LG Spectrum 2 Review

Introduction and Design

With the Holiday Season fast approaching, Verizon has introduced the new LG Spectrum 2, which is a follow-up to the original LG Spectrum that was released earlier this year. This time around, the device is more in line to compete with other mid-level smartphones, as it comes running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich and features a 4.7” 720p display, a Qualcomm 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor with 1GB of RAM, and an 8MP rear camera. But what makes the LG Spectrum 2 most attractive is its reasonable price, coming in at $100 with a 2-year contract.

Included in the retail package is the LG Spectrum 2 VS930 smartphone, 2150mAh battery, two NFC Tags, wall charger with detachable microUSB cable, and user guides.


Calling on elements of the LG Optimus line, the LG Spectrum 2 is a bit more refined than the original Spectrum phone, though it looks like the “monolith” from 2001 A Space Odyssey. Despite this, the Spectrum 2 feels solid and well made (almost brick-like), with black on the front and back being framed by chrome accents around the edges. We welcome the textured soft-touch battery cover on the rear, as it provides a firm grip.

You can compare the LG Spectrum 2 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The front of the Spectrum 2 is mostly occupied by the display, above it is a 1.3MP camera, and below it are four capacitive buttons with blue LED backlight. Around the sides we find the microUSB port, 3.5mm headset jack, as well as the volume and power/lock buttons – which have a distinctive feel to them since they are raised from the surrounding edges. While on back is the 8MP autofocus camera with LED Flash. The microSD memory card slot and SIM slot are hidden by the battery cover.

Built into the battery cover is NFC (near field communication) and wireless inductive charging. To make use of the NFC, the Spectrum 2 includes two LG Tag+ stickers, one for the car and one for the office. The car tag will active the Google Maps app on the phone, while the office tag will place the phone in vibrate mode and turn on Bluetooth. But in order to use the wireless charging, you have to purchase the wireless pad separately, which still requires a wall outlet connection.


One nice improvement with the LG Spectrum 2 is that it is using a larger 4.7” True HD IPS display, up from 4.5” on the original model. It comes with a 1280x720 pixel resolution, and uses the more favorable RGB arrangement instead of PenTile. Overall, the True HD display on the Spectrum 2 is sharp and crisp, with text and images having fine detailed edges, and color accuracy is spot-on, though not as eye-catching as AMOLED displays.

We’re also pleased by the brightness of the display, using LED backlighting, which makes it plenty bright enough to view in sunny conditions. However, it is unfortunate that the display suffers from poor viewing angles; as when not viewed from the dead center, there is noticeable loss in contract and color saturation.

LG Spectrum 2 360-degrees View:

Interface and Functionality:

Layered over Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, the Spectrum 2 has the familiar LG Optimus UI, similar to what we’ve seen on the Optimus L9 smartphone and not the better version found on the Optimus G. It does a fine job making the device easy to use, with 7 home screens, app drawer, and a nice selection of desktop widgets – but it is nothing we haven’t seen before.

One nice surprise is that the Spectrum 2 includes four themes (optimus, odyssey, shine, and thor). Selecting one will not only change the wallpaper, but the system icons that are displayed. Even though this is a nice addition, it still does not offer the customization of HTC’s Sense UI.

Naturally, the Spectrum 2 does well with the included Android core apps, such as E-Mail and Gmail, contacts, and calendar. Also on board is Richnote allowing you to notate any image, and SmartShare which lets you stream content to a DLNA device. But the Spectrum 2 does lacks some of the more advanced features found on the higher-end Optimus G, such as QSlide and Live Zooming.

Other included apps are Amazon Store, Amazon Kindle and MP3, Amex Serve, Verizon app store, Audible, IMDb, Polaris Office, NFL Mobile, Verizon Tones and Video, VZ Navigator, and Zappos. For games, there are demo versions of Let’s Golf 3 and Real Racing 2 included.

Processor and Memory:

Having a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 1GB of RAM, the LG Spectrum 2 holds its own when compared to other dual-core smartphones, especially considering its $100 contract price. The device also feels plenty fast when launching apps, multitasking, or just moving through the home screens.

