The new LG Nitro HD really stands out amongst the plethora of large display Android smartphones coming out nowadays. For starters, it’s AT&T first smartphone with a True HD display. It’s also AT&T’s third smartphone to come out with support for AT&T’s speed demon of a 4G LTE network. Couple that with a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor processor in a thin and lightweight form-factor, and you have one hell of a smartphone.
The display on the LG Nitro is packing a True HD AH-IPS with a resolution up to 1280 x 720. So not only is the display high-res and able to play HD movies in full 720P, but it also sports great viewing angles, as well as vivid, accurate colors and sharp visuals. This is one of the best and most-cutting edge displays you can find on a smartphone today. Although not the brightest out there, the display is also 500 nits, which makes it plenty bright too and able to be viewed under direct sunlight. We know that there are those that are going to ask – so in comparison to the Super AMOLED Plus display on the Galalxy S II and Galaxy S II Skyrocket, we don’t seem to think that Samsung’s display has an edge over the LG Nitro HD as far as color is concerned, and the Galaxy S II’s display is also lower res. Check out our gallery below for display comparison shots between the Skyrocket, LG Nitro HD and iPhone 4S. All in all, the display on the LG Nitro is top notch.
The jet-black design of the LG Nitro HD is refined, but unexciting. Measuring 5.27” (H) x 2.67” (W) x 0.41” (D), as far as form-factor is concerned, in comparison to the Skyrocket and HTC Vivid, we actually find the LG Nitro HD more comfortable to hold and grip. The device is lighter than the HTC Vivid, and not much thicker than the Skyrocket, but with its rounded-corners it somehow feels less unwieldy than the Skyrocket in your hands. Plus its textured battery cover also provides a solid grip while holding the device, which is important considering how slippery these large-display touchscreen smartphones can get. The device also weighs just 4.5 ounces, which makes it just a smudge lighter than the lightweight Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket. The build-quality of the LG Nitro HD is also overall very solid, although we’re a bit concerned with the flimsy cap that covers the microUSB port at the top of the device.
The LG Nitro HD earned a score of 2224 in Quadrant which indicates that it’s a capable speed performer, but not as fast as the Galaxy S II Skyrocket. In general, performance on the device is full of pep – but what else would you expect from a device running on a 1.5GHz dual-core processor? The device also sports 1GB of ram, 4GB of internal storage and it’s bundled with a 16GB microSD card.
We performed some speed tests on the LG Nitro. However, we have to put up a disclaimer, and that 4G LTE isn’t officially live in New York City yet – it’s only in its testing phase. So while the LG Nitro HD is picking up a 4G LTE signal, we can’t really hold up its speed tests as a final judgement for as to what this phone is capable of. That said, general web surfing on the device feels blazing fast. Even streaming a 720P YouTube video over 4G LTE was a smooth experience – as if we were streaming over Wi-Fi, and that totally blew us away! but the SpeedTest.net results were not as fast as the results we saw with the Skyrocket and HTC Vivid in Atlanta, where 4G LTE is officially life. However, this is likely due to the fact that 4G LTE hasn’t officially rolled out in NYC yet. The SpeedTest.Net app showed 20987kbps down and 12427kbps up on the Nitro HD.
The LG Nitro HD comes running Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) and LG has re-skinned Gingerbread. The good part about this is that they have thrown in some awesome widgets including a Social+ widget for showing Twitter, Facebook and MySpace updates, and a slick Yahoo! Weather and News widget. The bad part is that we really don’t dig the way they have boxed in all of the menu icons. The menu skin is actually pretty similar to Samsung’s TouchWiz U.I. on Gingerbread.
Some of the non-standard preloaded apps include an Application Manager AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, an Alarm Clock, Amazon Kindle, Facebook, Live TV, MOG Music, Polaris Office, SmartShare (for wirelessly sharing files to DNLA devices), a Movies app powered by mSpot for renting movies, Visual Voicemail, Wi-Fi Share, and Zynga Poker HD.
When it comes to web browsing, the LG Nitro HD really offers a true PC-like browsing experience. As a matter of fact, it has a higher resolution display than many tablets – including the iPad 2. Web sites render smoothly and pinch to zoom is a smooth experience as well, but that is plenty common nowadays. It’s the device’s 1280 x 720 that manages to render web sites in their full intended glory.
The LG Nitro HD packs in an 8 megapixel rear-facing autofocus camera and camcorder with an LED flash, along with a 1MP front-facing camera. The rear-facing camera on the LG Nitro HD is ok, but nothing to write home about. Colors produced in shots are rather dull, instead of being vibrant and very accurate. The camera also doesn’t snap pics very speedily. We’ll update this review with sample shots taken on the LG Nitro HD soon.
Call quality on the LG Nitro HD is very good. I could hear callers loud an clearly and they said the same of me. Unfortunately, perhaps the weakest aspect of the LG Nitro HD is its rather poor battery life, which is unfortunately commonplace for large-display smartphones and devices with 4G LTE support. We got about 4 to 5 hours of moderate use from the device. You’ll really need to carry around a spare battery with you, unless you’re usually near an outlet for charging.
Overall, we’re very impressed and quite taken with the LG Nitro HD. Its excellent 4.5″ 720P HD display, combined with its 4G LTE and 1.5GHz dual-core prowess, make it a serious smartphone to contend with. We also appreciate its lightweight and comfy-to-hold and grip form-factor which feels more ergonomic than many other competing large-display smartphones. Plus, being able to watch HD movies, without a stutter, in full True HD on the go is quite the treat. That said, it’s a shame that the device is hampered by poor battery life. But at the end of the day, if you’re looking for a 4G LTE smartphone with an amazing display and great performance, you really can’t go wrong with the LG Nitro HD. The LG Nitro HD retails for $249.99 with a two year contract.
The Good: Excellent True HD Display; lightning fast web surfing and streaming HD videos; high performance dual-core processor; ergonomic and solid form-factor
The Bad: Poor battery life; flimsy microUSB cover-flap