LG Spectrum 2 – An Android Phone with Features from the Future

by on December 19, 2012 · 26 comments

In the future, features such as wireless charging and tapping your phone to change its settings will be standard, but for now these features are cutting edge on smartphones. With the LG Spectrum 2 you can have these features and more on an Android phone that costs less than $100.

Design

The design of the phone is minimalist, but contemporary. The glass screen extends nearly to the edge of the phone, with a thin strip of chrome framing the sides. The backside is tapered with a textured surface.

The bottom row of buttons are not physical buttons but glow blue when touched. A fourth menu button is included, always a welcome addition to an Android phone.

The Spectrum 2 weighs in at 5.16 ounces, and is built with a solid feel. The phone is substantial, but not hefty. The phone measures 5.31″(h) x 2.69″(w) x 0.36″(d).

Screen Size

The Spectrum 2 is a 4G phone that runs Android 4.0, (Ice Cream Sandwich) and has a large 4.7″ screen that makes watching videos, playing games and viewing photos a pleasure. While the 4.7″ screen might seem a bit large for someone with small hands or narrow pockets, the extra screen real estate may be too enticing to pass up. If the lure of playing Angry Birds on your phone without having to swipe to see the target is especially tempting, you will like the screen size of the Spectrum 2.

Angry Birds Star Wars LG Spectrum 2

Screen shot of Angry Birds Star Wars from the LG Spectrum 2

Storage

The phone comes with 16 GB of storage, with about 11.5 GB available for use, around 4.5 GB is taken up with pre-installed software and apps. You can expand the storage by adding a micro SD card in the slot under the back cover.

Price

The price, at under $100, is one of the more remarkable things about this phone. Verizon is currently offering this phone for $99.99 with a $50 online rebate and free overnight shipping, handy if you’re considering this as a Christmas gift for someone. This price requires a two-year contract with Verizon, but the phone is also available for $499.99 from Verizon if you don’t want the commitment of a contract.

NFC

The NFC feature is one of the coolest features about this phone. NFC, a/k/a Near Field Communications, allows the phone to communicate with other nearby devices. Using NFC, you can transfer data such as photos, documents, apps and contacts between NFC-enabled devices.

LG Tag+

The Spectrum 2 comes with two NFC tags to use with the phone (you can purchase more). You can program these tags to open apps and adjust the settings on your phone, such as turning on Bluetooth, silencing your phone, and turning on Wi-Fi. Once a tag is programmed, you can change your phone’s settings just by tapping your phone on the tag. When a setting is changed using a tag, a sound is played so you will know that the setting has been changed.

For example, you can program Car Mode for a tag that you stick on your car dashboard. When you get in your car, tap the tag to activate navigation, Bluetooth, and music. As you exit the car, tap the phone on the tag again to turn them off. Car Mode. You can add a tag programmed for Office Mode to your desk that turns Wi-Fi on and silences your phone to make sure you’re not interrupted by an embarrassing ringtone. You can place a tag on your nightstand to put the phone in Sleep Mode overnight and wake your phone in the morning.

You can customize each mode to activate the settings you choose for each tag. In User Mode you can program tags to open apps. For example, if you check your email first thing in the morning, add a tag to your nightstand that will open the Mail app.

Using these tags can save you the hassle of adjusting your settings, plus save battery life by allowing you to adjust your settings easily.

Wireless Charging

The Spectrum 2 can be charged by placing it on a wireless charging pad (not included) so you don’t have to plug it in to charge it. Although wireless charging is slower that wired charging, the convenience makes this a very handy feature. Picture going to sleep at night and resting your phone on the pad without having to fumble to plug in a charge cord. You wake in the morning and grab your fully charged phone as you head out the door.

Global

The phone has multiple bands so you can use it in over 200 countries around the world.

QuickMemo

With Quick Memo, you can use your finger as a stylus to write on images. QuickMemo is handy for taking notes or for adding fun captions to photos.

Video screen capture using QuickMemo on the LG Spectrum 2

You can choose the color of the ink and the width of the writing. An eraser is available should you make a mistake or change your mind.

Camera

The LG Spectrum 2 has an 8 MP HD rear-facing camera with auto-focus an LED flash that takes still images as well as video. The phone also has a 1.3 MP front camera for self-portraits and video chats.

The camera has fun features such as Voice Shot, that automatically takes a photo when you say “Cheese” that’s very handy and sure to be a crowd-pleaser at parties. You can turn that feature on and off, to avoid unwanted shots at a cheese shop, for example.

Sample photo taken with the LG Spectrum 2

 

The camera can take panoramic images and six continuous shots in a row. You can take HDR photos with the camera, that combines photos taken with different exposures to form one photo with optimal exposure.

The camera comes with filters, such as sepia and mono (a/k/a black and white), and allows you to geotag your photos so you can remember where you took them.

