Bright and colorful display; Svelte, lightweight profile; Affordable monthly plan
Short battery life; Weak speakers; Below-average performance scores
The LG Marquee for Boost Mobile gives Android shoppers averse to contracts a superbright display and pocket-friendly design, but we wish it lasted longer between charges.
The LG Marquee is making the jump from Sprint to no-contract land. Now available on Boost Mobile (also operated by Sprint), this Android phone gives shoppers a sleek, lightweight device with one of the brightest displays we've seen. But is the Marquee worth $279 up front for Boost's savings over the long haul?
DesignSprint counterpart, the Boost Mobile LG Marquee keeps things nice and slim with its 4.4 x 2.5 x 0.36-inch frame. While the back panel on the Sprint version of this phone had a reflective surface, the Boost version has a nicer matte finish. The panel slopes gently along the sides for a sleek and elegant look. However, sleek and elegant doesn't translate into steady grip, as the slippery rear plastic panel made us grasp the phone tighter than usual.
Up front is a 4-inch display along with a 2-MP camera and the standard four capacitive buttons (Home, Settings, Back and Search). A 5-MP camera and LED sit on the back along with a slim speaker and LG logo in the lower right corner. The power button, headphone jack and microUSB slot reside on the top of the Marquee while the volume and Quick Launch buttons are on the left.
At 3.95 ounces, the Marquee is thinner and lighter than other no-contract Android phones like the LG Connect 4G (4.8 ounces, 4.6 x 2. 5 x 0.5-inches) and the Motorola Triumph (5 ounces, 4.8 x 2.6 x 0.4 inches).
Display and Audio
With an average brightness of 586 lux, we found it surprisingly easy to view the Marquee's screen in direct sunlight. While it's much brighter than the 298 lux category average for Android smartphones, the LG Connect 4G was brighter still at 616 lux.
The Marquee's rear speaker failed to impress. Despite trying several different tracks, "Love You Like a Love Song," (Selena Gomez) "Pieces of Me," (Ledisi) and "Seven Nation Army" (White Stripes), we ran into the same problem - passable vocals with barely audible instrumentals. The few strums of bass, drum beats or piano chords we could hear were also rather hollow.
Software and Interface
The top notification bar features mini-notifications for email, voicemail, signal strength, battery and a clock. Icons for Phone, Applications and Mobile ID are permanent fixtures along the bottom of the dis-play. Pulling down from the top of the display reveals the Notification shade, where updates for emails, social networking, and voicemail are displayed.
Some of the more interesting apps included Thurtu, which allowed us to share photos, location, and con-tacts while on a phone call. We also liked Powow, which allowed us to jot off a quick reply while we were in other apps or blacklist some of our more annoying contacts. We spent a fair amount of time conquering the deceptively simple puzzle game "Shift."
Google-based apps include Books, Search, Talk and Maps.
Don't expect blistering speed from the Marquee's single-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor and 512 MB of RAM. Although we tapped out a few chords in "Guitar Hero," without issue, audio in the game started stuttering when we had Tweetcaster and the Web browser open in the background.
The Marquee scored 1,664 on Benchmark CPU, 99 points shy of the 1,763 Android phone category aver-age. The LG Connect 4G and its 1.2-GHz dual-core processor notched 2,177 while the Motorola Triumph and its 1-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor delivered an impressive 2,223.
On An3DBench, which measures graphic performance, the Marquee delivered a lackluster 4,886, well be-low the 5,933 category average. The Triumph scored 6,444 while the Connect 4G notched 7,404.
The LG Marquee comes with a 2GB microSD card, which can be expanded to 32GB.
Web Browsing and 3G
On Speedtest.net, the Marquee averaged download speeds of 1.5 Mbps with 0.8 Mbps uploads. The Con-nect 4G delivered averaged a more impressive 4.5 Mbps down and 4.0 Mbps up.
Camera and Camcorder
Video looked even worse, with the Marquee delivering severely muted colors with high amount of graini-ness as we panned up to the sky and back down to street level. At least the camera took little time adjust-ing for the change in brightness.
Video chatting with the 2-MP front camera was a better experience. During a Wi-Fi Skype session, our caller was still able to read text in a headline we held up to the camera. Audio was clear on our end with fairly clear images with bright color.
During the LAPTOP Battery Test, which consists of continuous Web surfing over 3G, the LG Marquee's 1540 mAH battery lasted 3 hours and 44 minutes. That's 2 hours and 2 minutes below the 5:46 Android phone category average. The Triumph didn't fare much better, scoring 3:45. The Connect 4G's time of 3:53 also failed to match the average.
Note that we set the Marquee's screen brightness to 40 percent. Because this phone's display is brighter than most competing handsets, you should be able to get away with a lower setting and squeeze out more time between charges.
We made test calls to cellphones and landlines in New York and New Jersey. Calls made in Manhattan were nice and clear. We also enjoyed loud, crisp audio on both ends of the call when we dialed a landline. However, cellphone callers reported a slight echo. When we attempted to make calls at our Bronx apart-ment, we had trouble making calls. We experienced a couple of dropped calls at this same location.
Plans and Value
The $279 LG Marquee features a $55 Android Unlimited plan on Boost Mobile that offers unlimited talk, text, Web and email. Over the course of two years, consumers would spend a total of $1,599. Boost Mobile also includes the Shrinkage feature, which cuts down the monthly bill by $5 after every six months of on-time payments. For example, after six payments, the bill goes down to $50 per month. After 18 pay-ments, a consumer would pay $40 per month. So, assuming you pay your bills on time, your total cost after two years would be $1,449.
Sprint sells the LG Marquee for free, and offers 450 minutes and unlimited data and text for $69.99 per month. Over two years, you would pay $1,679 or $230 more than the Boost total. A Sprint plan with un-limited talk would result in a much more sizable $950.76 delta.
By comparison, Virgin Mobile users with the $229 Motorola Triumph and its $55 unlimited plan would pay $1,549 over two years. MetroPCS subscribers with the $60 unlimited plan and the $319 LG Connect 4G would pay $1,759. Sprint currently offers the Nexus S 4G from Google for $99 with a two-year con-tract. However, with a $99 per month unlimited plan, consumers would end up paying $2,475.
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|Form Factor||Candybar Touchscreen|
|Operating System||Android 2.3.4|
|Data||EV-DO Rev. A|
|CPU||1-GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor|
|Memory Expansion Type||microSD Card|
|Bluetooth Type||Bluetooth Stereo|
|Front Camera Resolution||2MP|
|Camera Resolution||5 MP|
|Audio formats supported||eAAC+|
|Audio formats supported||AAC+|
|Audio formats supported||AAC|
|Audio formats supported||WMA|
|Audio formats supported||MP3|
|Video formats supported||WMV|
|Video formats supported||MPEG-4|
|Video formats supported||H.264|
|Video formats supported||H.263|
|Talk / Standby Time||up to 5 hours|
|Size||4.4 x 2.52 x 0.36|
|SAR Rating (Head)|
|SAR Rating (Body)|