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LG Logos review: Simple, but satisfying

The LG Logos is a plain workhorse that could be a good fit for the right person.

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Nate Ralph
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Nate Ralph

Associate Editor

Associate Editor Nate Ralph is an aspiring wordsmith, covering mobile software and hardware for CNET Reviews. His hobbies include dismantling gadgets, waxing poetic about obscure ASCII games, and wandering through airports.

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6 min read

The LG Logos is a compact, bare-bones Android smarpthone, available on US Cellular for $99, without a contract. It's not an especially impressive device, but it offers relatively strong performance for the price, and runs the recent Android 5.0 Lollipop, so you can experience the latest that Google's mobile operating system has to offer.

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6.0

LG Logos

The Good

The LG Logos' budget price and capable performance for apps and games make it a good fit for someone who needs a simple, cheap device. It also runs Android Lollipop.

The Bad

Check US Cellular's coverage map: 4G LTE connectivity isn't available everywhere yet, so you may be stuck on 3G for quite some time. The camera churns out images that aren't too impressive.

The Bottom Line

The LG Logos won't impress passers-by, but the general performance doesn't disappoint, and the price is just right if your needs are simple. Just make sure US Cellular's coverage works for you.

No, it won't impress your friends. But if you don't want to spend very much on a smartphone and live in an area that has strong coverage from US Cellular, this could be a device to keep on your short list.

Take a closer look at the LG Logos (pictures)

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Design and build

  • 4.7-inch display, 1,280 by 720 pixel resolution
  • 5.21 by 2.6 by 0.39 inches (132.3 by 66 by 9.9 mm)
  • 312 pixels per inch
  • 4.39 ounces (124 grams)

The Logos looks like a miniaturized LG G4 . The screen is ever so slightly curved, though you'll be hard pressed to notice it until you slip the Logos into your pocket. The Logos' power button is sandwiched between the volume buttons, and all three run vertically along the phone's spine. They're the only physical controls on the device, and while I'm personally not a fan of their location, they're easy enough to reach.

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The Logos' curve is rather subtle. Nate Ralph/CNET

I'm also not sold on the curve. The original LG G Flex's curves ostensibly helped make the 6-inch phablet a bit easier to wield while you're making calls, and purportedly offers a "more engrossing" experience when you're watching videos and playing games. The G Flex 2 was a little less unwieldy at 5.5-inches, but touted similar benefits. The Logos, by contrast, is tiny -- you'll have no trouble look at videos or pocketing this device, and the curve is so subtle as to be inconsequential.

At 4.7 inches the Logos isn't exactly a burden to carry around, and it feels a lot smaller than it looks: the aforementioned 4.7-inch display has a 1,280-by-720-pixel resolution. Sure, it's not the 1080p resolution you'd expect from pricier devices, but screen looks good. There's no color shifting or contrast degradation when you're looking at it off axis, and with a pixel density of 312 pixels per inch, text looks rather crisp.

OS and apps

  • Android 5.02 Lollipop
  • Not too many preloaded apps

The phone is running LG's Optimus UI, which reskins Android pretty heavily. Icons for familiar apps are replaced with LG-approved variants, and the color scheme has been adjusted a tad. There are few preinstalled apps, but McAfee Security rears its ugly head and it can't be readily uninstalled -- I prefer a pristine Android experience, but if you don't mind an antivirus app scanning your files for malware, this may not be problematic.

The Logos is also running Android Lollipop 5.0.2: Android 5.1 is the latest version, but this device isn't substantially behind. And with Android Lollipop adoption rates hovering at 18% it's nice to see a budget phone keeping up with the Joneses, as it were.

Cameras and video

  • 5-megapixel camera
  • 1-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 1080p video recording

The LG Logos' 5-megapixel camera is set to a 4-megapixel, wide-angle shooting mode by default. That works out to an aspect ratio of 5:3 -- you'll get a 4:3 aspect ratio when shooting at the full 5 megapixels. You'll be able to fit more objects in your frame at the default setting, but the slightly lower resolution -- 2,560 by 1,536, versus 2,560 by 1,920 -- may deter pixel peepers.

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The 5-megapixel camera fails to impress. Nate Ralph/CNET

Not that you're missing much: feed the Logos camera sufficient light and you're still left with fuzzy details, dull colors and generally lifeless images. And the camera's sensor overcompensates at times, blowing out highlights and dishing out garishly oversaturated reds and purples. The 1-megapixel front-facing shooter doesn't fare much better, as its dismal resolution churns out images devoid of detail or character.

