LG K8 (2017) Smartphone review: the entry level perfectly average overall

PROS:

  • Getting it in hand.
  • Main camera more than correct.
  • Autonomy.

CONS:

  • Maximum brightness and overall rendering of the screen perfectible.
  • Limits quickly reached by the chip Snapdragon 425 and its RAM of 1.5 GB.
  • Autonomy honest but ultimately disappointing.
  • The illusion of a fingerprint reader …

BOTTOM LINE :

All that is best for this K8: a serious product but shared between good qualities and frustrating problems. A pure belly device of the sector, harmless to the competitors crescent, but relevant when looking for a good quality ratio without putting on the counter more than 150$. A good first to get to know Android smartphones.


The LG K series runs from entry to mid-range and tries to catch the barge between 150 and 250$. And instead of scrambling to find the best value for money possible, LG focuses primarily on the design as added value of the brand.

PRESENTATION

It is not only the G6 in life and LG must therefore also offer entry-level to reach the most people possible with its products. The K-series is there for that and the K8 is the entry-level of reasonable size, with a 5-inch screen and an IPS HD LCD panel with a resolution of 1280 x 720 px.

Below the screen is a more than modest Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 platform with four cores running at 1.4 GHz, a RAM of 1.5 GB and a storage capacity of 16 GB (11.1 GB usable) expandable via the addition of a microSD card. The photo part is provided by a main module, at the rear, with a sensor of 13 Mpx and, at the front, a sensor of 5 Mpx. For wireless connectivity, we can count on Wi-Fi a / b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and 4G LTE compatibility with all useful bands in France, except for the 700 MHz. The smartphone runs on Android 7.0 Nougat, covered as usual by the home interface of LG and is powered by a battery, removable – to emphasize by the times that run – 2500 mAh.

ERGONOMICS AND DESIGN

Without breaking the booth, the style of the K8 is not unpleasant for high-end. His body is plastic, but the whole still breathes serious. No button on the front, since LG has long ago made the choice to deport the main physical button to the back of the mobile. The left slice accommodates volume control.

Then comes the question of strapping around the famous main physical button. You thought it was a fingerprint reader? Lost ! It’s just strapping. The wrapper – whether willed or not – is a real nasty surprise as the set resembles all readers of dorsal prints crossed on the market.

The grip is safe, but we regret anyway the lack of optimization of the front panel. There was ample room for improvement in the occupancy rate of the screen, which stood at a small 68% of the façade. A ratio that the K8 shares with Apple’s iPhone, for example, and which prevents the terminal from reahing a better compactness that would be welcome on a 5-inch.

As for the rise in temperature, if the heating, which is very localized (a corner at the front and back), can go up to 40 ° C on the back, the insulation due to the materials makes it impossible to feel never this temperature on hand and, in any case, the gripping of the product carefully avoids this zone.

SCREEN

What’s more logical than a very average screen for a smartphone that does not target the moon? The LCD panel of the K8 is therefore located around the soft belly of the area. Whether its average contrast is just over 900: 1, its maximum brightness reaches 340 cd / m² (for a lower brightness, more interesting, at 3.8 cd / m²) or its perfectible management of reflections with a reflection rate luminous of the slab to 14% … the K8 therefore makes the job for the display, but never really flatters the retina.

Topo identical for color management. If they are excellent grays, there is little balance and fidelity, but the temperature of the colors does not help things, with more than 8 000 kelvins and a slight and general drift towards the blue. There is indeed a visual comfort mode that actually hides the attenuation of the blue light. As always for this mode, one enters an atmosphere close to sepia, a little less marked however on this K8 than on other smartphones.

The accuracy of the display, with a density close to 300 dots per inch, will suit all types of usage common to today’s smartphones. Too bad that the tactile delay is 90 ms (slightly above the market average, the best screens fall below 35 ms), because the afterglow time is very good for mobile LCD, 12 ms.

INTERFACE AND NAVIGATION

LG remains basic in its alternative proposal to Android. As with the G6, you can opt for a presentation of the applications directly on the home screens – with the creation of files of rigor – or return to a system involving a menu of classic applications. Themes are also part, local and download, to change all or part of the graphical aspect of the interface.

