LG Marquee (Boost Mobile) review: LG Marquee (Boost Mobile)

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MSRP: $279.99

The Good The LG Marquee has a svelte and ultralight design that complements its stunning Nova display. It has a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi. Call quality is great.

The Bad I don't dig the LG Marquee's sluggish performance and oddball Mobile ID customization feature.

The Bottom Line The LG Marquee's slim design and jam-packed feature set make it Boost Mobile's flagship phone. But its high price (even without a contract) and slow processor will make it a tough sell.

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6.6 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6

Although the Marquee phone was released just last month, you might have seen it before on Sprint's network (and perhaps you saw it even before then, since the LG Marquee is Sprint's version of the LG Optimus Black).

If you're more of a prepaid, no-contract sort of person, you can get this device on Boost Mobile's 3G network for about $279. It's the most expensive phone that's available on the carrier's site (Sprint's handset is $99.99, but that's only after you sign up for a two-year contract and send in a mail-in rebate). Though it also has a lot of features, including a brilliant 4-inch Nova display, a sleek design, and a decent camera with numerous settings, the internal lag time was annoying, especially for a device that requires so much cash up front.

Editors' note: This review borrows from our LG Marquee (Sprint) review, where some of the devices' design and features overlap.

Just like the LG Marquee for Sprint, the Boost Mobile model is remarkably slim and lightweight. At 4.8 inches long by 2.52 inches wide by 0.36 inch deep and weighing in at an amazing 3.95 ounces, the Marquee is one of the thinnest and lightest Android handsets I've ever handled. Some might think it's too light, but for my petite hands, it feels great. Especially when slipping it into a jeans pocket or tucking it away in a hoodie's kangaroo pocket.

The device's plastic shell doesn't have as much of a premium feel as heftier handsets. Although the back is slightly contoured on the edges--perhaps to give the phone a better grip--I found that its matte coating made it more slippery than other handsets. However, the coating does not trap or reflect fingerprints, so that's a plus.

The backing of this phone doesn't trap any fingerprints, but it does make the device slippery.

What really makes the Marquee shine is its 4-inch Nova display. LG reported that it has 700 nits of brightness, which makes it one of the brightest and clearest displays on the market. While I didn't measure this, the phone does appear to be just as bright as the LG Connect 4G, which also has 700 nits of brightness. The phone also looks to be on par with the Retina Display on the iPhone 4, but that's only in terms of brightness, since the iPhone 4 does have a richer resolution (960x630 pixels).

Even though the LG Marquee's display made watching videos in both indoor and outdoor lighting a breeze, graphics didn't seem as clear or sharp as expected. Images looked a little too pixelated than I would like, but they were bright nonetheless.

Comparisons aside, the Nova display does look very impressive. With support for 16 million colors and a WVGA 800x480-pixel resolution, blacks are true and deep, and images and graphics pop with color. Text appears crisp as well. The capacitive touch screen felt nice and responsive, though I did experience sluggishness during menu transitions and Web browsing. Even when a page was fully loaded, pinching the screen for zooming lagged noticeably.

The phone's 4-inch Nova display is vibrant and bright both indoors and outdoors.

The LG Marquee ships running Android 2.3 Gingerbread with a very basic user interface. It's pretty close to how the native Android UI looks, except that Boost Mobile added its own Mobile ID button in the bottom row of the home screen. With Boost Mobile ID you can customize the five home screens with certain preselected apps, widgets, and other items depending on which ID profile you choose.

For example, if you select the E! package, you'll get E! apps and widgets pertaining to the celebrity news channel. You can also choose a Professional package, which includes tools to help with business travel plans, financial investments, and office communication. Just note that deleting a Mobile ID package won't uninstall the apps that you downloaded--you'll have to remove those apps manually. I don't like that Boost Mobile made Mobile ID so integral to the phone. It appears you can't remove the Mobile ID function from the home screen's dashboard, so the only choice you have is just to ignore it.

Furthermore, the IDs themselves don't look very good. There are only nine available packs online so far, and they're all sort of...well, ugly. Especially the corporate ones that make your phone look like a walking advertisement for E! and MTV.

Underneath the display are the usual four Android shortcut keys: Home, Menu, Back, and Search. The volume rocker sits on the left spine along with a programmable shortcut key that can start up any application you choose (the default is set to the camera function). On the top are the power/screen lock key, a 3.5mm headset jack, and the Micro-USB port. One thing I love about the Boost Mobile edition is that the Micro-USB port has a tiny door your can toggle to protect the exposed area. Sitting above the display next to the Boost Mobile logo is a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, while a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash sits on the back.

When opened, you can barely see the toggle door that protects the Micro-USB port.

As an Android phone, the phone comes with the Swype virtual keyboard and is compatible with plenty of Google services. These include Gmail, Google Maps with Navigation, YouTube, Google Search with Voice, Google Books (with "Treasure Island," "The Three Musketeers," and "Wuthering Heights" preloaded), Google Talk, and Google Latitude.

In addition to the default Google apps, the device comes with a Boost Mobile app called Boost Zone. This app is a central place where Boost Mobile customers can manage their account--pay their phone bills, get help with their phones, and get updates about upcoming products from the carrier.

Polaris Office, which lets you write and edit Office documents, is also included. As well as SmartShare, an app that enables you to share media with other DLNA-enabled devices. Aside from DLNA, the phone has the usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS support.