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printed July 30, 2014
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Review: LG Spectrum for Verizon Wireless

Form Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  2  

Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The LG Spectrum is a slab-style phone with a large touch screen and large dimensions to match. Like so many other phones, it's all glossy black with few unique design aspects. Yay: shiny black plastic rectangle!

The Spectrum is thin, light, and comfortable to hold. The materials are glossy and attract a gross layer of finger oils that doesn't ever seem to go away no matter how much you rub the phone on your pants. It feels greasy, and greasy is gross. The plastics don't feel cheap, but they don't feel like high-quality materials, either. The assembly is good; all the seams fit snugly, and there's nothing loose or creaky. The rounded corners and smooth surfaces mean it will slip into your pocket without any trouble.

 

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For such a large phone, I was disappointed by the amount of bezel surrounding the display. The Spectrum uses three capacitive keys on the front instead of the usual four for Android smartphones. 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 home key looks like a physical button thanks to some visual trickery, but it's capacitive just like the others.

The volume toggle is on the left side, and has a cheap feel to it. It’s easy to tell if you're pressing the up or down side of the toggle, but the travel and feedback aren't rewarding.

There are no controls on the right edge or the bottom. Instead, everything else is placed up on the Spectrum's top edge. The 3.5mm headset jack, the microUSB port with hatch, and lock button are spaced out along the top with enough room in between to use all three at the same time.

The lock button is too small for my tastes. This is the most important button on the entire phone, it needs to be large, easy to find, and offer good travel and feedback. The Spectrum's is none of these. The hatch protecting the microUSB port is fine, though I'd rather it weren't there. It’s a standard microUSB port, and supports HDMI via an MHL adapter. I can't stand when the charging port is located on the top of the phone, though, as it makes it awkward to make a phone call when charging the device.

The battery cover encompasses the entire back surface of the Spectrum. It comes off without a problem. The battery is massive and provides the Spectrum with 1830 mAh of juice. The microSD slot is accessible for hot-swapping memory cards without yanking the battery.

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