We’ve been seeing a lot of really good high-end handsets lately (like the Galaxy Note II and the HTC DROID DNA), but all the while, LG has been putting out some solid mid-range phones. Not too long ago, we reviewed the LG Optimus L9, a mid-range device at T-Mobile that wasn’t extraordinary in any way but still a quality handset all around, and today it’s the Verizon Spectrum 2 that’s taking center stage. The question is whether or not this smartphone is yet another good mid-range entry from LG, or if it falls short when held up against the dozens of other mid-range handsets ready to be taken home.
Pulling the device out of its box for the first time, I immediately started drawing comparisons to the look of the Optimus L9. Aesthetically, both phones look pretty similar – while the dimensions are different, both are black with silver trim, and both have the same textured back cover. The black color scheme lends to a minimalistic feel to the design, which I have admit is something I like. This look worked well for the Optimus L9 and it works just as well for the Spectrum 2. I think the phone looks pretty sleek, though I could also see some people finding the design to be a little on the boring side.
On the outside of the device, there isn’t all that much to talk about. A small round power button can be found on the top of the Spectrum 2, which is a little strange at first. I’m used to larger power buttons on Android phones, so the size of the button on the Spectrum 2 might take some getting used to for some. A 3.5mm headphone jack joins the power button on the top of the device, while the volume buttons and the microUSB port can be found on the left side.
The microSD slot has been packed in behind the battery cover, which is something I’m torn on. On the one hand, sliding a microSD card in and out of the slot is pretty easy, but on the other, swapping out the microSD card quickly becomes a hassle when you have to remove the battery cover all the time. Luckily the battery cover isn’t that difficult to remove, so at least the process isn’t as annoying as it could be.
One thing I particularly like are the soft buttons on the front of the device. The usual suspects – back, home, and recent apps – are there, and they’re joined by a menu button. The buttons themselves are nothing we haven’t seen before, but they glow blue when you touch one of them. That’s a nice change from other soft buttons that glow white, and I think they do a lot to make the Spectrum 2 look good.
With a 4.7-inch screen, this phone is pretty big, but it still feels good in the hand. It’s pretty slim at 0.36 inches, and its weight of 5.1 ounces means it’s got enough heft to feel sturdy. I’m a fan of larger screens, and 4.7-inches is just about perfect for me, but the Spectrum 2 might be a little too large for those with smaller hands. That said, if the size isn’t an issue for you, then you’ll be getting a phone that feels like a well-made device.
As with most other mid-range phones, the hardware you’ll be getting in the Spectrum 2 isn’t the best. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that the hardware is bad, as the Spectrum 2 appears to make the most of what it has running under the hood.
Read more: Slash Gear