The LG Spirit is what happens when you take a phone like the Moto G and spread some LG goodness over it. It has pretty much everything we look for in a budget low/mid-range phone and has a few little LG design quirks to give it that bonus bit of personality.
We don’t yet know exactly how much the LG Spirit will cost, but if it’s cheap enough we could be looking at one of 2015’s top bread and butter budget mobiles.
Back got back (buttons)
Budget phones have come along so much in the last couple of years. You no longer need to spend tens of thousands to get a phone that doesn’t feel like it has been thwacked repeatedly with a compromise hammer.
Lots of companies are starting to make affordable ‘good enough’ phones like the LG Spirit, but here you get a few bonus design tweaks too. The most obvious is rear buttons. LG has been using them for years now, but they are making their way down to budget devices these days.
They feel pretty good too. The very first attempts at this seemed flat-out silly, but these days LG really aces the ergonomics of those rear buttons. Does it add much? Not really. Rear buttons are most useful in giant phones whose power buttons might otherwise be hard to reach, but the LG Spirit doesn’t suffer from them either.
It also stops the LG Spirit from seeming like just another generic budget phone. The build, though, is pretty much the budget norm. Even LG’s top phones like the LG G3 tend to feel pretty plasticky, and this one certainly does too.
We checked out a couple of different versions of the Spirit’s finish, one white one with a texture of fine lines across its back and another dark grey one with a cod-metal finish. They look pretty good, just don’t expect a super-high-end feel.
Small and sharp
The LG Spirit’s screen is good, though. It has a 4.7-inch display of 720p resolution, making it a bit smaller than the latest 5-inch Moto G, but a pretty great size compromise if you don’t want a real pocket-filling phone.
Sticking with 4.7 inches also means the screen is pretty sharp. The LG Spirit offers 312ppi density, making text look nice ’n’ smooth. Not every phone needs a QHD screen, you know.
It’s a nice-looking IPS LCD display with a natural colour tone. LG’s Display arm is actually one of the main makers of phone screens, so it’s no surprise the LG Spirit’s one is really quite good.
We are a tiny bit disappointed that LG hasn’t put a bit more effort into modernising its custom Android interface now that phones like the Spirit have been bumped up to Android 5.0 Lollipop. It looks pretty much the same as ever, with apps menu and the same home screen style. The LG Spirit does get Lollipop-style lock screen notifications, though, which is something.
Running the show is a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 processor, the 64-bit follow-up to the Snapdragon 400 that proved to popular last year. It’s an entry-level chipset but in our experience it has enough power to make a 720p phone run just about perfectly, especially when paired with 1GB RAM — which is what the LG Spirit has.
The phone also offers 8GB storage and a microSD slot to let you add to that.
The camera setup will actually depend on the market, though. We saw a version with an 8-megapixel rear camera and a basic 1-megapixel one on the front, but some countries may get the LG Spirit with an even lower-end 5-megapixel rear camera.
It seems likely we’ll get the better version, now that so many entry-level phones have 8-megapixel cameras. After all this isn’t a true bottom run phone: it even has 4G.
We’ve been waiting for something like the LG Spirit to arrive for a couple of years now. It’s basically LG’s answer to the Moto G, an affordable phone with a 720p screen.
If it’s pitched at the right price, it could well become one of our favourite low-cost phones.