The Good The LG Tribute costs $ 80 for a pre-paid plan and has a design that is well-built and looks more expensive than it is.
The Bad The small screen is full of Internet browsing, and the phone is full of unnecessary apps from Virgin Mobile.
The Bottom Line With attractive styling and specifications, the LG Tribute is one of the best budget phones you can find on Virgin Mobile.
Not many phones are cheap, not cheap, but Virgin Mobile’s LG Tribute is one of them. Not only does this $ 80 phone have a rugged and stylish look, it also comes with a fast processor, Android KitKat and a capable camera.
What is missing is size; The phone has a small 4.5-inch screen, which is a bit out of order in the current market. But for a low price I am not disappointed with the trifling display.
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The Tribute has been released with Virgin Mobile’s new prepaid plans, which give you unlimited calls, text and data for $ 35, $ 45 or $ 55 per month, depending on your data selection level. If you reach the data limit, Virgin Mobile will reduce the data transfer rate, but you will not be charged extra megabytes or gigabytes.
The sleek, budget-friendly LG Tribute (photos)
Compared to today’s pocket smartphones, Tribute is a small side. It’s only 5.02 inches tall, 2.67 inches wide and 0.42 inches deep (127.5mm by 67.8mm by 10.6mm), compact enough to slide into any pocket and easily wrap mine smaller arms around him. Weighing in at 4.90 ounces (138.9 grams), it is a bit heavy in size, but the spin makes the phone feel sturdy and more premium than it actually is.
The tribute has a simple, rounded rectangle-like design LG Nexus 5 . The front panel is completely black and matt white battery cover, and the two colors meet on the edge, creating a nice effect. The front of the phone is mostly blank, with only the headset, the front camera lens, and the light sensor. There are only two buttons on the side; power / lock button on the right edge and short short volume on the left.
The back panel houses the main camera, the flash and a small speaker grill. Although I like that the battery door is wrapped on the sides of the tribute and sits pressed against the phone, making it difficult to remove the cover to get to the SD card, SIM card, and battery. You need to clip the nail under the lid near the microUSB port to pop it out. Fortunately, the SD card slot is battery-free, which means you can insert a card or exchange it with a useful phone.
There is a 4.5-inch WVGA screen with a resolution of 800×480 pixels, which is not extremely sharp, but also fuzzy. On paper, the screen doesn’t look that impressive, especially when compared to top-end smartphones, but personally it looks bright and clear. The colors are rich and natural. The screen is easy to view in direct sunlight, especially at full brightness.
The biggest obstacle to the screen is that the even size makes the websites a little tight, and some programs do not fill the screen quite correctly, ie some buttons may look cut or broken together.
Tribute runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and has a LG UI that you will also find on top LG G3 . It’s a simple yet sophisticated design that goes a long way to making your phone feel much more expensive than it really is.
You can customize your home screen layout with a handy grid that appears when you tap and hold the screen, and you can change animated scrolls as you scroll between home screens. There are also some cool animations throughout your phone, such as when you uninstall an app from the Home screen or when you uninstall it. These small touches make the phone more memorable and engaging than other affordable Android phones.
Like the G3, Tribute allows you to set Knock Code to unlock your device, rather than entering a password or PIN. You just tap the screen over the unique pattern to unlock it. The phone also has gesture control so you can flip the phone over to silence incoming calls, snooze an alarm, or pause a video. I love that LG is putting some of the same attention into this budget device as it is for its top-end models.
Virgin Mobile has downloaded the phone with several applications, including the Lumen Toolbar browser app, Lookout Gadget Guardian security app, and the Virgin Mobile My Account app. Unfortunately, the app is also loaded with several shortcuts to the apps on Google Play that you want to uninstall because they just clutter the screen.
Camera and video
The 5MP rear camera handles most of your shots, as well as the VGA front camera for selfie or video chat.
I was immediately determined that the default camera program has minimal settings, with very few on-screen controls by default. There’s not even a shutter button, instead you just tap the screen to take a picture. If you want more controls, touch the three vertical dots to open more options, including the shutter button and camera settings.
Along with the typical scene settings and filters, the camera has many additional features, including panoramic mode and a cheese shutter that takes a photo with a voice command. You can also use a hand gesture to take a selfie; you just raise your hand up and then fist when you’re ready for the camera.
In my testing, the camera received good but not stellar pictures. He tried to pick out the small details and sometimes made the shadows too dark, but overall it worked fine.
The camera can shoot 1080p video, and the video I shot with Tribute looked sharp and picked up the little details a little better than in the photos. There were a few more problems with the lighting, mainly that any dark or shaded areas looked too dark. You can also take pictures while recording videos with Live Shot, a handy feature.
I tried the Tribute on the Virgin Mobile network in San Francisco and was amazed to hear it. In my test calls, the voices at both ends sounded clear and natural, with very little distortion and no static. Sometimes my test partner sounded a little muffled, but I still heard her just fine. The phone did a good job reducing background noise even on a busy street.
On the loudspeaker, my testing partner said that I could hear more clearly when I held the microphone close to my mouth, but when I moved it further, it was still easy for me to hear. At my end, her voice was clear, natural and loud, without distorting even at the highest volume. Unfortunately, this speaker didn’t perform very well when playing music or video because it sounded harsh and distorted at high volume.
Sample call quality Virgin Mobile LG Tribute
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Performance: Processor, data and battery
Inside the Tribute has a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM that support the phone’s fast and responsive response. I noticed some occasional backlogs when opening apps and menus, but it didn’t worsen the overall experience very much.
Similarly, Tribute coped well with games, with almost zero lag or dropped shots. Just note that I was unable to run the quadrant test on Tribute because my phone asked me to switch any network connection to run the comparison application and the Quadrant Standard application needed an Internet connection to calculate the results.
Apps, photos and files have 4GB of internal storage, and if you need more space, you can use an SD card to add up to 32GB. If you plan on installing a lot of apps or taking a lot of photos, you’ll need an SD card, since 4GB can fill up quickly.
LG says the 2100mAh removable battery offers up to 15 hours of talk time, and I found the phone to last a full day without charge, checking email, playing games, and making several phone calls. I can see that it lasts all day for moderate use, but if you spend a lot of time on your phone playing games that play speeches, you may need to turn off the battery. Thanks to CNET battery testing, in which the phone plays videos on a cycle until the battery runs low at fifty percent brightness, the Tribute lasted just over 9 hours, an impressive feat.
LG Tribute (Virgin Mobile) Productivity Times
|Average 4G download speed||8.74Mbps|
|Average 4G upload speed||3.55Mbps|
|App download (Temple Run 2)||43.7MB in 40.2 seconds|
|CNET mobile site load||3.4 seconds|
|CNET desktop site load||11.5 seconds|
|Restart time||32.13 seconds|
|Camera boot time||2.10 seconds|
The phone runs on the Virgin Mobile CDMA network and provides 4G LTE data transfer speeds through Sprint’s Spark 4G LTE service. In my tests, Internet browsing was as fast as software downloads. Streaming video is quickly downloaded in HD and played without buffering. Although the LTE speed is high, I can do without the Sun-like Spark logo in the often rotating status bar.
Is it worth buying it?
The LG Tribute impressed me from the moment I took it out of the box. The contemporary design gives it a premium feel, while the gut combines to create a smart phone that handles day-to-day tasks, and the fast LTE data transfer speeds give you a quick experience while browsing the internet and cruising your social networks.
The Tribute is a budget phone that is made correctly with its polished design and robust features. For $ 80 you don’t have much to lose and you could do a lot worse on Virgin Mobile.