Photo: Priyanka Parashar
Photo: Priyanka Parashar

Tech Review: LG Max X-160

LG takes another shot at affordable Android phone segment but we think they should have spent more time on the drawing board

There is no doubt that increased competition from the Chinese brands, and the changing landscape of the Android ecosystem has put brands such as LG under tremendous pressure. But they have taken longer than expected to respond.

Hefty but well-built

There really is nothing visually outstanding about LG Max X-160. Perhaps the only highlight is the textured finish on the back panel. It is quite similar to their more expensive L-series of phones. However, nothing is able to mask the phone’s brick like appearance and thick profile. At 9.6mm thickness, this certainly won’t win any beauty contests and at 159g, it weighs more than most 5-inch phones.

Display is a letdown

Max X-160 comes with a 5-inch, 854x480pixel LCD, display. This resolution would have gone down well for smaller display size in a more affordable phone, but is a big letdown at this price point. Low resolution is not the only issue, it also suffers from poor viewing angles–a slight tilt makes text illegible and videos unclear. Even the closest rival Moto G offers a 1280x720p display, which is richer and has better viewing angles.

Runs the latest Android OS

The phone runs the latest Android 5.0 (Lollipop) OS without the typical custom interface that LG uses on its other phones. That is certainly a bit unusual. Interestingly, the company has still loaded the phone with some unique features such as Knock code, which allows the user to unlock the phone by tapping a specific tap combination anywhere on the screen. It is really good that LG has decided to not mess around with the standard Android interface. And we appreciate it even more because there isn’t a single third-party pre-loaded app, except Truecaller.

Works smoothly, but no 4G support

LG has used MediaTek MT6582 Quad-core processor and paired it with 1GB RAM. You really don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that this specification will just not work in this day and age when people are used to opening and using more than one app at the same time. However, what helps is the plain Android interface, which doesn’t eat up as much of RAM as a custom interface would have. If nothing else is open, it can handle games rather smoothly. The phone has 8GB internal storage out of which only 4GB is free for use. There is a memory card slot though. The lack of 4G support is a major letdown however, simply because that removes any future-proofing aspect.

Battery life is consistent though, and the 2,540 mAh battery lasts a day.

Poor camera

The device has a rather modest 5-megapixel camera. Straightaway, the rather confusing camera app interface becomes a problem. For instance, the settings menu opens by swiping upwards. But you have to swipe in the exact direction, or else it may switch to the front camera. It is an average clicker, in terms of quality. The lack of image stabilization means the slightest of shakes can result in blurry images irrespective of the light and conditions around you. It also struggles when it comes to handling colours– they are often under-saturated and look washed out. The front camera is adequate for individual selfies if the light is good.

There are better options

Stay away from this phone especially since it sports a price tag of 11,500. The Xiaomi Mi4i ( 12,999), Moto G 3rd gen ( 11,999) are superior in every way.