When it comes to affordable smartphones, people often think about slow, laggy phones with terrible hardware. Recently, this has been changed with the rise of quality entry-level smartphones such as Moto G or Asus Zenfone series. However, that doesn’t mean those don’t have any compromise. For example, the first gen Moto G has a not-so-good camera, while the second gen Moto G is not exactly affordable, at least in developing countries. The cheaper Zenfone, like, Zenfone 4 or Zenfone C, while having great prices, has a cheap looking screen and terrible camera. LG also enters the territory with the LG L Fino (L70 plus in some countries). Let’s see how well it can compete to other smartphones in this area.
1. Design, build quality
First thing to notice, the LG L Fino is pretty compact with minimal branding. At 127.5 x 67.9 x 11.9 mm, one handed use is at ease. It’s pretty heavy at 145g, though it does help creating a solid feel to it.
The LG L Fino has a similar design as its flagship LG G3, supporting the volume buttons and the power button on the back of the device. While this setup on G3 is useful for narrowing the bezels, it doesn’t really helpful on the L Fino. The screen bezels are still relatively large, and since the L Fino is very comfortable for one handed use, reaching the power buttons becomes pretty hard (though you don’t have to use the power button much, more on that later)
Build quality is quite good compared to devices at this price range. Trust me, I’ve seen worse. The construction seems rock solid enough and the battery cover doesn’t seem to be easy to be split apart.
2. Screen quality
Screen quality is surprising good for a device in this price range. The LG L Fino supports true IPS display with deep black color. When the screen is turn off, it’s hard to recognise the screen of the device, unlike the screens seen on Zenfone C for example. Its brightness level is acceptable, however there’s no ambient sensor, meaning you have to manually adjust the brightness of the phone. Another downside is the low resolution (480 x 800) of the screen, while on pair with other devices of the price range, it’s a tad lower than 720p screen on Moto G first or second gen.
The screen also comes with Gorilla Glass 3 protection to protect the screen from scratches, so that’s a huge plus
The LG L Fino comes with pretty decent specs, with Qualcomm MSM8212 Snapdragon 200 chipset running at 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7, 1GB of RAM and Adreno 302 GPU. This specifications help the device run smoothly in most normal situation. Antutu Benchmark provides a score of 17000, on pair with Asus Zenfone C and Moto G (both first gen and second gen). The device only provide 4GB of storage (only 1.4GB usable) so most large apps like games are not likely to be installable. Fortunately, it supports SDcard up to 32GB so storing photos and music is nothing to worry about
The LG L Fino comes with LG UI pretty much like what we have seen on LG G3. Knock On code is an useful feature, which user can knock on the screen in a special pattern to unlock the device (or just double tapping if Knock On isn’t enabled) which greatly improves life of the power button. Other features are not-actually-useful. Like the QSlide apps, running app in a small window, while is quite useful for large screen device, isn’t really necessary for a device this compact. You can also change the appearance of the software buttons, quickly install new themes and new fonts (strangely Roboto font is nowhere to be found). I’m not a fan of LG icons, but it’s not too bad at least when compared to earlier LG UI.
When using the phone with the flip case, it will display a nice clock whenever the case is closed, which is a nice thing to have.
Surprisingly, the smartphone has an above average camera. On paper, it only supports an 8MP camera but in real life usage under good lighting condition, the photos it provides are on the same level as mid to high end devices. On low light condition, the photos produce some recognisable noise, however still more than acceptable. Disappointingly, video recording is only capped at 480p.
The camera is capable of creating decent DOF
Normal lighting condition Under low light condition
Using the LED flash
Front camera is VGA and the quality is terrible, as expected. On a good side, you can take photos using hand gesture while taking selfie.
Using hand gesture to take selfie
6. Battery life, telephony
My device is a dual SIM variant and it supports true on standby mode. Telephony is no hiccups, calls come clear and loud. The L Fino supports a 1900 mAH and can last a day with normal usage, however if you use it continuously on 3G or WiFi it can only last half a day. Good thing is the battery is removable and you can store an extra one in case your phone is out of juice.
For the price range, it is a solid device with some premium feature packed. If you are looking for an affordable smartphone, the LG L Fino is an interesting device. For a little more you can have the Moto G (2014) with better hardware and also an always up to date version of Android. Or you can sacrifice the screen and camera to get the Zenfone C with lower price and debatable better looks. The LG L Fino is a balance choice in affordable smartphones and great for new comers to Android territory.
- Solid build quality
- Great IPS screen
- Good camera
- Useful software feature
- Affordable price
- No ambient sensor
- Low resolution screen
- Relatively high RRP (also you can buy it with much cheaper street price)