With competition getting fierce, the mid-price segment is the real test for most smartphone makers who are targeting the class of users who cannot afford premium devices but are yet looking for out-of-the-box specifications.
Launched by South Korean giant LG Electronics, LG K10 (2017) that carries a "Made in India" tag faces a tough challenge from Redmi Note 4, Moto G4 Plus, Gionee A1, Lenovo Z2 Plus, Vivo Y55s and other devices in the same price band.
In line with the government's initiative to make the "Panic Button" service on mobile phones mandatory, LG K10 (2017) also houses the panic button service "112".
Here is what works for the device
Priced at Rs 13,990, the device is encased in a pebble-shaped body and looks much like its predecessor LG K10 (2016). The plastic back panel of the device is smooth.
The device is comfortable for users who do not prefer large screens. It does not slip from the hands and one can type with one hand. The slim body of the phone makes it look attractive.
The volume keys are placed on the left while the power key is at the back that also serves as a fingerprint sensor. The sensor is easy to locate and worked fast most of the times. It also made it easier to capture selfies.
The device features a 5.3-inch IPS LCD screen that exudes not-so-great colours. But there is an option to change the colour saturation that leverages eye comfort.
Powered by an Octa-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 processor paired with 2GB of RAM, it has 16 GB internal storage which can be expanded up to 2TB using a microSD card. The device runs on the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system.
With this combination, the device runs smoothly even when multiple windows are open in the background or when a large-sized game is played. The device also offers multiple customisations.
What does not work
If you are looking for vibrant photos, the device may let you down. This 4G-VoLTE device has 13MP rear camera that shoots pictures with good details but in terms of colour, they look washed out.
The 5MP selfie shooter worked well except in low-light conditions -- a problem with most phones in this price segment.
Under bright light or in outdoor light, the visibility of the screen also reduces.
The device has a removable 2,800mAh battery. On this front, the phone is a disappointment. It took a long time to charge the battery. Even modest use wouldn't let it last through the day.
The phone also lacks "breathing light" that signals pending notifications. As we used the device for a week, it switched off twice on its own, despite having more than 30 per cent battery left. The sound quality of the phone is also a bit of a letdown.
Conclusion: At this price tag, the phone offers nothing better than its competitors. With a dull display, poor battery and not-so-good camera, the phone may repel users. Though the phone has other decent features to offer like customisable User Interface (UI), it may not attract a user who has the choice of picking up rivals such as the Redmi Note 4 or Moto G4 Plus.
(Qadri Inzamam can be reached at email@example.com)