LG Logos review: Simple, but satisfying

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MSRP: $99.99

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.

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6.0 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7
  • Camera 5
  • Battery 6

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.