LG's latest budget-centric phones adopt a new design language, with familiar software and basic Android specs.
The successor to LG's L series phones has made its public debut at CES 2016. The LG K7 and K10 introduce a new, softer design language along with a familiar LG software experience and a couple of features from the company's higher-end products.
At first glance, the entry-level K7 and the slightly speccier K10 don't look a whole lot like the company's other handsets. The new "glossy pebble" design language is more reminiscent of some of Samsung's older handsets, with a reflective (and highly fingerprinty) plastic rear on the K10, and a patterned matte finish on the K7.
That's broken up by LG's trademark rear buttons, a feature which the company claims helps it maintain its soft, rounded profile. Around the front you'll find "2.5D" rounded glass, which blends into the outer bezel. From the front they're attractive enough designs, although the backs of both phones betray their budget origins.
Internally, you'll find a wide range of processors powering these phones, depending on which model you pick up, and whether you opt for LTE or 3G connectivity. You're looking at between 1.1 and 1.3 quad-core Snapdragon processors unless you buy for the highest-end LTE-enabled K10.
Other differences include screen size — the K7 rocks a 5-inch FWVGA (854x480) display like it's 2010, while the K10 upgrades to a more reasonable 5.3-inch 720p panel. Both screens look decent enough in terms of brightness and color vibrancy, but it's clear there's not much pixel density to go around.
When it comes to software, both pack Android 5.1 Lollipop along with LG's UI 4.0 interface layer. That means you get a lot of the apps, widgets and design elements from phones like the G4. Both the K7 and K10 perform pretty well, with no noticeable lag present during our fleeting time with the handsets. And some of LG's more premium software features have made it across to the K series, including gesture shot — the ability to take a selfie with an open-fist gesture.
Beyond software features, LG continues to gradually upgrade the camera hardware of its entry-level offerings. The K7 packs an 8-megapixel rear shooter and 5-megapixel front-facer, while the K10 upgrades to 13 megapixels on the back, and 8 around the front, paired with an LED flash. Neither is going to take spectacular photos in low light, but pictures from the K10 seemed at least passable under convention center lighting in Las Vegas.
There's no word on U.S. availability for the K10, which was shown with Korean software at CES. However its smaller sibling will be heading to Boost Mobile sometime in the first quarter of 2016.