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LG Mach hands-on: Sprint's slim LTE slider

The new LG Mach for Sprint brings Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a zippy dual-core processor.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Content strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Lynn La Senior Editor / Reviews - Phones
Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.
Jessica Dolcourt
Lynn La
3 min read

When you think it over, it's just about perfect for Sprint and LG to team up on a device like the just-announced LG Mach. Both are struggling to grow: LG in its public perception in the U.S. as a serious smartphone-maker, and Sprint in its bid to become a serious LTE network with compelling phones.

What characterizes the LTE-ready Mach most is its Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS (which will be upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean,) its slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and its zippy dual-core processor.

Flying by the LG Mach (pictures)

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Design
The LG Mach weighs 5.92 ounces and measures 4.65 inches tall, 2.56 inches wide, and 0.48 inch thick. The fact that most QWERTY phones are a little thicker than 0.48 inch makes this device relatively slim. By comparison, most QWERTY sliders are at least 0.5 inch deep and the buttons are usually flat.

The keyboard sports five rows of generously sized buttons, and it features navigational arrows and numeric keys. The design looks terrific -- polished, with bubble-like keys that are fully separated, raised above the surface, and easy to press.

LG Mach
The LG Mach is a slim QWERTY slider with 4G LTE. Lynn La/CNET

The device is also equipped with a 4-inch WVGA touch screen. The specs aren't spectacular, but they aren't meant to be. Sprint and LG are intentionally offering the Mach as a midrange device. However, the hope is to make it a good midtier option that consistently performs.

Features
In addition to its 0.3-inch VGA front-facing camera, the LG Mach has a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash in the back. We didn't get a chance to try out the camera in any meaningful way, but we know it can record up to 1080p HD video.

Under the hood, the handset is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and a 1,700mAh battery, which roughly translates to 9.5 hours of reported talk time. Though we won't have an accurate judgment of its internal speeds until we get our hands on a review unit, the Mach felt pretty zippy. Launching the camera, transitioning back to home screen, and quitting apps all ran smoothly and swiftly.

As previously mentioned, the device runs on Android 4.0. However, it is overlaid with LG's UI skin, Optimus 3.0, so it won't look as elegantly simple as vanilla ICS.

Similar to LG's most recent handsets, the Mach features LG's note-taking feature, QuickMemo, which allows users to quickly jot down notes or scribble doodles. Users will also get Time Catch Shot, a variation of Burst Mode that makes it easier to pick your favorite shot when taking pictures. Sprint included its Sprint ID shortcut, as well. This lets users download prepackaged apps, widgets, and ringtones for easy customization.

LG Mach
The LG Mach sports LG's Optimus 3.0 user interface. Lynn La/CNET

Outlook
As a midrange device, the LG Mach looks pretty promising. Not only is the QWERTY keyboard a goodie for messaging-lovers, but the snappy dual-core CPU and Android 4.0 OS are a bonus, too. Though its availability date hasn't been announced, and we're promised pricing information "soon," we anticipate it going for about $100 to $150 with a two-year service agreement. In the meantime, we'll get more videos and more hands-on time as MobileCon continues, so stay tuned.