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on February 7, 2012
The Spectrum is the only Verizon choice at present for those who want a Gorilla Glass protected large (4.5") IPS (same technology as on iPhone/iPad) LCD HD display LTE smartphone with both removable/replaceable battery and MicroSD card. Below is my comparison to current Verizon alternatives, which are all terrific devices with unique strengths.

Comparative strengths of the Spectrum:
-The Samsung Galaxy Nexus lacks Gorilla Glass, has a pentile display (shared subpixels vs true full subpixels on Spectrum), and non-removable memory.
-The HTC Rezound has a smaller (4.3") non Gorilla Glass protected display.
-The Motorola Razr has a pentile display and non-removable battery. (when traveling, I like to take an extra battery for flights).
-The LG Spectrum is among the first batch of Verizon LTE World Phones, which means it can access any CDMA or GSM network worldwide.
-Not widely publicized: The Spectrum has "Dolby Mobile" included in its music and video player, providing a clearer and more spatial audio experience with most input when listening with headphones. This is very different than reverb or echo or stereo expansion found on some Android music players. Best way to describe it is by analogy: mono is to stereo as stereo is to dolby mobile. Some music with certain ambient pre-processing does sound over-processed with this activated, but unprocessed music, e.g. classic rock, generally is improved vastly. Dolby says this works with the phone speaker too, but I haven't tested that.

LG Spectrum deficiencies:
-Even though it looks like carbon fiber in photos, it has a polished, very smooth, slippery plastic back cover that collects fingerprints like crazy. The closely related ATT LG Nitro has a terrific rubberized textured back cover (very much like the HTC Rezoound), but the shape of that phone has more rounded corners, so unfortunately its cover is not compatible with the Spectrum. Why LG would want users to more easily lose grip on their phones is a mystery.
-No Android Ice Cream Sandwich Operating System (OS) at the moment, but it will be upgraded eventually as it's LG's flagship phone on Verizon.
-Android Gingerbread OS with clumsy LG 'Optimus UI 2.0' skin, especially with regards to frustrating and inefficient app drawer 'organized' by categories.
-No notification LED. This is very annoying, and is a serious omission by LG, especially for their top phone.
-Far too many locked preinstalled applications from Verizon, which can not be prevented from running in the background and occupying RAM, leaving you with less of the 1GB DDR2 memory to use for running wanted applications.
-Yikes, Verizon Visual Voicemail for $2.99 per month advertisement is displayed by the OS whenever you check your voicemail. What other advertisements are buried in the phone waiting to pop up unexpectedly?
-Browser address bar searches provide results only by Microsoft Bing, with no way to change this.
-No way to root this phone at present. UPDATED 2/19-- This is no longer an issue.

Many prior owners have stated that lack of root access is why they have returned the phone to Verizon within their first two weeks of ownership (Root access should allow users to 'fix' many of the software issues with this phone). It's a case of decent and generally appealing hardware crippled by poor carrier/OS/software implementation. When the phone boots, it loads an assortment of unnecessary applications, most of which will start again automatically if you shut them down. Some of these are Blockbuster, ESPN Sport Center, V Cast Media Manager, Music (LG?), Verizon App Store, and My Verizon Mobile. There are a host of other Verizon and Yahoo applications that also cannot be removed. One user who counted reported 24 such applications. Android phones should allow you to choose your apps and remove bloatware you know you don't want.

Minus 0.5 stars for the slippery back cover where other implementations of this phone have rubberized and textured backs.
Minus 1.0 stars for the terrible preinstalled and locked bloatware and advertisements from Verizon.
Minus 0.5 stars for the horrible application drawer of Optimus 2.0 UI.
Plus 0.5 stars for Dolby Mobile.
Plus 0.5 stars for fast processing and graphics.

4.0 stars overall

This review is written by a soon to be ex-Spectrum-owner moving to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (aka Google phone--Google doesn't hate freedom). My far less particular spouse is happily keeping the Spectrum.

