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printed October 24, 2014
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Review: LG Nitro HD for AT&T

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The LG Nitro HD is a slab-style smartphone with a large touch screen and large dimensions to match. It’s dressed in all black, save for the reflective LG logo and the metallic camera housing on the back. It's not the sexiest smartphone ever, but its a big step up in looks (and performance) from LG's other recent smartphone efforts, the myTouch Q and DoublePlay.

The Nitro HD is thin, light, and comfortable to hold. The materials are plastic and glass - no metals - but they manage to avoid feeling and looking cheap. The back and side surfaces are covered in a textured plastic that has a really fine gradient to it. Rather than feel rough, as do some textures, it has a smooth, super-fine sandpaper feel to it. There's no creaking, no looseness; just a solid, tight piece of hardware that feels good through and through. It will fit into your pocket thanks to its thin profile, but the significant length and width means you'll always know it is there.

 

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LG is joining the trend of using three capacitive keys on the front instead of the usual four. The menu and search keys have been combined. A short press opens the menu; a long press opens the search tool. I found these buttons to be responsive to the touch.

The volume toggle is on the left side, and has a nice feel to it. It’s easy to tell if you're pressing the up or down side of the toggle, and the travel and feedback is outstanding. But it's ridiculously loud and produces a grating "clackety-clack" sound when pressed.

There are no controls on the right edge or the bottom. Instead, everything else is bunched up on the Nitro HD's top edge. The 3.5mm headset jack, the microUSB port (and protective hatch) and power/lock button are all packed on the smallest surface the Nitro HD has to offer. Way to go, LG. Thanks for spacing things out.

The power/lock button is really small. In fact, it’s too small. Its saving grace is that it is located right above the user-facing camera, so you have a visual cue on where to put your thumb. Travel and feedback is a bit weak, though. The hatch protecting the microUSB port is fine, though I'd rather it weren't there. It is a standard microUSB port, though it supports HDMI via a MHL adapter.

The battery cover is really the entire back surface of the Nitro HD. It comes off without a problem and leaves the Nitro HD's innards exposed. The battery is massive and provides the Nitro HD with 1830mAh of juice. The microSD slot is accessible for hot-swapping memory cards without yanking the battery.

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