The camera helps you improve your photography skills while enabling you to catch the best image. Time Catch Shot captures two pictures before you press the shutter and one after so you have multiple images to choose from. If you’re trying to capture action shots at a sporting event or your baby’s first steps, Time Catch Shot may be the best way to make sure you get the shot you want.

Sample photo taken with the LG Spectrum 2

In spite of all of these features, I sometimes had difficulty getting a sharp image in low light. Some pictures looked grainy without the flash and were over-exposed with the flash, though that very well may say more about my lack of photography talent than the quality of the camera.

Sample photo taken with the LG Spectrum 2

You can see more examples of photos taken with the Spectrum 2 at The Wonder of Tech Flickr page.

Battery Life

With features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC turned on, you can use quite a bit of energy, but I found the battery lasted through a day of heavy use without the need to recharge. If you find that you need extra power to get you through the day, the battery of the Spectrum 2 is removable so you can keep a spare battery handy.

According to LG, the battery in the Spectrum 2 has up to 624 minutes of usage time and up to 472.8 hours of standby time.

Pre-Loaded Apps

The LG Spectrum 2 comes pre-loaded with apps, some of which are very handy, such as Amazon, Google Play, Camera and Google Maps. Others, such as NFL Mobile, Zappos and Amex Serve, seem as if they should be optional. Pre-loaded apps can’t be removed from the phone, though you can hide the icons.

Bottom Line

Imagine tapping your phone when you go to bed at night to put your phone into Sleep Mode, then laying it on a pad to charge the battery. In the morning, you grab your fully charged phone and tap it to check your emails. Get in the car and tap your phone to activate Bluetooth and Navigation. When you arrive at the office, tap the phone on your desk to activate Office Mode. That scenario is the future of smartphones, but you can get it now for under $100.

Do you like the features that the Spectrum 2 offers? Do you like wireless charging? Do you like the NFC tags? Let us know in the Comments section below!

 

Comments on this entry are closed.

Ms Morne December 19, 2012 at 10:12 am

I like the features, but don’t you think it looks too ugly?

Thanks for sharing detailed information about Lg Spectrum 2
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Hi Ms Morne, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Lol, I don’t think of this phone as ugly, though it’s not the best looking phone I’ve ever used. I think the phone’s style actually matches its features: futuristic. The look is sleek and functional. If someone saw you with the phone, chances are that they wouldn’t grab the phone, but they wouldn’t think you were using an outdated phone either.

If you saw the phone in person, you might like it better than the picture. If not, there are always cases available to dress up a phone!
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Mike Maynard
Twitter:
December 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

Hi Carolyn,

This phone looks good, I wouldn’t have the contract though. I would rather buy the phone, but I wouldn’t use enough. My main use would be for photography in difficult places where I’m likely to get thrown out by security! I could tweet when I’m out taking photos, not that anyone would read them…

I’ve had one person read my Christmas story so far, but at least she liked it! :)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Hi Mike, You’re right, there is a lot to like about this phone. There are so many advanced features yet the price is right. You could probably do a lot better with the camera than I could!
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Sapna December 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Hi Carolyn

Awesome post.I surely like the features especially the wireless charging.

Thanks for sharing this great information as always.

Sapna

Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Hi Sapna, You’re right, these features are impressive and the wireless charging is very handy. I’m a big fan of the NFC tags as well.

Other phones may have these features, but you would have a difficult time finding another phone with all of these features for under $100.
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Praveen Rajarao December 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Carolyn – I love the sleep mode and the wireless charging of course, who wouldnt???

But tell me one thing, I have learnt that charging your phone overnight leads to dead batteries…is that true? Does your phone, once fully charged, repel any more power supply? Just curious.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Hi Praveen, Great question. There is some debate over whether you can charge your battery overnight without harm to the battery http://forums.androidcentral.com/verizon-galaxy-s-iii/196902-charging-phone-overnight-bad-battery.html but the general wisdom is that you can keep your phone plugged in and the battery will stop charging when it is full.

I have charged my phone batteries overnight for years and have never had a problem.

If there were to be a problem, I imagine the issue would be less of a problem with a wireless charging pad because it charges more slowly than a charge cord.
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Lisa December 19, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I love the idea of wireless charging. I have an iGo charger that I really like now for my Droid. I’m not sure if it has sleep mode, I will have to check it out. I just upgraded last week and haven’t delved into all the features. It’s really amazing how fast these phones or mini computers change.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Hi Lisa, Yes, wireless charging is great, and it will be even greater when wireless charging is as fast as wired charging is now. It’s probably only a matter of time.