UPDATE 02/15/12:
Received the Galaxy Nexus and after one day of comparing am surprised to say the Spectrum wins. While the idea of having a true Google phone is great in terms of openness and modernness of the OS; the pentile display is just not very good. Had Samsung chosen to go with Super AMOLED Plus technology (true complete RGB Pixels), the Nexus would have been terrific with a true 720p AMOLED HD Display. As it is, the less costly "HD Super AMOLED" Pentile display, wherein each 'full' pixel is composed of a dedicated green subpixel and a shared blue subpixel and a shared red subpixel, suffers from large pixels, which are easily seen by my eyes and which cause eye strain and headache. Instead of seeing a white background in the browser, my eyes see tiny red and blue and green dots. Even holding the phone a foot away from my eyes doesn't fix the problem. This issue was described by Leo Laporte (longtime tech personality) in his "Before You Buy" review of the Galaxy Nexus. It may be a minority of people who are troubled by the Pentile display, the Spectrum has ~2.76 million subpixels, while the Nexus has ~1.84 million subpixels. Side by side, there is no comparison between the IPS LCD Spectrum and the Pentile AMOLED Nexus display.

As far as the OS, with a lot of tweaking (Go Launcher, Go Locker, ICS theme, many other apps/widgets), the Spectrum can at least function like an ICS phone in many characteristics, and hide all the bloatware from view in the app drawer. Also, the Spectrum is significantly faster and has a stronger dedicated graphics chip than the Nexus. The Spectrum is lighter than the Nexus (5.05 ounces vs. 5.23 ounces on the same micro scale). And surprise: The 4.5" Spectrum display is larger than the 4.65" Nexus display *most of the time*. This is because the soft keys of the Nexus take up a lot of screen space, and browsing in particular suffers on the Nexus. Due to the screen issues described above, the Nexus requires more zooming of text to reach legibility, exacerbating the issue.

The Spectrum is the better choice for those who value display quality over coolness. The Nexus wins for leading edge software and playfulness. Comparing either to my Droid 1 is like comparing a sleek sports car to a minivan. What will our phones be like in two years? At this rate, 4oz with 5+ inch 1080p displays.

For those who care, some benchmarks:
Linpack Single Thread (3 consecutive runs): 50.3; 51.2; 50.2 MFLOPS
Linpack Multi-Thread (3 consecutive runs): 79.8; 78.3; 81.6 MFLOPS
AnTuTu Benchmark: 6486
Quadrant 1 Benchmark: 2646 (3D graphics quite smooth and good)
Quadrant 2.0 Benchmark: 2712 (CPU 4652; Mem 2668; I/O 4305; 2D 342; 3D 1592)

Friend's Galaxy Nexus Quadrant 2.0 Benchmark: 2041 (CPU 5711; Mem 1986; I/O 1118; 2D 192; 3D 1200)

UPDATE 2/19/12:
It is now possible to root this phone, thanks to the efforts of the developer community. Bye bye bloatware (it's recommended to 'freeze' rather than remove bloatware). My phone remains stock, but root access is tempting. The bloatware is completely hidden with Go Launcher, but it would be nice to prevent unnecessary use of system resources.

With free 'ES File Explorer', the included video player of this phone easily streams video over LAN (Like the iOS app 'Air Video', without having to run a server program as Air Video requires).
-so far works with avi, xvid, divx, mov, mkv, wmv, and probably others too.
-source material at 1080p is fine and looks terrific on the 720p display.
-hd playback is not taxing to the cpu due to the discrete Qualcomm Adreno 220 graphics chip.

New score: 5/5 stars. It's as good a phone as you can get on Verizon now. After a bit of ownership, both my spouse and I are very happy with this phone.
99 comments| 106 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 21, 2012
I returned my Droid Razr to get this phone. Went to order from Verizon online but they were out of stock, so found it at Amazon instead. Boy am I glad I did. Better price, better service and NO SALES TAX!

I was comparing this phone to the Samsung Galaxy Nexxus and the HTC Rezound. as far as the Nexxus goes. To be honest, display and speed wise there is NO COMPARISON. the ONLY advantage I can see the Nexxus having over the LG is the Android 4.0 ICS. Once this phone and others have ICS. The Nexxus doesn't stand a chance. Especially with that crappy display. The Rezound was nice. A bit chunky, but the display was comparable. Still, the LG is faster, with a bigger screen and zero ghosting issues that the Rezound, Razr and Nexxus all displayed. Lg's UI takes some getting used to, but once Android ICE comes out for it that won't be a problem anymore. I love everything about the phone, except two things.

1. bing! Verizon had made this the default search browser with no way to change this on trhe LG Spectrum. Bing sucks. It is completely inferior to google search. I really hope someone comes up with a
way to remove bing. There is already a root out there for the Spectrum, but I'm waiting to see someone post how to remove the bing and replace it with google.

