When it comes to the most beautifully-designed Android smartphones around, the budget and mid-range markets aren't typically the first to spring to mind. But the LG K92 5G — recently sent to Android Headlines for review — is undeniably an exception to that rule. This phone is gorgeous. From its comfortable in-hand feel to its coloration and the materials used.
Bearing that in mind, a great smartphone is about more than just aesthetics. Performance, battery life, and camera are among the top aspects buyers are looking at when they purchase their next device. And, at just under $400, the expectations set are high. So this AT&T or AT&T MVNO handset needs to hold its own and then some. Or at least it does if it wants to impress.
So let's take a closer look at how this phone did under a full review.
K92 5G proves LG is on a roll with design
Now, LG's attention to design detail has been extraordinary over the last year. It wasn't perfect on the Titan Gray LG K92 5G during this review. The phone picks up fingerprints, smudges, and dust like nobody's business. But aesthetically, this is a gorgeous handset. The photos here speak to that with no further words needed.
The sole caveat in the looks is mostly the rear primary camera bump, which protrudes far enough to make the phone wobble quite a lot. At least when placed on a smooth surface face-up.
In-hand, this Android 10 smartphone feels as good as it looks too. Although it is incredibly slippery thanks to a glass-like rear panel. The phone is slim enough, with chamfered front and rounded back edges, so that it isn't too difficult to hold onto once you've gotten used to it. But it's worth noting that it is slippery regardless.
In terms of build quality, the LG K92 5G is also well-balanced, sitting neatly in hand with enough weight to help it stay there. The buttons are all clicky. All four of them, since the power buttons are separated instead of on a rocker. And LG included a dedicated Google Assistant button to accompany those. The fingerprint reader, found in the power button, is snappy and accurate.
Similarly, the ports on this phone fit cables snugly, whether that's a USB-C charging or OTG cabler, or a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones or aux-out.
One drawback to this phone is that, despite its price, LG hasn't listed an IP rating. So it's unclear how this phone would do with dust or water.
A dim display doesn't totally kill the LG K92 5G
This smartphone isn't going to blow any minds when it comes to brightness or refresh rate. In fact, the latter spec isn't even listed by the company. But, under review, the LG K92 5G only has one real caveat for its price and that's its display ratio. The ratio leaves oversized black bars to either side of videos, so zoom-in on videos is all but required.
Setting aside that caveat, the screen here also wasn't bright enough to capture color accuracy outdoors for my photo-taking. As shown in the title image here. That was taken under an overcast sky too. But, indoors at the very least, the screen has great contrast and brightness is more than high enough.
Better still, clarity and color accuracy with the LG K92 5G is great. The phone has a 6.7-inch FHD+ display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 and can show 16.7 million colors.
In terms of interactions, the screen is responsive and touches are accurate.
So, overall, the experience from the LG K92 5G display is a good one and one that's well worth the money. Even if it doesn't perform as well as might be hoped under direct sunlight.
Battery life is above-average for the LG K92 5G
Battery life is subjective based on day-to-day usage, audio volume, screen brightness, apps used, and a host of other factors. So my experience with the LG K92 5G during my review battery test won't be typical. But I kept the brightness pegged at maximum, used the phone with common popular apps, and otherwise tried to keep my usage on the intensive side. So it should be reasonably accurate for those who are harder on battery life.
With that said, I saw 8-hours and 19-minutes of screen-on time during my test. Both gaming and media streaming fell in at right around 2-hours and a few minutes. Day-to-day use in calls, messaging, downloading apps, browsing the web, etc came in at around 4-hours and a few minutes.
That's offset though by the fact that standby time was only at around one-and-three-quarters of an hour. So this won't necessarily be the longest-lasting phone. But for the purposes of this review, at the very least, screen-on time with the LG K92 5G is better than I'd expect from a 5G phone. Especially since I spent approximately equal time on and off of 5G and Wi-Fi.
In terms of charging, this smartphone is impressive enough too. Or at least good enough if battery life doesn't quite go all day. Which it should with automatic brightness turned on — even with battery saving features turned off. It only took 40-minutes to hit 50-percent charged. And an hour-and-35-minutes were enough to fill the battery completely. So, far better than the 2-hours often needed in this price segment.
LG K92 5G performance is on point and shouldn't disappoint
One of the first things I noticed when I started using this device is that LG built its K92 5G for performance. Not only does the phone conduct all operations without latency or lag, thanks in part to the Snapdragon 690 5G. That ensures that day-to-day use is straightforward and multitasking is mostly seamless. The only latency I noticed occurred when more than a dozen high-intensity apps were in use in split-screen mode. The company also includes a dedicated Game Launcher.
Now, it's worth pointing out that the Snapdragon 690 is going to be noticeably slower than a flagship SoC. Especially in multitasking, launching apps, and top-level games. But Game Launcher goes a long way toward correcting for that.
The LG K92 5G will still lag behind its high-end counterparts when it comes to processing video or photo edits. But adjustments are possible for installed games that bring graphics and processing to a higher level than the chip could accomplish on its own. So Game Launcher does more than putting all of the gaming apps under a single, easy-access folder.
On the performance front, the LG K92 5G is worth every penny of its asking price.
