LG Spectrum impressions: A decent $200 Verizon LTE phone with a fancy HD screen

LG Spectrum 4G LTE phone for Verizon - CES 2012

The LG Spectrum has a few things going for it: It has a dual-core processor, it connects up to Verizon’s 4G LTE network for high-speed data, and it has a fancy new type of HD screen LG is calling “True HD IPS, and it costs $100 less than it’s chief competition, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Droid Razr. Does this spell out a hit? Possibly.

We spent a bit of time checking out the Spectrum at LG’s crowded CES booth today and walked away fairly impressed. Below are a few of the highlights of the Spectrum.

The “True HD IPS” screen

I don’t proclaim to know all there is about screen technology, but I can look at two pictures and tell you which is better. LG took full advantage of my masterful skills at comparison by showing its HD IPS screen side-by-side against an AMOLED screen. The IPS display definitely displays color better. Seeing them side by side, it’s easy to see how over saturated the colors on the AMOLED screen are. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spend enough time to see how well the Spectrum handled blacks. One of the best aspects of AMOLED is that when you see black, it’s as black as a screen can get—the pixels turn right off. IPS, which is a more traditional LCD technology, doesn’t have this capability as far as I know. AMOLED also offers better battery life, but it definitely does have a few limitations, as LG intelligently pointed out.

LG Spectrum - True HD IPS display vs AMOLED

LG Spectrum - True HD IPS display vs AMOLED

Specs and Looks

The Spectrum appears to have fairly standard top-level Android specs. It doesn’t yet run Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), which is disappointing, but it does have a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, connects to Verizon’s 4G LTE network, has an 8MP rear camera with LED flash, and features a nice Gorilla Glass screen.

Design-wise, it’s pretty standard. The phone is incredibly lightweight and fingerprint prone because of LG’s decision to build the shell out of shiny plastic (perhaps because of Samsung’s success with plastic casing in 2011 on units like the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S II).

LG Spectrum - shiny plastic back

LG reps also kept pointing out that the unit has a special exclusive version of the ESPN app on it, though I have to wonder if ESPN is just telling every manufacturer that they have ESPN exclusively. Nokia claims ESPN exclusivity as well. Either way, if you like ESPN, this will apparently be the phone for you.


This appears to be a good phone with a great price tag. We don’t yet have a release date for it, but it should be out on Verizon in the next month or two. At $200 with a two-year contract, it may be a good deal for those who want a dual-core LTE phone (which should be almost all of you). But if you’re hoping for Android 4.0, you won’t find it here. At least, not yet.