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LG Spirit

LG Spirit review: Now Marshmallow-powered

Katharine Byrne Nathan Spendelow
27 Sep 2016
LG Spirit
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
130
inc VAT SIM-free

Despite decent battery life and a surprisingly good camera, the LG Spirit doesn't do quite enough to stand out

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, Screen Size: 4.7in, Screen resolution: 1,280x720, Rear camera: 8 megapixels, Storage (free): 8GB (3.45GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 133x66x9.95mm, Weight: 118g, Operating system: Android 5.0.2

Buy the LG Spirit now from Three

Until now, the only way to get a smartphone with a curved display was to fork out bags of money for a top-end flagship; the stunningly beautiful Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge or the slightly less sexy LG G Flex 2. LG seems intent on changing that, though, bringing curved displays to its more affordable smartphones including the £230 G4c and its latest budget model, the LG Spirit.

Before we begin, it's worth mentioning at this point that the LG Spirit has recently received the Android 6 Marshmallow update. From June 2016, you'll have been prompted to download the update, which adds some handy streamlining features and (hopefully) an improved standby battery life too. As with most over-the-air updates, the rollout might take some time to reach your handset, but you can always manually search for it in your phone's settings.

READ NEXT: Here's everything you need to know about Android 6 Marshmallow

You can hardly see its supposed curviness from looking at the phone at first glance, however, as the screen's 3,000m radius curvature is so minute that you could easily mistake it for a flat display, much like Huawei's latest Nova smartphone. The curved rear is slightly more obvious, sitting comfortably in the hand despite a somewhat chunky 9.95mm thickness. This is a shame, as I'd definitely like to see a proper, curved budget smartphone from LG at some point in the future, if only to shake things up a bit at this end of the market. 

LG Spirit headphone jack

Display

A curvier screen wouldn't help save the Spirit's poor colour accuracy, though, as its 4.7in, 1,280 x 720 display is one of the worst I've tested. Not only did it pick up copious amounts of smeary fingerprints, which also proved difficult to clean off easily, but its measly 65% sRGB colour gamut coverage meant that images lacked all sense of punch and vibrancy.

Skin tones were unnaturally pink, and blacks were a fraction high at 0.35cd/m2. The Spirit's display isn't particularly bright either, measuring just 338.10cd/m2, but at least its viewing angles were reasonable and its contrast ratio of 958:1 give images an adequate level of detail.

Performance

As with most budget smartphones, the Spirit uses a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor and 1GB of RAM. While perfectly acceptable for a phone of this price, its multitasking abilities pale in comparison to the £125 Vodafone Smart Ultra 6, which uses a much faster octa-core Snapdragon 615 chipset. While the Spirit managed 463 and 1,442 in the Geekbench 3 single- and multi-core tests, the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 blitzed ahead with scores of 661 and 2,273, showing the benefits of four extra cores.

LG Spirit rear

The Spirit also fell behind the Smart Ultra 6 in our Peacekeeper web browsing test. Admittedly, its score of 692 isn't that far behind the Smart Ultra 6, which scored 741, but in practice web browsing was still noticeably jerky, particularly when it came to scrolling down image-laden news pages.

It's hardly the most adept handset for playing games, but it's certainly no worse than other Snapdragon 410-based phones we've tested. While its 105 frames in GFXBench GL's offscreen Manhattan test doesn't bode well for fans of Blizzard's Hearthstone card game (the phone warns you that it's below the recommended specification when you first open the app), it can still just about play 2D games such as Threes and Alphabear, although even Threes was a touch jerky when swiping for new numbers at speed.

Storage

You'll want to invest in a microSD card if you plan on filling the Spirit with games and apps, though, as only 3.45GB of its 8GB storage is actually available to the user. This is pretty low even for a budget phone, but at least the microSD card slot is easily accessible on the rear, just above the micro-SIM slot.

Battery Life

Fortunately, the Spirit's 2,100mAh battery provides ample stamina for even the hardiest media consumers, as it managed 11h 20m in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to 170cd/m2. While not as impressive as the 14 hours I saw from the LG G4c or LG Leon, it surpasses both the 3rd Gen Moto G and Vodafone Smart Ultra 6, which only lasted 11h 12m and 10h 51m respectively. Continues on Page 2

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