There's no HDR or macro shooting mode, but there are a few choice gimmicks to choose from. Shooting a selfie is as easy as swiping on the screen while the camera app is open, and you can use "Gesture Shot" to quickly set up a shot. Hold your first or open hand up to the camera, then clench or unclench your hand to start a selfie timer. If you prefer a hands-free approach, you can activate "Cheese Shot" and the camera's shutter will fire when you say "Cheese," "LG," "Smile," "Kimchi," or "Whiskey." The allure of shouting "whiskey" at random intervals isn't lost on me, but I'd recommend that shutterbugs spend the money saved on this budget device on a proper standalone camera.

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The highlights are blown out here, and the colors look flat and dull. Nate Ralph/CNET

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This image was a little more successful, but remains noisy and lacks detail throughout. Nate Ralph/CNET

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Note the lack of details in this simple indoor shot; hard to tell those are Post-its. Nate Ralph/CNET

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Our standard studio shot. The subjects suffer from a lack of detail, and the flash casts a blue hue over the space. Nate Ralph/CNET

Hardware performance

  • 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
  • 8GB of internal storage (4GB available); 1GB of RAM
  • Up to 32GB expandable storage
  • 2,100mAH battery (removable)

There's a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and its performance is just right for the price. I had no trouble navigating about the phone, sifting through apps, or navigating the Web. Some of the more hardware intensive Android games will struggle here, but the more casual entries on the list of my favorite current Android games work just fine. I've also been revisiting Grand Theft Auto III, which runs surprisingly smoothly -- it's not the most technically impressive game these days, but there's still quite a bit of fun to be had on this budget device.

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The 2,100mAh battery lasted for an average of 9 hours and 45 minutes on CNET's battery drain tests. Nate Ralph/CNET

There's only 8GB of internal storage, and only about half of that is available once you account for the operating system and the miscellaneous preloaded apps. But you can pry off the back of the case and to get to the microSD card slot, which supports up to 32GB cards.

3DMark -- Ice Storm Unlimited

LG Logos 2,638Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 4,545LG G4 18,611
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench 3

LG Logos 467 1465Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 387 1,153LG G4 1,046 2,981
  • Single-core
  • Multi-core
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Performance on these synthetic benchmarks runs right in line with our expectations. The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime is packing hardware that's similar to the Logos, and as such is neck and neck. The LG G4 is included largely for comparison's sake, as these devices won't hold a candle to a flagship device.

Battery performance

The LG Logos offers a removable battery 2,100mAH battery. We saw an average of about 9 hours and 45 minutes on our video playback battery draining test; not a stellar result in light of the competition, which generally eclipses 10 hours and beyond. My own use was a bit more focused, involving lots of Web browsing, bouts of Grand Theft Auto III (strictly for testing purposes, I swear), and snapping test shots with the camera. I generally needed to reach for the charger before bed every night, but circumstances were never dire.

Call quality and data speeds

  • CDMA: 800/1900/2000 (GSM not supported)
  • LTE: 700/850
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 b, g, n

US Cellular's LTE coverage is nonexistent in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area, so we're stuck on 3G. As such, the Logos' data speeds were dismal, averaging at about 1.18Mbps down, and 0.75Mbps up. The mobile Web can be amenable to slow connections, and I found that text-heavy websites were in an average of 4 seconds, with images take a few seconds longer to load into existence.

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US Cellular doesn't offer 4G LTE connectivity in California just yet. Screenshot by Nate Ralph/CNET

In areas where US Cellular offers LTE coverage -- including parts of the east coast and the midwest -- you can expect better performance, so check a coverage map before you make any decisions. US Cellular has pledged to expand its 4G LTE coverage across many more states by the end of 2015 (that includes California), so connectivity may be improving soon.

Call quality is tricky to assess, as your experience will vary by a number of factors, including the time of day, the weather and your location. My own experience was generally fine: I received no complaints of static and didn't experience any dropped calls, but the people I spoke with occasionally sounded distant, and I was told I sounded a bit muffled.

Conclusion

The LG Logos offers solid performance and a nice display for just $99, which feels like quite a deal. But the competition in the budget space is stiff.

The GSM-only Motorla Moto E 4G starts at $99 contract-free on Boost Mobile. It has many of the same caveats and the screen isn't quite as crisp, but call quality here in California was improved. Spend a little more to get a variant running on AT&T's network, and things are much better overall. If you're willing to cross the aisle, Verizon's Microsoft Lumia 735 runs Windows Phone for $192. It's pricier, and the Windows Phone app store is a bit barren, but if you aren't demanding much in the way of apps you'll have a much more satisfying experience.

For loyal US Cellular customers, or those who live well within US Cellular's network, this budget Logos is a great value option.

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6.0

LG Logos

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 6Performance 7Camera 5Battery 6
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