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LG Leon

LG Leon review

LG Leon
Our Rating :
£50.00 from
Price when reviewed : £120
inc VAT SIM-free

The LG Leon has decent battery life and is very cheap on contract, but the lacklustre display falls short of the competition


Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, Screen Size: 4.5in, Screen resolution: 854×480, Rear camera: 5 megapixels, Storage (free): 8GB (3.45GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 130x65x10.9mm, Weight: 140g, Operating system: Android 5.0.2

Competition has been fierce among budget smartphones since Vodafone’s £125 Smart Ultra 6 arrived. The LG Leon has to defend itself on two fronts, though; not only does it have to contend with other budget handsets, but it’s also dangerously close to being upstaged by its own big brother, the LG Spirit.

The Spirit only costs an extra £10 SIM-free, yet has a larger 4.7in, 1,280×720 resolution display and an 8-megapixel camera. The Leon makes do with a 4.5in, 854×480 display and a 5-megapixel camera. This might seem an absurdly small price difference considering the respective gulf between each phone, but it makes more sense if you’re after a phone on contract.

The Leon costs as little as £7.50 per month, while the Spirit starts at £13, making the lesser specification more forgivable. At this price, the Leon’s main rival is the £110 2nd Gen Moto E, which has an almost identical specification, save a slightly higher resolution screen.

LG Leon rear


The Leon still has a tough fight against the Moto E, though, with display quality in particular not able to compete with Motorola’s handset. The Leon could only produce a disappointing 69.3% sRGB colour gamut coverage, with severe shortcomings in its blue, magenta, red and green coverage. This meant images had very little punch to them, and colours looked very dark and dingy compared to the Moto E, which has a much more balanced 95.2% gamut coverage.

This is a shame, as the 1,352:1 contrast ratio is otherwise respectable, but I ran into further trouble with brightness levels. Despite the 334.19cd/m2 peak brightness only being a few candelas shy of the Moto E, there were a couple of occasions where I couldn’t actually increase the brightness because the phone was overheating. This isn’t the first time an LG handset has done this, but those phones had much brighter screens overall; the Leon’s maximum is relatively low, which can make it tricky to see in bright lighting conditions.

LG Leon display

The Leon’s tiny 854×480 resolution isn’t particularly well suited for web browsing either, even though its excellent 0.24cd/m2 black level meant text was deep and inky. You don’t get a lot of text on the page, so it feels like you’re constantly scrolling just to read the next paragraph.


This wouldn’t be so bad if the Leon was a bit quicker, but its quad-core, 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor and 1GB of RAM can be slightly sluggish at times. I noticed it most when browsing complex and image-heavy web pages, which stuttered quite heavily while scrolling despite its relatively quick Peacekeeper score of 738.

LG Leon headphone jack

Otherwise, day to day performance was in line with other budget handsets. Respective Geekbench 3 single and multicore scores of 463 and 1,442 matched the Moto E. Naturally, it’s not best suited to playing high-powered Android games, as it only managed to produce 108 frames in GFX Bench GL’s offscreen Manhattan test, but it was still perfectly capable of playing a quick game of Threes! without a drop in frame rate.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that out of the 8GB of internal storage on the Leon, only 3.45GB is actually available to the user. That’s not a lot of space if you like storing lots of games or media files directly on your phone. Fortunately, you can expand storage via the microSD card slot, which takes cards up to 32GB.

Battery Life

One of the Leon’s best features is its outstanding battery life. In our continuous video playback test, its 1,900mAh battery managed an excellent 14h 01m when the screen brightness was set to 170cd/m2. That’s almost 30 minutes more than the 2nd Gen Moto E, and nearly 3 hours more than the LG Spirit.


You’re never going to get masses of detail from a 5-megapixel camera, but the Leon’s outdoor pictures were very grainy indeed, particularly along object outlines. When viewed at full resolution, clean edges were few and far between, giving everything a fuzzy, unfocused appearance. Admittedly, colours were clear and accurate, but I wouldn’t want to use it for anything more than quick social media uploads.

In fact, the Leon’s camera is arguably more suited to indoor photography where compositions are usually a little less complicated. Shooting our still life, for instance, produced some pretty decent pictures for a 5-megapixel camera, and while colours were perhaps a tad murky, there were far fewer jagged edges. Naturally, noise increased when the lights dimmed, but its decent LED flash makes up for it.

LG Leon camera test^ Colours were impressive for a 5-megapixel camera, but there wasn’t much detail on show

LG Leon camera test indoors^ With our external lamp turned on, object outlines were surprisingly smooth when shooting indoors


Ultimately, though, the LG Leon’s bland grey plastic design just doesn’t feel or look as good as the customisable 2nd Gen Moto E. The Leon is noticeably slimmer, but its sharper corners just aren’t as comfortable in the hand. Likewise, the Moto E’s side buttons are much easier to find than the Leon’s rear power and volume keys. Combined with its poor screen, the Leon just doesn’t quite measure up.

As a result, the 2nd Gen Moto E remains my budget phone of choice for those looking for an ultra-cheap contract. However, if you’d rather buy the phone outright and don’t mind going for a large 5.5in handset, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 is much better value for £125 on PAYG.

ProcessorQuad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
Screen size4.5in
Screen resolution854×480
Screen typeIPS
Front camera0.3 megapixels
Rear camera5 megapixels
Storage (free)8GB (3.45GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
Wireless data3G, 4G
Operating systemAndroid 5.0.2
Battery size1,900mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£120
Price on contract (inc VAT)Free on £8.50-per-month contract
Prepay price (inc VAT)£85
Contract/prepay /
Part codeLG H340N

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LG Leon
LG Leon review
Mobile phones

The LG Leon has decent battery life and is very cheap on contract, but the lacklustre display falls short of the competition

£120 inc VAT SIM-free