LG X power Offers Epic Battery Life on the Cheap

The LG X power's battery life is amazing. In fact, it's so good that when other phones are left gasping for juice at the end of the day, the X power marches on. Then consider that, after deals and rebates from certain carriers, the LG X power's unlocked $200 price tag can sink to as low as $100, and you're left with a pretty astounding value. While its 5.3-inch screen, basic design and mediocre cameras don't quite match what you get on other $200 phones, the X power's epic battery life is can't be denied.

Price and Availability

The LG X power is available unlocked through retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon for around $200; unlike a lot of unlocked phones, it supports both CDMA (Verizon, Sprint) and GSM radio bands (AT&T, T-Mobile), so you can take it to pretty much any carrier without much trouble.

Photo: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuidePhoto: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuideHowever, if you're willing to tie yourself to a specific carrier, the X power can be had for as little as $130 from Boost Mobile, or $150 (with a bonus $50 gift card) from Cricket.

The Battery Lasts and Lasts and Lasts

The 4,100-mAh battery in the X power is simply a beast.

On the Tom's Guide Battery Test, it lasted 12 hours and 58 minutes of continuous web surfing over 4G LTE. That ranks it as the second longest-lasting smartphone we've ever tested, just 45 minutes short of the phone in first place — the Moto Z Play — and more than 4 hours longer than our 8:54 smartphone average.

MORE: Phones with the Best Battery Life: Who Lasts the Longest?

In the real world, the X power's battery life is even more impressive. After using it for about a week, I found it often finished a day with more than a 50 percent charge left in the tank. The phone’s standby time is similarly strong; it loses less than 1 percent charge per hour when you're not using it. The X power's longevity is no joke, and it's the kind of battery life all phones should be shooting for.

After using the X power for about a week, I found it often finished a day with more than a 50 percent charge left in the tank

The only downside is that the battery is sealed in, so you can't swap it on the fly or replace it yourself. But you probably won’t need to.

Basic Design

The LG X power's design is as plain as it gets. There's a big 5.3-inch display in front, a volume rocker on the left, a power button on the right and a headphone jack and micro USB port on bottom, and some textured plastic in back.

Photo: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuidePhoto: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuideI like how the rear camera sits flush against the back, although I'm not a big fan of how some of the X power's plastic panels groan and squeak when you squeeze them. This isn't a phone others will mistake for a flagship handset.

Photo: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuidePhoto: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuideAdditional features include a combo microSD/SIM card tray and a relatively slim body that measures just 0.31 inches thick.

Photo: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuidePhoto: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's Guide

Display Not That Bright or Sharp

Sporting a 5.3-inch touch screen with 1280 x 720 HD resolution, the X power has a hard time living up to the displays of competitors like the Moto G4 or the Huawei Honor 5X, which both offer full 1920 x 1280 screens. I also noticed that the LG’s display often looked a little cool. When I watched the Doctor Strange trailer on this phone, blues and greens were enhanced, but oranges and reds didn’t pop.

Photo: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuidePhoto: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuideWe also found that with a max brightness of 324 nits, the X power doesn't get quite as bright as the Moto G4 (491 nits) or the Honor 5X (529 nits), either. That's not really a problem when you're indoors, but it does make the X power harder to read when you're using it outside. 

Its color range is also lacking: The X power covered 71 percent of the sRGB spectrum versus the G4's 110 percent and the Honor 5X's 121 percent. Thankfully, with a Delta-E rating of 3.72, the X power's color accuracy was in the same ballpark as that of the Honor 5X, although its was slightly less accurate than the G4's rating of 2.33. 

Good Performance for the Money

While the X power isn’t a speedster, its 1.8-GHz MediaTek MT6755M Octa-core processor provides a solid price-to-performance ratio. Flipping between pages on the home screen felt relatively snappy, and casual games like Candy Crush didn't suffer from any slowdown, either. However, demanding games like Asphalt 8 aren't much fun, as the X power’s screen wound up looking more like a slideshow than a video.

With a score of 1,885 on the Geekbench 4 benchmark for overall system performance, the X power matched the Moto G4's mark of 1,797. However, the smartphone average is significantly higher, at 3,074.

On 3DMark's Ice Storm Unlimited test, the X power's score of 8,955 was slightly less than the Moto G4's 9,617, and just almost 45 percent lower than the 15,720 smartphone average.

MORE: Best Phones Available Right Now

It's a similar story for web performance. On the JetStream 1.1 JavaScript test, the X power scored 26.86 (bigger numbers are better), which is higher than both the Moto G4 (23.01) and the Honor 5X (20.5).

The Rear Camera Is Kind of a Potato

Everyone should know by now that megapixels aren't everything, which is why I wasn't particularly bothered by the X power's 8-megapixel rear and 5-MP front cameras. What I am annoyed about is the poor-quality pictures you get from them.

In everything except for very bright, well-lit environments, the X power's photos looked pretty poor. The phone often has a hard time focusing, and even if it does lock onto a subject, there's a good chance that focus will drift away again just as quickly.

This first shot from the rear cam is as good as it gets. It's sunny, there's tons of light, and the image looks pretty crisp. There's not much to complain about.

Photo: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuidePhoto: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuideBut take the X power indoors, even with a decent amount of light, and things start to fall apart. The X power's shot of a pretty well-lit living room setup looks significantly softer and grainier than one that's shot by the Moto G4, and you can tell by the strong purple tint that its white balance is way off.

Photo: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuidePhoto: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuideEven when you're right next to a window, the X power struggles to shoot a sharp photo. When you look at a pic shot by the Moto G4 next to one that's from the X power, the X power's photo looks like something from the last decade.

In everything except for very bright, well-lit environments, the X power's photos look pretty poor

At night, you might as well not even bother snapping a photo with the X power. When I took the X power out to Union Square, half the picture turned into a dark, blotchy mess. At least with the Moto G4's pic, you can still see things like the shape of the trees and the texture of the stone on the ground.

Photo: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuidePhoto: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuideThankfully, the X power's 5-MP front camera is much more proficient, and while it doesn't offer the same level of detail as the 5-MP selfie shooter on the G4, the differences aren't nearly as disappointing.

MORE: The Best Smartphone Cameras Compared

Pictures are generally pretty sharp, and one I took on the roof of our office features good details in my hair and face, although there's some distorted, white speckling in my jacket. Unlike the rear cam, photos that are taken from the front camera don't look completely terrible at night.

Photo: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuidePhoto: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's Guide

Please Stop Putting Speakers on the Back

The back of a phone is a bad place to put a speaker. The X power suffers for it, because not only is its lone speaker pretty underpowered, but sound is also projected away instead of toward you, making things sound even worse than usual.

Photo: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuidePhoto: Samuel Rutherford / Tom's GuideThat made listening to DNCE's "Cake By The Ocean" less than pleasant: Joe Jonas' vocals, which sounded shallow and a bit stiff, were especially disappointing.

Bottom Line

In an increasingly competitive budget-phone market, the $200 LG X power's battery life can't be touched. On our tests, it lasts almost 4 hours longer than its competition, and offers the kind of real-world longevity that'll make worrying about running out of juice a thing of the past. If you're willing to partner up with a carrier like Boost or Cricket, you can get the X power for as little as $100 or $130 (after deals and rebates), which makes this phone even more enticing.

However, the X power’s display, design and camera fall short of the similarly priced Moto G4 and the Huawei Honor 5X — especially with the Honor 5X’s built-in fingerprint reader and more premium build. So while I still prefer both the Moto G4 or Honor 5X overall in the $200 range, if you're looking for something even more affordable, or if you place a big priority on battery life, the LG X power should not be overlooked.

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