Gadgetslab: LG Magna

 

As is the way of things, specs that were once only available to top-tier devices have finally trickled down to handsets with prices that are more reasonable for the budget-restrained to accept. As of late, LG has been a company that has constantly innovated, which is especially great for the mid-range market. Today, we review one of their more recent offerings, the curved(!), LTE (!!) dual-SIM Magna.

Design 4/5

Taking cues from both the Curve and LG G2/3/4 series of devices, the magna has a very gentle 3000mm curve on the screen, and controls located on the rear of the device. The front of the screen is beautifully bare, with a notification light, the LG logo, speaker grille, and front camera. Searching for the keys, you’ll find that they are rendered on the screen, so the visual clutter is kept to an absolute minimum. The rear case is plastic, though finished with almost the same texture as the G3. This gives it a look that’s far more premium that the price tag might lead you to believe. The back pops off to give you access to the SIM trays, microSD card, and removable battery, should you want to swap any of those out. It’s one of the better-looking phones in its price range, and something I appreciate quite a bit.

Hardware: 4/5

First and foremost, the Magna is an LTE device. This immediately gives it a leg up over many of the other devices in its segment. On top of this, it has a curved, 5-inch, 720 x 1280 IPS LCD screen that’s actually quite easy on the eyes. 294 PPI might not be breaking any records, but it’s more than adequate.

Running the phone is a Mediatek MT6582 quad-core processor ticking along at 1.3GHz, and a Mali-400MP2 GPU. It has 1GB of RAM, and has 8GB of internal memory, expandable up to 32GB via microSD. The camera is an 8MP deal, and it’s backed up by a very capable 5MP front camera, just in case the urge to take a selfie overcomes you.

In charge of keeping the phone running is 2540mAh battery. It seems a little light for this phone given the screen size, resolution and dual-SIM (with LTE) connectivity, but we’ll get to that in a bit. You also get GPS connectivity, Wi-Fi b/g/n, and Bluetooth 4.1.

User Experience 4/5

As the first non-top tier device (to my knowledge) to feature a curved screen, I was curious about the Magna. When you pick it up and use it, the curve is barely perceptible to the eye, but you do feel a difference. More pronounced is the curve of the back, which makes the phone sit extremely well in your hand. It’s one of those phones that, although plastic, feels particularly nice to hold. The raised edge of the bezel is a little too obtrusive for my taste, and dampens the feel slightly.

The UI is done with LG’s usual overlay. It’s a love-it or-hate it thing, and I’m squarely in the “love it” camp, though perhaps with a new launcher. It doesn’t depart from the usual Android interface too much, though bears a little more bloatware than other devices. It shouldn’t matter to anyone but the most hardcore users.

My personal phone is a G3, and I’m quite happy with it. Having used it primarily for quite some time now, I must say that the experience is not that far removed. The magna has LTE connectivity, which is at least as reliable as the G3’s, the button layout is the same, and it even feels very similar. While it does pack a different processor and less RAM, it doesn’t hamper any of my daily tasks. Sure, I might not get the same benchmarks, but as a daily driver, this does just fine. Plus, dual SIM slots! Even with LTE and two SIM cards, the battery managed a whole day of use, though by the time I got home, it was on its last legs.

The camera of the Magna is a little on the weaker side. It takes a little bit of time for the camera to focus, and works better in brighter conditions. It’s a capable camera, though perhaps not the best in its class.

Overall though, I am uite pleased with the performance of the Magna. It’s great to hold, looks nice, all the while doing its job. How can you not like that deal?

Value 3.5/5

For all the bonuses, it’s a little on the pricy side of the mid-range spectrum. The curve is nice, and LTE is even nicer, but the market has a lot of those. What makes this a better deal is the LG name. With it, you’re assured of service, support, and parts, should something go wrong. It’s really quite nice, and I wouldn’t mind using one on a regular basis.

What’s hot:

Pretty form

LG support

Dual sim with LTE

What’s not:

On the pricey side

Bottomline: If you have a little extra cash to burn, this would make an excellent daily driver.

Specs:

Dimensions: 5.50 x 2.75 x 0.40 inches

Weight: 137 g

Screen size: 5.0 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels, 294 ppi pixel density

Processor: Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7

RAM: 1GB

Storage: 8GB

Connectivity: GSM/HSPA/LTE, WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS

Camera:8MP/5MP

 

 

 

 

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