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printed December 21, 2014
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Review: LG Nitro HD for AT&T

Form Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  9  

Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

Screen

If there's one feature LG got right on the Nitro HD, it's the display. The Nitro HD sports a 4.5-inch, IPS LCD with 1280 x 720 pixels (hence the "HD" moniker). It is gorgeous. Individual pixels are hard to pick out unless you use a magnifying glass. The display is also bright, produces accurate colors, and did I mention that it's really, really bright? Trust me, you're going to love this display.

Signal

The Nitro HD is one of the first phones able to access AT&T's Long Term Evolution network. I used the Nitro HD in New York City several times this month. While AT&T's LTE network hasn't officially launched there, it is being tested and can be accessed by devices that are properly equipped. With probably 10 other people using it in the entire city, I scored some outrageously quick download speeds. I'm talking close to 20Mbps. Upload speeds didn't drag, either, peaking near 7Mbps. That's some good stuff. Of course, under real-world conditions on a network that's actually loaded with users, speeds will be dramatically slower than these peaks. Since the LTE network isn't fully live, I'm not going to rate the Nitro HD's LTE signal performance other than to say "it works."

The HSPA+ 3G radio is fair game, though. When compared to other AT&T devices, the Nitro HD did a fine job of connecting to AT&T's HSPA+ network. The signal indicator ranged from 0 to 5 bars in-step with the actual coverage available. In the time I tested the Nitro HD, it didn't drop any calls, nor did it miss any.

Sound

Phone calls made with the Nitro HD were rotten all around. Voices were distant in the earpiece and lacked presence. There was also a lot of interference and noise during calls. Neither the earpiece nor the speakerphone generate enough volume. The earpiece is far too quiet, and I had a hard time hearing callers over general household noise. Calls sent to the speakerphone were a garbled mess. The Nitro HD has a really cheesy selection of ringtones, but you can set them to bone-shaking levels. You're not going to miss any calls due to the ringers. The vibrate alert was good.

Battery

The Nitro HD does so-so in the battery life department. Considering the ginormous display, dual-core processors, and 3G/4G radio set-up, I consistently got the Nitro HD to live through a long day from 7AM to Midnight with all the radios on. It didn't have much power left by the time I went to bed, but at least it survived a whole, waking day. You're going to need to charge it every day. If you try really hard, you can kill the battery off quicker than I did if you fire up some games or spend a lot of time browsing. Those two activities, more than any other, seemed to sap battery life the quickest.

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