LG unveiled a few devices right before MWC, but that does not mean it stopped with the announcement at the world's largest mobile show. Not at all - it unveiled two new devices in its F series and we have the slightly more powerful one, the LG F90 for a quick hands-on experience.
The F90 is special since it’s one of the very first devices to ship with 512MB of RAM while running Android 4.4 KitKat. Google has specifically optimized the latest Android to run good on such devices, and here we’ll take a first look at how that effort turned out. Moreover, all of this comes in an affordable package with 4G LTE. One more thing - this handset ships with a whopping 3000mAh battery, which is just huge! Let’s see what to make of all this.
The LG F90 is not a device that can boast with any extraordinary looks, but that does not undermine the fact that LG has put it well together. The F90 features a plastic body and a dotted pattern on the back that catches less fingerprints than glossy panels. It’s utilitarian, practical, and while it won’t turn eyes, it’s also not ugly in any way - it’s just… well, ordinary.
Moreover, we like the size of it - it’s compact so you can comfortably use with a single hand, yet it’s not too small to hinder usability.
The 4.7” LCD display on the F90 features a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels, which is definitely on the low side. You can see slight pixelization and tiny fonts are not very legible, but - apart from that - the screen features nice, vivid colors and viewing angles are also good.
Interface and functionality
Getting the latest Android 4.4 KitKat on an affordable device like the F90 is a dream come true. Not just that, the F70 also comes with LG’s custom Optimus skin on top bringing some of the features like Knock Code (allowing you to blind draw a security pattern) from higher-end devices.
LG’s skin is packed with LG’s own apps that are useful for the most part. In terms of looks it’s cheerful and cartoony, maybe even a bit too cartoony for some, but it’s a matter of preference after all.
Apart from all the traditional features, this affordable handsets also has 4G LTE on board, which up until now was a rarity in such a cheap phone, and having it is great.
Processor and memory
The LG F90 is an affordable device, but that does not mean it is underpowered. In fact, it boasts a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400, the same chip that’s powering the Moto G.
This translates into a very smooth experience on the F90. It is actually capable of handling most games very well, and it may only stutter slightly when you have many apps open (heavy multitasking is taxing on the RAM and here you only have 512MB of it). Overall, it seems that Google has done a good job with its performance optimizations for devices with 512MB of RAM like the F90 since the annoying Android lag from before is significantly reduced or even eliminated.
The scarce 4GB of internal storage is a bit too low for our taste, but you get a microSD expansion card slot.
With an 8-megapixel auto-focus rear camera and a VGA front shooter, the handset is locked and loaded for taking relatively sharp images. We expect to see 720p video recording, but no 1080p - something that’s expected in such an affordable device. Sadly, we don’t have camera samples just yet, but be sure that we’ll update you on the F90 once we get them.
We can’t shake off the feeling that with the new LG F70 and LG F90, LG almost directly copied Motorola’s tactic with the Moto X and the Moto G. The F90 has a 4.7” screen like the Moto X, while the F70 - a 4.5” one like the Moto G, and it has the same quad-core chip. Of course, that’s just a feeling that we cannot justify - the devices are different in many other aspects, and their looks are not similar at all.
Yet what LG has done with the F series is bring 4G LTE to the masses, and with the F90 it also maximizes the battery life with a whopping 3000mAh juicer. That, the quad-core Snapdragon 400 and the 8-megapixel camera, drive our hopes high for LG’s mid-range this year. All LG has to do right - is name a good price.