2. The battery. OMG. It's bad. As bad as the Razr. I bought the extended battery from Verizon and it makes a HUGE difference. So now all I have to do is find a case for the phone with the extended battery. It's fat, but defintitely needed. With the exception of the Droid Razr MAXX, ALL these 4G batteries suck down faster than a fat kid at the dessert line at a Home Town Buffet. I'm trying to find a case to protect the phone with it's extended battery. So far no luck.

Overall the phone is pretty great. Display is the best of ANY phone built, including the iphone 4s. It's bigger too. I compared everything on it to the Droid Razr and Galaxy Nexxus and this phone blows them both away in almost all categories. The display is unrivaled (got a headache staring at the razr's screen for any longer than 20 minutes)and so is it's speed. I walked into a Verizon store and ran on my phone and the Nexxus and Razr. It hit 47mbps, while the Razr was 17 and the Nexxus was clocking in just under 20mbps. Still not too shabby, but it shows how much better the processor and antenna is on the Spectrum. Call quality is excellent and the music app with the dolby surround sounds better than the HTC Rezound's sound. In my opinion, the lg spectrum is Verizon's best phone.

Discounting the fact that the battery sucks, just like any other 4G phone on the market, I wanted to give this phone 5 stars but just can't. the reason? because of what Verizon did by disgracefully locking in bing as it's default search engine. you can still go to google and search, and/or use google search on one of your home pages. you can even hold down the left button on the bottom of the screen and the phone brings up google to search, but why can't Verizon just give it's customers the option instead of locking down their phones with crap bloatware? because all the OEM's pay a pretty penny to get VZW to do that!
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on June 5, 2013
I bought this phone to replace my wife's Verizon contract phone which died one month after expiration of the warranty, which is eleven months before the end of the contract period. The price through Amazon was half of what Verizon wanted to replace the phone. Overall, the Spectrum is a nice smartphone. The size is a good balance of good viewing vs compactness. The display is crisp and I have not had any problems running any Android apps. The only issues that I have with the phone is sometimes the menu is a little obtuse and the premature demise of the Spectrum phone which prompted this purchase. However, the predecessor phone was not truly dead; it just had "issues". And my Spectrum, purchased at the same time as my wife's Spectrum contract phone is still running.
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on May 21, 2012
I ordered the LG Spectrum after having used the Droid X for almost two years. I was waiting for the Razr Maxx to drop in price, but it never did. I paid $89 through Amazon Wireless (which, by the way, my experience with them was outstanding!!!). After reading so many negative things regarding the Nexus radios, after having a HTC Rezound for a week and not likeing it (too heavy, bulky, screen scratches easily), I finaly opted for the underdog in Verizon's line up: the LG Spectrum.

This phone is a GREAT phone. The screen is probably the best out there. Once you watch videos on it you will understand. The dual core 1.5 processor provides plenty of muscle to move everything seamlessly and fast. The camera is great! Ok, let me break most of the components down:

It is solid. Plasticky, but solid. The back cover will get full of fingerprints, but a gel cover will eliminate this.

To me, it looks very classy and shart, very attractive.

Right now, second to none on Verizon's line up. The Rezound competes head-to-head, but the size of the LG wins (4.5in vs. 4.3in).

User Interface:
I liked some elements from LG's skin, but not all of them. There are many options to this: you can download a launcher (search the market, there are plenty) and custom this to your taste.

Fast, great pics, great video. You can also download a different camera from the market. I use Camera ICS and LG Camera from the market and both perform extremely well.

So far, no issues at all. Calls are very clear, no drop calls, always have a strong signal.

It is ok. Like all 4G devices (expect the Maxx), battery is OK. You can tweak a few things to make it last longer. I get about 16 hours per charge (less if watching lots of videos).

There is plenty. Like all Android devices, you can customize a lot with market apps. But, if you have some knowledge of computers and phones, you can root it and apply different ROMS and Kernels. There are two ROMS for the Spectrum at the moment. You can have root access to it. There are many advantages and it is not that difficult to do.

Charging port:
So far, OK. I do not liek the cover too much as I am always afraid it is going to break, but just handle with care.

For the price, it is the best 4G LTE phone in Verizon's line-up. LG promised Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) for the Spectrum sometime this year. If anything, the phone will get better with that update. Also, the three buttons on the phone are better than the four as it is ready for the Android 4.0 upgrade.

