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LG Leon review

Katharine Byrne
14 Aug 2015
LG Leon
Our Rating 
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

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, Screen Size: 4.5in, Screen resolution: 854x480, 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, 1,280x720 resolution display and an 8-megapixel camera. The Leon makes do with a 4.5in, 854x480 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

Display

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 854x480 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.

Performance

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. Continues on Page 2

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