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    Default LG Motion 4G review (MetroPCS)

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    As the saying goes, it's not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, but the size of the fight in the dog. Fortunately for MetroPCS, one of its latest handset, the LG Motion 4G, has a lot of bite.

    Not only is this petite device 4G LTE-enabled, but it also has a swift 1.2GHz dual-core processor and runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. In addition, its 5-megapixel camera has 1080p HD recording capabilities.

    The most noteworthy feature about the handset, however, is its plan. MetroPCS released the phone in conjunction with its promotional $55 a month, unlimited talk, texting, and data plan. And, since the phone itself costs a reasonable $99 after a mail-in rebate, this phone is ideal for a penny-pinching, commitment-free user.

    Design
    The LG Motion 4G is compact and small, measuring 4.37 inches tall, 2.39 inches wide, and 0.45 inch thick. It weighs 4.8 ounces and it fits in my petite hands comfortably. I could easily toss it in a small clutch or bag, and it fits well in the front or back pockets of my jeans. Though it doesn't have the most luxurious feel, with its all plastic exterior, it does feel sturdy and dense.



    To the left are a Micro-USB port and a volume rocker. Up top are a 3.5mm headphone jack and a sleep/power button. At the rear is a 5-megapixel camera with accompanying flash. Below that is a small slit for the output speaker. The bottom edge hosts a small indent, which you can use to pry off the back plate, revealing a 1,700mAh battery and microSD card.

    The device has a 3.5-inch Corning Gorilla Glass touch screen. Photos and video graphics were vivid and rich (especially when the brightness was cranked to its highest level), but the low, 480x320-pixel resolution is disappointing. Although menu icons were crisp, more complex images looked grainy and color gradients were streaky.

    The display was responsive when I selected icons, swiped through menus, and played games. However, images were difficult to view in direct sunlight. Above the display is a VGA camera for vanity shots and Web chatting, and below are three hot-key navigation buttons that light up when in use: back, home, and menu.

    Features
    The handset runs on a zippy 1.2GHz dual-core processor. Opening large apps (like games) is a snap, the camera's shutter is impressively speedy, and there was no lag time when transitioning back to the home screen.

    The phone ships with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and comes with all the Google goodies you expect: Gmail, Search, Plus, Latitude, Play, Books, Music, Movies, and Store, Messenger, Maps with Navigation, Talk, and YouTube. Other preloaded content from Google includes Chrome (in addition to a native browser), Car Home, which lets users access phone features while driving, and Local, which scans the nearby area for popular restaurants and attractions.



    Camera and video
    The 5-megapixel camera offers a variety of options: touch focus, a flash, a 15x digital zoom, face tracking, geotagging, a timer, and continuous, HDR, and panoramic shooting. It also has an exposure meter (-2 to +2); five image sizes (ranging from 2,560x1,920 pixels to 1,296x864 pixels); seven scene modes; four ISO options; five white balances; and four color effects. Two novel features are the Time catch shot mode that lets users choose and save the best shot before the shutter was pressed, and a voice command feature called Cheese Shot.



    The front-facing camera offers the same exposure meter, white-balance options, color effects, timer, and geotagging feature, but only two scene modes, Cheese Shot command, and one size (640x480p). There's also a "beauty shot" meter that lets you adjust the brightness and blurriness of an image. This comes in handy when you're taking self-portraits and want to soften the photo.

    Recording options consist of the same digital zoom, flash, exposure meter, geotagging, color effects, and white balances. In addition, there's audio muting and you can choose from seven video sizes (ranging from full HD 1080p to QCIF). Two new interesting features are the "silly faces" mode, which will distort your face while the video records. It can squeeze your face together, shrink your mouth, or make your eyes huge and Lady Gaga-like. Needless to say, I got a kick out of it. The other is a background module, where you can change your background to outer space, a sunset, a disco, or your own custom image.

    Though front-facing video recording has fewer options, it still retains a good deal of features. There's still the same exposure meter, silly faces and background options, white balances, color effects, and audio muting feature. But there are only three video sizes (ranging from 480p to MMS).

    For pictures taken outdoors in ample lighting, photo quality was perfectly adequate. Colors were bright and vivid, though small details like water ripples and blades of grass blurred together. With dim or indoor lighting, images were incredibly grainy and had lots of digital noise. Dark hues were hard to distinguish and lighter colors washed out easily. As for the front-facing camera, there was understandably some digital noise. The smaller number of megapixels did lead to more blurriness and poorer focus, but you can still make out faces easily.


    In this sunny outdoor shot, colors are richly saturated.


    In this indoor shot, you can see a lot of digital noise.


    In our standard studio shot, a yellow cast washes over the white background.

    Video recording was excellent. Recording ran smoothly for the most part, and there was no lag between the camera and my moving of the handset. Focusing was fast, objects looked clear and crisp, colors were true-to-life, and audio picked up well.

    Performance
    I tested the tri-band (850, 1900, 2100) LG Motion 4G in San Francisco. There were no problems with signal quality -- I didn't get any dropped calls, extraneous buzzing, or audio clipping in and out. Sound quality, however, was disappointing. Voices were audible, but muffled, as if my friends were speaking underneath a thin sheet. Though turning up the volume helped a bit, the maximum volume wasn't very loud. Likewise, my friends told me that I sounded muffled, too.

    The output speakerphone quality was also disappointing. Calls, as well as music, were muffled and low, though I didn't hear any harsh tinniness. Turning the volume down helped somewhat; you can still hear what's being said, but it sounded stifled regardless.

    MetroPCS' 4G LTE network isn't the most robust, but data speeds were impressive. Loading the CNET mobile site, for example, took an average of 8 seconds, while loading our full site took 19 seconds. The New York Times' full site took slightly shorter on average, clocking in at 14 seconds, and its mobile site took 5 seconds to load. ESPN's mobile site took 8 seconds on average, and its full site loaded in 16 seconds. The 22MB game Temple Run downloaded and installed in an average of 4 minutes, and Ookla showed me an average of 1.10Mbps down and 1.62Mbps up.

    Although we haven't finished our battery drain test yet, its reported talk time is 5.4 hours. And according to FCC radiation tests, the phone has a digital SAR rating of 1.03W/kg.

    Conclusion
    Though it comes with a lot of bloatware and doesn't take the highest-quality pictures, the LG Motion 4G is still a solid handset to consider. With its 4G LTE connection, zippy dual-core processor, and affordable price, the phone packs a lot of punch into a tiny frame. In addition, it's perfect for anyone who wants one of the latest Android OS phones without a contract.

 

 

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