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LG Volt 2 review: Another budget phone for the cheap heap

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The Good The LG Volt 2 is cheap and will run plenty of popular Android games and apps just fine. The phone also has Android Lollipop.

The Bad The camera churns out images that are dull and lifeless. Boost Mobile's performance in San Francisco is also sluggish. There's only about 4GB of storage space.

The Bottom Line The LG Volt 2 is a solid performer, but there are better options to sift through at this price.

6.2 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7
  • Camera 6
  • Battery 6

The LG Volt 2 is not an exciting smartphone. But at $150 on Boost Mobile -- without a contract -- it's not a very expensive one, either.

It's a device that'll do most everything a modern smartphone needs to without being especially fancy or flashy. You're getting LTE connectivity, a processor that doesn't choke on popular Android games or 720p video, and a 5-inch display that looks pretty good, in spite of a disappointing 1,280x720-pixel resolution.

If you're looking for a new device or live in an area with strong Boost Mobile service and don't want to spend very much, the Volt 2 might earn a spot on your short list. But you've got plenty of options -- and better ones that won't cost much more.

Design and build

  • 5-inch display, 1,280x720-pixel resolution
  • 5.5 by 2.75 by 0.4 inches (139.7 by 69.9 by 10.2 mm)
  • 294 pixels per inch
  • 4.8 ounces (136 grams)

LG has been on a bit of a curved device kick (see: the LG Logos ), and that doesn't change with the Volt 2. I'm remain unconvinced that the gentle curve adds much in the way of added comfort or utility. It's also a very slight curve, one that you'll barely notice when it's in your pocket or your hands. The phone is otherwise rather plain: a simple black slab with a bezel that isn't too egregious.

LTE connectivity, for less. Nate Ralph/CNET

The only physical buttons are located on the spine -- the power button is sandwiched between the volume controls. They're in a good spot for your fingers and likely facilitate the phone's curves, but I still prefer buttons in a more traditional spot.

The Volt 2 has a 5-inch screen, with a 1,280x720-pixel resolution. That's not full HD, which is disappointing, but if you aren't a stickler for 1080p streaming video then you'll be fine. The pixel density clocks in at 294 pixels per inch, and text on websites looks clear and crisp. Colors in photos also remain true, and I didn't notice any contrast degradation as I twisted the phone about.

OS and apps

  • Android Lolipop 5.1.1
  • Not too many preloaded apps

The Volt 2 runs Android Lollipop 5.1.1, the latest version of the operating system (as of this writing). That's not especially common for a phone at this price point, and rather commendable -- you're getting the absolute latest that the Android operating system has to offer .

There aren't too many pre-loaded apps. Nate Ralph/CNET

LG's Optimus UI Android skin runs the show, replacing familiar icons with LG-approved alternatives and overhauling all of the operating system's menus. I prefer a pristine Android experience, but if you aren't very particular, or simply aren't familiar with Android, your experience here should be fine. There aren't too many pre-installed apps; you'll run into Boost Mobile's usual account management fare, but most everything else can simply be uninstalled.

Cameras and video

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

The LG Volt 2's 8-megapixel camera takes serviceable, if not especially exemplary shots. And it defaults to a 6-megapixel, 16:9 aspect ratio. You'll be able to fit more things into your shot, but the drop in quality is noticeable -- best to bump it up to the 4:3 aspect ratio, which shoots at the camera's highest resolution.

The 8-megapixel camera fails to impress. Nate Ralph/CNET

The images you'll capture with the Volt 2 aren't remarkable, but they'll do in a pinch. Colors look a bit flat, and whites are readily blown out in even modest sunlight, but there's still a fair amount of detail that should make this a good fit for quick social network-snaps.

You can use "Gesture Shot" to set up an easy selfie -- clench or unclench your hand in front of the phone 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 Volt 2 also records 1080p video. No frills here, but you can tap to focus while recording if you need to adjust your exposure levels or keep an eye on the action.

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