LG Spectrum

We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

LG’s Spectrum smart phone is their attempt to bring an Optimus style phone to Verizon users. The big difference will be that the Spectrum is on Verizon and uses Verizon 4G LTE bands. It shares similar features like a 4.5-inch LCD touchscreen. The phone will have Android 2.3 as the operating system out of the box until an Ice Cream Sandwich (4.o) update is released. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 3.0 and WiFi. The phone also comes with a USB and microUSB ports. The phone runs a dual core 1500 MHz Snapdragon S3 processor. It also features 1 GB of RAM and 4 GBs of memory that can be expanded with the microSD/SDHC slot. On the back of the phone is an eight megapixel camera that can record 1080p HD video. There’s also a 1.3MP front-facing camera. 

Features List:

– 4.5-inch touchscreen

– Android 2.3

– Verizon 4G connectivity

– Bluetooth 3.0/WiFi

– USB, microUSB ports

– Dual core 1500 MHz Snapdragon S3

– 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of memory

– microSD/SDHC card slot

– 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front-facing camera

– 1080p HD video recording

Digital Trends’ Cell Phone Buying Tips:

Choosing a carrier

Because most U.S. cell phone carriers heavily subsidize phone purchases in exchange for two-year contracts, and lock the phones to their networks, your choice of cell carrier will have more impact on which type of phone you end up with than any other factor. If you already have carrier and feel satisfied with it, the choice is easy. If not, you’ll need to choose one.

AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon dominate the cell phone market in the States. Speaking in very general terms, AT&T has a reputation for having the hottest phones but somewhat flaky service due to its overloaded towers, Verizon has the best reception but expensive rates, T-Mobile and Sprint offer some of the most affordable plans but have  more limited phone selection.

Prepaid carriers like Cricket, Tracfone, and MetroPCS often appear to offer excellent deals, but caveats like poor customer service, limited phone selection and inferior coverage have to be taken into account.

Best time to buy cell phones

With all major U.S. carriers announcing new phones around the clock and a dozen manufacturers all working overtime to produce the next killer device, keeping track of all the different models in circulation at any given time can seem like a Herculian task. But this frantic pace works to your advantage: Any time is a good time to buy a cell phone, as long as you keep your eyes open.

Jamie Lendino, a contributing editor at PC Magazine, recommends spotting three or four phones that suit your needs, then jumping on whichever one dives in price first. With the rapid pace of cell phones, you shouldn’t have to rest on your laurels for long. “Remember that ‘old’ in the tech world could mean just a few months from now,” says Lendino. Even the original iPhone, a high-demand handset which originally sold for $600, dropped a whopping $200 a little over two months after launch.

Of course, to take advantage of the most attractive phone deals, you’ll need to agree to a two-year service contract with a carrier like AT&T or Verizon. For potential buyers locked into existing contracts, this could mean riding it out with an older phone for a few more months in order to grab the massive rebates available upon renewal. Always call your provider to see if you might be eligible for an upgrade prior to an existing contract expiring. AT&T, for instance, allows customers with monthly bills over $99 to upgrade after just one year – as long as they’re willing to lock into another two years of service.

Mobile operating systems

If you decide to go for a smartphone, choosing the right operating system can be an important factor. The big ones are Apple’s iOS, RIM’s BlackBerry OS, HP/Palm WebOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows Phone (formerly Windows Mobile). Individual preferences reign supreme here, but Apple’s iPhone iOS offers the widest selection of apps and the simplest user interface, RIM’s BlackBerry OS is less intuitive but powerful and reliable, HP/Palm’s WebOS strikes a nice balance between the two, Google Android is among the most flexible, and Microsoft Window Phone 7 offers a refreshing design but it’s still finding its groove.

The difference between a smartphone and a feature phone

You could divvy up cellphones into dozens of different categories, but these are the two umbrella groups that matter. Smartphones like the iPhone can serve as personal calendars, e-mail machines, Web browsers, gaming platforms, and a literally unlimited number of other purposes. They’re essentially mini computers. Feature phones are more basic, but they still offer features like cameras, text messaging, and even some limited data connectivity, like checking weather or sports scores. Although smartphones obviously have a lot to offer, they also weigh more, offer less battery life, cost more to buy and run, and can make basic tasks like calling seem more complex. If you plan to buy one, make sure you’ll really take advantage of all the extras.

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