LG is well-known for its high-end devices that are a huge success on the Android fan community. That was the case of the LG G2, G3, and now more recently, the LG G4. The proof, the number of fans that started associating themselves to the brand, the same that happened with Samsung and Apple followers.
Nonetheless, LG doesn’t want to target to only consumers with deep pockets, and that always demand high-end features. This year, on Barcelona’s MWC, the South Korean brand launched a down-market smartphone line with quite acceptable features; they wanted to bring a part of the premium products to the average consumer. This line of more economic devices is made up by the LG Magna, LG Leon, LGJoy and finally by LG Spirit.
But if you think that LG overlooked the quality and design of this smartphones, think again. This time, we had the opportunity to test the LG Spirit 4G; Keeping in mind its line, I must confess that I didn’t had high hopes regarding the device. However, the LG Spirit 4G was a big surprise. Keep reading this review and understand why!
LG went for a curve design for the Spirit. This type of design makes the Spirit very attractive visually, also improving the device’s ergonomics, since it will better adapt to the user’s hand. The curve is seen not only in the screen (despite being minimal), but also in the back of the device (where it’s more accentuated).
Besides this curve, that makes its use quite comfortable, LG didn’t overlook on this device some details that we see in its high-end smartphones, such as the volume and turn on/off buttons. So, as in the LG G Flex, G2, G3, and now more recently on G4, on the Spirit, we find them on its back, right underneath the camera. This localization is perfect for when, for example, we need to increase or decrease the volume of a call. Our hand is automatically placed above the buttons, and so we don’t need to search for them on the sides of the smartphone.
On the device’s base we find the sound column, and thanks to the LG Spirit’s curve, it has an effective sound projection, which wouldn’t be possible without the curve. The top of this smartphone is reserved for the audio output, where we can plug in our headphones. On the bottom we find the micro USB port and microphone.
The back cover of the LG Spirit can be removed quite easily, so you can access the microSIM slot, the microSD memory card and the 2100mAh removable battery.
Concerning its dimensions, the LG Spirit has 133.2×66.1×9.9mm. So, if you’re looking for a thin smartphone, the Spirit is not it.
On the Portuguese market, the LG Spirit is available in two colours: titanium and gold. The version given to us for testing was the titanium one; this colour gives a pleasant look to the device, and even gives the sensation of metallic design, despite being made in plastic. Besides that, its back cover, with its texture and dark finish, gives to this LG Spirit an elegant design. And if your pet peeves are devices without friction on its cover, with the Spirit you won’t have that problem. The friction that the cover offers isn’t exaggerated, but it’s enough so the device doesn’t slip.
The LG Spirit 4G comes equipped with an 4.7” and with a resolution of 720×1080 px with 312ppi, which present’s us a great image quality keeping in mind its line.
Surely the Spirit could benefit from a full HD screen, but thanks to its LCD IPS, the image quality, colours and vision angle are quite impressive.
Interface and Performance
We’ve just determinate that the LG Spirit present’s an elegant design pleasant to the eye and to its use; But, what about the rest of the hardware?
The Spirit one the South Korean bets to stand out in a market niche where there are many options, I mean, smartphones with interesting specifications to an affordable price.
This smartphone comes equipped with a quad-core processor of 1.2GHz Qualcoom, the MSM8916 Snapdragon 410 with 1GB RAM. This specifications allow us to perform any task on our Spirit, including games with graphics a bit more elaborated, without great problems.
Concerning specifications, this ones don’t really differ from the ones on Sony Xperia E4, the smartphones being at the same level. However, regarding usage, the LG Spirit ends up having a better performance and earning a few points on our consideration.
As per usual o Android Emotions reviews, to understand how this device behave, we did several benchmarking tests. To see the tests results and conditions on which they were made, go to the article Benchmarking do LG Spirit 4G.
Just like the Xperia E4, this LG device was launched this year (2015), but each one runs a different Android version. While the Xperia E4 only runs the KitKat version and hasn’t had any update to Lollipop – and it won’t be that soon – the LG Spirit runs a more recent version, the Lollipop 5.0.1.
This version of the Android OS brings a lot of advantages. LG, practically didn’t made any changes to the original version to Google operating system, this Lollipop 5.0.1 gives us more options of customization on our Spirit.
Despite having just 8GB of internal storage, the customization of the Spirit ends up not being that limited; Because LG decided not to launch this smartphone with an endless list of pre-installed applications, in contradiction to what happens with Sony devices. So, we have even more space to install our favourite applications. Even if you require more space, which is very likely after some time, with the Spirit we you have the possibility to use a microSD card with maximum capacity of 32GB.