At the start, the Google application suite is present in mass (Gmail, Play Store, YouTube, Maps, Duo, Drive, Sheets …) and there is an FM tuner. LG has at least the kindness to spare us too many duplicates of its own compared to the services of Google on Android. Once again, this is not enough to reinvent mobility, but the key is there.

Ray performance, needless to say that the K8, with its Snapdragon 425 and just over 1 GB of RAM, does not break bricks in terms of pure power. However, even with its raw performances at the daisy, this smartphone succeeds the pleasant feat of never slowing down or almost. It should be noted that the launching of large applications and games requires a little more time than normal and when leaving the latter to transit to other uses, one feels that the K8 gives everything, but overall, we have a very fluid terminal.

MULTIMEDIA

The video application provided by LG is less complete than the one offered on the most sophisticated models of the South Korean brand. No thumbnail mode of the image to quickly perform another task simultaneously, for example. It will be necessary, as often, to associate to this module of reading a multimedia third party application, like VLC (to download on the Play Store), to obtain the compatibility of files as wide as possible.

The LG K8 benefits from a relatively good headphone output. The power is moderate but sufficient, the distortion almost absent and the dynamics wide. Only the crosstalk would have deserved to be a little better marked.

The loudspeaker, it produces a rather unpleasant sound, very tight and a little garish. To be reserved, at best, for calls.

What to expect from a Snapdragon 425 and its graphical part provided by the Adreno 308 iGPU? Not much on the graphic plane, but at least a little stability. On the 3D games, the platform and its gigabyte and half of RAM are running out of steam, showing some slowdowns here and there, but we do not use the K8 for its performance on the heaviest titles of the Google Play Store . A suitable mobile companion for the game, but not the potential of a handheld console.

PHOTO

If the K8 engages a sensor of 13 Mpx, do not expect the 13 Mpx performance of the G6. LG injects very little calculation and retrofitting on its entry level photophones and this is seen on the shots. There’s a bit of detail, but we’ll have to measure the enthusiasm, because LG cheerfully covers the whole picture of smoothing families.

One loses in a dive potential on a lot of areas of the image and the colors are expressed a little too strongly, but the whole retains a certain hold. Beware, however, of the highly contrasted scenes, the K8 then tends to expose to the punch, for a majority disappointing result.

In low light, if the scene remains comprehensible, the white balance irremediably leaves in the marked yellow and, most importantly, it is noted that all the details are as passed to the pumice stone. Thanks to the second effect of smoothing.

If the results are not to swoon, they remain ultimately the most correct, especially at this level of equipment. The only real regret comes from autofocus, often slow to relaxation, while the trigger, it is meant quite fast in the end. No snapshot, but plenty of what to do in several situations, in short.

On the other hand, LG had to make a mistake when the firm decided to add the nickname “Experience Ultimate Selfie “. With a sensor of 5 Mpx on a terminal turning around 150$, there is reason to doubt in theory. And in practice, this is easily verified.

AUTONOMY

It can be said that with a battery of 2500 mAh, this K8 goes ahead of a rather average autonomy according to the standards of the moment. However, the terminal can rely on its equipment that is ultimately low energy consumption and optimization relatively well conducted to deliver a respectable endurance of a day and a half when solicited in a normal way and at least a full day in intense use. On our test protocol of general autonomy with SmartviSer, we thus obtain a time of 11h20, that is 40 minutes less than a Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016), but also 1h30 of endurance extra compared to the Gigaset GS160.

In video playback (Netflix), the K8 regains a bit more its rank of average smartphone with a little less than 9 hours of operation, which remains obviously correct as is, but far from the very good smartphones in the field, which revolve around 15 hours.

For recharging, the K8 is compatible fast charge, at least “a little bit fast”, since it will take a little more than 2 hours to complete a full cycle, anyway …

LG avoids any complex exploration of the interaction between users on the communication part. The management of contacts is basic and if some may deplore the absence of risk taking in this area (such as intelligent smarting of contacts, integration of alternative messengers …), the K8 still ensures the essential.

The calls turn out to be clear on either side of the conversation, with no breath or metallic atmosphere to notice. The grip is in the middle of the market, with especially a rapid recovery of the 4G out of difficult area.

For GPS, if it is an entry-level device, performance does not let it think, with a smartphone that establishes a first fix of satellite between 1 and 3 seconds, for an accuracy of 5 meters or less and a navigation of excellent invoice.

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