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Review: LG K10 (2017) lacks the killer instinct

LG’s new budget smartphone looks like a slightly improved version of its predecessor and still lacks the power and features to make a mark in the budget segment


The LG K10 (2017) is a decent performer with some very good attributes such as the light form factor, new Android, and the user-friendly UI.
The LG K10 (2017) is a decent performer with some very good attributes such as the light form factor, new Android, and the user-friendly UI.

The Make in India initiative has been a hit with smartphone brands. It’s not just the Indian brands such as Micromax and Intex that have showed interest and set up manufacturing units, the likes of Xiaomi, LG and Gionee have also joined the bandwagon and have released quite a few made in India phones. The new LG K10 (2017), priced at Rs13,990, is the latest smartphone that bears the Made in India tag.

LG K10 (2017) looks a lot like its predecessor the K10 (2016) and has a similar pebble shaped design
LG K10 (2017) looks a lot like its predecessor the K10 (2016) and has a similar pebble shaped design

Design: Light and handy

The new smartphone looks a lot like its predecessor the K10 (2016) and has a similar pebble shaped design. LG has made slight changes on the back panel to give the phone a more premium look. Instead of the dark black plastic cover which had a coarse finish, the new phone’s back panel is smoother and comes in titanium, gold and black colour options. The volume button is placed on the left side panel, but the power button is placed on the back. It also serves as a finger print sensor.

At 7.9mm, the K10 (2017) is thinner than many budget smartphones including the Moto G4 Plus (9.8mm). It weighs just 144g, making it one of the lightest big screen phones in this range. The Moto G4 Plus weighs 155g. One good thing is that the back is removable and there are separate slots for two 4G ready nano SIM cards and microSD card.

The LG K10 (2017) comes with a 5.3-inch (1,280x720p) display
The LG K10 (2017) comes with a 5.3-inch (1,280x720p) display

Display: Big but looks dull

Not much has changed between the predecessor and this phone when it comes to display. The LG K10 (2017) also comes with a 5.3-inch (1,280x720p) display. While the screen is perfect for users who feel a 5.5-inch display too big and a 5-inch screen a bit too small for typing, reading and web browsing. The low resolution affects the display quality. Colours look washed out in movies and games and text looks a bit dull too. Wide viewing angles are good, but visibility under bright light is a bit poor due to the reflective nature of the screen. The phone offers the option to change colour saturation in the Comfort view in the display settings. It allows users to switch to warmer colour time to reduce stress on eyes.

The LG K10 (2017) offers plenty of customisation to users without feeling too complicated
The LG K10 (2017) offers plenty of customisation to users without feeling too complicated

Software: Runs new Android

This is one of the handful smartphones which ship with the latest Android 7.0 (Nougat). Like all LG phones, it carries a layer of their proprietary custom UI over it. It offers plenty of customisation to users without feeling too complicated. There are very few themes and they come pre-loaded on the device. Some of the customisations that we liked includes the option to switch between the app drawer and no app drawer mode, add or remove the number of shortcut keys on the navigation panel and quick settings panel. You can have up to five keys on it beside the home, multi-tasking and back button.

Performance: Slow but can handle some heavy tasks

The phone is no powerhouse and runs on a modest MediaTek MT6750 octa-core processor with just 2GB RAM. It doesn’t feel nippy like Redmi Note 4 or the Moto G4 Plus and with multiple apps running it tends to become a little sluggish. However, it was able to handle some individual games such Big Bash 2016 and Fifa 16 Soccer surprisingly well.

The phone offers just 16 GB as internal storage but one can add another 2TB using microSD cards. It is enough for casual users but lower in comparison to rivals such as Redmi Note 4 and Moto G4 Plus. The phone is powered by a 2,800mAh battery, which delivers about a day’s backup comfortably.

The LG K10 (2017) comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera
The LG K10 (2017) comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera

Camera: Average performer

The LG K10 (2017) comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera. The rear camera can handle detail well in close up shots, but loses out in terms of colour accuracy. Even daytime shots look a tad washed out. It isn’t very effective in low light either where the fuzziness was clearly evident. The camera app is easy to use and doesn’t feel cluttered but it takes a bit of time to process images. The front camera is basic but adequate enough for individual selfies.

The rear camera can handle detail well in close up shots, but loses out in terms of colour accuracy.
The rear camera can handle detail well in close up shots, but loses out in terms of colour accuracy.

Verdict

The LG K10 (2017) is a decent performer with some very good attributes such as the light form factor, new Android, and the user-friendly UI. However, at its current price point, it feels a bit out of place and can’t be recommended over the likes of Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (Rs 12,999) and Moto G4 Plus (Rs 14,999). The former offers superior display, better camera, more battery backup and a much faster performance (runs on Snapdragon 625 chip). The Moto G4 Plus offers a cleaner Android UI and it runs Android Nougat. It also works faster and has a bigger and brighter display.

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