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LG Connect 4G (MetroPCS) review: LG Connect 4G (MetroPCS)

Although I appreciate a phone that is chock full of features, and I certainly can find use for Rhapsody, Polaris Office, and SmartShare, most of this bloatware felt like a drag. Particularly when considering how some were redundant, nonremovable, and just plain unnecessary for me.

The 5-megapixel camera, complete with an LED flash, comes packed with features, too. But these are welcome with open arms and include: autofocus, zoom, an exposure meter, face tracking, six image size options, six scene modes (normal, portrait, landscape, sports, sunset, and night), an ISO meter, five white balance choices (auto, incandescent, sunny, fluorescent, and cloudy), four color effects (none, mono, sepia, and negative), a timer, continuous or panorama shooting, four different shutter sounds, and geo tagging.

The video recorder has similar offerings, such as digital zooming, an exposure meter, a continuous flash, the same white balance and color effect choices, five different recording options that include HD video in 720p with 1,280x720-pixel resolution, and audio muting.

Call quality on the LG Connect 4G was perfectly adequate. When I made calls, I was told that my voice was picked up perfectly fine. Calls from the receiver, however, sounded a bit muffled, as if a thin cloth were draped over the phone, but not to a point that sounds were inaudible or could not be understood. The speaker quality was much better though, as voices sounded loud and clear.

When I made a call to someone who was outside on the street, I was told there were trucks and cars whizzing by, and the wind was blowing. Fortunately, all I heard was my friend's voice and little to no background noise.

LG Connect 4G call quality sample Listen now:

Although MetroPCS was the first carrier in the United States to have LTE, it has LTE coverage only in about 14 cities. That means that for the vast majority of people not living in one of these metropolitan areas, the LG Connect 4G (CDMA 800/1900 and LTE 1700/2100 MHz) may unfortunately not feel so 4G after all.

In the case for San Francisco, however, 4G data speeds were pretty swift. I timed how fast the device could load certain pages. On average, after clearing the history and cache each time, the phone loaded our full CNET full page in about 25 seconds, the CNET mobile site in 12, the New York Times site in 24 seconds, and the New York Times mobile site in about 3. ESPN's mobile site took 12 seconds, and its full site loaded in 36 seconds. Ookla's Speedtest app, which is 2.99 MB, took 20 seconds to download, and showed me an average of 2.07Mbps down and 2.53Mbps up. The 18.34MB game of Fruit Ninja downloaded in two minutes and 25 seconds.

Because the handset comes with the Google+ app, I tested out video calling. When I made a video chat indoors while my friend was also indoors, I was told that picture quality on my side wasn't so stellar, but my video was consistent and wasn't choppy. The video feedback I saw was consistent as well. It wasn't the smoothest thing I've seen image-wise, but the video itself was not lagging or choppy.

Audio, however, could be improved. My friend's voice clipped in and out, which made it difficult to understand what was being said. I was told I could be heard perfectly well, but again, hearing my friend being muted and unmuted was not pleasant.

Both the camera's shutter and focusing speeds are great. Photo quality, however, was less than great but good nonetheless. Although the colors didn't appear to be as crisp and vibrant as in real life, the photos were still clear when it came to images taken both indoors and outdoors. As expected, in low-light environments there was some noise in the photos.

Although it was overcast in Yosemite, these trees still looked a lot livelier in real life when compared with this photo.

Used indoors, you can see that the camera added some blue hues lining the edges of our standard photo set.

The 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera, worked pretty much as expected. The picture quality was low and there was a lot of noise in the photos I took. However, the graininess isn't any worse than other camera I've seen of this class.

Not surprisingly, photos taken with the front-facing camera were grainy and dull

During our battery drain tests, the handset lasted 6.35 hours. Anecdotally, the battery life was OK. Keep in mind that the device has a Nova display, so that drains its usage time quickly. Even with that in mind, however, I could go a handful of hours playing videos, listening to music, and browsing the Web without a charge. But with this level of activity, you could definitely forget about going a full workday with at least one pick-me-up charge. According to FCC radiation tests, the LG Connect 4G has a digital SAR rating of 1.04W/kg.

With its dual-core CPU and 4G network, the LG Connect 4G is a zippy phone from MetroPCS. Despite some underwhelming pixel rendering, its display is vibrant and impressive. Music lovers will undoubtedly dig the Rhaspody Music tie in and superb audio playback with Dolby Mobile. Although I can definitely live without all the bloatware, the device is solid, and it's no wonder that this handset is the carrier's flagship phone for now.

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