Sharp-eyed Android fans will recognize LG's new $99.99 Marquee smartphone for Sprint, an ultra-slim 4-inch touchscreen handset equipped with 1-GHz processor and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. That's because this svelte device is the US variant of the LG Optimus Black, the global model first unveiled at CES in January.
Despite its trim dimensions (4.8 x 2.5 x0.36 inches), the handset features a 5-megapixel rear camera with flash and 2-megapixel front-facing capture device to support video chat. LG also makes a big deal about the Marquee's 4-inch LCD screen, which the company calls a Nova display. The LCD is rated to offer 700 nits of brightness, making the Marquee the brightest-screened phone on the market. Users should also be able to easily read the panel in direct sunlight.
That said, the LG Marquee's display, at 800 x 480 pixels, is not as sharp as many qHD (960 x 540) phones now sold. Samsung uses its Super AMOLED Plus screen technology to build its handsets, notably the upcoming Galaxy S II class phones. While AMOLED provides extremely high-contrast, great viewing angles, and excellent legibility outdoors, it features the same 800 x 480 resolution. We haven't bin able to pit the LG Marquee's display against the Samsung Epic 4G Touch for Sprint yet, but we can vouch that the screen is indeed remarkably bright. See for yourself in our hands on video and gallery images below.
The 4-ounce phone has oodles of style too, being extremely thin, light, and easy to hold. The back sports a shinny metallic surface with distinctive ridges. This classy treatment is certainly a slick look but seems prone to finger prints.
With 512MB of RAM and 2GB of ROM, the LG Marquee's performance felt responsive enough, smoothly moving through its Android home screens. One major drawback though is the LG Marquee's lack of 4G data access, since the handset only connects to Sprint's slower 3G CDMA EVDO Rev A network. With the Marquee in mobile hotspot mode, users can share its data connection with up to 5 Wi-Fi devices.
Even without 4G, the $99.99 LG Marquee should prove compelling to those looking for a solid Android experience without having to spend a ton up front. Sprint will make the LG Marquee available for pre-order online on September 20, before the phone's wider debut on October 2nd. Check out our hands-on video below to see if the Marquee is enough smartphone for you.