LG Mach Review

Introduction, Design and Display

Not too long ago we told you that the QWERTY was dying, but Motorola didn’t get that memo and put a pretty excellent keyboard on the Photon Q, their high end device for Sprint. LG went the more tradition all-touch route with their hero device, the Optimus G, but launched the QWERTY-touting Mach alongside the Optimus. The LG Mach is by all accounts a mid-range device, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it when using it thanks to the dual core Snapdragon S4 processor, Android 4.0, 4G LTE and a respectable feature set. Can the LG Mach find a home in Sprint’s growing Android lineup? Read on to find out


The LG Mach is an updated version of the LG Viper, one of Sprint’s LTE launch devices. With a 4” display, it is slightly more comfortable to use than Motorola’s 4.3” Phonon Q. The overall construction of the Mach is reassuring, with a smooth yet sturdy spring-assisted slide and quality materials all around. Once again, this is not up to the standards of LG’s Optimus G or Nexus 4, but the LG Mach will not be confused for a cheap device despite its low price. The Mach isn’t the thinnest device out there, but at less than half an inch thick it won’t be straining your pockets too much.

You can compare the LG Mach with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Around the edges you’ll find the usual array of physical buttons - all of which are easy to find by touch and have good travel - and three capacitive buttons below the display. As usual, LG has replaced the standard Android multitasking button with a menu button, and the multitasking menu is accessed with a long press of the home key. One interesting note about the Mach, there is not a single Sprint logo to be found on the device. Do you hear that, Verizon?

QWERTY keyboard:

The 5 row keyboard on the Mach is easy to get used to and we were quickly typing accurately, but it did not have the inviting quality that the Photon Q’s keyboard had. The keys are well spaced, but adding the 5th row makes them a little shorter than we’d prefer. Still, we’d gladly trade those few and far between accidental presses for the presence of the dedicated number row.


It retains the same 4” display and 480x800 resolution (good for 233ppi), but ditches TFT technology for the much more eye pleasing IPS technology. Though it may not have the best resolution or the unbelievable clarity of the Optimus G’s IPS panel, the Mach’s display is very good with accurate color reproduction and steep viewing angles, and stands up to most any lighting conditions.

LG Mach 360-degrees View:

Interface and Software:

We won’t go into too much detail on the UI because there is no new software wrinkle the LG Mach introduces. Out of the box it runs LG’s Optimus 3.0 UI, something we’ve covered in great detail on our Optimus G review. The Mach doesn’t offer some of the fancier features, such as QSlide or Live Zooming, but does offer other tricks like Quick Memo. As far as manufacturer skins go, the Optimus UI is fairly unobtrusive and does not appear to hinder performance. The Mach also supports SprintID packs, but we much prefer LG’s option.

As has become the norm with Sprint devices, there are very few extra apps installed out of the box. In fact, all that you’ll find is some of LG’s apps, like File Share, News or Voice Recorder, SprintID and Sprint Zone, and Google products. The single third party app on the LG Mach is Polaris Office, which is a one of the better Office suites available on Android.

Processor and Memory

The Mach has some impressive oomph behind it for a mid-range device. Under the hood is a dual core Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960 processor at 1.2GHz, coubled with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, 5 of which is available to the user. Memory is expandable an additional 64GB via microSD, and anyone activating an LG phone and signing up for a new Box account through the app will receive 50GB of cloud data. Though it may be clocked at just 1.2GHz, the S4 is a very capable processor and the LG Mach was very fluid in daily use. In fact, in benchmark testing the LG Mach beat Sprint’s Galaxy S III in every result. (AnTuTu has been updated since we published our Sprint GSIII results, but we ran the new version on Sprint’s GSIII and our best result was 10995.)

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
LG Mach54041104960,1
Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE4746650856,7
LG Viper 4G LTE3002552855,9
Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE4129545358,8

Connectivity and Internet:

If you’re lucky enough to have coverage the LG Mach will deliver 4G LTE speeds. Unfortunately most of us are still stuck with Sprint’s hobbled 3G network, so we’d suggest using Wi-Fi when available. The Mach has a bevy of other connectivity options you’d expect, like GPS, NFC, Wi-Fi direct and Bluetooth 4.0.

The stock browser moved plenty quick and we didn’t run into any rendering problems, with fluid pinch to zoom and predictable double tap. Of course we still recommend downloading Chrome, but its good to know that even out of the box the Mach offers a pleasant browsing experience.


LG’s 5 megapixel cameraon the Mach was disappointing. Images were very soft, with fuzzy details and unnatural colors even in strong lighting. Indoor images had significant grain no matter the lighting conditions, and went downhill very quickly as the lights dimmed. The Mach can record at 1080p, but video performance was similarly bad and even though we waited a second or two after starting filming to begin speaking, the Mach still clipped off the beginning of our audio. The camera performance was without a doubt the Mach’s weak point.

LG Mach Sample Video:

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LG has included its own music player, as well as loaded Google Play music on the Mach. In generally we prefer Google Play Music for its cloud capabilities, but the LG player features Dolby Mobile (when plugged into a headset) which offered a noticeable boost produced a rich, compelling sound on our Bose over the ear headphones.

Sound Quality and Battery:

Callers rated the LG Mach as “run of the mill,” complaining that there was a slight vibrato and unnatural voice reproduction. They also noted that we were very clear and easy to understand though, and rated us 8/10 overall. On our end callers sounded quite good, with plenty of volume and clarity.

The removable 1700mAh delivers a claimed 9.5 hours of talk time and almost 13 days of standby, though we were charging our test unit every few nights with moderate use. Still, if offers plenty of juice to get through the day and can be swapped for a fresh one in a pinch, something the Motorola Photon Q can’t do.


Adding it all together we are fairly impressed with the LG Mach as a mid-range device. With a $99 on contract price it is half of what Sprint wants for the Photon Q but is definitely more than half the phone. In our testing the Mach can go toe-to-toe with the Photon Q in just about any category and will usually come out ahead. In fact, thanks to the S4 plus processor the LG Mach can match the Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC EVO LTE pretty closely as well. It sounds a bit odd to say, but with the Optimus Elite, Mach and Optimus G LG might just have the best Android phone in each market segment on Sprint right now (entry level, mid-range, high end.) The Mach isn’t without its shortcomings (the camera), but overall it is one of the better mid-range devices we’ve reviewed.

Android 4.0.4
Software Version LS960ZV6

LG Mach Video Review:

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  • Fast, fluid performance
  • Good 5 row keyboard
  • Quality design and construction


  • Poor camera and video results

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