Verizon Wireless is now exclusively offering the LG Spectrum 2, a 4G-enabled smartphone that has cherry-picked a few key features from around the industry.
Priced at $99.99 after a mail-in rebate (that's of course with a two-year contract), it may in particular pose a challenge to Nokia's new Lumia devices, which share a key feature—wireless charging.
The Nokia Lumia 920 was introduced in September with accessories that make it possible to take a wire-free power nap on a charging pillow; the lower-end 820 has a removable back that users can swap out for a different color or a with back that enables the phone to charge wirelessly. The Spectrum 2 comes with a wireless charging cover in the box.
A global Android device running 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), the Spectrum 2 features a 4.7-inch True HD Advanced High Performance (AH) In-Plane Switching (IPS) display with Corning Gorilla Glass. It runs a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, comes with 16GB of internal storage, supports a 32GB microSD memory card and can act as a mobile hotspot for connecting up to 10 WiFi-enabled devices.
Photos and 1080p HD video taken with the rear-facing 8-megapixel camera can be edited with an Advanced Image Editor and Video Wiz features, while up-front is a 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls.
Bringing to mind Samsung's Galaxy Tab devices, the Spectrum 2 includes a QuickMemo feature that makes it possible to use a finger to write a message on an image.
Like a growing number of devices—the Galaxy S III included—the Spectrum 2 also includes near-field communication (NFC) technology and can share content with another NFC-enabled device when the two are tapped together.
And like the Sony Xperia ion—along with several Galaxy devices—the Spectrum 2 can be paired with reprogrammable, NFC-enabled tags, in this instance called LG Tag+ stickers. Using an app, device owners can program the tags to instruct the phone to, with a tap to the tag, do things such as connect to WiFi, dim the display or send a text message. LG has created helpful modes—for the office, for home, for the car, etc.—that users can take advantage of.
And again, there's that wireless charging feature, which the Spectrum 2 will soon share with more than Nokia's Lumias. The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), an organization consisting of 122 companies, including phone makers, carriers and original equipment manufacturers, is pushing for a culture in which devices are set down to rest throughout a day, instead of equipped with super long-lasting batteries. In five years' time, the WPC is hoping consumers will keep wireless charging pads around their homes—one in the kitchen or beside the couch, say, and another at their bedside—and likely also find them included in new cars.
Wireless charging pads can be brand-agnostic, also helping to meet a European Commission agenda for a universal mobile phone charging system that will eliminate the need for every device to ship with a new charger. The pads also offer the benefit of not drawing power from an outlet when they're not in use, as traditional chargers do.
The Spectrum 2 is available as of Oct. 30 at Verizon online and retail stores.