You might not think of LG immediately when you think of cutting-edge Android phones (since that spot typically has gone to HTC or Samsung) but LG has upped the ante with a high end Android at a very competitive price.
After using the LG Nitro HD phone running on AT&T’s 4G LTE network. Two words come to mind: Fast (hardware) and fast (network).
AT&T’s LG Nitro is a powerhouse of an Android phone running on their latest 4G-LTE network. It sports a gigantic 4.5 inch HD display, compared to 3.5 inches on an iPhone. The larger screen makes it easier to read emails and web pages and convenient for looking at pictures or videos. After some use, I also realized that the larger screen was making it easier to use the touch-screen keyboard, as the buttons were larger than on phones with smaller screens.
The Nitro features an 8MP camera with an LED flash that is also capable of recording 1080p HD video. The specs are incredible especially when compared against a 720p recording on an iPhone 4S. On the LG Nitro, your photos, videos, and music can be stored on the internal 4GB of flash, or the included 16GB microSD slot. If that’s not enough, you can replace the microSD card with a 32GB card.
The LG Nitro features a speedy dual-core 1.5GHz processor, providing for a zippy user interface. Coupled with the data speeds on AT&T’s brand new LTE network, the phone is really fast. So is all of this technology really required to check email and play Angry Birds?
A practical example of where the LG Nitro really shines is when you pull up Google Maps. The application loads extremely quickly, and then scrolling around and zooming in on things happens almost immediately. Want to overlay traffic conditions? Done. Using Google Maps on the Nitro makes your current phone seem inadequate.
You may be thinking: So how much battery life am I going to get with this giant screen and brand new 4G network connection? So far, the battery life has been falling in-line with the typical Android experience. Like any smartphone, you absolutely have to plug it in every night to charge. On a typical day, you’ll run the battery down a fair amount, perhaps to 50%. But even on days of heavy use, I’ve never needed to charge the phone mid-day, which is a pleasant surprise given all of the things inside this phone that require power.
Android Version: The LG Nitro comes with a modern, up-to-date version of Android 2.3.5, aka the “Gingerbread” software. This puts it in line with most Android phones shipping now.
The LG Nitro is about as thin as any other Smartphone on the market, and comes with a nice textured plastic back cover. The texture makes the phone much less prone to slipping out of your hand versus a phone with a smooth back. For the reason, the Nitro functions just fine without the addition of a case.
From a hardware standpoint? None. This phone delivered on all of its promises in that category. I had some pet peeves about LG’s user interface but mostly having to do with their tweaks to the Android operating system.
First off, on the Applications screen, LG has decided to sort the Android Apps alphabetically, in two different lists, Apps that shipped on it at the factory vs. Apps that you have added yourself. This is really not very helpful, and you can’t really get rid of it. For example, Gmail is nowhere near Groupon, because Gmail shipped on the phone, and I downloaded Groupon myself. Groupon is pages below Gmail, all the way at the bottom below Yellow Pages. You can define your own Application groups, but you can’t delete the two default groups. There are other ways of arranging the Application icons, such as a gigantic single-column list, but none of them really made me happy. Not a show-stopper, but certainly a nuisance to any Type A organizers like myself!
Another issue I noticed was that as my husband used the phone, he got a calendar alert every time there was a new meeting invite via Exchange, even if it was days away. If you have the calendar send you 15 minute reminders of upcoming calendar events, you get that same ringtone/alert when someone invites you to a meeting. If you are using your Android phone with your company’s Exchange server, and you get invited to a lot of conference calls and meetings, this is “feature” is highly confusing. Your phone is making the “you have a upcoming meeting” ringtone, and then upon examining the phone, you find out that it’s making noise because you were invited a meeting scheduled 3 days from today. Who asked for this feature? According to my husband, the functionality could be streamlined to put an end to the confusion and annoyance.
Lastly, and most importantly, while in the middle of a call, the LG Nitro has a small “hold” button on the top-left of the screen that was often activated by my cheek hitting the hold button mid-call. After some Google research, I found that it was likely happening because I’d put a screen protector over the phone’s proximity sensor. Removing, and trimming down the screen protector seems to have helped but it’s not 100% better because I’ve still managed to put people on hold by mistake. Not all Android phones have a “hold” button that makes you wonder if it’s necessary on this model. For what it’s worth, LG isn’t the only Android handset with a hold button and many people are complaining about accidentally putting calls on hold.
If you’re looking for a brand-new Android phone to replace your out of date one, then definitely step-up to 4G and take a look at the LG Nitro. It’s biggest advantage is price. It is currently $99 on AT&T’s website. The Nitro’s biggest (non-iPhone) competition is the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket II, which costs $100 more.
This phone was provided as part of a compensated campaign I did earlier in the year with Technorati. The stand-alone review was not required and all opinions are my own. Images courtesy of AT&T.
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