I give the Spectrum 4 out of 5, mainly because of the plactic back cover and the skin on the phone. In terms of performance, it is a 5 based on my usage and experience.
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on February 19, 2013
The shipping was very fast (it came within four days of me ordering) and being that the phone was used i expected to get what i paid for but the phone was in like brand new condition and only a VERY small scratch on the back overall i am very pleased with their service and would recommend them to anyone looking for an affordable phone
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on February 4, 2012
The phone is ok. I agree with the other review that the UI could have been a little better as I think the HTC Sense UI (so is Motorola's) is alot better than this. The buttons on the bottom will eventually become useless if LG decides to go the Android ICS platform route. The HD graphics are very good, personally better than the iPhones. I would definatley grab an extended battery if you want to use the 4G (my comparison is that the 4G will last 3-4x longer with extended battery than the Thunderbolt with an extended battery) which the 3000mAH battery gave me 24 hours of service over 4G and about 60-70 minutes of talk time during that period. The phone does not charge well at all with any other charger than the LG provided chargers. If you want to use another charger, it will take you a long time to charge the phone.
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on April 17, 2012
Love the features of the phone (screen, speed, camera, 4G, etc.) but voice quality is driving me crazy. I hear people OK but they say my voice sounds terrible. This occurs no matter where I am, so it is not a matter of a weak signal.

Surprised no one else has commented on voice quality. I have tried two different phones and am waiting to receive a third. Any other comments on voice quality or suggestions as to how to improve it?
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on April 3, 2012
Do not worry about the Optimus "skin" / layer that LG installed on top of Gingerbread for the phone... If you install ADW Launcher EX, you won't even see it anymore and you don't need to root it to make that happen. To be honest, it wasn't all that bad to begin with but you can really customize the device with ADW EX and set it up to operate the way you want.

The display is fantastic.

The phone is really fast on Verizon. I've downloaded items from the Market and was astounded at the speed they downloaded and installed.

See the previous poster's comments about rooting and being able to freeze bloatware.

I am not worried about the exterior and finger prints. I'm planning on putting a rubberized/gel case on it anyway.

This phone is excellent in my opinion.

Update: 4/15/2012 - Phone still delights me. I would recommend downloading JuiceDefender to increase battery run time. Also, download a Task Manager like Advance Task Manager to make it easier to move downloaded apps from the Market from internal memory to the SD card. Not all apps automatically move themselves.
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on May 11, 2012
I decided to use this phone for month before I gave a review on it. This is my first Smartphone and wanted one that my husband could actually answer without instructions. While shopping for one, I was so frustrated with the other phones that I'd seen because the virtual keyboard keys were so small that I kept hitting all the wrong letters plus I couldn't even figure out how to turn on the screen on my friend's phones. This phone's size is bigger than any that I've seen but I absolutely love it since it's big enough to actually see what's on it. It's extremely easy to navigate through the menus even without reading the instructions extensively.

The way I decided to get this one was to go to the Verizon store and see if I could work with the phone easily without instructions. It does have extra apps that one may not generally use but that does not bother me. I did download an energysaver app and that does help with the battery usage. If I'm on it for long periods, it does run down more quickly than my other regular phones but they did not do all that this one does. I generally charge it every evening which is no big deal. If I need more battery time, I can always purchase the extended battery and keep it on hand for emergencies.

The screen glides up and down very easily and is very easy to control. My other ones were either difficult to move or they went extremely fast and I couldn't control them.

The only downside may be the size since it's bigger than my other LG (which was not a Smartphone), but it's so easy to see photos and reading on it is great. I watched a movie trailer on it, and it's like a mini television with the screen clarity and size.

The sound is good and it takes fantastic photos with 8 megapixel camera. I haven't used all the functions yet as I'm still finding more things it can do. Each day I figure out something else that I can use it for.

I would definitely recommend this phone to anyone who doesn't mind the size. For me it's perfect. If you check around, you can get it for a decent price as well.
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on September 3, 2014
This phone came way faster than it was supposed to. I was in a pinch for time and money after my iPhone 4 broke, and as a previous owner of an iPhone, I have been continuously impressed by this phone and its features. The price was excellent, and I can do everything I could do on my iPhone and more. It arrived exactly as described, and it has been working great ever since. I highly recommend this phone if you are tight for money but still want all of the excellent features of a smartphone and 4G LTE service.
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