LG Spectrum 25283715759,6
Samsung Galaxy S III 53351201658,6
Motorola DROID RAZR HD4972678759,6
Samsung Galaxy Stellar4104569259

With 16GB of internal memory, there is only 11GB available to the user, but since there is the addition of a microSD memory card slot, you can add up to 32GB for extra storage space.

Internet and Connectivity:

The web browsing experience is a pleasant one using the stock browser, as kinetic scrolling and pinch-to-zoom are fluid. Naturally, you can also load-up Chrome or other 3rd party browsers if you so desire.

It should come as no surprise that the LG Spectrum 2 can make use of Verizon’s 4G LTE data network. In our area of South FL, we were able to use the SpeedTest.net app and get download speeds between 2-8Mbps and upload speeds of 1-3Mbps, which depends on network congestion, time of day, and 

Not only does the Spectrum 2 support Verizon’s CDMA and LTE/EVDO network in the US, but the device is also Global Roaming ready, which means it can use GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz and EDGE/HSDPA/UMTS 900/1900/2100MHz while overseas. Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz & 5GHz) are also on board.


The included 8MP autofocus camera on the LG Spectrum 2 doesn’t appear any better since the original Spectrum. Images that we took outside are lacking in their detail, as edges are soft and not well defined, and color accuracy is poor – the auto white balance often had difficulty and resulted in the image having a blue hue to it. Not only that, but several times we had to re-take the picture, as the autofocus seemed not to properly focus on the subject. For inside images, there is an extreme amount of visible grain, as the camera automatically adjusts the ISO from 1000 to 1700 depending on the light level, though this does allow for a bright image when using the LED flash.

Videos are recorded at 1920x1080p resolution and are smooth with 30 frames-per-second. Both color and detail look good when played back on a monitor or HDTV, but the camera does pick up on the slightest movement, causing the video to look jerky if the phone is not held perfectly still.

LG Spectrum 2 Sample Video:


The music player on the LG Spectrum 2 is lacking some of the eye-candy, such as 3D carousel view, which is on other LG smartphones, but it still does a good job of showing basic information and allowing you to select which song you want to playback with ease. Sound quality through the rear speaker is a bit hollow and doesn’t have any punch, but if you connect a pair of wired earbuds, you can activate the Dolby mode to “enhance” the sound quality. 

Video playback is enjoyable on the 4.7” True HD IPS screen, as we were able to play a wide variety of file formats, including MP4, H.264, DivX, and Xvid, with resolutions up to 1080p. You also have the option of streaming video to an HDTV via the MHL connection (which is part of the microUSB port) or by using the AllShare app, which uses DLNA streaming over Wi-Fi.

Call Quality and Battery:

Call quality on the LG Spectrum 2 is good, as voices on our end were natural sounding and lacked any distortion, even at high call volumes, though there was some distortion while using the rear speakerphone. People that we called also said that we sounded good on their end, but at times was a bit hollow sounding, and they could tell we were using a mobile phone. Signal reception was adequate, since we didn’t drop any calls, but as with most other Verizon 4G phones, we had issue maintaining a 4G connection while indoors – as it would drop down to 3G EVDO.

With the included 2150mAh battery, we were able to get up to 10 hours of continuous talk time on a full charge, or about two days of mixed usage, which is better than most other smartphones in this category.


We feel that the $100 contract price of the LG Spectrum 2 is a bargain, as the original Spectrum was twice that when it was released earlier this year. This newest model not only includes a larger 4.7” True HD IPS display, but has a faster 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 16GB internal memory for storage. Combine that with the easy to use Optimus UI interface, good call quality and battery life, the LG Spectrum 2 is hard to beat in this price point.

Software version on the reviewed unit:
Android version 4.0.4
Kernel version 3.0.8
Build number IMM76I
Software version VS93010E

LG Spectrum 2 Video Review:


  • Attractive price
  • 4.7” True HD IPS display
  • Good call quality


  • Camera quality is lacking
  • Notification LED is part of the power button
  • Device feels larger than it should be

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

5 Reviews

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