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What we love
- Great physical design
- A powerful quad-core processor
- Compact for one hand operations
- Pocket-friendly pricing
Staying true to the K series line of smartphones, LG has equipped the LG K8 2017 smartphone with decent cameras, good design, as well as a removable battery. This budget smartphone has a performance efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, a 5-inch display and a 13MP rear camera. Phone users vary from one to another; we have those that are specs and performance oriented who go for the high-end flagship products, and then we have the average user who prefers a decent phone that gets the job done and is gentle on the pocket. The LG K8 2017 is optimized for the average user who wants to get the job done. It’s worth mentioning that the LG K8 2017 runs on US Cellular network; it has its sibling released in early 2016 called LG K8 V that specifically runs on the Verizon network. Let’s dive into details of the LG K8 2017 as we go along with the review.
The LG K8 2017 comes in a clean box sealed by a sticker showing it has not been tampered with. The phone lies on the very top inside its plastic wrappings. At this point, the battery is not yet inserted. Next, we have our standard user manual and the phone’s accessories such as the USB cable, wall adapter charger, and the battery.
Unlike its bigger brother the LG K10, the LG K8 2017 lacks the all rounded metal design. In its stead, this device has a plastic casing that’s extra grippy ensuring that the phone doesn’t slip out of your hand. Despite the plastic covering, the LG K8 2017 still feels like a solid phone to hold in the hand. Putting the phone under some stress reveals that it doesn’t flex a lot which goes to show a great build quality.
The back camera has been moved towards a more central position to sit right above the power button. The placement of the power button on the back is also quite unexpected, but it’s something LG has been doing as seen in earlier phone releases like the LG Treasure, LG Destiny, and the LG Premier. The bottom left of the back cover has the hands-free speaker grill that emits some quality sound. Under the plastic cover, we have the battery and an expandable memory slot which are easy to pry off and re-assemble afterward. Given that it’s a 5-inch device, using the phone is easy even for someone with smaller hands.
We have a grey finish snaking along the left and right edges of the frame bringing about a shiny silver finish. The volume rockers sit on the left edge, while there’s no button whatsoever on the right edge. The top edge has the microphone hole, while the bottom edge hosts the micro USB charging port and the headphone jack.
The LG K8 2017 sports an 13MP main camera and a 5MP front camera. We found the camera’s performance to be quite impressive for a device in the midrange tier. The details in the photos are minimal given the smaller aperture of f/2.2 on the lens, but this is to be expected for a phone at this price line. In an environment where there is plenty of natural lighting, photos were quite decent. Color reproduction is accurate, but with a little unbalanced saturation which is quite negligible. The software running the hardware also has a great deal to do with picture clarity. The active noise reduction processing comes in handy which we appreciated given the price point of the LG K8 2017.
Indoor pictures in a low light environment looks rather soft with the flash turned off. With the dual flash, the vibrancy in the photos was quite impressive. Since the camera lacks in optical image stabilization, taking photos require some stillness for a great shot.
The secondary camera is a 5 MP sensor with an adaptable flash that works by flaring the screen before taking the photo. This is a f/2.4 lens meaning that it has the capability to take wide-angle photos. The flare flash was also a big help especially in spaces with little lighting. Both cameras can shoot quite clear 1080p videos, and with minimal noise. One of the more surprising aspects of the main camera is that it’s able to take super slow-motion video of up to 30fps and at 1080p. A big plus!
On the front, we have a 5 inch 2.5D IPS LCD display with a 1280x720 resolution. Unlike other LCD displays of this class, LG has gone a step further by using their proprietary In-Cell technology which improves picture quality by a great deal. What’s more, color reproduction is accurate, and contrast ratios and clarity are remarkable. Being a budget device, the LG K8 2017 boasts of 279 pixels per inch. These are not actually bad for a phone being sold at this particular price point. The phone’s screen is also bright enough ranging up to a peak level of 384.27cd/m2. This means that you will be able to see quite clearly even if the screen is facing direct sunlight.
The LG K8 2017 boasts of a 2500mAh removable battery. For a device with the hardware this phone has, that is a promising size. When testing the battery, it lasted a whopping 10hours 16minutes of continuous video playback. The WLAN runtime test gave an impressive 10hours of steady activity. With numbers such as these, it’s not difficult to last for two days before needing to charge again.
Regarding power consumption, this phone has gone the extra mile. Unlike other phones, when the LG K8 2017 is switched off, it doesn’t draw any power from the battery. Also, when in standby mode, it draws a lot less power from the battery making it last for a longer time than other phones at this price point.
The LG K8 2017 is also a small gadget with only 5-inch of display, meaning less power is drawn during screen on time. This is a major factor as it ensures you get to use your phone for extended period in addition to power optimization features packed in the phone. Additionally, the LG K8 2017 has a removable battery that you can easily swipe out with a fully charged battery if you carry a spare one with you.
The LG K8 2017 sports only 8GB of internal storage. However, it’s important to note that only 3.4GB is accessible to the user. By 2017 standards, this seemed a bit of character. If the 3.4GB isn’t enough, the phone has a micro SD card slot for cards of up to 32GB. So, if you plan to have a lot of data with you, the external memory card is essential addition.
The LG K8 2017 comes equipped with a quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8917 Snapdragon 425 chipset coupled with 1.5GB of RAM. It ships running Android 7.0 Nougat which is as smooth as it can get. During day-to-day usage of the phone, we didn’t feel any lag or unresponsiveness whatsoever.
On Geek bench 3’s single and multi-core tests, the K8 performed quite well scoring 536 and 1,602 respectively. On the GPU’s side, performance was also quite impressive. The Manhattan 3.0 graphics test scores on the K8’s Adreno 308 were also reasonable. The device scored around 3.0fps which is quite impressive for a device at this price point.
The LG K8 also handles games just as well. 3D games also held up well with smooth frame rates and no stuttering. Even though the GPU is quite limited in performance, the K8 manages to load games fast with no noticeable skipping of frames.
When it comes to sound performance, the LG K8 speakers are a little better than its big brother, the LG K10. The audio test showed the device could reach a high maximum volume, very pronounced but it was lacking in bass. This can be handled through headsets or Bluetooth speakers which the LG K8 2017 fully supports.
Call quality in the LG K8 is excellent. The earpiece is loud enough without being obnoxious. In lower volumes, the calls are also clear as day. The microphone is also quite sensitive in that it can clearly transmit whispers. The device is 4G LTE enabled hence you can be sure of amazing browsing speeds. In general, the affordably priced LG K8 2017 performed to our expectations. Here is a list of expectations.
- CDMA / HSPA / LTE / Wi-Fi.
- Display: 5.0 inches, 66.6% screen-to-body ratio.
- Android 7.0 Nougat.
- Camera: 13MP primary camera with LED flash; 5MP front.
- Processor: 1.3GHz Quad-core Qualcomm MSM8917 Snapdragon 425.
- Internal storage: 8GB.
- RAM: 1.5 GB.
- Battery: Removable Li-Ion 2500mAh battery; 20 days standby time, 18 hours talk time.
- Bluetooth: 4.2, A2DP, LE.