You’re absolutely right, these features on the Spectrum 2 are innovative and cutting edge now, but by this time next year, we will be excited about some new feature we haven’t even thought of yet. Remember Siri last year? :-)
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Sylviane Nuccio December 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Hi Carolyn,

I don’t even have a smart phone yet, not because of price but because I am OK with what I have for now and those touch phones are so complicated (to me). A friend of mine told me that it took him 3 days before he could figure out how to answer his phone LOL! Technology is taking so much speed the brain can’t keep up :)

But your blog sure makes me want to get one of those, probably soon.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Hi Sylviane, As phones get more complex, they are actually getting easier to use. The manufacturers have figured out that the easier a phone is to use, the more popular it will be.

I think Windows phone is probably the easiest to learn, followed by the iPhone, then Android. You can take a class in each of these types of phones for free http://www.wonderoftech.com/getting-schooled-in-tech/ or just ask your friendly neighborhood tech blogger to help you out. I bet in no time you’ll have it figured out.

That being said, you may find the convenience of having the Internet at your fingertips wherever you go to be very handy and efficient. As someone who runs multiple websites, you may find great value in being connected on the go!
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Jack
Twitter:
December 20, 2012 at 4:29 am

It sounds like a pretty nice phone but I have to say I LOVE my Galaxy Note II. The extra screen size, stylus and Jelly Bean OS are an awesome package.

But this LG sounds like a pretty nice deal, especially when you look at the functions and price.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 20, 2012 at 8:30 am

Hi Jack, Yes, the Galaxy Note II is also a great phone, a bit bigger than the Spectrum 2. I just listened to a great review of the phone on the Cell Phone Junkie Unlocked podcast. My favorite feature of the phone is the one that sounds an alert when the phone moves a certain distance away from the stylus. What a wonderful solution to make sure you never leave your stylus behind!
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Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
December 20, 2012 at 7:38 am

Great review Carolyn. As much as I love my iPhone, I really want wireless charging :)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 20, 2012 at 8:33 am

Hi Jens, Yes, Apple made charging a wee bit easier with the lightning port so the cable can be inserted either way. But wireless charging would be even easier than that. The Palm Pre offered wireless charging back in 2009, but the iPhone has never had it.

I’m hoping for NFC on the next iPhone because the tags are very handy to adjust your settings.
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Justin December 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Excellent excellent review. I don’t think I could of done a better job myself :-). I have had pretty much every iPhone version to date, so I wouldnt go out and buy one of these just for the fact that I have defended the iPhone for so long. Great job!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Hi Justin, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Thank you for your kind praise. Yes, if you are an iPhone fan, chances are you’re not ready to switch to an Android phone. But let’s hope that the next version of the iPhone has some of the features of the Spectrum 2, such as NFC and wireless charging! :-)

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us, Justin.
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Justin December 20, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Ha ha. “”Not ready””…very funny…I did catch that…
Even if I thought that Androids were the absolutely best (I don’t), I still couldn’t switch because of my long time dedication. My girlfriend has the Galaxy S3, not that impressed. Thanks for approving my comment, wonder what happened to my commentluv link.?
Please feel free to visit my blog, I just cleaned up all the garbage comments so there is lots of space for some good informative posts.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Hi Justin, You are wise to keep your iPhone. Having owned every model, you must have quite a bit invested in apps. Buying them on the Android again could be a significant investment.

Per The Wonder of Tech Comment Policy, CommentLuv links are allowed after three approved comments. You’re half way towards having an approved link.

I did visit your site. Thanks for sharing it with me! I agree with your article, solid reasoning.
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Aasma
Twitter:
December 26, 2012 at 2:54 am

Hi Carolyn,

No doubt this LG Android Phone has some future features and I’m sure all mobile companies would follow their steps and introduce such features. However we would see some more enhancement in these features in coming time.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Hi Aasma, How wonderful to see you back here at The Wonder of Tech! Yes, these features are cutting edge now, so it’s unusual to see them on a phone at such a low price. Someday these features will be standard on all phones, but certainly not yet.
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Peter December 27, 2012 at 2:32 am

I thought about it but I couldn’t find a decent case for it I liked. I hate to be like that but after owning a smartphone that particular company stopped supporting and so did everyone else at an within a year, I am reluctant to buy anything like that again, that tells me it won’t be supported for long.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Hi Peter, Usually it’s third party manufacturers who make the cases, so I wouldn’t take that as being an indicator of a cell phone company supporting its handsets for a certain period of time.

Unfortunately, in the world of tech, devices become obsolete very quickly. New innovations mean that older devices are often outmoded sooner rather than later.
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Al December 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Hello Carolyn,

I wish I read this review before christmas, because I purchased the similar droid smartphone, not from LG but from Sony for my nephew.

Comparing this phone and the Sony that I bought, they have the same OS, ICS, but the Sony doesn’t have the QuickMemo feature which I think more fun to use for an 11 yo boy.

Al.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr December 31, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Hi Al, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech. I’m sure your nephew is thrilled with his new Sony smartphone, though you’re right, the QuickMemo feature is very cool and would be fun for an 11 year old boy. He will probably find plenty to keep him entertained on his new phone, however! :-)
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