain that comes from Verizon's LTE versus AT&T's LTE.  So far, I've had the phone off the charger for about 45 minutes, and have experienced a five percent battery drain.  Stay tuned for more battery tests in the full review.

The LG Spectrum is a nice addition to Verizon's 4G LTE lineup, it's priced well (i.e. not $299.99 like most of the LTE phones), and it has a gorgeous display that should wow anyone.  But again, I can't help but criticize LG's user interface - it is just NOT ready for prime time.  Between the tacky UI and the gesture issues, I can see people getting frustrated and moving to one of Verizon's other LTE-capable devices.  More to come in the review!

Products mentioned