The LG Phoenix 2 is a budget-friendly Android smartphone that brings LG's UX functionality with some mid-range specs for just $69.99. At this price, you'd expect scaled-down specs such as meager memory and underpowered performance, but the Phoenix 2 surprises with a quad-core processor, much better RAM and storage, brighter screen resolution, and better cameras than a $70 phone should boast. Though we haven't tested the Phoenix 2 we can draw a number of conclusions based on its specs and design as well as the consensus of consumers who have bought the phone.
Who Is It For?
The LG Phoenix 2 is an AT&T GoPhone for prepaid customers who want the best specs for the most affordable price. It is ideal for students who are experiencing smartphones for the first time, teenagers who need or want a smartphone that won't break their parents' pockets, or someone establishing good credit with a wireless provider. The LG Phoenix 2 is an AT&T-locked phone but T-Mobile customers can purchase an unlocked model from Amazon for $79.95. You can buy the AT&T LG Phoenix 2 from AT&T's website for $69.99, with retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy also offering the phone. AT&T subsidiary Cricket Wireless sells the LG Phoenix 2 under a different moniker: the LG Escape 3.
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Key Specs and Features
The LG Phoenix 2 features a 5-inch, high-definition (HD) display with a 1280 x 720 resolution, a 1.3-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor, 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, which you can augment by up to 32GB with a microSD card. You also get an 8-megapixel rear camera with a flash, 5-MP front camera, a 2,125 mAh battery and Android 6.0 Marshmallow pre-installed.
The phone’s 720p HD resolution is a bonus for a sub-$100 device. The BLU Advance 5.0, for example, only features a 480p screen resolution, so the Phoenix 2 has a far more pleasant display for a similar price. The Snapdragon 210 processor is underwhelming. Qualcomm designed it for smartphones ranging in price between $50 and $75, and it's rather dated, so don't expect a blazing-fast experience (though it will prove reliable for the majority of normal tasks).
The 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage (with only 9.67GB available to the user out of the box) are surprising for such a budget-friendly device – seeing that most sub-$100 phones come with no more than 8GB of internal storage and 1GB of RAM at most. Budget-friendly phones often lack mobile payment compatibility, but the LG Phoenix 2 has NFC (Near Field Communication), meaning that, it should support Google's Android Pay mobile payment system (not even the $99, better-specced ZTE ZMAX Pro supports Android Pay out of the box).
The 5-MP front camera and 8-MP cameras for a sub-$100 smartphone are surprising, considering that the BLU Advance has 2MP front/5MP back cameras and many sub-$100 smartphones come with 5MP back cameras (max). The 2,125mAh battery of the Phoenix 2 is a solid capacity for a device whose screen size and resolution matches that of the $150 Moto G4 Play. Android 6.0 Marshmallow is the normal pre-installed OS for Android smartphones released this year.
The LG Phoenix 2 has a 2.5D Arc glass display, with a headphone jack, charging port and microphone on the bottom. You can remove the phone’s back cover to swap out its battery, a useful capability few phones have. There’s a noise cancellation microphone up top on the phone, with the power button and volume rocker on the phone’s back.
The Phoenix 2 has a grippy, textured plastic back cover and faux chrome trim with slightly curved corners that are reminiscent of higher-end design. This combination of design and premium feel is rare for a device that costs less than $100, so those who cherish good design and an ideal price should consider the Phoenix 2 as their next smartphone.
At 5.69 x 2.81 x 0.34 inches and 4.9 ounces, the Phoenix 2 is taller, wider, and thicker than the second-generation Moto E but shorter, less wide, thinner, and heavier than the LG K7. The Phoenix 2 is also taller, and thicker than the Tribute 5 but has a smaller display than the Tribute 5.
What reviewers are saying about the LG Phoenix 2
PCMag says that LG is to be commended for providing Android 6.0 Marshmallow pre-installed as well as for front and back cameras that perform decently in daylight. (Though, as you might expect, performance suffers in low light.) The review also praises the Phoenix 2 for a screen resolution that's brighter than what you'll find on most entry-level smartphones and a premium design that doesn't seem like the cheap plastic build of entry-level devices. The review knocks the device as too reflective in sunlight, with earpiece volume that’s not loud enough and the battery life that’s far less than what you get from the Samsung Galaxy J3. Chrome and Google Maps stutter on the Phoenix 2, and pulling down the notification shade can create stuttering animations because of the phone’s outdated processor.
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Pocketnow says that the Phoenix 2 struggles to navigate fluidly, with frame rate drops and noticeable lag. Provided that you're doing one task at a time and keep your experience simple, the Phoenix 2 can keep up. Try multitasking or doing more than one task at a time, and LG's on-screen keyboard will lag and take some seconds to compute what you wrote seconds before. As for battery life, it found that the battery drained 11 percent when playing a movie over WiFi for 30 minutes at the maximum brightness allowed by the Phoenix 2. Finally, Pocketnow applauds LG on bringing more mid-range specs to low-end devices, but longs for budget-friendly Android phones that can perform as fluidly as budget-friendly Android devices.
What owners are saying about the LG Phoenix 2
LG Phoenix 2 owners like the price of the device, the lack of a lot of bloatware and ease of use, and the fact that it works for games such as Pokemon Go without trouble. One customer said that battery life on the Phoenix 2 is comparable to the iPhone 6. A Best Buy customer confirmed that Android Pay works on the Phoenix 2 without problems, and another said that the Phoenix 2 performs better than the LG K7 and LG Tribute 5.
Customers don't like the phone’s battery life, noting the loss of a few battery percentage points in a few minutes of use (even when the phone is idle). Customers also find that the Phoenix 2 lacks auto-brightness. Other complaints include the lack of optical image stabilization for the camera, slow response times for the phone and awkward button placement.
The LG Phoenix 2 provides some surprising specs for a sub-$100 price tag. A textured design with faux chrome siding brings something of a more elegant look to the phone.
Unfortunately, LG brings us back to reality with the outdated Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor, terrible audio quality, and below-average battery life. If you’re not willing to live with those compromises, consider the Moto G Play (available for $100 from Amazon if you can live with lock screen ads) or the $130 Samsung Galaxy Express Prime, which features much of the same specs as the Phoenix 2 with a larger battery.