Audio here is surprisingly good for a mid-range phone
Now, it's difficult for OEMs to pack great-sounding speakers into a smartphone due mostly to the size and the space available. Most phones come across tinny to a certain extent and represent highs far too well while ignoring the bass frequencies. But LG doesn't just include a bottom-firing speaker. It also utilized the earpiece speaker for general audio in the K92 5G so, under review, this phone performed better than many I've used.
Each genre I listened to showed what felt as close to a full range of audio as is likely possible without spending quite a bit more money. And, with either Bluetooth 5.0 or 3.5mm audio jack, that only gets much better.
That's likely thanks to LG 3D Sound Engine, found in the sound settings alongside a fully-customizable equalizer. The option to normalize volume is there too. So I didn't have to worry about some audio coming through too strongly or quietly.
None of that is to say the bass is anything approaching punchy over the built-in speakers. It isn't. But it is represented with enough power to call "great" speaking in the context of smartphones. Even if more depth and power would be better. And even if most users will still want to listen with headphones.
Camera performance didn't disappoint on LG K92 5G
LG obviously spent a good amount of time working on the cameras for this particular smartphone. Not only did it include a quad-array camera with great resolution and detail capture. The flash on the LG K92 5G is such that it won't cause major problems when used, unlike many other devices I have had the opportunity to review. It's a room-filling quad-LED-chip setup instead of a round-light-casting LED dot flash.
For clarity, the shots taken with the LG K92 5G speak for themselves. There weren't any blue-sky days during my review period to get a good handle on how it handles shots including the sky. But heavy-backlighting in shots and big contrasts between light and dark in the foreground and background didn't cause any issues during my test. That shows in the sample gallery for this phone over on Flickr.
Macro shots, sticker mode, and all of the other expected inclusions performed well too. They aren't, of course, anything to write home about and won't stand up to shots taken on the best smartphones on the market. But they hold their own well with devices that cost several hundred dollars more, all the same. And against other top-billed value smartphones. I didn't notice any artifacts in any of my shots and colors seemed to be captured accurately.
Better still, autofocus, HDR, and the software itself are snappy. And the camera locks on in select modes, such as Macro, once the appropriate distance from the subject is found. And there's plenty of extra features to play with for those who like that kind of thing as well as a 64-megapixel-mode.
Night Mode shots capture what the eye can see, as shown in the Flickr gallery. But they don't capture much more than that and they do turn out grainier than I'd have liked to have seen. The captures are color accurate and have plenty of detail. But they are also still dark and far from great.
Pre-installed software is a disappointment with LG K92 but that can be overcome
One of the biggest letdowns with the LG K92 5G was that immediately upon turning on my review unit, a lot of bloatware was automatically loaded. It also quickly became apparent that some work would be needed to make apps manageable, to begin with. Especially since I had to navigate to Settings and then home screen settings under the display submenu to turn on the app drawer. Otherwise, the bloatware just sits alongside any other installed apps on the home screen.
Once that was changed, I set about uninstalling the bloatware. LG includes all of Google's apps, its own take on the gallery, messaging, a calculator, and 'essentials'. That latter category includes the game launcher and music as well as note-taking apps, useful app trash for saving accidentally deleted apps, and other management tools. But the remainder of the software is carrier software — in this case, AT&T — and games and apps filling almost three home screens.
Fortunately, none of that is necessarily permanent aside from carrier software and a couple of apps that can be disabled rather than deleted. It's annoying to see all the same.
In terms of software performance, this system arrangement comes with quite a few tweaks to it too. Everything to be expected with Android 10 is, of course, included. So Dark Mode, Digital Wellbeing, and more are built right in. But LG also includes plenty of theme options, adjustable navigation options, and an option to hide the punch-hole behind a black bar. All of which are easy to find and intuitive to use.
Otherwise, the operating system on this LG handset feels stock and works smoothly without lag.
5G is better than 4G and doesn't have to cost a lot
5G next-gen networking is right there in the branding for LG K92 5G and it worked as expected under review. Now, that's not to say I ever saw gigabit speeds. This isn't mmWave band 5G, after all. But I did see double the rate of 4G with lower latency and fewer drops. So this LG is definitely an update over LTE handsets on that front.
The call quality I saw was great with this phone too. And I received no complaints from people I made test calls to.
None of the other technologies included here are necessarily bleeding edge. But that doesn't really make a huge difference either. Especially since Wi-Fi 6 isn't widespread. Wi-Fi 5 works just fine and Bluetooth 5.0 keeps wireless audio almost lossless. Conversely, NFC and GPS are included here too and all of those worked without issue on the LG K92 5G during the review.
Summarily, this phone gives you what it advertises. A reliable, solid connectivity experience that doesn't drain the battery too much or fall short of expectation.
With that said, LG does only sell this device on its site for AT&T and AT&T-based MVNO Cricket. So users will need to be on one of those networks to use it.
Is this phone worth the money?
Whether or not the LG K92 5G is worth the money comes down to several factors. For instance, whether or not great night captures are important. But, ultimately, if you want a phone that's beyond 'decent' overall and a high-value, it's going to be a great device. Particularly for those who love a good camera, great sound, and an intuitive but still customizable UI.
On the performance front, this LG handset will do pretty much anything too. And it comes with top-performing mobile networking to match, as well as a brilliant design that's sure to stand out.
This is going to be an easy recommendation for anybody in the mid-range price range who happens to be on AT&T or Cricket.