The LG G Vista has a 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU and 1.5 of RAM. A year ago, this would have been a top-of-the-line device, but now smartphones have between 2 GB and 3 GB of RAM, and CPUs that top out at 2.7 GHz.
Practically speaking, that means the LG G Vista runs just fine and can handle just about anything thrown at it. High-end and taxing games like Riptide GP 2 should present no problems provided users close out background apps, and it should handle productivity apps just fine. For the week we used the smartphone (new and out of the box), it performed admirably. Hang-ups and crashes were rare, and it open, closed, and shuffled through apps just as well as any other device on the market. It powered up quickly and shut down in seconds.
So there’s no issue with CPU performance in October 2014. But potential buyers should understand that mid-tier smartphone like the LG Vista G show their age a lot sooner than flagship models. Those on a 2-year upgrade cycle will likely be cursing the Vista G by the time their contract is up in 2016 or later. There will likely be a bunch of high-end apps it won’t be able to handle, or at least will handle poorly.
The LG G Vista has only 8 GB of onboard memory, and of that, only 3.76 GB is available out of the box. The operating system and preloaded apps take up the rest. That’s not much space, but luckily, the G Vista does support microSD cards up to 64 GB.
The LG G Vista has a big 3,200mAh battery. Because the LG G Vista also has a relatively low-resolution display, users can expect serious longevity here. LG claims the battery is good for about 15 hours of normal usage. In strenuous testing (streaming video over Wi-Fi with the display set at max brightness) the battery lasted six hours and thirty minutes. In other words, that is just about minimum users can expect out of the LG G Vista, and it gives credence to LG’s 15 hour claim.
It ships with Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat, and is very likely in line for the next major Android update, Android L, sooner or later. At a glance, it looks close to stock because LG has dialed back its Android tweaks with the recent crop of Kit-Kat devices, or at least buried them in the settings menu.
Of the salient features, most work well and prove quite useful. Dual Window is great for running two apps at the same time, and is much less clunky than Samsung’s TouchWiz take on multitasking. The QSlide mini apps, which can open two at a time and be moved around the display, also work well, though are limited to basic functions like email, calendar, messaging, and a calculator.
The Smart Keyboard is also notable in that users can adjust its height, and it has various features for faster and more efficient typing. That there are literally dozens of keyboard alternatives in the Google Play Store diminishes its utility, but what the heck? Let’s credit LG for creating one more.
Two other additions worth mentioning: Knock Code and Mini View. The former allows users to wake and unlock the LG G Vista via a user-set series of taps. It works especially well, and is sort of fun to boot. The latter shrinks the display via a swipe across the bottom Android keys, making it easier for one-handed and thumb-based navigation. It’s well implemented and proves effective.
The LG G Vista has a 1.3-megapixel front shooter and an 8-megapixel rear shooter. The laser focus is the high point here, and it works as advertised, focusing quickly with a tap. But otherwise, those are mid-tier specs, and the output fits the bill. The images are not particularly spectacular. In fact, the colors are flat and the contrast is lacking compared with higher-end cameras. It also struggles in low light.
For comparison’s sake, check out how the HTC One M8 handles the same lighting conditions. To be fair, the HTC One M8 is an expensive flagship device that happens to excel in low light. But, just to give you an idea of how far the LG G Vista is from the top of the line, here’s a picture taken by both devices, G Vista on the left, HTC One M8 on the right, of the furry dog in the Sample Photos section, in the exact same lighting conditions:
The fact is that the dog is clearly visible in the HTC One M8’s photo, while the G Vista is near full darkness.
There are some gesture and voice controls baked in. Saying “Cheese” or a few other common camera phrases will fire the shutter, and making a fist while taking a selfie will snap a delayed pic. The rear volume rocker also doubles as a shutter button. All of these are welcome, and often preferable to tapping the display.
Video tops out at 1920 x 1080, which is again, standard for a mid-range smartphone. Like the photos, video quality is nothing special, and audio sounds very tinny when picked up from afar. Also, the limited on-board storage capacity makes a microSD card a necessity for any users planning on shooting more than a few minutes of footage.