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Phones

LG rolls out four new midrange smartphones

Headed around the world, the new lineup is designed to appeal to people who don't need the high-end specs of more expensive phones.

LG's new Magna and Spirit are targeting the midrange mobile-phone market. Sarah Tew/CNET

LG is launching four new midrange but premium smartphones that it hopes will attract budget-conscious consumers.

The global rollout of LG's new Magna, Spirit, Leon and Joy phones is starting in South America but will be closely followed by Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and North America, LG announced on Monday. The new lineup was first unveiled at Mobile World Congress in early March, where the company touted them as phones for a wider range of consumers.

Like most mobile-phone makers, LG faces intense pressure in a market dominated by Apple and Android. LG's flagship G3 and upcoming G4 will compete in the high-end arena against the iPhone 6 and Samsung's Galaxy S6. But in the wake of that competition, LG also needs to target the global midrange market to reach customers who don't need phones with all the bells and whistles and high-tech specs.

Continuing LG's penchant for curves, the Magna and Spirit both have slightly curved touchscreens, about a quarter of the edge of the G Flex 2. Offering consumers some options, the phones come with either a quad-core 1.2GHz or 1.3GHz processor and either a 5- or 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. Both run Google's mobile operating system Android 5.0 Lollipop, come with 8GB of internal storage and will be available in 4G and 3G versions.

The Magna sports a 5-inch HD display with 294 pixels per inch and a 3-megapixel front-facing camera. The LG Spirit is smaller with a 4.7-inch HD display and 312 ppi. LG is touting both phones as fitting more comfortably in your hand due to their slight curvature.

The LG Leon and Joy will also be available in either a 4G or 3G version. The Leon will offer either a 1.2 or 1.3GHz quad-core processor and come with either a 5- or 8-megapixel camera. The phone includes a 4.5-inch FWVGA, 220ppi touchscreen, runs Android Lollipop and houses 8GB of internal storage.

LG's Joy has a 4-inch WVGA display with 233 ppi and a 5-megapixel camera. It will come with either Android 4.4 KitKat or Android Lollipop and be powered by either a dual- or quad-core 1.2GHz processor.

All four phones will include two features found in LG's more high-end phones. Gesture Shot lets you take selfies with a hand gesture that kicks off with a three-second countdown. Glance View allows you to access the time, missed calls and other information simply by swiping down the screen, even if the display is turned off.

"Millions of customers around the world today are seeking reasonably-priced devices that don't sacrifice on looks or features," Juno Cho, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications, said in a statement. "Our newest mid-range smartphones are designed with both new and experienced users in mind all over the world who know a good deal when they see one."