However, the LG Spirit 4G isn’t devoid of some pre-installed application. We have, for example, the already known LG’s Quick Memo that allows us to do a screen capture and offers us the tools to write some notes, if we wish so. Then, we can share this image with our friends.
Another very interesting feature that the Spirits bring is the Knock Code. This feature is already well-known by users. For those who still don’t know it, the Knock Code allows us to create a touch pattern on the smartphone’s screen, in a way to unlock the screen. Thus, it’s no longer necessary to use a password to access our mobile phone, we just use the touch pattern.
Battery and Connectivity
Concerning the battery, the LG Spirit 4G comes equipped with a 2100 mAh battery, which gives it a quite pleasant autonomy for a down-market smartphone.
This question of the device’s battery life is always subjective, and it will always depend on how much you use the device. In the Spirit’s case, if we don’t use it in an intensive way, its battery can last between 3 to 4 days before we need to recharge it.
In my case, I do an intensive use of my devices (activated wireless, a good dosage of calls and messages, some applications and the 4G connected when wireless is out of reach), I had to charge it at the end of the day or in middle of the next day. However, nowadays, this battery life is acceptable.
And as we already referred, a good dose of battery is spent not only in applications, but also on the devices connectivity. In this case, the LG Spirit 4G, as the name points out, supports but not only 4G connectivity. Besides that, it supports Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.
This category is customary on our reviews. The new features that smartphones nowadays have, sometimes make us forget their basic communication features, like making or receiving calls and send or receiving messages.
Making and receiving calls on this LG Spirit is a very comfortable task, mainly due to its size. Not being a device of the size of a phablet, and thanks to its slight curve, it adapts well to our hands and to our face. If we need to do a long call, we won’t notice any discomfort or tiredness, unlike what happens with a lot of the bigger dimensions smartphones.
During calls, the signal’s quality is quite reasonable, and throughout the time I tested the device, I didn’t had any interrupted calls due to signal loss. It’s certain that this situations depend not only on the device, but also on the service that each mobile operator offers. However, even in places were the signal would be more difficult to receive, the LG Spirit 4G had a good behaviour.
The sound quality of the calls is also reasonable, in the normal and in speaker mode; we can fully understand what the other person is saying. However, if we increase the volume, the sound will become a bit more distorted, but seldom were the times that I had to increase up to 100% the call volume.
The contacts application made available on the Spirit has an elegant look, since LG decided to work on and customize the application version that the Android 5 offers. The dialling keyboard could be resized and the icons adjusted.
And with this small dimensions smartphone, writing messages isn’t a big challenge, mainly if you wish to do so with just one hand. Even so, if you need an extra help, you can adjust the keyboard to write with just one hand. Besides that, as per usual on most devices, the LG Spirit keyboard has an option very similar to Swype. With this feature you just need to slide your finger through the letters to form the desired word. This makes writing messages quicker, not to mention suggested words.
Concerning the LG Spirit’s camera, I confess that my expectations weren’t very high, but this LG economic smartphone managed to surprise. It’s certain that the camera performance can’t be comparable to a top–of–the–line, even so, it had a very satisfactory result.
With a back camera of 8MP, photographs end up having a great quality, mainly in well-lit environments. On environments with less luminosity, the camera was able to adjust to the light conditions and when necessary, the LED flash would give a final touch to assure an acceptable image quality, despite some colours being altered.
A negative point to this LG Spirit 4G is the fact it doesn’t have an image stabilizer, since this one can make a huge difference on photographs. Without the help of this element, it becomes very complicated to try and focus on a specific object on a photograph, even after you managed to focus the same object, our photographs can be a bit out of focus.
If you wish to record a video with this camera, you can record it with a maximum resolution of 1080p with 30fps.
With 1MP frontal camera, the Spirit loses on a simple video call. When you try to take a selfie, this camera ends up giving us low resolution images and always pixelated.
If you want to acquire a good down-market smartphone, this LG Spirit 4G is an option to take in consideration.
With its premium and ergonomic, a very acceptable performance and a high resolution screen, this smartphone has everything to fulfil Android users expectations, whom don’t want a high-end device and don’t want to spend a great portion of their budget.
However, if you are a photography enthusiast, mainly a selfies one, this smartphone doesn’t the best hardware for that. An alternative to the Spirit, inside the same range of price but with better features concerning the camera, is the Motorola Moto G (2nd generation).
But if you like small dimensions smartphones, o LG Spirit is an excellent option, allowing you to use the most recent version of the Android Lollipop 5.0.1 operating system.
Little internal storage
Note: Review made by Paula Marques in android-emotions.pt and translated by João Paulo Carvalho.