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LG Optimus L70 review: Lacks LTE, but a strong prepaid contender

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The Good MetroPCS' competitively price LG Optimus L70 features consistent and impressive 4G speeds, clear call quality, and a customizable quick-launch key.

The Bad The Optimus L70 can be slow at times, and its video quality is mediocre.

The Bottom Line Priced at $50, the LG Optimus L70 is one of the best 4G Android handsets on any prepaid network.

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6.7 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 8

MetroPCS' LG Optimus L70 isn't the highest-powered Android device around, but what it lacks in robust features, it makes up for in reliability and price.

As a midrange handset, this 4.5-inch phone has a 5-megapixel camera, a meager 4GB of internal storage, and a dual-core processor that feels sluggish at times. Still, it has decent and consistent 4G data speeds, and solid call quality. LG included some useful software as well, and you can expand the memory up to 32GB. Best of all, you can nab the prepaid L70 for just $49.99.


With its long oval home key and softly rounded corners, the L70 sports a similar design to the rest of LG's midrange Optimus family . However, its unique honeycomb design on the battery door does help the device stand out from the crowd of plain black slabs.

The handset measures 5 inches tall, 2.63 inches wide, and 0.38 inch thick. Weighing 4.5 ounces, the phone is comfortable to hold and easily manageable with one hand. On the left edge are a volume rocker and Quick Launch key. Personally, I really like this shortcut button -- you can customize it to launch any app of your choosing, such as the alarm clock, the Chrome browser or music player. It also doubles as the shutter key when the camera is opened, and you can quickly assign or change the app with a long press. Up top is a 3.5mm headphone jack and the right edge houses a sleep/power button. The Micro-USB port for charging is located on the bottom.

The Quick Launch key can launch one app of your choosing. Josh Miller/CNET

On the back side you'll find the 5-megapixel camera, with its flash to the left. Located on the bottom right corner are two slits for the audio speaker. Using the Micro-USB port as a seam, you can pry off the battery door to access the removable 2,040mAh battery. Unfortunately, the SIM card sits right above it, so if you want to swap your SIM, you'll need to take the battery out first. To the right is a microSD card slot that accepts cards with capacities of up to 32GB.

The L70 has a 4.5-inch WVGA touchscreen with an 800x480-pixel resolution. This doesn't sound like much, and indeed it isn't. If you look really closely, you'll notice some aliasing with small text, and the edges of images and icons look a bit pixelated. Overall, though, the display wasn't so grainy as to drag down my user experience. In addition, it's bright enough to be easily read outdoors, it's responsive to the touch, and it's coated with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for durability. Above the screen is a front-facing camera, and below are two hotkeys (for back and settings) that flank the aforementioned home key. To call up recent apps, users can long-press the center button.

Software features

Because the L70 is a midtier device, the fact that it runs the rather recent Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS is a plus. And as a Android handset, you'll get a number of Google apps, such as Chrome, Gmail, Plus, Maps, Hangouts, Photos, and YouTube. The Google Play stores for Books, Newsstand, Games, Movies & TV, and Music are loaded as well.

The phone runs the LG Optimus 3.0 user interface, and has a number of signature software features. These include customizing certain app icons; QuickMemo, which lets you jot down quick notes or sketches directly over images onscreen; and Knock Code. Knock Code consolidates turning on your L70 and unlocking the lock screen into one action. By dividing the display into four quadrants, users can tap a certain combination within these zones to wake up and unlock their device. There's also QSlide 2.0, a multitasking function that you can use to view and resize apps (like the calculator and notepad) while using other apps or viewing the home screen.

The L70 has the Knock Code unlocking feature (left), as well as a multi-tasking tool called QSlide. Lynn La/CNET

MetroPCS threw in some carrier services, too, like its mobile hotspot app; an app storefront; and Metro411, which searches for and locates nearby businesses and restaurants. The carrier also included its visual voice mail feature; a music and ringtone portal; and MyMetro, which lets you check your account balance and plan.

Basic task-management apps consist of an alarm clock, a calculator, a calendar, native browser and email clients, a memo pad, a to-do list, a dictionary, music and video players, a voice recorder, and a file manager. There are some other nonstandard goodie apps, too, like a document manager called Box, a translation app, and the mobile document suite, ThinkFree Viewer. Lastly, you'll get Bluetooth 4.0 and 4GB of internal storage.

Camera and video

Photo quality for the 5-megapixel camera was decent. Though you'll have to wait a beat after you tap the shutter for the camera to snap a photo, pictures came out clear and in-focus for the most part. I had no issues taking pictures of objects up close, and with ample lighting, photos looked sharp and showed even lighting. With dimmer, indoor scenery, colors tended to look a bit more muted, and you will see traces of digital noise and artifacts. But picture quality was still adequate. To know more about these photos, be sure to click on them below to view them at their full resolution.

Video quality fared just a tad worse. While I was satisfied with the true-to-life colors, and the camera's ability to focus well on both moving and still objects, the max recording resolution is only 800x480. This means you won't be able to view videos very clearly on a bigger screen like a computer before it gets too pixelated and distorted. In addition, though background audio was picked up fine, nearby audio came off sounding echoey and hollow.

In this outdoor photo, the color contrast is pleasing, and hues are vivid. Lynn La/CNET
This close-up picture of these flowers is sharp and in focus. Lynn La/CNET

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