by Rickie Smith
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, April 23, 2012 - 9:01 AM MDT
The LG Viper is one of Sprint’s first 4G LTE capable phones, and was launched along side with the GNEX LTE. When you first take it out of the box the phone is very light and thin and may lead you to believe that this phone can’t be all too powerful and great, but it is, just like its name suggests. The phone's casing is 50 percent recycled plastic and the package is made from 87 percent recycled material, and it comes with an "energy-efficient" charger that essentially turns itself off when not in use.
The Viper boots very fast, around 45 seconds, with its 1.2GHz dual-core processor and is quick to scan storage. But its speed does not stop there. While I don’t have much downloaded yet to the phone, its smoothness between functions is very outstanding. Hardly any lag time at all which is great for a so called entry level LTE phone. It comes with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), but we are awaiting for announcements to upgrade it to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the coming months. But how does it perform on the network? We will get to that a bit later.
A display that exceeds expectations
Many may wonder about the clarity of the display, as its not HD, but its 4” screen is very bright and crisp. On Friday I stopped into my local Sprint store. And the employees there were quite jealous because even they had not received their stock of Vipers yet. These Sprint employees commented they thought it was one of the clearer displays they have seen.
The first glaring omission to me is the Viper does not sport a dedicated camera button. But the Viper’s 5 megapixel camera is commendable. Very fast and sharp, even in low light the outcome is very good. Using the video camera side is quite good as well. Notable is the focus is a bit slow to respond. Overall camera performance I would say is quite acceptable for this level of phone.
The phone's big differentiator is Google Wallet. The integrated NFC chip, along with the Google Wallet app, allows you to "tap and pay" (with a PIN code) at stores that accept MasterCard PayPass, which includes a lot of small and large shops (major chains include CVS, Walgreens, Macy's and Gap). It comes with $50 prepaid when you activate the account, yet in the day I have had it, not been to a place that takes PayPass here in our small city of Hutchinson, Kansas. I will have to comment in the future as to how NFC and Google Wallet perform.
Device in hand and headed to a known Network Vision site…
Sprint's Sandhill site, north of Hutchinson, Kansas.
Ok…what many have you have been waiting for, speed. I do have a partially completed Network Vision site close to my home. The Sprint Sandhills Site #WT03XC022 is here just north of Hutchinson. So once I got the phone activated, one of my first courses of business was to visit this site to check for LTE. Sprint did install an option so you could turn on and off the LTE mode until the network was more wide spread. This is done to help preserve your battery. So once all of that was completed I waited for it to scan for LTE at this site. No success. So cycled thru the steps taking it back to EVDO only then back to EVDO/LTE, and still nothing, so after all the wait I’m sorry to say I have no LTE speed test. S4GRU reported this site as only NV-3G active. So this is confirmed. No LTE yet deployed at the Sandhills site.
The battery on the phone is a 1700mAh, which has a quoted talk time of 5.3 hours. Under 1 day a moderate use (downloading apps, texting and some phone calls) battery is down to 60% remaining. So overall battery life does seem quite well. However, how it performs under LTE conditions is going to be the real question.
So my overall take away from my experience with the LG Viper so far, even without the LTE speeds…the phone is very powerful and does not miss a beat. I know a lot of people might not justify getting a phone that won’t live up to its full potential is understandable. But I think anyone who is in the markets Sprint has already said is getting LTE (or as we know more than what Sprint has said as S4GRU members) it would be a great buy to start testing things out as the network comes around. But if you’re in the market for a powerful, yet economical smartphone (and maybe a tad greener than average), then I would recommend the LG Viper for you.
- OS: Android 2.3
- Dimensions: 4.59" Tall x 2.44" Wide x 0.46" Thick
- Weight: 5 ounces
- Display: 4.0" 480x800 LCD TFT (non-HD)
- Battery: 1700mAh
- Processor: 1.2GHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 MSM8660
- Memory: 1024MB RAM (1GB)
- Internal Storage: 4GB
- Additional Storage: MicroSD card expansion slot supporting up to 32GB (comes with 4GB MicroSD card)
- Camera: Two total, rear facing 5MP, front facing 0.3MP VGA
- Networks Supported: 800MHz CDMA (1x and EVDO-A);1900MHz CDMA (1x and EVDO-A); 1900MHz LTE; 850MHz CDMA Roaming (1x and EVDO)
- Bluetooth: 3.0
- WiFi: 802.11b/g/n supported
- Mobile Hot Spot: Yes