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LG’s $299 Optimus F5 reviewed: a wallet-friendly entry to the world of 4G

By Leigh D. Stark | 3:05 pm 18/06/2013

The words “budget” and “high-speed” rarely go together, but LG is looking to change all of that, with a smartphone that offers both with a premium name. Packing in 4G, a quarter-HD IPS screen, 5 megapixel camera, and $299 price, is this the best in class for budget buyers?

Features

The first product from LG to sit in the Optimus “F” line-up, this handset looks to provide elements from both the inexpensive L series and the flagship G series devices. Sitting in between both, you’ll find slightly better specs than the L series, but not as high quality materials used for construction in the G.

As such, the Optimus F5 P875 includes a dual-core 1.2GHz processor running 1GB RAM, down from the quad-core and 2GB inside the Optimus G. Aside for the chassis – which is based in plastic and glass – that’s pretty much what the difference is between an “F” and a “G” in the LG Optimus line, and as a result, most of the other specs are close to being the same.

There’s the version of Android, which is 4.1 “Jelly Bean” with LG’s own overlay touches which stick pretty close to the design Google has put forth, as well as connection options such as Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, and Near-Field Communication (NFC).

Storage is a little lower than in the G, with 8GB inside ready for you to use, but comes with the bonus of a microSD slot for expanding it considerably, something the Optimus G lacks with its all-in-one design.

The screen is a touch smaller, with a 4.3 inch qHD (960×540) compared to the 4.7 inch HD-capable screen (1280×768) of the Optimus G, both supporting In-Plane Switching (IPS) displays which should improve viewing angles. Cameras are here, too, with a 5 megapixel module on the back and a 1.3 megapixel shooter up front.

LG’s Optimus F5 does have one thing over its brother, however, with a little more juice. A fraction, in fact, as the Optimus F hold 2150mAh over the Optimus G’s 2100mAh.

As is typical with most smartphones these days, there are very few buttons or ports, and you’ll find a power button on the left side and volume rocker on the left for the first batch of those, while only a 3.5mm headset jack sits up top and a microUSB charge and data port down below for the last batch. Soft buttons do exist on this handset, the light-up touch buttons with vibrating haptic feedback underneath existing below the frame of the display acting for going back, home, and triggering menu options.

The back panel of the mobile handset can be removed to show the replaceable battery, microSD slot, and the place where your microSIM goes.

The Optimus G on the left compared with the Optimus F on the right.

Performance

Does anyone want a cheap entry into the world of high-speed 4G? That’s the question LG is trying to answer with the Optimus F5, a smartphone that brings the similar qualities over from the flagship G to a different price point.

Aesthetically, it’s a fairly minimalist affair with a simple white front and dark 4.3 inch diagonal screen inside this frame, set out with a silver reflective LG logo up top and three subtle light-up buttons below it all.

The back has a neat semi-holographic pattern printed into the plastic, which reminds us of the treatment LG gave to both the Google Nexus 4 and the Optimus G.

The feel of this handset is soft, smooth, and quite comfortable, and we’re easily reminded of a slightly longer version of what the iPhone would be like if Apple gave up on aluminium and glass, and instead went back to plastic. The edges aren’t easily noticed, and neither is the weight of the handset, which fits comfortably in the both the hand and pocket.

From there, we simply need to switch the phone on and start using it. Do that, and if you’ve ever used another LG Android phone, you’ll be at home.

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Price (RRP)

$299

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Budget 4G is still as fast as flagship 4G; Battery performs better than top-end Optimus G; Comfortable design;

Product Cons

On-screen keyboard isn't the best; Rear camera lacks quality and a flash;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Design

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